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How are children—and their parents—affected by the world's most influential corporation? Henry A. Giroux explores the surprisingly diverse ways in which Disney, while hiding behind a cloak of innocence and entertainment, strives to dominate global media and shape the desires, needs, and futures of today's children.
How are children--and their parents--affected by the world's most influential corporation? Giroux explores the surprisingly diverse ways in which Disney strives to dominate global media and shape the desires, needs, and futures of today's children.
"This essay collection gathers recent scholarship on representations of diversity in Disney and Disney/Pixar films, exploring not only race and gender, but also newer areas of study. Covering a wide array of films this compendium highlights the social impact of the entertainment giant and reveals its cultural significance in shaping our global citizenry"--Provided by publisher.
In his latest iconoclastic work, Douglas Brode—the only academic author/scholar who dares to defend Disney entertainment—argues that "Uncle Walt's" output of films, television shows, theme parks, and spin-off items promoted diversity decades before such a concept gained popular currency in the 1990s. Fully understood, It's a Small World—one of the most popular attractions at the Disney theme parks—encapsulates Disney's prophetic vision of an appealingly varied world, each race respecting the uniqueness of all the others while simultaneously celebrating a common human core. In this pioneering volume, Brode makes a compelling case that Disney's consistently positive presentation of "difference"—whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, or spirituality—provided the key paradigm for an eventual emergence of multiculturalism in our society. Using examples from dozens of films and TV programs, Brode demonstrates that Disney entertainment has consistently portrayed Native Americans, African Americans, women, gays, individual acceptance of one's sexual orientation, and alternatives to Judeo-Christian religious values in a highly positive light. Assuming a contrarian stance, Brode refutes the overwhelming body of "serious" criticism that dismisses Disney entertainment as racist and sexist. Instead, he reveals through close textual analysis how Disney introduced audiences to such politically correct principles as mainstream feminism. In so doing, Brode challenges the popular perception of Disney fare as a bland diet of programming that people around the world either uncritically deem acceptable for their children or angrily revile as reactionary pabulum for the masses. Providing a long overdue and thoroughly detailed alternative, Brode makes a highly convincing argument that with an unwavering commitment to racial diversity and sexual difference, coupled with a vast global popularity, Disney entertainment enabled those successive generations of impressionable youth who experienced it to create today's aura of multiculturalism and our politically correct value system.
Linking Margaret Mead to the Mickey Mouse Club and behaviorism to Bambi, Nicholas Sammond traces a path back to the early-twentieth-century sources of “the normal American child.” He locates the origins of this hypothetical child in the interplay between developmental science and popular media. In the process, he shows that the relationship between the media and the child has long been much more symbiotic than arguments that the child is irrevocably shaped by the media it consumes would lead one to believe. Focusing on the products of the Walt Disney company, Sammond demonstrates that without a vision of a normal American child and the belief that movies and television either helped or hindered its development, Disney might never have found its market niche as the paragon of family entertainment. At the same time, without media producers such as Disney, representations of the ideal child would not have circulated as freely in American popular culture. In vivid detail, Sammond describes how the latest thinking about human development was translated into the practice of child-rearing and how magazines and parenting manuals characterized the child as the crucible of an ideal American culture. He chronicles how Walt Disney Productions’ greatest creation—the image of Walt Disney himself—was made to embody evolving ideas of what was best for the child and for society. Bringing popular child-rearing manuals, periodicals, advertisements, and mainstream sociological texts together with the films, tv programs, ancillary products, and public relations materials of Walt Disney Productions, Babes in Tomorrowland reveals a child that was as much the necessary precursor of popular media as the victim of its excesses.
Offers progressive readers new and reinvigorated paths of engaged hope, imagination and public involvement.
Kids around the world love Disney animated films, and many of their parents trust the Disney corporation to provide wholesome, moral entertainment for their children. Yet frequent protests and even boycotts of Disney products and practices reveal a widespread unease with the sometimes mixed and inconsistent moral values espoused in Disney films as the company attempts to appeal to the largest possible audience. In this book, Annalee R. Ward uses a variety of analytical tools based in rhetorical criticism to examine the moral messages taught in five recent Disney animated films—The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan. Taking the films on their own terms, she uncovers the many mixed messages they purvey: for example, females can be leaders—but male leadership ought to be the norm; stereotyping is wrong—but black means evil; historical truth is valued—but only tell what one can sell, etc. Adding these messages together, Ward raises important questions about the moral ambiguity of Disney's overall worldview and demonstrates the need for parents to be discerning in letting their children learn moral values and life lessons from Disney films.

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