Friday, May 29, 2009

Existentialist Walt Disney

My philosophy thesis is about Disney as the concrete example of existentialist freedom. For those who don't know, JP Sartre defined man as the constant power to reinvent himself. That means exactly that you are not determined by the circumstances of your life, they did not mold you: you are not a mere result of them. Unfortunately, people tend to see others as such results. That is why Schickel, for one, tries to revert everything in Walt (actions and thoughts) to his background. He says, for instance, that in Disney movies, nature is "sanitized" because that is what the farmer does. He says Disney didn't like bankers because Elias didn't either, and that bankers were those who sentenced the small farmers to constant indebtedness. In such a line of thought, no matter how full of erudition, any person, no matter how virtuous, is only a cog in the machinery of events that constituted his own life. And to think that Shickel often accuses the "Disney" people loved as an image "made" by the machinery he himself made. There is no room for freedom, for self- creativity, for creativity at all in such viewpoint. In fact, Schickel himself is the one obsessed with machinery as way of explanation. But here go a few characteristics of Walt that show he was constant self-creation, the beauty of pure freedom: He was unpredictable; he escaped all molds and expectations; he was an artist and innovator and he had the most amazing courage. Courage only exists in the face of freedom. If you are a result of your background, you are only responding, not being brave and, for sure, not creating. As for Disney's dislike of money men it is more than better explained by Disney himself: in their greed for immediate profits they stunted creativity. Last but not least, is Walt's integrity as a characteristic of existential freedom. Integrity is not given, or caused, otherwise it would not have the merit attributed to it. Integrity is one aspect of one's own self-creation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Disneyssence Introduction

With Disneyland's storytelling rides , Walt Disney not only invented interaction with fantasy, but with contemplation and, in an indirect way, with the exact processes of technology.
A traditional Disney storytelling ride is stage to be watched, to be part of and to be awed by all at the same time. Stage becomes life in its most pungent and healthiest characteristic: the reconciliation of extremes, of reality with fantasy, contemplation with action, awe with fun. With this , Disney was also, even if indirectly so, not only playing with the relativity of the real but with that of time and space: the ground to step on is also the ground to act on ; the moments to just have fun are also those to be carried away.
There are direct descendants of this breakthrough in life and in art. In life, it concerns the thematic experience in trivial, everyday contexts, like decorations, parties and celebrations in accordance with a theme, that which, supposedly, immerses one in something like a story line. In art it has been developed in contemporary shows like Fuerza Bruta, which, immersing the audience in its heavenly images, play with the relativity of gravity itself, making stage horizontal as well as vertical or diagonal, close to the ground as well as above spectators heads. The audience, in constant movement so as to be able to see where the action will occur, has also its share of aesthetic interaction and of touch. Another artistic contemporary show that requires the presence of the spectator to reveal effects of beauty and awe, is Olafur Eliasson's display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Like in a Disney ride, you interact with the setting without having to do anything other than bring your presence to it. You can appreciate its beauty, be engaged in the fantasy that is revealed by your simply being there .
Disney, in a few words, planted the seed of "contemplative interaction", that which joins real physical presence with fantasy, aesthetic appreciation with movement, the artificial with the visceral.
Contemplative interaction is the result of a freedom the immensity of which knows no limits of categories, concepts or utility. Textures and colors escape their once fixed type of materiality, objects become other objects, action merges with performance, surfaces loose density and fantasy acquires body.
The time we live in is one that sky and ground can become one and the same. It took roots from the Disney essence.
A little of this freedom will be expressed in what follows. A contrast, rather than a mutual representation, between the evocative nature of the images with the abstract content of the words.

Disneyssence Dedication

Throughout the years, I've become aware that there exists several classifications for people that are immersed in the world of Disney:

Disney Historians
Disney Aficionados
Disney Geeks
Disney Neurotics
Disney Scholars
I will coin the following:
Disneystatics (those who knew happiness through Disney and were forever estatic with it)
Disneyans (those who find in Disney their real roots)
Disneykharmics (those who have a compulsion to go to the parks, as if having known it from other lives)
Waltists (Those who live in the autistic bubble of thinking that they are the only ones to really figure out Walt Disney).

I dedicate this book to all of them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Perfect American

This is a late comment on "The Perfect American" being made into an opera. The book is totally about Walt Disney and the obvious passion he arose, being the charismatic leader that he was. With passion, there are always hurt feelings. The fictional animator who supposedly tells the story in "The Perfect American" is only an excuse to stir repressed male homosexuality, by his self-depiction down the line naked, bloody and with an erection before Walt Disney. By mixing real facts with fiction, the writer gets away with an utterly tabloid imagination, aimed at stirring and making money with the low feelings of those who are threatened by the fact that Disney, being only a man, accomplished so much. Disney is depicted as a sexually averse, square, highly neurotic and unforgiving person, an evident expansion on Marc Eliot's interpretation of his.It is totally shocking that the famous "litigiousness" of the Walt Disney co has not found a way to sue the German writer for defamation of character. For, with the word "fictionalized", the writer invents dialogues and facts to transmit a version of Disney that has the efficiency of any low blow: the efficiency of growing, like bacteria, on the weakness, jealousy and threatened vanity of others, becoming therefore believable to them. What a shame!
Someone commented on Robert Frost's article that like Lincoln, Disney became mythologized but that should not be a reason for his not being used in the way The Perfect American did. Try to use Lincoln that way and see if the American people, rightfully so, will not throw up with the abasement of that which, for them, symbolizes the good.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Disney Synchrony

The Mickey of the 30's was neither aggressive, nor cruel. In turning animals into sources of sound, in "Steamboat Willie", Mickey was only echoing the importance of music, as the single, pervasive heartbeat of the short. In "Plane Crazy", Mickey steals from Minnie, the most 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 amusing way, the choir of which he was the main part.
Mickey has always been the loudspeaker for Walt Disney's world of synchrony: for the generoxity of pure, all-encompassing meaningfulness.

Wholesome Disney

In the animation language developed by Disney, the granting of a maternal and paternal support makes up for the completeness of the sexual function in the human psyche. While its physical quality elicits the extension of oneself in fun, its inexorability and leading power satisfy the urge to fulfillment in obedience. Simply put, the eliciting of submission on one hand, with fun and pleasure on the other, concerns the granting of satisfaction as a result of obedience and also of assertiveness.