Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hopelessly Corrupted


The other night I went down a youtube rabbit hole; the kind where you can hardly remember what it was you were searching for in the first place. Having been inspired by a couple of articles that Fr. Longenecker had linked about elephants, in a subconscious way I ended up thinking about the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence from Dumbo, later went to youtube and watched the sequence, relived the unsettling, aggressive hallucinations, and alas, I made the mistake of then clicking on a video with a title about Illuminati symbology embedded in the pink elephants sequence.

From there it was hours, well past bed-time, of watching videos about the sexual subliminal messages and innuendo and outright graphic sexual images sneaked into the frames of Disney films and how Disney is a Satanic pedophile racket with secret underground tunnels in which the children that go missing from Disneyland are sacrificed in Satanic rituals and how Walt Disney was - according to them - a 33 degree Freemason.

Of course some of the videos made me laugh outright, so paranoid and stupid were they. And so much of it is just the usual internet rehashing of mostly unverified speculation, or anonymous sources. Others...well, I found them extremely creepy - that is, not the presentation of the videos, but the content itself. My take on Disney has generally been, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark", but without getting too particular.

The real question for me is not whether Disney is in some deep way corrupt with a disturbing darkness, but how far back into its foundations that darkness runs. Was Disney more or less innocent to begin with, but was later, by certain coinciding forces, gradually intercepted by evil agendas? Or was it basically a conspiracy to begin with? Which would mean speculations about Walt Disney himself. Was Walt Disney a 33 degree Freemason? It doesn't seem so, but was rather one of the outlier groups/clubs connected to the Masons.

But then I remembered that Tolkien had a special dislike of Disney, as articulated in letters he wrote. I looked them up. All emphasis mine.


13 May 1937 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford

Dear Mr Furth,

Thank you for the information concerning prospective American publication. Could you tell me the name of the firm, and what are likely to be the financial arrangements?

As for the illustrations: I am divided between knowledge of my own inability and fear of what American artists (doubtless of admirable skill) might produce. In any case I agree that all the illustrations ought to be by the same hand: four professional pictures would make my own amateurish productions look rather silly. I have some 'pictures' in my drawer, but though they represent scenes from the mythology on the outskirts of which the Hobbit had his adventures, they do not really illustrate his story. The only possible one is the original coloured version of Mirkwood (re-drawn in black and white for 'the Hobbit'). I should have to try and draw some five or six others for the purpose. I will attempt this, as far as time allows in the middle of term, if you think it advisable. But I could not promise anything for some time. Perhaps the matter does not allow of much delay? It might be advisable, rather than lose the American interest, to let the Americans do what seems good to them – as long as it was possible (I should like to add) to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing). I have seen American illustrations that suggest that excellent things might be produced – only too excellent for their companions. But perhaps you could tell me how long there is before I must produce samples that might hope to satisfy Transatlantic juvenile taste (or its expert connoisseurs)?....

Yours sincerely
J. R. R. Tolkien


From a letter, 7 December, 1946:

I continue to receive letters from poor Horus Engels about a German translation. He does not seem necessarily to propose himself as a translator. He has sent me some illustrations (of the Trolls and Gollum) which despite certain merits, such as one would expect of a German, are I fear too 'Disnified' for my taste: Bilbo with a dribbling nose, and Gandalf as a figure of vulgar fun rather than the Odinic wanderer that I think of. ....I am shortly moving to a small house (3 Manor Road) and so hoping to solve the intolerable domestic problems which thieve so much of the little time that is left over. I still hope shortly to finish my 'magnum opus': the Lord of the Rings: and let you see it, before long, or before January. I am on the last chapters.

From an unpublished letter, post-dated 15 July, 1964, Tolkien says of Walt Disney:


"[...] I recognize his talent, but it has always seemed to me hopelessly corrupted. Though in most of the 'pictures' proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them to me is disgusting. Some have given me nausea [...]"

In the same letter Tolkien also accuses Disney of being in his business practices "simply a cheat: willing and even eager to defraud the less experienced by trickery sufficently 'legal' to keep him out of jail"; he adds that his own affairs are in the hands of Allen & Unwin ("a firm with the highest repute"); that he is "not innocent of the profit-motive" himself (although "I should not have given any proposal from Disney any consideration at all. I am not all that poor [...]"

He wrote "heartfelt loathing" in 1937, only when Snow White had just come out. That loathing went unabated throughout his life, later writing that Disney's works always seemed to him "hopelessly corrupted".

"Hopelessly corrupted"

"Disgusting"

"Some have given me nausea"

Those are strong words. All his words directed towards Disney are relentlessly scathing.

Was Tolkien a prophet?

I think so.

14 comments:

jvc said...

This is interesting stuff, Paul.

I wonder what it was that made him think this. I haven't studied the subject much.

But Disney has always seemed... so... secular? And by association empty, atheistic?

There certainly never seems to be anything redemptive about Disney films or products.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I think that we can be fairly critical of Walt Disney's legacy without making him out to be a Freemason or some other tool of darkness. My main problem with Disney movies is that they quickly and effortlessly become the "official" versions of the stories they retell, although they are, at best, highly liberal adaptations.
Perhaps the most famous one at the moment is Mary Poppins. P.L. Travers was so disgusted by the movie that she cried during the premiere. But never mind the authors. (I don't like Travers much, anyway.) What about the poor readers? A few years after Aladdin came out, my friends and I spent the better part of a party trying to recall the original story, and barely managing to succeed. Never mind that we had read or heard the original dozens of times as children!

Another "Disney effect" is that people no longer want to read the originals. I have one friend, a passionate reader, who loves the Mary Poppins movie so much that she refuses to read the original novel in case it ruins her enjoyment. No skin off my Travers-despising nose, but I must admit that that doesn't sit well with me. =/ And I still remember how stunned I was to learn, many years earlier, that The Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Rescuers, Bambi, etc. had all started out as novels. J.M. Barrie is very fortunate that Peter Pan is still being read--and that the original stage play is produced every year--but everyone else has taken a blow. I wonder if Margery Sharp, who was kind of the anti-Travers, would have been so accepting of all the changes that Disney made to The Rescuers, if she had known that "novelisations" of the movie would sell better than her own novel twenty years later. (She had been humble enough to say that while she knew all about writing books, she knew nothing about making movies; so she was willing to trust that the movie makers knew what they were doing! =P Oh, they knew what they were doing, all right!)

Disney's power to take over is simply amazing. When I was in uni, taking up a paper on classical allusions, the lecturer said that the Greek gods may seem obscure to us now, but for centuries they were as recognisable to people as Disney characters are to us today. And since the Greek gods were a symbolic language, Disney characters are a symbolic language, too. One that we can all speak rather well. Whether or not we want to. That's a lot of power Disney has!

But I should say that I don't think these symbols are evil in and of themselves. I relish the occasional Disney princess joke and I was greatly moved by an article about an autistic boy who relearned communication through Disney movies. (He started by relating to Ariel, because he had lost his own voice to the "sea witch" of autism. The moment when he was able to communicate his understanding of his own condition to his parents was their first truly joyful moment after his diagnosis.) I think it's great to have a shared symbolic language that transcends many boundaries. But this now moves us to ask about the quality of the symbols we are using to communicate. And I think this is where the real discussion begins!

Paul Stilwell said...

What do you mean by "quality of symbols"?

And do we just "use" symbols?

I'm with Michael O'Brien who says that symbols are keystones of the imagination. And that they cannot just be rearranged like so much furniture.

Is there a scale of quality? And this is my real question: take one symbol made into various "qualities" and put them on the scale. Is the symbol on the lower end of the scale the same symbol as the one on the higher end?

Rhetorically I'm asking: can you have a symbol that's been rearranged/lowered/what-have-you without it being changed on a fundamental level? I lean heavily towards, "No, you cannot".

And when I say "changed", I don't mean it in the sense that a peace sign can be changed by our powers into a symbol for war, for instance. I mean the changed symbol (the one lowered in quality) becomes an adjudicator about the symbol it has derived from (the "higher quality" one).

Its lowering of the symbol it derived from is its symbolic meaning. Thus Ariel's father at the end of The Little Mermaid, giving life to his dead daughter. The very moment that looks like fatherly compassion is in fact a realigning/mockery of every moral imperative the father made towards his daughter throughout the movie. All of it was just a hotheaded tyrannical father holding his daughter back, and now he's finally releasing her (no, not at all a symbol of mercy). She constantly rebels and (as in the original story) gets (to put it harshly) what's coming to her. But in the movie this rebelling is now the moral imperative.

And I cannot for a minute imagine that Tolkien's harsh stance against Disney was merely cantankerous railing against sugarfied aesthetics. Not the man who wrote On Fairy Stories and other essays. He likely perceived this very process of trampling on symbols all the while in a cute sugar coating (to make the medicine/poison go down).

For why should it be wrong or disheartening that Disney's movies become the official versions? Aside from merely disappointing the author of the original work (to tears even) and the readers who happened to know the story from the original book - aside from these (which one could very easily, though wrongly, argue as being expendable), why should it matter that Disney's versions become the official versions?

It matters because Disney corrupts/inverts symbols.

And by the way, I have like anyone else a boatload of fond memories of Disney films from childhood, and I'm not looking to rob anyone of theirs, let alone an autistic child's relearning communication through Disney movies.

But I still stand by, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Anyhow, you always bring thoughtful commentary. :)

Belfry Bat said...

If we're content for the moment to remain within the world of mostly cartoons, I think there's an interesting contrast with the Warner Brother's/Merrie Mellodies series of shorts. Disney films tend to be about a small/ordinary/misunderstood figure making good in some unexpected way --- from Steamboat Willie sticking at his job in spite of his abusive boss to Ariel winning her prince despite being a fish out of water and so on... while the Merrie Melodies are largely about the ordinary conflicts that arise between ordinary people living in close quarters, dressed up in suitable allegory.

So, there isn't much that's uplifting about the Merrie Melodies, but there's something approaching a truth to them; whereas Disney stories are various dressings-up of the American Dream, with magic and some kind of "fairness" upheld, which is at least recognizable, but it's not necessarily true justice any more than the stories are true stories.

And with E. we will lament that, as most folk tales aren't the American Dream, so most Disney films are nothing like their nominal sources; nonetheless, they make that already-seductive story yet more seductive (in bright colours and catchy music!) and give a hard-to-ignore narrative context for interpreting the symbols that, as Paul says, they subvert.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Ariel is one of my favourite Disney princesses (because she has one of the best songs), but is the cornerstone of her reasoning--"I just don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad"--a correct understanding of the counsel to judge others by their fruits . . . or pure rationalisation from someone who wants what she wants?

If I recall correctly (and no, I'm not going to reread the story to be sure =P), the original Little Mermaid didn't have Ariel's fixation with another world. It was a traditional rite of passage for all mermaids to get a glimpse of the human world on their sixteenth birthday (or thereabouts), and although all her older sisters were unimpressed with what they saw of humans, she had the bad luck to fall in love at first sight with one. Her turning to the sea witch wasn't a rebellion against her father as much as it was another sort of bad decision naive girls make when they choose men who can't love them. But that's not the sort of story Disney tells, is it?

And now I don't know if the current popularity of the mermaid as a symbol in homosexual circles (What? Just Filipino homosexual circles?) would have come about if it weren't for Disney's reimagining of these mythical creatures. Of course, if we want to be really fair, we have to remember that the first mermaids in folklore were often dangerous and hostile to us oxygen breathers. If we think differently now, it's because we've become as sentimental as Hans Christian Andersen, who often wrote stories about lonely outsiders and unrequited love. Which is not to say that brooding romantics shouldn't write literature, but that every time we let one imaginative person redo a symbol, we open the door to yet another. Which is why all the Anne Rice devotees complaining about Stephenie Meyer's vampires make me laugh. Edward is possible because of Lestat.

Finally, it occurs to me that even the mermaids in Barrie's Peter Pan mix their mischief with amorality--though the ones in Disney's Peter Pan are just the sort of petty "Mean Girls" (Oh, look! A non-Disney symbol!) whom we all hated in school.

Paul Stilwell said...

"Ariel is one of my favourite Disney princesses"

And therein lie all the problems.

The thing is, I wasn't actually talking about Ariel, but the "symbol" that is her father. And you kind of prove my point: that only *her* "cornerstone of reasoning" becomes - as I said before - the one moral imperative; to the point that it ousts all the others. I'm speaking purely of symbols here, not the stream of the storyline, though symbols make definite reverberations in the "stream". In terms of composition of symbols, with "The Little Mermaid" there is no composition. Just as narcissistic model for feminism with a fish tail.

Her father is no more serious a consideration than Sebastian the Crab.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

LOL @ my own ability to get distracted by pretty princess things. ("Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat?")

You know, in terms of involvement in Ariel's education and upbringing, Sebastian is more of a father to her than King Triton is. He's just completely ineffective in the role. You could say that the father of feminist girls thinks he's an authoritative Triton figure (Doesn't he have the final say in the end, as he empowers his daughter? Oooooh!) but is really a bumbling crab whose greatest contribution to the girls' lives is comic relief. The father who is a "friend."

And to think the big controversy in the 90s was Disney "hating" mothers!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

LOL @ my own ability to get distracted by pretty princess things. ("Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat?")

You know, in terms of involvement in Ariel's education and upbringing, Sebastian is more of a father to her than King Triton is. He's just completely ineffective in the role. You could say that the father of feminist girls thinks he's an authoritative Triton figure (Doesn't he have the final say in the end, as he empowers his daughter? Oooooh!) but is really a bumbling crab whose greatest contribution to the girls' lives is comic relief. The father who is a "friend."

And to think the big controversy in the 90s was Disney "hating" mothers!

Victoria DePalma said...

Are you *currently* being sent into Hell forever ... automatically excommunicated (outside) of God’s Catholic Church ?

Answer: Yes you are ... you can reverse it ... please continue.

Council of Florence, Session 8, 22 Nov 1439 -- infallible Source of Dogma >
"Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally."

You must believe the Catholic Dogma to be in the Church ... Dogma you have *never* seen.

Site > Immaculata-one.com ... infallible Dogma throughout.

The Catholic Faith *is not* Bible interpretation ... it is the Catholic infallible Sources of Dogma. The Catholic Church didn’t even define the Bible’s New Testament Canon until 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage.

- - - -

Can a group which enforces the opposite, the opposite, and the opposite of the Catholic unchangeable Dogma be the Catholic Church?

No, it cannot possibly be the Catholic Church ... and promotion of the opposite of the Catholic Dogma is exactly what the vatican-2 heretic cult does ... and has been doing since it’s founding on 8 December 1965 at the Vatican.

The vatican-2 heresy does not have the Office of the Papacy ... only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

The Dogma cannot “change” or be “reversed” ... God does not “change”.

The founding documents of the vatican-2 heretic cult … the “vatican-2 council” documents … have well over 200 heresies *against* prior defined unchangeable Dogma. Every (apparent) bishop at the “council” approved the mountain of heresy, which caused their automatic excommunication, see Section 13.2 of the below site.

- - - -

Section 12 > Anti-Christ vatican-2 heresies (50 listed) ... followed by many Catholic corrections.

Sections 13 and 13.1 > Photographic *proof* of heresy at the Vatican.

Because of … the Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or for physical participation in a heretic cult (such as the v-2 cult) …

… we were all placed, body and soul, *outside* of Christianity (the Catholic Church) on 8 December 1965 … the close date of the “council”.

Section 13.2 > Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or participating in a heretic cult such as ... vatican-2, lutheran, methodist, evangelical, etc.

Section 107 > St. Athanasius (died 373 A.D.) ... “Even if the Church were reduced to a handful ...” - - during the “arian” heresy ... we are there again, but worse.

Section 13.3 > Matt 16:18, Gates of Hell scripture ... is *not* about the Office of the Papacy ... four Dogmatic Councils defined it ... that heresy will not cause the Dogma to disappear.

Section 13.4 > The vatican-2 heretic cult does not have the Office of the Papacy only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

Section 13.6 > The Catholic Dogma on Jurisdiction and Automatic Excommunication for heresy define that ... God has allowed Catholic Jurisdiction ... for Mass and Confession to disappear from the world. There is no such thing as Catholic Mass outside of the Catholic Church.

Non-Catholic heresies such as “vatican-2”, “sspx”, “sspv”, “cmri”, etc. ... do not have Catholic Mass.

Section 19.1 > Dogma on Abjuration for *re-entering* Christianity (the Catholic Church) … after being automatically excommunicated. A Formal Abjuration is provided here also.

Section 10.2 > Returning to a state of grace, in places and times when Confession is not available, like now.

- - - -

Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. -- infallible Source of Dogma >
"The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy."

Blessed John Eudes, died 1680 >
“The greatest evil existing today is heresy, an infernal rage which hurls countless souls into eternal damnation.”

Everything you must know, believe, and do to get to Heaven is on > > Immaculata-one.com.

Victoria
Our Lady of Conquest
Pray for us

Paul Stilwell said...

First I just want to take this opportunity to say: YES!!! YES!!! I finally got a comment from the "Are you going to hell forever" lady!!! I thought it would never happen, but it did! Dreams really do come true!

Paul Stilwell said...

Yes, I agree about Sebastion. What, by the way is, your favourite song from the movie?

And then there is Belle who respects her father, but her father is a bumbling doofus.

I think what is the most disturbing element about The Little Mermaid for me is that Ariel goes against her father by ultimately making a pact with a witch. And not just any witch, but the very nemesis of her own father.

But it is not this alone of course. That in and of itself may be a fine and justifiable and interesting story element, depending on where the story goes with it. But this leads to some certain "peccadillos": the fact that we are rooting for her and her man to kiss and are let down when they are prevented from kissing by the instigations of the witch. So does that mean that making the pact with the witch was fine and peachy as long as she is able to kiss the man and get her fulfillment of being with him? It's like the only evil thing about the pact in the movie is her being prevented from making the kiss, in other words, of not getting her dream/fulfillment (which of course was the design of Octopus Woman to begin with). But making a pact with a witch who is a sworn enemy of your father is justified as long as the ends turn out alright? Now, the movie doesn't bowl one over with this - granted, but it certainly does not make any overtures towards showing us that Ariel's actions and their bad consequences are her responsibility - that she is responsible for it - that her selfishness is not alright. At best, the "evil" of her not getting her dreams is a far greater evil than the evil of making a pact with a witch.

And then when the story makes the father give her life back, together with keeping her full human form and retrieval of her voice, the movie is basically...well, gee, thanks Pop for finally coming to your senses and giving me my fulfillment which I tried to get from your nemesis. It's good that you could see that it wasn't betrayal but that you're a hoard with your superpowers. You're swell.

I mean, come on!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

First of all, sorry for the double post earlier. I'm as embarrassed as if I misspelled a word! ;-P

Secondly, congratulations on your big dream coming true! =D

Thirdly, now I really want to do a "Twelve Things about The Little Mermaid" for my blog. LOL! I'll probably quote you liberally and unashamedly. But I don't really want to watch The Little Mermaid again. Hmmmmm. What to do?

Paul Stilwell said...

:)

I KNEW you were going to be inspired to do a Twelve Things about The Little Mermaid!

But hey, watching the movie again could unfold new things you never noticed before?

Do you remember how charming "Under the Sea" was back when the movie came out on VHS?

Everyone - man, woman and child - was just like, "F***! I wish I could be under the sea!"

Paul Stilwell said...

Oh, and no problem about the double comment. I just figured it was a blogger glitch.