Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disney Life

With his animation, Walt Disney gave fantasy an immense right: the placing of life over reality in the same way he placed personality over contingency, like soul over matter. Those that, like me, were lucky to be acquainted with the big screen by watching a Disney animated feature witnessed the disclosure of fantasy, for the first time, as this proclamation of life. What you saw wasn’t supposed to be real, but it was, nonetheless, alive. It was something in and of itself, in its own right to be. You could see it, hear it and feel it. Disney’s “illusion of life” was life regardless of, or above reality. Its believability, like that of all art, was its supremacy over the real world. The immediacy Disney gave fantasy meant, in the end, the establishing of life over everything, like a consecration of it. That is why it was sheer reassurance.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Disney's Audacity: The Stage and American Life

Beyond happy endings and uplifting story lines, Disney's coupling of technology to fantasy was the wedding of something totally ruled by finality, by a utilitarian purpose, to a reality that is pleasure in and of itself, it was the reconciling of temporality to poetry. That the world one lived in was so prodigal to grant the wonderful results of the association of these two polarities was not just a revelation, but Disney's greatest generosity. The results of it were typically American, in joining the objectivity of artifice with the warmth of emotion, and yet universal, in expressing the power of childhood, hope and love. They were also typically American in the conception and creation of life purely for the embodiment of a story, or of preconceived lines: for the stage, in a broader sense of the word. Life on stage, or, more precisely, life for the stage expresses in one goal ingenuity and faith, that is, the control of artifice, of creating for a purpose, and the passion of liberation, of the inexorability of storylines. Stage is simultaneously an assertion of mission fulfillment and destine, that is, of will and of forces greater than will.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Disneyesque Obama

In his Victory Speech, Obama, with his amazing inspiration, summed up the American essence in the phrase "We Can!"
He'd mentioned that something that was practically impossible-his Victory- had happened, for everything is possible in America. Doesn't it ring a very familiar bell?
One of the most fascinating things in the U.S. is the constant interplay of two antagonistic forces: A rigid predictability that results from an almost fundamentalist observing of not just laws, but rules, vs. the freedom of an amazing creativity and tradition-breaking. If, one one hand, Americans go undone when someone breaks a simple traffic rule, even if such infraction does not, at the moment it is done, put anyone in risk-like doing a U turn in a practically empty street- they, on the other hand produce records of rebellious inventiveness (James Dean, Elvis Presley, Walt Disney, of course) that change the world. If, on one hand, American life is rigorously rule-regulated, making unpredictability and unconventionality a big, de stabalizing threat for most,on the other hand this same life brings forth the most revolutionary humanitarian and cultural expressions, as well as technologic world-changing discoveries . It goes from Rock'n'Roll, fast food and Coca-Cola to the world web.
Real American leaders, I think, balance these two forces. At the same time they are brave innovators, they look for, they find and they establish essence, and what is essence if not that which is immutable, constant and, even though unconventional, it is, much more than traditional, archetypal? Like Walt Disney, Obama found it in freedom, as a fundamental American value. "We Can!" is the essence.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Disney Givingness

In the Magic Kingdom, technology materializes fiction into stage
and into characters for your participation: because of you. You experience
it as givingness, as a taking care of you, in the same goal you take care
of it by making it valid. You experience it as givingness, as you are also
granted the gift of giving. Disney’s givingness concerns the turning of
his visitors into givers themselves: the granting the gift of giving.
How much more generous can this be?