L. Neil Smith's

Number 10, July 1996

Have It Their Way

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         There's a war going on out there, being waged on TV and radio, in movies and popular music, in novels and plays, and for all I know, on bubblegum wrappers.
         This morning I heard that Disney will reduce the number of movies they make. Their recent output isn't doing well, and they may cut production in half. It must have hurt Michael Eisner to read the story in the New York Times where it originated, knowing how religionists boycotting him will be heartened by it. They don't like the way he's courting homosexuals -- special gay and lesbian days in the theme parks -- or odd images in his animated films, images like ... you wouldn't believe me if I said, and the fact that it appears to be true doesn't make it any less ridiculous.
         I'm not happy with Eisner myself -- nothing to do with naughty pictures or gays -- he can't be happy extracting every dime possible from my six-year-old, who loves Mickey and Minnie with all her heart and wants them embroidered on everything she wears. No, he wants to turn her into what P.J. O'Rourke calls a "bedwetting liberal", demonstrating that the only thing more repulsive than Hillary Clinton's nanny state is a corporation with a political agenda.
         No doubt you think I judge Michael harshly. I was particularly put off by the unmistakable bias of Beauty and the Beast against the productive class, favoring parasitic aristocrats and their intellectual bodyguard. It doesn't make sense -- what else is new? -- but the left loves royalty. Heroine Belle has nothing but contempt for working people around her, and longs to escape to the city where she can plot in a cellar with others of her ilk over a candle guttering in an empty wine bottle.
         The film hates Gaston, whose unforgivably Randian crime is competence. It loves the Beast, cursed not just for rejecting a panhandler, but for doing it rudely. His servants are transformed into houseware -- clocks, teapots, candlesticks -- I thought upper-class Brits were cruel, referring to their housekeepers as "Mrs. Thing". Leave real cruelty -- and class consciousness -- to the American left. Beast's wish (with which we're supposed to identify) is to find some sappy female whose unselfish adoration will free him to return to a life of idyllic uselessness.
         Gag me with a silver spoon.
         Then there's Pocahontas, in which that heinous entity the White European Male absorbs musical lessons in living from savages (whose principal delight was torturing prisoners, and whose life expectancy was 20 years), animals, and inanimate objects, all of which know more about the universe than he, his developing science, and milennia of Western Civilization can ever hope to know. What fool said history is written by the winners? Little wonder my reflexive thought on hearing that Eisner planned to animate The Hunchback of Notre Dame was, "How's he gonna politicize that?"
         Disney didn't always lean toward the greenies. Although I'm not certain about the book it was based on, I'm sure that Bambi, the cartoon that turned two generations of gullible idiots away from 2,000,000 years of hunting) was an accident. I recall photos of conservative Republican Walt Disney in the 50s shooting antelope in Wyoming, though you can safely bet that such pictures have long since vanished down the Memory Hole.
         Black conservative radio host Ken Hamblin has pointed out how Song of the South -- Joel Chandler Harris's B'rer Rabbit stories -- is suppressed by the very outfit that created it, sucked into the political singularity that swallowed Amos 'n' Andy and Little Black Sambo. You can get the video in Europe or Japan (whose sophisticates are allowed such choices) but not in the land of the Fee and the home of the Knave.
         Likewise, the live-action story of the Boston Tea Party and the Sons of Liberty isn't in any store I know of; I haven't seen Ben and Me for a while; it's impossible to find Patrick McGoohan's The Scarecrow, about the Navigation Acts that sparked our revolution, a film celebrating free trade, tax evasion, and smuggling.
         Finally I remember (because it was my favorite part) the way Disney's TV program cheered Von Braun's space program and sang the praises of nuclear power. You may recall a cute bit with mousetraps and ping-pong balls.
         Make no mistake, there's a war going on out there, being waged on TV and radio, in movies and popular music, in novels and plays, and for all I know, on bubblegum wrappers. Or hamburger wrappers, now that Disney's joined another corporate nanny -- McDonald's -- that isn't content to empty our pockets on a regular basis, but feels compelled to tell us how to live. Their side admits to no concept of decency or fair play. It sneers at the truth as a bourgeois fetish. It uses people the way people use Kleenex; if kids are intellectually defenseless, that just makes them easier to use.
         I have neighbors (scientists who should know better) who were stunned when their daughter returned from her first semester at a private -- conservative -- college, lecturing them about how they use their car and how Mother Earth must be saved. It's nice to know this sort of predation has a cost, that my neighbors will hesitate to send their daughter back to that brain-laundry, that folks get tired of tasteless, politically correct food and return to tasty greaseburgers, and that moviegoers are tiring of propaganda that would make Walt spit on Michael.
         If -- like Casper -- Eisner wants to reestablish his corporate existence, I have a suggestion, though I hesitate to offer it without charging the six-figure consulting fee that may be the only reason people like him ever listen. It's one I've offered -- free, I never learn -- to networks fading into limbo for the same reasons he now finds himself somewhat attenuated.
         I'd never urge false neutrality on you, Mikey. Forget the agenda, turn your coat all the way, make old Walt in his cryogenic tube proud. Try telling the frigging truth for a change! About economics, science, the Constitution, anything, regardless of what critics say (we take their recommendations in reverse, anyway) or whether it's politically correct. How about animating Aaron Zelman's comic book to tell the truth about the Second Amendment and how people like you have stifled it?
         How about it, Mikey?

The unexpurgated edition of L. Neil Smith's celebrated first novel, The Probability Broach, will be released by TOR Books this October.

Publishable "Letters to the Editors" should be emailed to the Managing Editor under the subject header "Letter to the Editors".

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