Ed. Note: As a father of two young daughters, our television is typically tuned into the latest heaping slop from the likes of Disney, Nickelodeon, Pixar, and other billion-dollar corporations looking to fleece moms and dads (like myself) out of mountains of moulah to keep their youngsters shut-the-hell-up long enough to allow parents to zone out for a few moments each day, I am starting a new review series of our ‘favorite’ children’s entertainment.
As a parent who cares about my children deeply, I often find myself analyzing the good, the bad, and the crazy that abounds in children’s entertainment so that I can choose appropriate content for my kids to watch — all while taking comfort in the notion that good quality family entertainment builds strong moral character. And classic Disney movies have it all.
Re-watching these titles some thirty years later sheds light on society’s norms and values at the time of the films’ release — particularly less-than-veiled values of sexism, misogyny, and racism. These factors surely explain why, in today’s America, we are still collectively backwards sons-of-bitches in our heart of hearts (or is it “hearts of heartses?).
Let’s start this series with one of Disney’s first offerings: 1941’s “Dumbo.”
Dumbo is a story about an underdog. Dumbo is a story about discovery of one’s inner potential. Dumbo is a story of a “chosen son” who overcomes his physical deficiencies through an accidental dosage of hallucinogenic champagne that randomly helped the protagonist discover his hidden talent. Dumbo is a lot of things and more, and after watching this more recently, I realize it has truly helped youngsters dating back from decades ago up through today’s modern society to learn several of life’s key lessons.