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September 1996, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Matt McAllister <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 08:37:21 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi Everyone,
First, I just want to thank everyone who suggested works for Ad-Program
Criticism.  I hope I can return the favor someday!
Second, about the Lion King.  At my campus, Virginia Tech, racism and the
Lion King was somewhat controversial for awhile.  A former colleague of
mine wrote a newspaper column about her take on the problematic messages
about race in the Disney film.  She experienced some fairly severe
backlash, including veiled personal threats!  I know for awhile she was
working on a edited book about the issue, but my guess is that the project
is on hold.
For me, one of the most disturbing elements of the film is its celebration
of segregation.  Here's my reading of this: at the beginning of the film,
the "dark" forces (literally coded as black and grey: the hyenas) live in a
run-down, dark (poverty striken?) area of the jungle (the ghetto?).  When
they invade the land of the "Golden" forces (the Lion Kindom), the Golden
Kingdom goes to hell: the place becomes "dark," run down, impoverished.  In
other words, "there goes the neighborhood."  Only when Simba evicts the
dark forces (physically, natch), does the place prosper again.
Of course, this is what was triggered in my head, and still very much begs
David Desser's question of, "But are kids affected by this possible
meaning?"  I don't know.
Take care, everyone.
Matt McAllister
Department of Communication Studies, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA  24061-0311  ph: 540-231-9830  fax: 540-231-9817
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
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