Download ePUB The Mouse that RoaredAuthor Henry A. Giroux –

This Expanded And Revised Edition Explores And Updates The Cultural Politics Of The Walt Disney Company And How Its Ever Expanding List Of Products, Services, And Media Function As Teaching Machines That Shape Children S Culture Into A Largely Commercial Endeavor The Disney Conglomerate Remains An Important Case Study For Understanding Both The Widening Influence Of Free Market Fundamentalism In The New Millennium And The Ways In Which Messages Of Powerful Corporations Have Been Appropriated And Increasingly Resisted In Global Contexts New In This Edition Is A Discussion Of Disney S Shift In Its Marketing Strategies Towards Targeting Tweens And Teens, As Disney Promises To Provide Via Participation In Consumer Culture The Tools Through Which Young People Construct And Support Their Identities, Values, And Knowledge Of The World The Updated Chapters From The Highly Acclaimed First Edition Are Complimented With Two New Chapters, Globalizing The Disney Empire And Disney, Militarization, And The National Security State After , Which Extend The Analysis Of Disney S Effects On Young People To A Consideration Of The Political And Economic Dimensions Of Disney As A US Based Megacorporation, Linking The Importance Of Critical Reception On An Individual Scale To A Broader Conception Of Democratic Global Community

10 thoughts on “The Mouse that Roared

  1. says:

    A while ago I was reading the introduction to some essays by Adorno and the author was talking about Adorno s idea of dual consciousness or double consciousness, something like that The example used to explain this idea was horoscopes I suspect that very few of us really believe in horoscopes, but that doesn t stop them being amongst the most popular parts of newspapers and magazines And even though we that it is probably something of an overstatement that one in twelve people in our society are born with multiple personality disorder, just because they were born in the month of the twins even so, if our horoscope says, take a different route home today something good awaits you well, what s the cost We don t believe, but we quite possibly might act as if we do believe And if that is true for stars, it is also true for other parts of our culture Disney is an interesting case in point I think we have trouble in really taking Disney seriously I mean, it s meant for kids and it is the definition of light and innocent entertainment so, how can you take it seriously Disney, as an organisation, is very focused on perpetuating this perception It wants to be understood as wholesome and fun But as such we might not approach what it does with the kind of critical eye that we should approach material that, let s be honest, we often use to babysit our children Also, Disney is a huge corporation In fact, so big that it owns whole other corporations ,like the ABC network in the US, that are also household names You don t get to be huge by being innocent and this book documents many of the corporate practices Disney uses to produce, protect and popularise its product that, frankly, might make your hair curl This is particularly true of how the cast in the various Disney Worlds are employed, but also, and particularly, in relation to its various films the product from their imagineers The idea of us having a kind of dual consciousness is no where better exemplified than our attitude to marketing We seem quite willing to believe that other people are manipulated by marketing, but that we, quite on the contrary, are just too sophisticated to be taken in As is pointed out here advertising is a quarter of a trillion dollar industry, do you really think it would exist if it didn t work And for Disney it works in spades Even films that don t do particularly well in the cinemas go on to make billions in the side lines of toys, videos, various other merchandise products and god knows what else One of the main functions of Disney is not so much to train children in innocence, but rather to train them to be consumers.And Disney is than just a provider of entertainment it also wants to shape the world of its customers so that Disney s world vision becomes their common sense It even has its own town where you give up your freedom to choose various aspects of your own life, so that you can live in the Disney version of ideal small town America As is repeatedly said here, a kind of Norman Rockwell painting brought to life White, middle class, walled and constrained Something else I read recently pointed out that in this most commercial of environments what you don t see is corporate advertising.Disney appropriates many American cultural archetypes, strips them of anything deeper than the most superficial of content and then uses these as the definition of entertainment As such it seeks to define what is American culture and increasingly, universal human culture by reference to what it has appropriated, copyrighted and marketed.Many other cultural organisations seek to effectively educate society into accepting their view of the world as being common sense, but Disney is much upfront about this They have even set up their own schools These schools could hardly be said to practice the kind of critical pedagogy that the author would advocate instead, they seek to encourage people to accept and adjust to change, rather than to have a role in affecting change This is a similar message to just about everything else that Disney does Creativity is something done by very clever people, who you aren t, given you are part of the audience rather than one of the imagineers Your role is to wonder at the marvels of this creativity As the author says, this is a kind of Taylorist entertainment experience standardised, timed to within a microsecond and generally unchallenging and meant as spectacle, rather than something requiring thought The pedagogy of Disney is an important question just what is it that this organisation is seeking to teach As I said before, given that this is just kids entertainment, too often people turn off their critical faculties and go with the flow So, this book presents us a critical analysis of a number of Disney films both children s cartoons and adult movies such as Good Morning, Vietnam The analysis looks at issues of race, class and gender Invariably, the lessons are anything but PC Women are always seeking that highest of all human attainments for their sex a good husband People of colour are stereotyped and are either irrationally violent think Aladdin and anyone with a non North American accent or they are black and just about as deliriously happy that the nice young white couple have gotten together as it is possible to be, Pretty Woman Parents hardly ever exist something noted in How To Read Donald Duck, too and when they do exist they are nearly always stupid Beauty and The Beast or needing to be rebelled against The Little Mermaid Rebellion in Disney is often constrained , and even a rewriting of history In Good Morning Vietnam, for instance, rebellion is defined by the music people like Perhaps your memory of the Vietnam era contained some other forms of rebellion but the marches and the protests have been airbrushed from history And just right, too given we are all now so ashamed at how badly we treated our boys who were off sunning themselves for democracy in foreign climes while tapping their feet to some really great songs.This book seeks to be much even handed about Disney than I have been here It has much praise for a lot of Disney product However, the main point of this book is that while it is fine to switch off your brain while you are watching some Disney film, and even to enjoy the spectacle of it all it really isn t okay to never turn your brain back on again Cultural products create the mental environment we live in, they create our truth and our common sense They give us tools to think with and they give us ways of seeing the world that, if left unchallenged, become our straitjackets This book helps us to learn how to think critically, even when we are presented with just another kids film.

  2. says:

    This book discusses the power that Disney as corporation has to shape and mold society Some areas that are covered are politics, education, militarization, and economics It provides a much needed criticism of Disney Interestingly, this was first published in the late 90s, and the current edition was published in 2010 Disney is currently a much powerful corporation that it was then, so I think it s about time to make a third edition.

  3. says:

    I liked this book, but it is really soul crushing I love Disney movies, Pixar movies, and Disneyland, but this book really ruins a lot of it In a good way, I suppose Giroux examines Disney as a corporation, as a leader of education, and as a cultural force Most of it, unsurprisingly, is negative After all, the Disney corporation is one of the handful that is trying to take over the world It s almost expected that they exercise shady business practices and fascist control To me, the most edifying point was how greedy and unscrupulous these corporations are Even Disney, who began as a family fantasyland movie producer who catered to children, is bloated and evil To be fair, Walt Disney was a product of his times, riding high on the American exceptionalism of WWII, and I don t think that he would be happy with the Disney of today Also to be fair, Giroux acknowledges a lot of the good that Disney tries to do as a cultural force Though the classic movies are all anti feminist, anti parental authority, and pretty racist, the new ones are liberal and moral Pixar definitely carries messages that are worthy of planting in your children Giroux also looks at these aspects of Disney through all different lenses, so the book actually ends up being pretty balanced However, it really turned Disneyland trips into moral dilemmas for me I definitely recommend this book, even if you only use it to analyze other companies in the same fashion It is also useful as an all purpose guide to corporate greed and immorality, and it s imporant to be aware of these things as we make our decisions as consumers today.

  4. says:

    Critical theorist Giroux tackles the Disney conglomerate in considering issues of power and justice As Giroux explains, Disney, a corporation with the intent of seeking profit, has integrated entertainment and education hand in hand Taking this step means that they are responsible for the morality, beliefs, and cultural continuation for American children He calls for a critical examination of Disney s practices in order to understand what the impact of their choices are on America He does not believe that there is an evil master plan from Disney that intends to control and brainwash the American people, but he does point out some questionable practices that seem to lead toward order than democracy I agree with Giroux that schools need to teach students to be multiply literate, and that one avenue toward doing that is an examination of large corporations like Disney I also believe that his assertion about the seamless combination of entertainment and education is happening, and that we need to think about the implications of this in the future However, I look much positively on Disney s influence on American culture than Giroux seems to For example, he points out problems with race and gender in the movies I believe that although these are clearly evident in the older films, Disney is making an effort toward a modern view of both For example, since this book s publication, the movie Brave supplied a female who was in charge of her own destiny, that didn t allow herself to be defined by the male To me, this signals a positive change I also welcome Disney s efforts at the Celebration school and its financial contributions toward quality education there It is true that donations toward one school over the other is not necessarily fair toward those who get left out, but I believe that corporate support for better schools is welcomed It means less of a burden on government, and money to save toward paying back our ridiculous deficit.

  5. says:

    Changed my perspective on the Goliath that is Disney

  6. says:

    I have a great interest in how story telling shapes our culture and sense of self The introduction to this book says Mass produced images fill our daily lives and condition our most intimate perceptions and desires At issue for parents, educators, and others is how culture, especially media culture, has become a substantial, if not the primary, educational force in regulating the meanings, values and tastes that set the norms that offer up and legitimate particular subject positions what it means to claim an identity as a male, female, white, black, citizen, non citizen I have no doubt that this is true The Mouse That Roared throughout its text argues that Disney plays a major role if not the primary role in creating a culture in which citizenship is reduced to consumerism While the author states this many times, I wanted to see some concrete examples of how the fiction that Disney distributes supports this view of society I would be sympathetic to this argument, but the only case that the author made essentially was that Disney is a large, powerful corporation, that its theme park mixes commerce with story telling and that it enforces a squeaky clean image in its businesses How this translates into a cultural message that values consumerism over the public sphere is not sufficiently explained The majority of the book is devoted to making the case that Disney is a dominant cultural force, that its role in educating children is not benign and neutral and that there should be cultural criticism of it This argument is important, but it did not require 3 4 of the book to make it The sections dealing with the actual cultural products of Disney and their content was quite slim It did a decent job making the case that Disney s films promote traditional and limited roles for women Although the book, published in 1999, is a bit outdated It also makes a persuasive case that Disney s santized version of history has the potential to warp our political discourse and de legitimize diverse voices as history from multiple perspectives is erased These cultural critiques of the fiction marketed by Disney come only in the last part of the book I would have liked to have seen them expanded.

  7. says:

    The debate about children s loss of innocence signifies than society s changing attitude toward young people it also points to the rise of a corporate culture that reasserts the primacy of individualism and competitiveness and that calls for young people to surrender their capacity to become citizens in the fullest sense possessed of the widest range of citizen skills and rights for a market based notion of identity, one that suggests relinquishing their roles as critical subjects for the passive role of consuming subjects.

  8. says:

    There is a lot to criticize about Disney, and that was what I was expecting, but this is not the book to do that He spends the first 1 3 repeating the same things over and over again, and uses the word pedagogy or pedagogical on just about every page It got to the point where I was saying I don t think that word means what you think it means He does eventually define it, 124 pages into the book He criticizes Disney for forcing its cast members to smile at work and to weat a uniform and that they have rules about hair, tatoos, make up, etc Welcome to the corporate world Every major corporation I have worked for has had similar rules and Disney Celebration controls what people can do with their homes, welcome to living with an HOA Prof Giroux needs to spend a little less time outside of academia But, as I said, there is a lot to criticize about Disney, which he points out highlights white, middle class, heterosexuality as being the ideal, and how their movies stereotype minorities and set up strict gender roles Unfortunately he only spends about six pages on that He spends time critiquing Good Morning Vietnam, which he needs to spend time watching because he believes it supports the war, and his critiques of it miss the subtetly of the message that it was actually doing because it points out the very issues he wants to say it doesn t This book could have been fantastic, but as it is there are only around 10 20 pages that are worthwhile I wish he would have taken those and built upon it.

  9. says:

    The Mouse that Roared, though now slightly outdated, is still a really interesting and informative read It s easy to forget the seedy behind the scenes of Disney when lost in its magic, this book reminds and teaches readers about how powerful this multinational conglomerate really is Giroux also discusses how influential the ideologies of Disney are on children, leaving me to reflect over negative messages that completely flew over my head when I myself was a young, passive audience member The statistics surrounding Disney mentioned in this book are mind boggling, I can t imagine how much power the company now has, especially in our increasingly tech oriented age.

  10. says:

    Excellent exposition of Disney s not so innocent past, a deeply informative work that highlights the unseen connections between Disney s corporate presence, their troubling history and leadership, and the messages they communicate to children.