Monday, October 1, 2007
What is Love?
I must mention that, taking a casual peek at a Disney poster right here by this computer, I read Walt Disney’s famous declaration: “I hope we don’t lose sight of one thing: it was all started by a mouse”.
This crediting of Mickey was obviously very important to Disney. As if investing the smallness of the little creature with the immensity of everything that followed its “birth”, this recognition of the Mouse, this attempt at making sure (“ I hope we don’t loose sight…”) he will be equally recognized by everybody else, is an eternal thanks giving to a fictional character. In referring the success of his creativity to "redoubtable little Mickey”, Disney talks to and about his creature with reverence. Being thanked, Mickey, in “his” unreality is treated like a talisman, as if gaining some sort of transcendental, mystical dimension. (CD Disney Treasures- Mickey Mouse’s Twentieth Birthday, 13 October 1948)
As “means to an end”, in Disney’s words, Mickey was a tool for survival, but as an entity to be thanked, he acquires his own value. He is then recognized, by Disney, as something of a first principle, rather than a circumstantial trigger of everything that followed “his” success. Turning from a mere cause into a reason, Mickey really comes to life.
Disney seemed to have shown on more than one occasion he had a sense of predestination, of being endowed with a mission, so to speak. The way he left Kansas City to Hollywood, (according to reports and to his own declarations in movie clips) having just bankrupted, but traveling first class and feeling happy and free, is one instance. Besides, he was a storyteller who impersonated stories. The line of action and events of a story can be anything but gratuitous. On the contrary, its inexorability parallels the mystical. Those who live it and tell it are mystically motivated and giving, and those who are told it are mystically “comforted” and inspired. (I guess that is why the power of narrative has survived along all the literary movements that destroyed it).
The declaration, “If you live right, things happen right” (attributed to Disney by Art Linkletter in the movie The Man Behind the Myth), makes one think that the connection between living “right” with things happening “right”, in the case of Walt Disney’s self-sacrificing, immense body of work, also relates to mission fulfilling, as if he had a conviction in the existence of a relationship between whatever it is that makes things happen and our own behavior .
After all, Walt Disney had a super human generosity: in a childhood of forced labor and poverty, he was still capable of seeing beauty and goodness in what surrounded him - the animals, the farm, the little town.
As if pledged to joy, young Disney, poor, even hungry, insisted, against all odds, on a path in entertainment, something that can only exist for or make sense to those on a full stomach. Walt Disney’s pledge was beyond the demands of the flesh.
Walt Disney identified with Mickey at the same time of perfecting “him” to what “he” came to represent for people. Disney identified with the character he was giving and yet gave what was expected of the character. If this is not a loving, giving power, one is entirely justified to be at a loss in relation to what love really is.
Posted by Duvivier at 7:58 AM