If you were born in the early to mid-eighties, you may remember the rumors about subliminal messages in Disney movies, such as Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. This blog post on the subject explains some of them.
Back in the early 90s, we had a coterie of conspiracy theorists who saw a phallus in every blade of grass and animated feature film. I guess it is a man’s world. I’m just glad they had the wisdom and foresight to decry the Harry Potter books and Dark Materials trilogy.
There’s nothing like a good book banning to help one firm up a new reading list, and nothing like some tasty fundamentalist Christian accusationsâ€”e.g., J.K. Rowling spreading witchcraft and Phillip Pullman pushing atheism at childrenâ€”to remind one to relish every controversial word.
I remember watching The Lion King frame by frame trying to find S-E-X in a cloud of leaves. IÂ rewound Aladdin again and again to confirm whether he did, in fact, say, â€œGood children take off their clothes.â€
I can’t remember what I hoped to accomplish by confirming or discrediting the rumors. What was the big deal? Aladdin might simply have been an advocate for good hygiene. Disrobing is, after all, as necessary for bathing as for lovemaking, and even if some disgruntled illustrator or soundtrack engineer did succeed in slipping in a few frames of nudity or some lewd message, it’s not like bare breasts would have caused a pandemic of orgies and STDs.
On the contrary, silence on the subject of sex is what stigmatizes, leaving pubescent children receptive to false information and vulnerable to emotionally, physically, and spiritually destructive experiments. That, or they spend their adult lives feeling that sex is somehow bad. Guilt taints their natural, God-given desires, and they miss out on a delightful, challenging, disappointing, and hilarious gift. Sex is quite good, really.
But pious busybodies will always be in need of boogeymen or a good scandal to justify their roles as cultural watchdogs and to divert their attention from their real responsibilities, such as caring for the poor and hungry:
â€œI’m sorry that I didn’t have time to stop by, Mrs. Simpson. I know you’re still grieving the loss of your husband and need some company, but I was on the phone with Disney all day complaining about an indecent sippy cup. I know you understand.â€
My friend Allison took this picture. I’m don’t know if a sippy cup can fuel months of lobbying, sign waving, and product recalls, but perhaps this failure in good taste and design will spark such rabid public outcry that thousands of malnourished children will be forgotten.
Apparently, the beast finally vowed, â€œEnough is enough!â€ Dancing dinnerware and sassy candlesticks? Can’t a man-beast have some peace and quiet in his own home? He harpooned Belle through the belly button. She’s not going to be bouncing back from that flesh wound. It’s always sad to hear about the murder of a cartoon icon.
Named â€œBuzz Lightyear Funtime Tumbler,â€ the Buzz version is downright shameful, earning the â€œInappropriate Toy of the Dayâ€ award on this British news site.
â€œUnfortunate straw placementâ€ is an understatement, but I prefer it to the term â€œcrotch straw.â€ I wish Buzz and Woody still meant two resourceful pals saving toy world. I hope that the toy designer got canned and that the dimwits at quality control got no severance. Where are the bold men and women on the marketing committee who will stand up and say, â€œI don’t care if you think I’m a pervert for noticing, but those sippy cups belong in a novelty shop, not a nursery school.â€
If you’d like to commemorate your fight for the right, you can buy the Belle sippy cup here for $8.50, and the Buzz Lightyear Funtime Tumbler for the low, low price of $6.99. If you act now, you may be able to get it in time for Christmas, though I’d recommend tithing or supporting one of these excellent non-profits instead: International Justice Mission, Save the Children, Heifer International, or Kiva.
When the old heavens and earth pass away and a new heavens and new earth take their place, I’m afraid that people, not sippy cups and sickly moral imperatives, will put on incorruptible flesh.
Don’t blame me.