To the editor:
I know there are Disney haters in the world, probably because Disney has become a mega-corporation with profit at its bottom line. But I’d rather that critics admit this openly rather than attacking the art with twisted interpretations such as the one B.A. Nilsson appended to the otherwise balanced review of The Lion King [Theater, March 10].
Point one: Disney’s promotion of “the male-dominated society in which strong women were an emasculating enemy.” I suppose Nilsson is referring to all the wicked stepmothers and evil queens in the classic fairy tales. Is he not aware that these tales predated Disney by hundreds of years? It would be more appropriate to blame the Brothers Grimm for collecting them.
Point two: “. . . intellectual as enemy.” OK, Scar clearly considers himself an intellectual. He speaks in big words and claims to have inherited the “lion’s share of brains.” He manages to convince a traumatized child that he, the child, is responsible for his beloved father’s death, but beyond that, what evidence do we have of “intellect?” He has no respect for the ecology and makes a Superfund site of the kingdom. Scar is a megalomaniac, not an intellectual.
Point three: the “antebellum plantation” thing. . . . You’ve got to be kidding! Under Mufasa’s rule, the lionesses hunted for themselves. Under the rule of Nilsson’s Intellectual, they are forced to hunt for the Intellectual’s Gestapo-like enforcers—the hyenas. They do not “think and fend for themselves.” Free speech is curtailed; citizens are forbidden to speak Mufasa’s name or sing songs not pleasing to the Intellectual. Political opponents (Zazu) are imprisoned.
Point four: “Keep in line, is the Disney lesson. Don’t question your masters.” Doesn’t Simba lead the abused workers in revolution against the exploitive leadership of Scar? Please explain how this illustrates “keeping in line.”