Disney Continues Its Transformation Into The Great Stupid’s Cultural Corrupter

Disney’s animated/live action feature “Song of the South” (1946) is, to say the least, not a metaphorical hill worth dying on. The animated sections are excellent, but Walt, for reasons known best to him, decided to ignore good advice from various members of the black community who advised him not to use the movie to romanticize plantation life, with happy slaves singing away in the Land of Cotton where old times are not forgotten. “Song of the South’s” version of the Old South makes “Gone With The Wind” seem like the “1619 Project” by comparison; shame on Walt, who spoiled any chance of Joel Chandler Harris’s American folk tales being preserved in our culture.

Of course, Walt’s lapse of judgment doesn’t mean, or shouldn’t mean, that people who want to see the movie (and the screen legacy of African-American actor James Baskett, who deserves to be remembered) ought to be prevented from doing so. 21st Century Corporate Disney, however, has fully embraced the paternalistic view that big media companies and the government know best, so “Song of the South” has been treated like those photos of old Soviet leaders who fell out of favor: erased, banished. Nope, sorry, can’t see it, folks: it will make you racist, or if you are properly woke, cause an aneurysm, or something.

Worse still, Disney suits have used the movie to engage in the even more sinister (yes, and stupid) practice of declaring racism by association, kind of like the STD commercials that warned, “if he has it, then she has it, and if she has it, he has it, and if he has it, YOU have it!” It announced in June 2020, when the accidental drug-related death of a career black thug resisting arrest at the hands—well, knee— of a Minnesota cop who never should have been allowed behind a badge triggered mass pandering by corporate America, that it would close its parks’ Splash Mountain rides because the classic attraction contained references to “Song of the South.” No actual racist material, mind you, just references to the film. Now the ride is being reconfigured to feature themes from the 2009 feature “The Princess and the Frog.”

How far does the racism by association principle reach? Well, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” a song with no racist content whatsoever that also won an Oscar for “Best Song,” has been removed from Disneyland’s Magic Happens parade because, well you know. Let’s see…Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold references “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” in “National Lampoon’s Vacation”—does this mean that film is now officially racist? Should the line be removed? Chevy Chase let the song title escape his lips—does that make him racist? Would that make Saturday Night Live racist by association? And all those SNL cast members who made all those movies…racists all, along with “Groundhog Day,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “When Harry Met Sally”?

That approach would, surely, be ridiculous. Then again, not long ago I would have thought banning “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from a Disneyland parade because the 1946 movie it came from didn’t correctly assess 2023-style hyper-wokeness was similarly ridiculous.

Such is existence in the Time of The Great Stupid.

14 thoughts on “Disney Continues Its Transformation Into The Great Stupid’s Cultural Corrupter

  1. To be fair, Disney has repurposed attractions before. What was once the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is now the Tarzan Treehouse. I would imagine most kids these days never recognized the characters on Splash Mountain, given how deeply Song of the South has been buried.

    • One thing I do recall is seeing a tweet from an imagineer tweeting detailed concept art on the retheming in June of 2020.

      that would not have been possible unless the project had been around for years, especially as most of Disney’s imagineering resources were being used for Galaxy’s Edge for the second half of the 2010’s. For that time, this project was basically handwritten notes and rough pencil sketches.

      It was not until Rise of the Resistance was up and running that more imagineers could be reassigned to this project, among others.

      • Although the last time it was there, it was closed, and rumor was that it was going back to the Swiss family Robinson. Certainly it was lackluster as Tarzan’s tree house.

        I recently showed my kids the song of the south. My fldaughter is a giant fan of disney, and was curious, so I showed it to her. Even she picked up tlrather quickly that the characters shown were not slaves (although she was also quick to notice the gulf between the living conditions, and how they spoke to each other), and thoroughly enjoyed the lessons of Bre’r Rabbit. Bre’r Bear is still my favorite, though.

            • I would hardly call Edgar Rice Burroughs’ output “junk.” Formulaic, sure. Predictable, sure. His works are definitely not politically correct now, and I think there’s a reason Disney’s attempt to create a “John Carter of Mars” franchise was a flop. But I’d hardly call his work, which evidence a huge amount of creativity, junk.

              • Agreed: I’ll retract “junk.” I was searching for a word, and that wasn’t it. My Dad, who read everything as a boy, recommended ERB, and I may have waited too long to get around to him, but when I did, was disappointed. He certainly had too much influence on better writers to come to be insulted that way.

                I apologize to ERB fans and him, wherever he is.

                My father really hated eugenics as a concept, but didn’t hold Burroughs’ enthusiasm for that concept against him: I must say that I found the white supremacy threads in the couple novels I read very creepy. For some reason I assumed that his decline in popularity was due to his quality of writing, but of course it must be its political incorrectness: he’s easier to read than the bad Jules Verne translations I grew up with. I don’t know why that missed my attention.

                (I wonder what Valkygrrl thinks about his works?)

                • In all fairness, a lot of the John Carter of Mars stuff was anything but white supremacist, in fact the red men are supposed to be the perfect race on Mars. That said, their similarity to the Indians, the fact that the now mostly extinct white Martians were to have been supposedly superior, the literally yellow (with skin the color of ripe lemons) yellow Martians, and the fact that JCM, a white former captain in the Confederate Army, is superior to them all… ehhhh. That said, eventually some less politically incorrect heroes, like WWI soldier Ulysses Paxton, are later introduced. I do not know what our currently MIA Valky thinks, although a literary discussion might be enlightening.

                • I can’t speak for Valky, but have found her recommendations on sci-fi compatible with my leanings. As a young reader, I enjoyed that genre of works (“Mars”, etc.) by Burroughs, but never read any of the Tarzan series. A couple of years ago, I did finally read the first one, and found it rather too silly to maintain my suspension of disbelief. Older readers might enjoy some of the reimagined Tarzan works by Philip Jose Farmer.

  2. I have a copy of Song of the South. It takes place on a post civil war plantation that has both black and White sharecroppers where everyone gets along nicely. Uncle Remus is a happy go lucky seemingly retired guy that’s in tune with nature, the children black and white all love or at least admire him. His songs are very good and I agree that The animated sections are excellent. That said, I thought the movie nice but one of the lesser Disney movies of the time. All it takes is for one racist numb nut to claim something nefarious about any movie, book, or song which causes the woke minions to come alive having something else to scorn and cancel.

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