Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Matriarchal Vein

The culmination of Walt Disney’s audacity, with Disneyland, was the raising of the freest, most innocent flag of happiness. It stood for a breaking of rationality’s fundamental interdict: the separation between fantasy and facts. No wonder Sergei Eisenstein, in his comments of the Silly Symphonies (Sergei Eisenstein Walt Disney- Circe) referred to the purity and brightness of Disney’s soul, and of his being beyond good and evil.
In a cultural context, Walt Disney’s innocence distilled the American search for material heaven, that is, the all American impunity to the spirit/matter; reality/essence dualism that is common to religion in general and to much of the philosophical tradition that molds and responds to the guilt stricken human mind. Disney’s innocence, freedom and daring were one and the same.
I will suggest that the above mentioned American impunity to such archaic dualism relates to a strong matriarchal vein in American culture. The expansion of cuteness, as a fundamental trait in the creation of a great part of fictional American characters, is responsible for the establishing of endearingness as a form of attractiveness that does not rely on traditional standards of beauty: on the good looks that account for sexual attraction. The sanctioning of attractiveness as a function of sex results from a male oriented world, with its obliging of the species’ urge for reproduction, rather than nurturing. Physical satisfaction in such world is more often a result of competition, fight, or prevailing of the strongest (and strength here relates, of course, not to literal Darwinian strength, but to other sorts of material power, such as money, youth, social superiority).
This is the cut-in-two world of satisfaction and self-assertiveness on one side, pain on the other. Something like heaven and hell. But the attractiveness that results from endearingness, from the cute, in one word, is maternal like. It sanctions beauty as that which appeals to heart before sex, to nurturing rather than subduing, to maternal and fraternal love rather than hierarchic, competitive authority. It reverts to a world where strength is not so material, but emotional. A more homogeneous world, in which pain and pleasure, the blessings of a heaven like life and the hell of disgrace are not so discriminated

1 comment:

wendy said...

You seem to dive really deep into american society's soul. My compliments. You redeem us all