Wednesday, March 4, 2009
While I was away in Brazil, without my daughter for the first time, she picked the Mickey doll I have, to clutch at bedtime. I was surprised, because Mickey was never her favorite Disney character, and she has tons of soft toys. A friend of mine said it is because Mickey inspires security. He does. He always did. Even the Mickey of the 30's, considered by many to be often aggressive, even cruel, was not really so. In turning animals into sources of sound, in Steamboat Willie, for instance, Mickey was only echoing the importance of music, as the single, pervasive heartbeat of the short. Those animals were not hurt, as everyone can see. In Plane Crazy, Mickey steals from Minnie the cutest, innocent, however daring, kiss. He "knew" that if she jumped out of the plane, she would not be hurt. The early Mickey's behavior was an assertion of and a response to the infinite possibilities Walt Disney was starting to give animation. He was a reflex of the pantheistic world around him, a voice to resonate, in an endearing way, the choir of which he was the main part. He has always been the loudspeaker for Walt Disney world of synchrony, for the generosity of pure, all-encompassing meaningfulness.