[Media property name] isn’t your friend.
We need anti trust laws for culture. I take a dump on Disney, Marvel and Star Wars. Roll your own culture.
(Yes the podcast cover is my teenage bedroom)
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[Media property name] isn’t your friend
So … I’m not picking on Disney, specifically but I do have some personal precedent as my aesthetics modules at uni back in the early 00’s were all about copyright, creativity, folk tales and that damn mouse. I’m also picking on Disney because it is easy.
Media Property Name Isn’t Your Friend
Disney owns: Fox Family and Fox Animation, Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Fox 2000 Pictures; FX Productions, Star India; Fox’s interests in Hulu, and Endemol.
They also own entirely or partially: ESPN, Touchstone Pictures, Marvel, Lucasfilm, The History Channel, Lifetime, Pixar, Hollywood Records, and Vice Media (16% stake). So that also means all of marvel comics and its 80 year history but also starwars. One of the most important cultural phenomenons of the late 20th C – but we’ll get to that shortly.
Disney also, controls most of our folk heritage. Or at least its own weirdly warped, scrubbed up and sanitized versions. Spoiler alert our cultural heritage has been propagandised.
The real stories are that, The little mermaid has her tongue cut out in exchange for her body and commits suicide at the end, The ugly sisters mutalite and cut off their toes to try and fit the slipper, Rapunzel gets knocked up by the princes tower visitations. And the evil queen requested that the huntsmen deliver Snow White’s lungs and liver to her to eat.
I saw a twitter comment the other day that perhaps this sanitization is for the best. But i think that’s bollocks.. People love Disney because its safe, but we know that as a cultural entity its stereotypes affect and are damaging for child development. The stories themselves have been made quote unquote “safe”. But the truth is its never been about the dangerous monster in the story is. It’s always about how the stories themselves are the monsters. All narrative is dangerous and the sanitation of these deeply resonant folk tales mean people miss the wood for the trees.
But what are we to do when our cultural heritage is owned by a corporation?
Media property name isn’t your friend.
I’m sure you are already aware of my dislike of the marvel universe, it boggles my mind that people think its the height of modern cultural expression. I mean if gently warmed over archetypes taken from the pages of children’s comics and marketed to adults is your thing then go for it. Plus there’s all the other entitled fan nonsense that goes on elsewhere on the internet. Also throw in the entitled insanity of peoples reaction to the end of Game of Throne.
If the series ever got made I’m pretty sure they’re the same people who would get mad that Gilgamesh discovers the futility of his efforts, and his lost chance of immortality in Movie number 12.
Deep engagement with mythos should give people agency within those realms. But when our entire cultures narrative is privatised – what can people do apart from fold it into the culture war? We should really start to think about antitrust laws for culture.
I haven’t talked about it online before, and I’m sure it will make a bunch of people mad at what I’m going to say – but I really don’t like any of the new star wars movies made since Disney bought the property. My position on this was reached before a single minute of footage was shot and a single entitled controversy about the plot or new characters had happened online.
I tapped out the day they announced they were going to blow up the cannon.
That day it turned out that Star Wars the media property wasn’t the friend I thought it was.
I am a massive Star Wars nerd. From the moment I found out about it as a kid.
I own crazy amounts of toys, bits of memorabilia and other useless junk that at 33 it’s a little embarrassing but I still kinda love it all. I’m a child of the 1980’s media engines designed to sell us crap that’s going to litter the plant for 100’s of thousands of years.
The thing that ground me out the most was that I trusted Star Wars as a brand.
I have read literally hundreds of star wars books. I was reading them from about the age of 11 onwards. The thrawn trilogy, I jedi, the x wing series, all that later nonsense with the you zong vong. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of time I’ve invested in the star wars universe, let alone the amount of money I spent. It was all the more or less cannon and hung together. A vast universe of extended story hung around 6 movies from the mind of a single creator.
Then Disney bought the franchise and blew it all up.
I’d been suckered.
It was all a waste of time, energy and money. That a corporation can blow up a huge fictional universe in order to sell a new one to other people was gualling. I thought it would all be there forever and suddenly it wasn’t. I’d been betrayed by a corporation and I decided never again.
The only solution is to roll your own culture, it’s hard.
But finding the others is more necessary now than ever,
don’t get mad about other people’s stories.
Tell your own.