Monday, October 20, 2008
America for Disney
In the post war period, American art was making its mark with Abstract Expressionism, the style that ends with themes in order to value subjectivity, the inner state of the artist. The nuclear threat and its psychological consequences bequeathed to man a relative, unstable world. If the world turned relative to being destroyed by man himself, if time and space are relative themselves, everything that meant external reality, solid ground, became a question mark, rather than a certainty. To say that the only way, thus, to find stability or meaning was to turn inward is to declare that absoluteness switched from outside to within: to reassert the artistic quest for essence in one’s inner world.
For Disney, however, the external world, more than merely solid, was impregnated with meaning. Walt Disney’s disciplined optimism, coinciding, perhaps with what I am referring to as mysticism, would never allow the dismissal of external reality as something vulnerable to destruction, to a meaningless or “unhappy ending”. Things should turn out well. Disney’s patriotism was most likely his metaphorical “wishing upon a star”. America should settle all conflicts. It was America that served Disney’s idealism and not the other way around. The world should be forever there as ground and stage for the development of a better life, and much better, for that matter, with the help of American ingenuity (Disney’s idealism for Epcot).