Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 14. July 24, 1952
In Defence of Disney
In Defence of Disney
It is with some trepidation that I expose myself to the keen critical faculties of the author responsible for Sexy, Slangy and Salacious" in your last issue.
Agreeing as I do in principle with the bulk of the argument, it was with both surprise and dismay (more dismay than surprise) that I read such violent literary utterances and railing language levelled against Wait Disney. Yes, I am a little "whimsical" and "sickly-sentimental," but in spite of theses handicaps, in this age of reason, can see no Justification for the final portions of this criticism against a genius who suffers from the malady of being too human. Because he so successfully embodies this attribute in his films and comics, we should deprive our children of them. Take away this Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse; deprive the kids of Goofy; then cap it all by eliminating that perverse myth about a Santa Claus. Feed the next generation from birth on Euclidean mathematics, Jonson, Homer—let's all be over-educated monsters. I can hardly wait!
And what is this nonsense about intolerably dull children" and "unbearable fairy-lands creeping into this monstrous piece of prose? What dull children are intolerable? Who finds a fairy-land unbearable? This rot surely does cut—Disney, Disney in "drool and mimble-mamble," a quotation in bad taste only to be exceeded is verbal extravagance by an immature description of fantasia, "that monument to pretension and vulgarity, . . . considered, God help us, as a worthy example of Twentieth Century art." No mention of Snow White or Cindrella.
Why should all literature and films be educative? We want a few more dreamers, and rather less of these luke-warm automatons, barren in imagination, long haired with violin cases, wallowing in the depths of neo-aestheticism. Above all we want less cultural hypocrisy, that veneer preserving the dignity of sexual delights in the classics. Yes, most comics are salacious, brazenly so, but do not imagine, as so many Oscar Wildian imitators are apt to do, that because in Jonson and Co. sex is played out in the highbrow atmosphere of the plutocrat it has a more enobling effect on the mind. Admittedly the wit is of a higher stamp, but let us be consistent about this sex business. Or perhaps "P.B." thinks that sex is no pass-time for the unemployed?
Let us inject a few "worthy examples of Twentieth Century Art" into the susceptible mind of the six-year-old. If "P.B." refers to those intelligent, handsome-looking gentlemen in our twenteith century portraits, having one eye, two mouths, and a nose projecting from behind the left ear, let us have Art Made Easy. If anything else in implied we are asking too much of the child mind, with the consequent development of depressed young men like J. S. Mill and myself (I hope I am not being precocious).
Admittedly we can have too much, even of Disney, but in moderation he has provided us with a necessary stepping stone between the fabulous and the all too early dawning of realism.
—D. G. Price.