I started looking for information from trusted sources...I admit, Fox news didn't make the cut and after seeing the way the it covered the story, neither did Frontera, who provided an 'article' headed with an image of two, seemingly light skinned, women with faces decorated with for a dia de los muertos celebration in Vegas. Maybe I threw the second one out too quickly, but for right now, this image seems to sexualize and commercialize the whole conversation in another way.
Anyway, what I did come across as I looked for 'credible,' in-depth, and insightful commentary and sources that realized the scandal early on, offered concerns about how Disney changed their plans for the film. I found myself concerned by the sterile commentary about the "bid" dropped by Disney...but also saddened that it sounds like Disney may drop the film altogether rather than just their efforts to trademark/appropriate a holiday.
Part of me is happy...another win for cultural freedom.
Part of me recalls my cousin's sentiments who works at Disney-he argued that Disney offers accessibility, dreams, freedom, etc. for some people as he reflected on the partner benefits offered to many of the employees and Make a Wish kids that felt they could have distance from the health concerns they live with everyday when they visit the park. He's right-there is value in Disney. Disney can help dreams come true...but what dreams?
My concern is that only for people with resources and/or identifiable' or 'valid' health problems' (like cancer) can buy into Disney. My concern is that the medium of animated films they sell may start out with good intentions (Mulan, Cars, Brave, etc.), but the art becomes commodified...reduced....and kills (irony intended) the legend in some way for the almighty dollar (FE look at Cars-consider where all the female characters have gone-who prompted the 'click' point for the male protagonist- when you look at how the toys, books, etc. are sold). My concern is that to continue to exist and stay in the position of power Disney is/has to expose itself to the public with the easy stuff (PR) and is/has to be private with the socially responsible stuff. There are clear constraints within the corporate world that ensure one can continue to thrive (translation: profitably) as a business.
But can we envision a different model or are we fooling ourselves within a country known for media and business? Further what does this mean for academic institutions, some of which are taking a 'business' model?
More questions than answers today.
What I do know is like any company, vigilance and checks and balances are necessary to ensure that the edutainment environment that is produced does not teach our children to model only the roles bought for them instead of thinking and playing out their roles within their contexts. We want children to learn through mediums, but learn how to critically remediate, transmediate, etc. rather than just duplicate.
I am just afraid that as people attempt to commodify culture we might bury the dead instead of celebrate it and attempt to envision a future without the history we come from. Through a pollyannic, singular look at the world we forget to our multi-dimensional story. We have a responsibility to humanity to hold ourselves to embody community by not trampling on others in pursuit of our happiness.