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Tinker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out-Sean P. Griffin

  • Title: Tinker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out
  • Author: Sean P. Griffin
  • Released: 2000-02-01
  • Language:
  • Pages: 292
  • ISBN: 0814731228
  • ISBN13: 978-0814731222
  • ASIN: 0814731228

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From Publishers Weekly Move over, Tinky Winky! In this sprightly analysis of classic and contemporary Disney fare, queer theorist Griffin breaks new ground in media and cultural studies while outdoing right-wing politicians and fundamentalists who see homosexuality everywhere. Griffin's lavender-tinged view of the extravagant drag-queen theatrics of Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians, Gaston's supermacho posturing in Beauty and the Beast and the camp sensibility he detects thoughout Aladdin may raise eyebrows, but Griffin is careful in building his argument that Disney images have been enormously influenced by gay culture and in showing how gay culture has, in turn, claimed and appropriated those images. Drawing on extensive research on the Walt Disney Corporation, Griffin shows how the Disney name became culturally synonymous with "family values" in the 1930s and '40s, and elucidates the development of a new, more adult, image and market under Michael Eisner in the 1980s. He is the first to reveal in detail the role of gay people--including artists and writers--at the corporation, and the formation of LEAGUE, a professional group for Disney's lesbian and gay employees. Although his postmodern critical methods narrow the readership for this book, Griffin, who teaches film and media at Florida Atlantic University, is adept at using them to delineate the influence of gay culture on mainstream American culture. His analysis of gay culture's affinity for fairy tales (such as the writings of Hans Christian Andersen and The Wizard of Oz) and that culture's subversive critique of traditional gender roles, in particular, are excellent. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews paper 0-8147-3123-6 Disney emerges as half evil stepmother, half fairy godmother in Griffin's analysis of the corporation's relationship to its homosexual customers and employees. Griffin (Film and Media/UC Santa Cruz) begins with the metamorphosis of Mickey Mouse himself, noting the rodent's bawdy beginnings and subsequent apotheosis as the mythic mouse of the American dream. Tacking between Disney's increasingly homogenized depictions of animal sexuality (including the bowdlerization of Clarabel Cow's udder) and spicy studio scandals (such as an animator who tricked female co-workers into undressing), Griffin uncovers the subtexts and secrets of the Disney studio, that allowed queer figures to establish a homosexual discourse within Walt's idyllic hetero-family world. From Mickey Mouse to Maleficent, from Cruella de Vil to Captain Hook, queer touches imbue the realm of Disney with a smattering of possibilities for the homosexual audience to appropriate as its own. Turning from Walts paternalism to Michael Eisners corporate-style leadership, Griffin addresses Disney's nascent concern for its gay employees and the depiction of homosexuality in its recent films, both animated and live action. Tales of homophobia and discrimination, including child star Tommy Kirk's dismissal for being gay, are set against significant advances for queer employees (e.g., the founding of Disney's Lesbian and Gay United Employees) and customers (gay days in the Magic Kingdom). For all this raw material, however, not much magic develops: Any intelligent filmgoer can decode the queer subtext of Disneyana without a reader's guide, and Disney's corporate history (save for the odd scandal) reveals itself to be mostly as dull as any other company history. Queer Disneyphiliacs will delight in Griffin's sturdy analysis and ample anecdotes, but readers lacking a passion for all things Disney will find little of interest. (20 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. pdf
 
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