Disney’s risible new content warning is the latest woke step on the slippery slope to entertainment armageddon
Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
If you are anything like me, you’ll have been losing copious amounts of sleep worrying that the content warning for racism that Disney runs before some of its classic animated films, like ‘Lady and the Tramp’, ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Dumbo’, ‘The Jungle Book’, and ‘The Aristocats’, wasn’t long-winded enough.
Well, thanks to the geniuses at everybody’s favorite frozen ant-Semite’s entertainment mega-corporation, we can all rest easy, because it has attached a new disclaimer to these allegedly offensive films.
The old content warning was first posted last November and stated: “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
Disney’s updated content warning is the polar opposite of the gloriously concise and resolutely mundane original. The new disclaimer reads,
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of peoples or cultures. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.
Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”Also on rt.com The only thing dumber than the #HandsOffAnastasia Twitter uproar is the truly dreadful movie that sparked it
I can’t remember who it was, but some jerk once wrote, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Well, if brevity is the soul of anything, then the Winston Smith wannabe who wrote this atrocious piece of human resources porn is as soulless as they are spineless and brainless.
What makes the verbosity of this woke monstrosity all the more hysterical is that the kids who might be trying to watch Disney’s talking animal cartoons may not be able to read it at all – and if they can, they sure as hell won’t understand it.
The other thing of note about this disclaimer is that it is absolutely unnecessary, as there was no huge groundswell to update the old content warning by making it more wordy and less coherent.
What Disney is actually doing with this new content warning is shamelessly signaling its corporate virtue and trying to appease the woke beast rampaging relentlessly and maniacally across our culture. This beast has an insatiable appetite for outrage, and when none appears organically, the woke manufacture some to feed it.
Like an annoying software update, Disney’s latest content warning will no doubt soon need yet another rethink. The slippery slope of political correctness will force Disney to expand its definition of ‘offensive’ material and bloat the category of films needing these self-serving content warnings.
Recent history has taught us that the road to woke perdition is never-ending. No gesture or change will ever be enough for the PC mob. This results in content warnings needing perpetual updates to acknowledge sins of commission, then sins of omission – such as “we are sorry that ‘Dumbo’ is not centered on characters of color or from the LGBTQ community” – then the sin of too many cis-gendered white characters, or too many white voice actors, and on and on and on, until finally the woke noose tightens enough to suffocate all of entertainment history.
For example, ‘Song of the South’ (1946) is a controversial Disney classic that depicts a black character, Uncle Remus, as content with life in the cotton fields. ‘Song of the South’ currently has no content warning or disclaimer – and that’s because Disney has flat-out banned it. It isn’t on video, DVD or streaming. It is lost down the memory hole, which is where the woke slippery slope inevitably leads.Also on rt.com A woke new world: Who deemed the ‘outdated attitudes’ on display in 2019’s ‘Aladdin’ movie unacceptable in 2020?
The problem for Disney is that through the lens of wokeness, all things appear ‘problematic’, and this means Mickey Mouse may very well have to sacrifice his cash cow core film canon on the altar of political correctness to appease the woke beast. This will be “get woke, go broke” on steroids.
You may think this far-fetched, but if you doubt the woke slope is that slippery, consider the recent chilling example of the word ‘preference’.
In last week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Amy Coney Barrett mentioned the term “sexual preference.” In response, Senator Mazie Hirono excoriated her for that term, claiming it was “offensive” to the LGBTQ community.
That morning, ‘sexual preference’ was an entirely acceptable phrase. By lunchtime it was deemed ‘homophobic’, and by sundown it was so verboten that Merriam-Webster had literally changed its definition to describe it as “offensive.”
As the speed of history increases, so will the woke over-reaction to it. It starts with content warnings on cartoons and ‘Gone with the Wind’, but how much of the entertainment we enjoy today will tomorrow receive a content warning and by the end of the week get the ‘Song of the South’ memory hole treatment? ‘The Simpsons’, ‘South Park’ and ‘Family Guy’ are no doubt already on the endangered species list.
Our civilization used to rely on outrage fatigue to cool the embers of irrational and emotionally driven furies, but among the woke, outrage ossification has set in like intellectual rigor mortis. It is those of us in opposition to the vacuity of political correctness that now suffer from fatigue, and as Patton once said, “fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
My warning of discontent is this: the woke beast slouching towards Bethlehem, via Hollywood, Washington and corporate America, is relentless, consistent, deliberate and insatiable, and in our battle against it we need to screw our courage to the sticking place, because failure is too culturally catastrophic to contemplate.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.