Disney is fffffffinished, y'all. No more stranglehold on American magic.
Pt 3: the cults of capitalism
We continue our series about cults by beginning to deconstruct the cults of capitalism. They have co-opted magic as a marketing slogan and destroyed its meaning.
We are taking this bish back, baby.
I’ll begin by way of a question: which fairy tales shaped you as a kid? How many of them were a creation of the Disney corporation? I’m sure many of you had experiences of wonder and joy from their creations. My father took me to Fantasia and it imprinted me deeply. Perhaps you have a beloved movie, character, or theme park experience.
I’m not here to ruin your memory of your childhood. There’s no point in that.
However, now that we are grown we can look at things with more nuance. This essay doesn’t say “Disney is evil and magic is dumb or pointless.” It says, “we can do even better. Real magic is real.”
In the field of sociology, the term "Disneyfication" describes the commercial transformation of things (e.g. entertainment) or environments into something simplified, controlled, and 'safe'—reminiscent of the Walt Disney brand (such as its media, parks, etc.).
The term broadly describes the process of stripping a real place or thing of its original character and representing it in a sanitized format where references to anything negative or inconvenient are removed, and the facts are simplified with the intent of rendering the subject more pleasant and easily grasped.
Based on rapid Western-style globalization and consumerist lifestyles, the term Disneyfication is mostly used derogatorily to imply the social and cultural homogenization of things. In other words, according to The Disneyization of Society, "to Disneyfy means to translate or transform an object into something superficial and even simplistic.
Don’t you just love that they put ‘safe’ in scare quotes? How perfect is that irony? We’re here to unpack that today in this essay.
Einstein on the real magic of fairy tales
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”
A lot has changed since Einstein was born. Disney did not exist until Einstein was into his 50s. The fairy tales he quite rightly assigns such power were of an entirely different character than what we know today. Skipping forward to the current state of culture, one of the great analysts of our present age, Beyonce, says “America Has a Problem.”
By way of explaining though, we’re going to have to start in a different context: food.
One of America’s problems is that foods that used to be medicine now contain only sugar. Coca-Cola began as a concoction sold in pharmacies. It contained real herbal medicines – the bitter leaves of coca and the even more bitter kola nut, both of which are natural stimulants.
They put the lie in big letters and billions still swallow it.
Coke contains no medicine now, as far as we know. Please note that the exact ingredients are kept secret. The governments of Earth have decreed that we do not get the pleasure of consenting to what we are putting in our bodies with full knowledge.
One more food example, just because I want to hammer the depth of this point home – All the way back to Rome, marshmallows were to be made of the sticky sap of a plant named marshmallow that’s an effective treatment for sore throats. Corporations such as Heinz “improved” them by removing their namesake medicinal plant for reasons of cutting costs.
A spoonful of sugar made the medicine go down once upon a time, but now there’s no more bitterness and therefore no more medicine.
We’ll hopefully soon unpack the cult of big pharma which has the most excellent business model of selling pills that never cure and must be taken every day for the rest of your life. They bleed out your pocketbook like leeches of olden days.
I bet you know at least some of this history, but the Catholic Church literally killed the herbal witches aka priestesses who had the real medicine. Real medicine is what the client wanted but also what they needed. Bitterness is inherent in many medicinal substances which have the power to effect a cure instead of just providing a numbing soporific to addict the client/victim. Their cookbooks were used as trial documents in the Inquisition to prove their guilt. These can still be found now that the Vatican has opened the Secret Archives to a lucky few.
The same thing that happened to food happened our fairy tales. Medicinal messages such as those from Grimm and indigenous oral history were appropriated and stripped by another over-weening parent corporation, Disney, who became a multi-billion dollar concern by selling sugar stories to parents and children.
We’re now a few generations into their candy-coated poison apple stories that say namely this:
The prince always saves the princess.
This regurgitated hero’s journey has no more nourishment left in it. Ultra-high-processed fairy tales have rotted our collective unconsciousness like too many sweets rot teeth. We can no longer eat the meat of a real story that acknowledges our fear of the dark and monsters under the bed.
We have far too many adults who are still afraid of the literal dark and the darkness of their shadows within.
The youngest generation who are teenagers now has largely had enough. They’d rather watch unpolished realness on TikTok where trans kids, black kids, and all kinds of faces from all sorts of places tell their real stories.
Isn’t that such a relief? It does give this writer reason to be cheerful and hopeful.
Our continual reminder is this: you do not need to be saved.
The Christian doctrine of original sin underlies Disney’s themes. There is no need for a hero if the princess does not need to be saved. Disney does not know how to tell the story that comes after the hero’s journey in our evolving collective consciousness. Maybe they will figure it out, but I’m not holding my breath.
In truth, women and girls aren’t weak, lost, or stolen. There is nothing to save her from. She need not even save herself, because she is not broken, damaged, or in any way in need of repair.
This does not erase the millions of people who are in desperate conditions. Those are never the people Disney tells stories about anyway. If you have a story about them or you are them, by all means, please tell it.
Moving forward, only real medicine and real stories will do if we are to survive the sixth extinction.
I make the bold claim Disney is finished so that those of us who have powerful stories in our bones SO THAT we gather the courage to put our boots on and go toe to toe with them. We can become peaceful warriors with our stories and songs so that we release the sugar water stranglehold over American culture. It is not an inevitability that medicinal-grade fairy tales will return to our cultural information space, but we can create this future timeline if we so choose and show up to do the work.
Come hang with us at the AI Art Salon as we make this reality. With the suite of tools released just in the last months, I have a mini-Pixar studio in my living room now and I mean business.
Also, our free Relational Alchemy event is tomorrow at this hour. We gather every other Thursday and practice a way of speaking from the deeper layers of awareness.
The last session was FIRE. Just about everyone there had an epiphany. I sang a song and teared up with joy. It was great.