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Disney x Barney’s: Minnie Dreams of Heroin Chic?

16 Nov

My friend @TheJoezer completely nailed it this morning: The Disney x Barneys video released this week is “Minnie dreams of heroin chic.”

 

Skinny Minnie creeps me out a bit, but I don’t think she’s the real issue. From this week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral:

I’m not convinced that Minnie’s temporary transformation into an emaciated 5’11″ dress size zero fashion model is in and of itself particularly threatening to the well-being of young girls. What troubles me more is a related point raised by the “Leave Minnie Alone” petition: The problem is “with a dress that only looks good on a woman who is 5’11 and a size zero.” And we’re really not talking about just one dress here, people; we’re talking about an industry.

Jentasmic! on Lucasfilm Acquisition: Do’s and Don’ts for Disney

2 Nov
Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia

At Star Wars Weekends 2008

When news broke earlier this week about Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, all my geeky internet feeds simultaneously exploded with joy and surprise. And I don’t just mean the Disney geeks. The anime geeks, the gaming geeks, the sci-fi geeks . . . everybody was freaking out. And almost everybody seemed overjoyed.

But I’m feeling a good bit more cautious about this acquisition. Sure, it could mean good things; I’ve enjoyed the results of Disney’s collaboration with Lucasfilm over the years. I’m a big fan of Star Tours 2.0, and had a great time at Star Wars Weekends. But I also fear there are many ways this could go wrong. From my Jentasmic! column today at StudiosCentral:

DO learn from your experience in the Pixar merger. The response to Brave from both critics and fans, plus the increasing reliance on sequels, has me a little worried that Pixar may be losing its identity as some of its key players have taken on significant roles in other areas of the Walt Disney Company. And I’m sure there’s plenty to be learned from the Marvel experience as well. Don’t be afraid to look squarely at your mistakes and learn from them. It’s equally important to look carefully at what you’ve done right, so you can do it again.

Head on over to StudiosCentral to read the rest. I promise you there’s a non-gratuitous mention of the Star Wars Holiday Special, which isn’t usually all that easy to pull off.

Banksy Billboard: Drunken, Lecherous Mickey and Minnie

18 Feb

Banksy Billboard on LA Times

My friend Geoff just tipped me off to this billboard, as seen on the LA Times web site. Some are speculating it’s a Banksy, in support of the Oscar nomination of Exit Through the Gift Shop.

And there are more, too:

There’s the one in Westwood that’s been dubbed “CrayolaShooter,” on the back of an Urban Outfitters in the UCLA neighborhood. Then there’s one known as “The Charlie BrownFirestarter,” spotted on Sunset Boulevard, that features theCharles M. Schulz-created character with a cigarette in his mouth and a can of gasoline in his hand. Soon after the “Firestarter” went up on the side of a fire-damaged building, someone cut it off the side of the structure.

Not surprisingly, no comment from Disney.

A Short Early History of Pluto

13 Feb

Yesterday, my fourteen-year old boy turns to me and asks, “Mom, why is Mickey’s dog named after the Roman god of the underworld?” So, let’s review the early days, with a little help from the Disney Archives and Cartoon Shorts Club:

We see Pluto for the first time in the 1930 short, The Chain Gang. He doesn’t have a name, though. And he looks so little like the Pluto we know today, I’m just gonna have to take Disney’s word for it that this is the same character. Plus, he seems to have been twins. (And hey, there’s a short section right around 7:00 that reminds me of Trolly Troubles with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.)

Watching The Chain Gang this morning made me wish even more that we could see old-school hard-times Mickey Mouse facing today’s economic troubles.

When we see him next in The Picnic, also released in 1930, his name is Rover. Plus, he’s Minnie’s dog, not Mickey’s, as my friend Eliyanna points out in an early episode of Those Darn Cats, A Room of Minnie’s Own.

When The Moose Hunt is released, the pup is now named Pluto, and belongs to Mickey.


The Disney Archives are silent on the reason for the name change. Wikipedia reports what is also widely speculated elsewhere:

Although it has been claimed that the Disney studio named the dog after the planet (rather than after the mythical god of the underworld), this has not been verified. Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen has said: “We thought the name [Rover] was too common, so we had to look for something else. [...] We changed it to Pluto the Pup, [...] but I don’t honestly remember why.”[9]

And, in turn, this then-newly-discovered (and now recently-demoted) planet had been named by an eleven-year-old girl in the UK. According to Wikipedia:

The name Pluto was proposed by Venetia Burney (1918–2009), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England.[27]Venetia was interested in classical mythology as well as astronomy, and considered the name, that of the Roman god of the underworld, appropriate for such a presumably dark and cold world.

So there you have it, kid. The best I can tell you is that Mickey’s dog is named after the Roman god of the underworld? Because Venetia and Ben said so. But Eliyanna, I still don’t know why Mickey stole Minnie’s dog.

 

Max Pepeschi: Icons Gone Awry

16 Sep

Max Papeschi‘s work is disturbing and amusing, and some of it is even less for the squeamish than what you see above. Via Daily Obsessional, from which I essentially stole this headline.

Mickey and Minnie JAL Airplanes

24 Jul

I love these custom-painted JAL planes, seen recently on Dark Roasted Blend. There’s a whole bunch more on that page too, including a couple more Mickey but also fun Pokemon, Simpsons, and various other branding.

Snow Sculptures at Sapporo Snow Festival

8 Feb

Oooh, pretty pretty! Check out the rest of the sculptures at Pink Tentacle.

Many thanks and a tip o’ the hat to my dear spouse for sending me the link.

Minnie’s Country Home, and Feminism 101

10 Sep

Meeting Minnie, en route to her Left Coast Country Home

Just yesterday, I stumbled across a fabulous new blog: Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, which features a feminism FAQ. Why is this so fabulous? Well, before this site, I wasn’t aware of any resource where I could send people for those Frequently Asked Questions about feminism, and any tech support folks out there (or computer geeks who end up doing tech support for their loved ones and random cocktail party strangers) know how useful it is to be able to point people to some basic information and assumptions, so that conversations and debate don’t have to be derailed by going back to review first principles. And also, how tiring it is to re-tread the same basic ground over and over again.

Or, to quote from their “Why was I sent to this blog?” page:

AKA: I asked some feminists a question, and instead of answering they sent me here. Why?

Your question probably covered ground they have gone over many times before, and they didn’t want to derail the interesting discussion they were already having. [1]

  • People find questions that do not further the current discussion frustrating. Questioners find being ignored at least as frustrating, and such mutual dissatisfaction can totally disrupt a discussion. By sending you here the feminists hope to avoid such disruption, yet are also not completely ignoring your question(s). [2]
  • Maybe you didn’t ask a question at all, but asserted/argued a point that denied the factuality/importance of the topic being discussed. Nobody cheers at the thought of trying to run another through reams of introductory material before that person gains the grounding to argue a topic knowledgeably.

Either way, educating you on the basics would derail the discussion about the actual topic the feminists are interested in, just for you. That’s an awful lot to ask of people on the net who don’t even know you, isn’t it?

This blog exists to give you a few pointers to places you can find more information to answer your question (although we’re only in early days yet, FAQs will continue to be added until the basics are covered). Once you are better informed you will be able to contribute to lively feminist discussions productively, armed with facts and theory, even if/when you don’t end up agreeing with feminist opinions.

A casual breakfast with my girlfriend Minnie, at the Watercress Café Character Breakfast

A casual breakfast with my girlfriend Minnie, at the Watercress Café Character Breakfast

So, why am I peppering this post with pictures of our dearly loved rodent girl? Well y’know, I just happened across the Feminism 101 blog at just the right time! Because this week’s Those Darn Cats podcast (MP3, show notes) once again delves into political analysis of a well-loved Disney Parks tradition, Minnie’s Country House. And while I know that many of our listeners are already quite well-versed in answers to questions like “I’ve got nothing against equal rights for women, but we’ve got that, so isn’t feminism nowadays just going too far” and “But men and women are born different! Isn’t that obvious?” and “Does feminism matter?“, I figure an additional resource for these answers is never a bad thing, and might even be useful for those folks who are new to the conversation, including those who are not feminists but would like to better understand the basic philosophy and ideology.

And hey, if any of y’all reading this have podcasts of your own, or interweb radio shows or any other such project (perhaps Disneyphile, perhaps not)? My BFF and partner-in-crime Lisa cooked up a short MP3 promo for us, grooving on a Laverne and Shirley vibe. You can hear it at the end of TDC#17 (MP3, show notes), and I’m happy to email you the promo as a separate MP3 file.

Why Does Minnie Have Less Storage Than Mickey?

21 Aug

No, I don’t have a coy little punchline about closet space. It’s just that an interesting marketing/design choice has been brought to my attention by the FairerScience blog:

Do you know about the A-DATA Disney mini COB (chip on board) flash memory Disk? No well, let me tell you about them. There are two– first there is the Minnie Mouse who is pink, holds 1 gig and sells for $9.99. Then of course there is Mickey Mouse who is, yup blue, stores 2 gigs and sells for $14.99.

What’s up with these design choices? Do the marketers think that girls (or their parents) wouldn’t pay the extra $5 for the extra gig of storage? Does Minnie’s excessive cuteness and wardrobe requirements leave less room for additional bytes?

I’m a feminist, a Disney freak, and a person who chews up disk space with a vengence. So, I don’t know whether I want to write a cranky letter, buy one of each, or do both.

Early Minnie and Mickey at Disneyland

1 Feb
Just one of many of amazing pictures from Stuff from the Park, which I discovered courtesy of John Frost of The Disney Blog.
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