Category Archives: disney

Welcome to the Pride Lands

This month is National Pride Month.  For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a month set aside like others have been to make an effort to recognize the work and contributions of an underrepresented group.  The history that many of us have learned is full of white, heterosexual  men who apparently did absolutely anything that ever mattered.  There has been a push to rectify this perception and bring other facets of our history into the forefront.  Pride Month focuses on the lives of LGBTQIA+ people whose stories need to be told.  It joins the ranks of African American History Month, National Women’s History Month, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and National Hispanic Heritage Month.  And just like all those other months, members of the majority culture are whining.  This complaint is nothing new to marginalized communities, but it seems the push back against the LGBTQIA+ community is particularly strident and Disney is no stranger to that vitriol.

Cast back your mind a little over 20 years ago.  The big news of June was that the Southern Baptist Convention (following the lead of the American Family Association and Focus on the Family), the legislative group of the largest Protestant denomination in the US announced a boycott of all things Disney.  Movies, parks, merchandise, television (including ABC) — it was all off limits to good Southern Baptists.  Why you may ask?  There was concern that Disney was releasing inappropriate films, like ‘Pulp Fiction’ under their newer subsidiary companies.  I can almost understand this except that these films weren’t marketed as Disney films or as family friendly.  In fact until I started researching the history of the boycott I didn’t know two things: First, ‘Pulp Fiction’ was under the Disney umbrella and second, there was an actual complaint about content of programming.  The main focus of the complaint was about the Disney Corporation’s treatment of homosexuals.

I would love to be able to say that Disney was boycotted by a church because the church objected to unfair treatment of its employees who were LGBTQIA+, that the church objected because people were being excluded from parks based on their sexuality, that the church wanted Disney to be more truthful in its storytelling by including characters who were not straight.  Sadly, the church objected for all the opposite reasons.  The SBC demanded that Disney stop providing benefits for same gendered partners, stop allowing “Gay Days” to take place in their parks, and to pull ‘Ellen’ from their line up.  They were deeply offended by these exceedingly small nods to inclusion and called for a boycott until Disney changed its ways.  They were very vocal and pretty much everyone at the time knew what happened.  It was a big deal.  Until it wasn’t.

Eight years later with much less volume, the boycott was ended.  Why, you ask?  Did Disney change its ways?  Did they end “Gay Days”?  Did they withdraw benefits from their employees?  Did they cancel “Ellen”?  Well, yes to the last one but I’m fairly certain that had to do with poor ratings.  As to the rest, no, not at all.  “Gay Days” not only continues, but is listed as an official event on the WDW web site.  The Walt Disney Company is consistently listed as one of the best companies for LGBTQIA+ people to work for.  When same sex marriage was made legal, they lit up the castle with rainbow lights to celebrate.  They did not in any way accede to the boycott demands. So why then did the SBC end their boycott?  If you read their press, they state that it was always intended to be a limited time boycott and it reached its end.  If you read other people’s take on it, the answer is much simpler.  They lost.  They wielded the full power of their membership and made no difference at all.  Instead of continuing in a pointless endeavor they moved on.

I suppose as a ‘good Christian’ this should bother me, but I’m afraid it doesn’t.  I find that I do not find joy in a church that seeks to make groups of people less then themselves. I do not support a church that makes rules based on exclusion (at best) or hate (at worst).  So I rooted to Disney in all this and was glad that they held firm to their values.

As my denomination continues to walk down this path with inclusion on one side and exclusion on the other, I hope that I might have that courage to hold firm to what I believe in spite of threats, schism, and hate.  I hope that my LGBTQIA+ sisters and brothers might have reason to be as proud of me as I am of them for standing up for full inclusion.  Finally I hope that I will fully trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that calls for us to love the outsider, reach out to those who are belittled, and welcome those who have been excluded.



Baby Mine

I had what is politely termed a “non-traditional” upbringing.  What that means in real terms is that my family didn’t look like anyone else’s.  I grew up in a time when families looked different than they do now.  Mom (who often stayed home), Dad (who went to work), and multiple siblings.  That was the norm that I was surrounded by but did not have myself.  My parents were divorced.  I didn’t meet my dad until I was eleven.  I was an only child.  And for the space of about three years I lived with my grandparents.  I tell you this just as some background.  I was never overly distressed by being different.  I was at every point in my childhood deeply loved and well aware of that love.  I tell you this so you have a little background when I tell you about my first bout with depression and what would now be considered a minor mental breakdown.

My mother worked nights and was at work when I got home from school.  She didn’t finish her shift until midnight and would get home until one am.  She needed her job, but couldn’t, obviously, leave a four year old home by herself until the wee small hours.  So, I moved in with my grandparents until she could be reassigned to the the day shift.  During the school years, she would come get me first thing on Saturday morning and bring me back on Sunday night. When school was out for summer she would come get me as soon as she got up and then drop me back at my granpdarents’ house on the way to work.  The plan for this solution to be temporary.  It took longer than she expected.

I had been living with my grandparents for two & a half years when things got bad.  I would weep uncontrollably.  Nothing would help, not my favorite foods, television shows, or toys.  I wanted my mother and all I wanted was my mother.  I would cry myself to sleep at night.  I didn’t want to play with my friends because they had what I didn’t.  My grandparents adored me and showered my with love, but it didn’t matter.  I wanted my mother.  They took me to the family doctor to find out what was wrong with me.  Bless him, he told them quite simply that I had told them what was wrong with me.  I needed my mother and if they family wanted to find a way to make me better they needed to find a way to meet that need.  That’s when Wednesday night dinners started.

My mother took an long break on Wednesdays for dinner and we would meet her at a restaurant close to her job.  I got to see my mom for at least a little while during the week and it helped.  I only had to go two full days at a time without seeing her and I got better.  They got to know us well at that little place.  We were regulars for a long time at that little hole in the wall Italian place which is probably why Italian food is comfort food to me even today.

The summer before I entered third grade my mom was offered a choice.  She could take an even worse shift or be laid off.  She chose to be laid off and moved me back home.  The story has a happy ending because she was rehired working days and I stayed home from then until I moved to college.  There were some other adventures but they are not relevant here.  I was home.

Why am I telling you all this today?  That should be obvious.  Over 2300 children have been taken from their parents on our border.  Not for their own well being but as a punishment.  They are not being left with loving family members as I was, they are being incarcerated in ‘long term shelters’.  They don’t get to see their parents every few days or even every weekend, they have no idea when or if they will ever see their families again.  I can only think that if I, loved and supported as I was, could fall into depression what more damage are we doing to these children?  And will they ever recover?

There are a couple of Disney movies that I don’t watch.  Ever.  Dumbo is one of them.  The scene with Dumbo being ripped away from his mother followed by her attempt to comfort him in spite of their separation just presses all my buttons.  In spite of that, the song “Baby Mine” has been stuck on a loop in my head for days.

“Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine”

These children are mine.  They are yours.  They belong to all of us and they are weeping.  They need us to be strong.  They need us to try to mitigate the damage that is being done to them.  They need us to help them get back to their parents.  It is the right thing to do.  Not sure in spite of all evidence that calls us to fix this?  Here’s what Jesus has to say.  It is not ambiguous,

Mark 9: 36-37

Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Luke 18:15-17
And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Matthew 18:10
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

What is being done in our name is wrong and it’s time for it to end.

Advice by Disney (interpretation by me)

It is the time of year where graduates are matriculating across our nation and are being given advice for the rest of their lives.  Speakers ranging from teachers to business leaders to entertainers to politicians are giving young people inspiring (and less than inspiring) talks about the meaning of life. Since, once again, no one has bothered to invite me to speak (which I am sure is simply an oversight), I am offering my advice to you here.  Enjoy!

It is no great secret that I am partial to the works of Walt Disney and the company that he formed. He has become a cultural icon, not only in the US, but around the world.  He created an enduring legacy of joy and entertainment that has survived him by almost 50 years and shows no sign of slowing any time soon.  His character, Mickey Mouse, was created 90 years ago and is considered one of the world’s most recognizable characters.  He won 21 Academy Awards in his lifetime, won one after his death, and the company he created continues to collect them on almost a yearly basis. Not bad for a guy from a small town in Missouri.

How did Disney achieve his success?  Many attribute it to his attitude.  This is a man whose first animation company went bankrupt.  A man whose second animation company lost its signature character and all but one of its employees to another studio.  A man who didn’t even name his most popular character himself (his wife, Lillian, named Mickey Mouse).  With this much failure behind him, it would have been understandable if he had given up.  And yet, he did not.  Instead he laid the foundations of what could be the most enduring entertainment empires of modern times.

What advice did he have for people who asked him about his success?  Here are a few quotes that speak to how he got where he did.


“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

hook hand thug

Walt Disney loved animation.  He believed it to be a revolutionary medium for entertainment and storytelling.  He had a vision to transform not only how animation was executed, but how it was viewed in popular culture.

Find your dream.  Envision it clearly.  Let it inspire you.  Without first dreaming of what could be you will be stuck in what already is.

“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

ralph hero

It is a fact of life that you will sometimes fail.  It is unavoidable.  It is also a fact that if you do not try you will not fail.  However you will also not succeed.  Pursuing dreams is a big, scary, and dangerous thing to do.  You risk a lot when you choose to follow your dream.  It takes courage to face the possibility of failure and to keep going even after multiple setbacks.  Remember, Disney lost not one, but two companies before founding the one we know today.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Image result for be a man mulan

No matter how inspired and well crafted your dreams may be, they do you no good unless you actually start working on the them.  You do not have to do everything at once to be a success.  Start small.  Take steps.  Go in stages.  The most important thing is to start.  Nothing is ever achieved by talking about it.  Whatever you dream of doing, you will never achieve it if you don’t start trying.  Put pen to paper.  Write.  Find an entry level job. Get training and education. Start walking or running.  Whatever your goal might be from writing the next great novel to becoming a corporate billionaire to finishing a triathlon you have to start somewhere.  It doesn’t matter where you start.  Just start.

“You can design, and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world.  But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”


You don’t have to do it alone.  There will be other people who have the same passion that you do.  They will help you, support you, and be with you on your journey.  Their dream may not be the same as yours, but you can still work together to make all of your dreams a reality.  It takes a shocking number of people to make an animated feature with today’s technologies, but even in so called ‘simpler’ times when Disney started his work, he was never on his own.  His brother, Roy; Ub Iwerks; and his wife, Lillian all helped him create what we now today.  It isn’t weakness to need help.  It is wisdom.  Working with the strengths and talents of others will only help you in the long run.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”


It is extremely satisfying to succeed where people have told you you will fail.  In part, because we like to be right and prove all our naysayers wrong.  It is gratifying to know that you were on the right path all along no matter what anyone else said to the contrary.  The more lasting satisfaction, however, comes from the fact that when you do something that people have called impossible, you effectively change the world.  When the impossible becomes possible nothing is ever the same again.  There is a new reality, new rules, and (of course) new challenges that go with the new world you have created.  Doing the impossible creates new opportunities for what is possible and new goals that you can strive for.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity leads us down new paths.” 


Never rest on what you’ve already done.  Whether you have succeeded in achieving all your goals or have failed in spectacular fashion, go on to whatever is next.  Don’t worry too much about the things that didn’t go right.  As I said at the beginning, failure is inevitable.  Pick yourself up.  Reorient yourself.  Adjust your goals and keep moving forward.  The same is true when you do well.  Never consider yourself done.  Accept your success.  Rejoice in it, but don’t let it define you.  Look for the next goal, the next challenge, the next dream.  Being stuck in past successes is just as stagnating as being stuck in failure.  If you aren’t moving forward you’re standing still at best or going backwards at worst.  The world doesn’t stand still and neither should we.

Graduates of 2018 (and anyone else reading along), your life will be full of both failures and successes.  Allow them to inspire you to fulfill your dreams.  You may never have the same kind of long term influence that Walt Disney did, but who really does?  What you will have is a life lived in service to your dreams.  A life that is not perfect, but fulfilling.  A life that leads you to the achievement of your goals however big or small they may be.  Ultimately, that is all any of us can dream of.



Infinity Predictions Outcome

Today I will look at the guesses I made about “Infinity War” a couple of weeks ago and see how I did.  This blog will contain SPOILERS!  Lots and lots of SPOILERS!  If you haven’t seen the movie this is not the blog for you.

********************************** SPOILERS! **********************************

So I actually didn’t do very well with my predictions which surprised me a little.  I am fairly well versed in the Marvel Universe and thought I would do better.  Oh well.

My first prediction was spot on.  Loki did, in fact, steal the Tesseract.  It was the cause of the attack on the Asgardian refugee ship.  I did not anticipate the fact that the attack would lead to Loki’s death and the genocide of the Asgardian race.  Still, I’m calling that a correct prediction.

My second prediction was completely off.  Adam Warlock was nowhere to be seen in the movie.  The Soul Stone had nothing to do with him, the Sovereign, or anything even remotely mentioned in Guardians of the Galaxy.  In fact, if it had not been watched over by the Red Skull, it would have had no connection to any previous MCU movie.  I can’t imagine a way I could have gotten this more wrong.

Finally, my third prediction was partially right.  I was right that Vision would die, but the circumstances I guessed at were wrong.  Rather than the battle for the Mind Stone starting the battle on Earth, it ended it.  Vision’s death was the climactic moment that lead into the death of half of the people in the universe.  I’m calling that prediction a tie.  Correct in result, but completely wrong in implementation.  My high school math teacher would have given me half credit for that so I am too.

Something I didn’t predict officially, but took as a given was that the Avengers would win.  They would defeat or delay Thanos in his objectives.  This would provide the impetus for the second Infinity War movie that would lead to his ultimate defeat.  In that I was so very wrong.  The good guys lost!  I didn’t even know that was possible in a Marvel movie.  Not only did the bad guy win, he remade the entire universe killing half of the population in the bargain.  I’m not quite sure what to do with this.  I know that there is another Infinity War movie.  I know that there are other movies starring characters who are ‘dead’ that have been announced.  But for the life of me, I have no idea how everyone is going to come back.  Or, if I’m honest, IF they are all going to come back.  Since movies have been announced for Black Panther, Spiderman, and Doctor Strange, and the Guardians, we can assume that the three title characters and at least a couple of the Guardians will be back.  But I am skeptical that everyone will return and I actually have a couple good reasons for that.

First,  I think that anyone who died outside the Infinity Gauntlet event is gone.  While there might be some way to mitigate or undo Thanos’ big event, the people who died in the lead up to it are probably gone. Which leaves Loki, the Asgardians, Gamora, and Vision beyond the possibility of help.

Second, it is much easier to destroy than it is to create.  Thanos can think, “Get rid of half of the being in the universe” and it will happen.  Undoing that will require someone knowing who all was undone and recreating them.  Imagine having to recreate a document with only half of it to work from.  While we might be able to get most of it right, it would never be exactly the same.  The only person who might be able to do that is Dr. Strange and he is sadly in need of restoration.  No other character has the necessary scope to rebuild a universe.  So while the casualties may be lower after the second movie, not everyone is going to make it.

So there you have it, my terrible prediction record for the first Infinity War and my fairly depressing first predictions for the next.  It’s a good thing that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” looks like a comedy because we all surely need it.


Infinity Interlude

If, like me, you are anxiously waiting for the next movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; you may have been contemplating what the deal is with these infinity stones.  Since the upcoming film is subtitled, “Infinity War” we can assume that they will have a significant role.  So today, I’m going to do a short primer on what we know about the stones, where the stones are known to be, and what we might be able to guess about what’s coming.


According to he brief history given in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, Each infinity stone has the power to shape a planet for good or ill.  Individual stones cannot be controlled for long and their power will consume the user.  According to “Dark World”, gathering more than one stone in one place is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.  In spite of this Thanos has not only determined to acquire them all, but has a special glove (officially a gauntlet) designed to hold them.  While this was best conjecture after the last several movies, this theory has been fairly well confirmed by the previews for “Infinity War”.  We also can be fairly certain Thanos’ motivations are not benign.  Not surprising for a character whose name literally means ‘death’.


Space Stone (Tesseract) — This stone has probably gotten the most screen time.  It was introduced in the first Captain America movie where its power was being used to make weapons for the Nazis.  It was also the prime force in the first Avengers movie where it was used to open the gate to bring in an invading army.  At the end of that movie it was taken to Asgard where it remains (theoretically) locked in Odin’s treasure vault.  More on that later

Reality Stone (Aether) — This stone was the prime force in the second Thor movie.  It took up residence in Jane Foster and was removed by Maleketh in order to end all of existence.  After Maleketh’s defeat it was also taken to Asgard, but then relocated for safety and put into the protection of The Collector.

Power Stone — The first stone to be identified as an infinity stone in the MCU when it appeared, it was found by Peter Quill in the first Guardians movie.  Hi-jinks ensued and ultimately it was given to the Nova Corps who locked it away.

Mind Stone — This stone was sneaky.  It was hidden in Loki’s scepter and appeared as such in the first Avengers movie as well as the second Captain America movie.  It is finally revealed as an infinity stone in the second Avengers movie and is embedded into The Vision where it remains presumably giving life and sentience to the android.

Time Stone (Eye of Agamotto) — This stone has also been in stealth mode.  It is concealed in a magical artifact held by the Masters of the Mystic Arts in Kamar-Taj.  If you are not paying close attention to the end of “Doctor Strange”, you might miss its revelation as an infinity stone.  It is still under magical protection.

Soul Stone — MIA.  This is the only one of the stones that has not yet made an appearance in the MCU.


So there are some things that I have guessed.  They may or may not be correct.  Take them with a grain of salt.

First, as Loki was hurrying through Odin’s Vault at the end of “Ragnarok’ he saw the Tesseract.  While not shown on screen, there is no way he did not grab it and put it into whatever passes for pockets in Asgard.  He has the first stone and I’m fairly certain that’s what prompts the encounter with the very large spaceship at the end of the film.

Second, the being (Adam) created by the Sovereign at the end of the Guardians Vol 2 is in some way connected to the Soul Stone.  Either it was used to create him or, like The Vision, it is a part of his essential being.  The character, Adam Warlock, has a history with the Infinity Stones in the comic books and this seems like a natural leap.

Third, The Vision is going to die.  It has been made clear that not all the characters are going to survive the Infinity War.  The Vision literally has the mind stone in his head.  It is not protected by armies, magical wards, or whatever weirdness exists in Knowhere.  It is in the open and relatively unprotected.  My theory is that Thanos will head to earth for that one after picking Loki’s pocket.  I do not see The Vision surviving this.

So, there you have it.  A quick guide to what has been and a couple of guesses as to what might be.  I promise to return to this after the movie is released and let you know how I did with my predictions.

“Black Panther” Take 3 — The inevitable backlash

It should come as no surprise that a movie like “Black Panther” has its detractors as well as its fans.  There are some people who really just didn’t enjoy the movie, which is fair I suppose.  I didn’t particularly like either Hulk movie.  We all have our own tastes, right?  Sadly, this is not so simple.

I discovered an interesting thing working on this series.  I went to Imdb to make sure I was spelling names correctly and found a whole slew of negative reviews at the top of the review section.  All of them were 1 star reviews and all of them were dated a month after the movie premiered.  Interestingly they had a few other key points in common they were written by men and they all somehow incorporated the word “hype”.  One might almost think that it was a coordinated effort by a certain group of people to intentionally drive down the review score. But, wait… it was!  There was a organized group of white men who felt threatened by the fact that something with black people in it might be considered not only good, but excellent and they took to the internet to tear it down on multiple platforms.

The criticisms are fairly transparent.  For those who ‘wanted to bother’ with a review longer than ‘not worth the hype’, the complaints included: too much action & not enough action; too much focus on the one white character & not enough focus on the one white character; unrealistic technology (seriously? Thor flies around by swinging a magic hammer) & too third world dominant.  I could go on about these and many more random criticisms, but I am only going to focus on one.

One criticism that popped up repeatedly is that Marvel/Disney only made “Black Panther” to satisfy some push from the liberal left.  Liberals, apparently, are only pacified when there are people of color included in movie narrative and must be appeased at all costs.  Leaving aside the whole question of why inclusion is viewed as a bad thing (*cough* racism *cough*) I would like to talk about actual comic books.

I bought my first Avengers comic book somewhere in or around 1978.  Black Panther was an Avenger.  He was more of an Avenger to me than Hulk, Hawkeye, or Black Widow.  In fact until the Marvel movies starting coming out I had no idea that Hulk or Black Widow had ever been an Avengers.  I had never even heard of Hawkeye.  My Avengers included Vision, the Scarlet Witch (my very favorite), Beast, Yellowjacket (what’s an Ant-Man) & Wasp, Wonder Man (still waiting), and of course Black Panther.  Thor, Iron Man, & Captain America were around but not full time Avengers.  Anyone saying that T’Challa was simply included in the modern line up as some kind of affirmative action is revealing their own ignorance.  He was a core member of the team, MY team, and I have been waiting for him for 10 years.  For me there is no Avengers that doesn’t include him.  I was not pacified by his inclusion because he is black, I was pacified because he is necessary to tell the whole story of the Avengers.  It is just an added bonus that his story is culturally rich and adds to the diversity of the whole.

I am a middle aged, white woman and I am a fan of “Black Panther”, not just because it’s a great movie, not just because it is inclusive, not just because it put African culture into a prominent place in film.  I am a fan of “Black Panther” because he is an Avenger and he has been an Avenger for me as long as I have been a fan.  Anyone who implies anything different has motive not related to the Marvel Universe and their motivations are not that subtle.




“Black Panther”, Take 2: What we learned

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the buzz around “Black Panther”.  It broke all kinds of box office records, got huge critic approval and fans love it.  It has also refined what a hero can look like. I have seen it twice and it is a wonderful movie.  Engaging, fun, and enjoyable.  What follows contains spoilers, so if you are waiting to watch it until the film is released for home viewing, stop reading now.

Obviously, the movie is notable in that practically the entire cast is black.  And contrary to popular movie making wisdom, white people flocked to the movie in droves.  We were seemingly unconcerned the the hero, villain, and entire supporting cast didn’t look like us.  For me, the worst thing about seeing “Black Panther” as a white woman was that I feel that it is not my place to randomly shout “Wakanda Forever” and give the Wakanda salute.  Because, honestly, it is SO COOL!

Another trope that was ‘wrong’ for an action movie the villain, Killmonger, was multi-layered and complex.  His motivations were good even though his execution was wrong.  I actually kind of liked him until he started killing people.  His view of the world is not wrong.  He doesn’t want to burn down the world, he wants to right wrongs and rectify injustice.  The best description of him I have read said he is “not the villain in T’Challa’s story.  He is the hero of his own story.”  The secondary antagonist, M’Baku, was also layered.  His primary concern was not the usurping of power, but the protection of his own people.  Plus he was hysterical.

The next stereotype to fall was the role of women.  It is usual for there to be one woman who is ‘part of the team’ and perhaps another to fill another a typical woman’s role (damsel, love interest, mother, wise woman, etc.)  “Black Panther” had many women.  The hero was literally surrounded by powerful women who were treated with respect, listened to, and were in positions of leadership.  They were warriors, diplomats, scientists, and spies.  There wasn’t a distressed damsel in sight.  In fact the women did the rescuing.  Interestingly, in spite of the strong and diverse cast of women, “Black Panther” barely passes the Bechdel test.  For those who don’t know or don’t remember, the Bechdel test asks simply that there me at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a male character.  A shocking number of films do not meet this standard and “Black Panther” was almost one of them.  The many amazing women in the film talked almost exclusively about the men in the film when they talked to each other.  It is one low spot is what would otherwise a film that shines as a beacon for underrepresented demographics.

For me, I hope that Hollywood learns the lessons of “Black Panther” and is brave enough to trust that good movies will succeed no matter what color the cast might be.