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by Ken Pellman (archives)
May 25, 2004
Ken catches up on recent Disney news and shares a very< important announcement.

A Very Special Kenversations

Wow, I sure have been quiet lately.  I haven’t written a column since early April, and I had been writing two a month.  I apologize to my fan (yes, “fan? singular…surely there can’t be more than one of you).  It’s not like I had an excuse like “Hey, I was moving to Celebration, Florida?, or “I was getting ready for the Prom?, or “I was working on my Socialism Studies final?.  No, for me it was simply a matter of being busy and a little of being under the weather.

One of the things that has been keeping me busy I’ll talk about in the second half of this column. First, I wanted to throw in my three cents on what has been happening in the world of Disney and entertainment in recent weeks.

Goodness, there is so much to talk about.

Michael Eisner - still CEO of The Walt Disney Company.  ABC is the fourth-rated network. Go figure.

Animation - I still haven’t seen “Brother Bear? or “Home on the Range?.  You might find this shocking, but I guess I should come out of the closet and let you know that I still haven’t even watched “Finding Nemo?.  Outrageous, I know. I still have the DVD in shrink-wrap.  What a pathetic disgrace I am.  Please be tolerant and do not send me hate mail.  I throw myself on your mercy.

Fahrenheit 9/11 – More Moore. He’s a genius in France, where new airports fall apart. When the government prevents you from freely speaking your mind, that’s censorship. When a company will not use its recourses to spread your message, that’s called free enterprise and discernment. The Company clearly felt the bad public relations would clearly outweigh any possible profits. Corporations are evil when they don’t do what you want them to do, yet you still want to use their resources. Maybe corporations aren’t necessarily evil.

Miramax Out? – Speaking of Fahrenheit 9/11, the Weinsteins have expressed dissatisfaction with The Walt Disney Company, or at least corporate management. Miramax has given the Company “Oscar cred?, some artistically successful films, and some box office hits. However, perhaps it is time to cut the company loose and move away from “edgier? (titillating, disturbing) content in general. The Walt Disney Studios used to be kind of the “anti-Hollywood? and that worked in distinguishing the name from every other studio in town. Those of us who live in New York or L.A. often lose the perspective and the tastes of most of America. It is no coincidence that Walt and Roy Disney were “farm boys?.

Mel Gibson In? – There had been some talk briefly that Mel Gibson, of all people, was headed to the Mouse. Now, I know there are plenty of people who think Gibson’s father is a nutcase and therefore Mel must be too, and were angry with Mel for having the audacity to portray a Jesus Christ compatible with the Christian scriptures and the horrors of scourging and crucifixion. However, moviemaking is a business, and the fact is that “The Passion of the Christ? has made about $600 million worldwide, and only cost $30 million to produce. “The Last Temptation of Christ? brought in less than $9 million. Gibson had the guts and vision to see a project through that so many people told him would be a failure because he believed it was worthwhile. Hmmmm, that reminds of someone who was crazy enough to make a full-length animated feature and misguided enough to build a new kind of park in Anaheim.

There’s a huge audience of people out there hungry for entertainment that inspires and uplifts – entertainment that makes them think and affirms their values. They are tired of entertainment that Insults and degrades them, and they are willing to pay for high-quality alternatives. It may confound much of the media, much of academia, and even many in the clergy, but there are plenty of people in this country and around the world who eat this stuff up, and many of them aren’t backward, ignorant, or unintelligent.

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