When I lived in Chicago, my boyfriend (a hobby conspiracy theorist) joked that Disney was part of the Illuminati. (It was 1995, before Dan Brown's Angels & Demons.)
The Illuminati is an old secret society. Some conspiracy theorists are convinced that American presidents and other world leaders are Illuminati members. The crux of the Illuminati myth is that members are engaged in mind-control.
Apparently, behind the wholesome surface image of many world organizations (like Disney) is a regime that seeks to gain power and control of the world’s resources. So, if Disney is the Illuminati and is engaged in some sort of mind-control, what values does it transfer to us?
Yesterday, I complained that the royal wedding and the killing of OBL remind me of a Disney movie. I didn’t even need to explain why. Disney’s cultural influence is so pervasive that it was understood.
Was it fair of me to use that comparison? Can our perceptions of life reflect what we have seen in the movies, or is it the other way around? I don't know.
Disney’s portrayal of stories similar to the royal wedding and destroying evil (e.g., Cinderella and Aladdin) is overwhelmingly American, white, middle class. Against the odds, Cinderella marries her prince. Jafar is a conniving, hook-nosed villain who gets what he deserves based on his fundamental nature.
These myths and stereotypes are the undercurrents of Disney movies, which are childhood staples in America. What are the repercussions of our children seeing these ideas and images?
I don’t really believe that Disney is manipulative. But I do think the continued popularity of these ideas reflects a conservative worldview in terms of anti-feminism, religion, and the representation of “other”. Disney surely would respond that my criticism applies 21st century morality to movies made in a different time.