Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The Goddess has never really left us. She’s just gone underground for a bit. Every once in a while, to keep her hand in the game, She appears among us -- in disguise. Walt Disney was Her. If you want a peek at the old Goddess world, go see his Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, or Davy Crockett.

Interestingly, a debate has raged about Disney ever since he appeared on the scene in the late 1920s. The stuffed-shirts think he’s hoi polloi, and we hoi polloi think he’s great. Which isn't surprising: it’s always us average Josephines and Joes who are closer to the old Goddess ways. The rich and the stuffed shirts are more likely to travel with the War Gods, since that’s the way a person gets "ahead" in War-God societies.

Anyhoo, if you wanna read more on the topic, go to this 12/17/06 Los Angeles Times article . Some snippets:

“Disney's … values are not traditional conservative American. On the contrary, Disney's films challenged authority, disdained the acquisition of money, abhorred hypocrisy (including religious hypocrisy), promoted tolerance and community and celebrated rebelliousness. (Just see how Davy Crockett challenges Andrew Jackson in the 1950s TV programs, or how Pollyanna scolds her own minister for his intolerance.)

"In his own life, Disney denounced what he called "billboard patriotism," and he looked askance at organized religion….”


Anne Johnson said...

Disney made faeries attractive and kept their essential natures intact -- good ones, bad ones, and the inimitable Tinker Bell.

Morgaine said...

That's the first time I've heard this view of Disney. I've always been kind of turned off by some of the misogyny and racism in it. The proverbial Wicked Step Mothers, the Barbie doll bodies on every princess, the idea that a boy will ride in and make it all better after he liberates her from an evil old woman who probably represents the Goddess...

I'll have to think on this a while.

Athana said...

I hear ya, Morgaine. Disney isn't perfect by a long shot. But in terms of the old fairy tales he recreated, I've gotten used to thinking of Cinderella and the others as return-of-the-Goddess stories, where the evil stepmother represents the War-God church, the stepsisters are the church's 'new' clergy and aristocracy, and the fairy godMother is the Great Mother. Cinderella is the daughter-goddess of the Great Mother, Hella with her regenerative powers reduced to cinders. And the prince is humankind -- always seduced by skin-deep beauty and finery.

In other words, Cinderella has a Barbie-doll figure only because we people are seduced by skin-deep beauty. And actually, if ya think about it, she's saved by the GodMother as much as by the prince.

Athana said...

anne, yes, I think Disney almost certainly had to be an underground pagan.

Pignut said...

I seem to remember something about Walt Disney suppressing a satirical cartoon about a bullying wolf with a toothbrush moustache, because he didn't want to offend anybody, even Hitler. I've also heard rumours that he was a Nazi sympathiser. I think this could be Chinese whispers, can anyone confirm or deny this.

I find that pop culture is far better at tapping into mythical themes than high brow art. I think this was what Robert Graves, was hinting at when he talked about "Poets and Gleemen". Generally mythical themes in pop culture have quite a patriarchal flavour (Star Wars, Batman)

Athana said...

Pignut, here's something I found re: Disney and the Nazis:

"Some of the greatest comedians of the past century had great success making a mockery of Nazi Germany. Consider Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator," nominated for five Academy Awards, Walt Disney's Academy-Award winning Donald Duck cartoon "Der Fuehrer's Face," and Mel Brooks' screen-to-stage-to-screen hit "The Producers." [from thedartmouth.com, America's oldest college newsletter, founded 1799]