I watched Walt Disney: On the Front Lines, a collection of animated shorts/propoganda films done by Walt Disney during WWII yesterday. There are like, five or six posts I could write about the whole thing, but for some reason none of them seem as interesting now that I write them down.
1. The Disney shorts are generically unfunny. I mean, we all think of Walt as this wildly creative, innovative guy, and that everything he touched was golden, but a lot of these shorts weren't very entertaining. I'm sure there's something to be said about the evolution in animation, and how 2D animation can't hold a candle to computer-assisted animation, but a lot of these were still pretty repetitive and didactic.
2. In one of the shorts, they were trying to encourage the purchase of war bonds. A cartoon devil came and tried to convince Donald to spend for himself, keep spending like nothing was happening, while an angel came and encouraged him to scrape, save, and invest in war bonds. The Dubya parallels came to mind, but, as people have stated in the comments, my political posts leave much to be desired.
3. Speaking of Donald Duck, he makes a pretty good traitor. In the shorts, he sends generals to prison, interferes with factory workers, falls asleep while on guard, ruins the food supply, wastes ammunition, tries to con his way out of paying taxes, and dreams he lives in "Nutzi" Germany.
4. You could never have something similar to this today. I mean, Pixar wouldn't touch the IRAQ conflict with a ten-foot pole. Then again, I read somewhere that "The Incredibles" is a Ayn-Randian parable (which ruined the movie for me, by the way), so maybe they'd do something covert about the war, but nothing like throwing pies in Saddam's face or anything.
5. It was odd to see childhood icons doing such blatant propoganda. I mean, it's weird. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are such staples of Americana, and yet there they were, blasting political rhetoric for the masses. Conservatives have been talking about the liberal propoganda in children's shows for years (Bert and Ernie are gay, Tinky-Winky is gay, Sesame Street is pro-Israeli, etc), but this was definite war-praising and Nazi-bashing. I mean, sure, it was a different time and all, but it was still weird.
6. There was a short called "Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi," which proves that the only thing more disturbing than a five-year old boy crying "Sieg Heil" is an animated five-year old boy yelling "Sieg Heil."
7. And, to top it all off, the last animated short came with a Parental Advisory. Apparently, mixing the story of Chicken Little with Nazi propoganda might not be suitible for young children. Who knew?
And there you have it. Seven posts I would have written about the DVD I saw yesterday, except that I didn't want to write that much about them.