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Omodaka Hidden Mickey

25 Mar

Well, maybe not really a hidden Mickey, maybe more of a decorative Mickey. But I was amused to see the little guy pop up in the background of this video by Omodaka, an avant garde electronic artist I saw this week at US Japan Nite, an event I’d highly recommend to any fan of eclectic, mostly punk new music.

Mickey seemed to get a visible reaction from the hipsters standing next to me in the club. He is after all the leader of the club that’s made for you and me.

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.

Fatwa Issued Against Mickey Mouse

20 Sep

From Israel Today:

A prominent Saudi Islamic cleric has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against Mickey Mouse, whom he characterized as an agent of Satan sent to corrupt young minds.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Munajid told Saudi Arabia’s Al-Majd Television that his beef with Mickey is that he is a mouse, a creature that Islam sees as “repulsive and corrupting.”

Al-Munajid explained that Islamic law refers to the mouse as “little corrupter” and a creature that is “steered by Satan,” and grants permission to all Muslims to “kill [mice] in all cases.”

To quote my friend Geoff, who pointed me at this story through his RSS shared feed, “Wow.”

The Defamer gives us a bit more context:

The fatwa has since proven deeply divisive to Palestineans, who only last year were treated by Hamas to a powerful “Martyred Mickey” episode of the popular children’s show Pioneers of Tomorrow — a crisis of allegorical politics that now stands to shatter the rodent relations so painstakingly advanced over the years. We pray for a swift, peaceful accord; it would be a shame to see Sarah Palin’s foreign-policy skills wasted on such a trifle somewhere down the line.

My head hurts. And yes, my Pal Mickey put on his Ramones shirt, also guaranteed to corrupt young minds.

And hey, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you not to point your kids at the “Martyred Mickey” summary, right?

Mickey Mouse: Teaching Tool for Evolution

25 Aug brings us a story from the New York Times (which requires login) of a Florida teacher using images of Mickey Mouse to teach evolution:

A former Navy flight instructor not used to pulling his punches, Campbell fought hard for passage of the new standards. But with his students last spring, he found himself treading carefully as he tried to bridge an ideological divide that stretches well beyond his classroom. He started with Mickey Mouse.

On the projector, Campbell placed slides of the cartoon icon: one at his skinny genesis in 1928, one from his 1940 turn as the impish “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and one of the rounded, ingratiating charmer of Mouse Club fame.

“How,” he asked his students, “has Mickey changed?”

Natives of Disney World’s home state, they waved their hands and called out answers.

“His tail gets shorter,” Bryce volunteered.

“Bigger eyes!” someone else shouted.

“He looks happier,” one girl observed. “And cuter.”

Campbell smiled. “Mickey evolved,” he said. “And Mickey gets cuter because Walt Disney makes more money that way. That is ‘selection.’ ”

Later, he would get to the touchier part, about how the minute changes in organisms that drive biological change arise spontaneously, without direction. And how a struggle for existence among naturally varying individuals has helped to generate every species, living and extinct, on the planet.

What a wonderful companion piece this is to the news that vintage images of our dear little rodent may in fact be public domain! Leaving aside of course the stormy politics over teaching evolution, and of Florida’s decision that it must be taught, I’m sure there are plenty of teachers out there who could develop innovative curriculum using Mickey’s familiar and appealing image, and perhaps even distribute that curriculum under a Creative Commons license.

There are good reasons for intellectual property to make its way into the public domain. And it is, of course, ironic that the Mickey Mouse Protection Act may not in fact have covered vintage Mickey at all.

(Hat tip: BoingBoing.)

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.

Dystopian Art by Yanobe Kenji: Mickey the Knight

4 Aug

Mr. Broke Hoedown sent me this Pink Tentacle post:

Mickey the Knight, a sculptural work by visionary neo-pop artist Yanobe Kenji, is a mouse-eared, gas-masked, fully-armored warrior who looks like a mutant samurai member of the Mickey Mouse Club.

According to Yanobe’s notes, which were on display along with Mickey the Knight at a recent Yokosuka Museum of Art exhibit, he was invited to submit a Disney-themed piece for Disneyland’s giant 50th anniversary celebration held in 2005. Known for work that explores issues like how to survive and have fun in post-apocalyptic settings, Yanobe drew inspiration from the legendary Mickey Mouse Gas Mask, an intriguing historical artifact whose background story reflects some of the themes found in Yanobe’s work.

Not surprisingly, Disney chose not to display this work after all.

The same Pink Tentacle post includes a color photo of the Mickey Mouse gas mask previously mentioned here. It’s even creepier in color.

Fake Mickey Mouse Olympic Statues

24 Jul

From Pink Tentacle:

When asked about the resemblance to Mickey, a spokesperson replied, “They have square holes in their ears. They are not copies.” The spokesperson suggested the statues are unique because they incorporate the themes of old Chinese coins (the square holes), the year of the rat, the Olympics and the financial district into the design.

Reminds me of the time my son and I heard an ad for some local amusement park, which featured “TinkerDoodle!”, which we took as shorthand for “please don’t sue us!”

And hey, Lisa, you might notice their gym shorts seem to be a red version of our fashion statement from 1980.

World War Two Era Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

23 Jul

Okay, I am officially creeped out. So, I decided to share it with you! Here’s more detail, from: gasmasklexikon:

The Mickey Mouse Gas Mask was produced as part of the war production program. The Sun Rubber Company produced approximately 1,000 Mickey Mouse gas masks and earned an Army-Navy ‘E’ for excellence in wartime production in 1944. Overall, production of the Noncombatant Gas Masks (and in fact, all gas masks) was one of the most successful production programs of the war. In fact, production had to be curtailed early due to the vast quantity produced.

Hat tip: Dark Roasted Blend.

Mickey Mouse Yahtzee

8 Jul

How much fun is Mickey Mouse Yahtzee? And how embarrassing is it that I’m blogging so gleefully about what a great time I had playing it last week, having found a copy at a friend’s vacation house in Maine? This seems to be an older copy of the game, and the packaging hints of the theme parks, with Cinderella Castle on the board and pixie dust scattered throughout.

Yeah, I gave up all hope of not being a geek many years ago. Why do you ask?

For the Twisted Disneyphile: “Three Fingers”

29 Jun

I am embarrassed to say that, on a regular basis, Mr. Broke Hoedown recommends fabulous books to me, and I set them aside for years, or never read them at all. Well, yesterday I finally got my act together to read a graphic novel he’d been suggesting for ages: Three Fingers, by Rich Koslowski. And I’m so glad I did! It was a quick read, very satisfying, and completely in keeping with my personal aesthetic. It did make me squirm a bit here and there…but in a very good way.

This is not a book for the faint of heart, nor the easily offended. It’s not particularly violent, graphic, or politically controversial…it offends the basic sensibility of the generic Disney fan by skewering and satirizing the early days of animation, and in particular Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney (Rickey Rat and Dizzy Walters in the book, respectively). The parallels are not always direct; there were a few times in the early pages that I winced, wanting the parody to mirror Disney history a little more closely. But after the opening pages, after the basic set-up and history, the plot line takes such a broad and intriguing turn that none of those details matter anymore.

Told in documentary style, it imagines a world much like that of Roger Rabbit, but with a dark edge, where toons are very much real, and vulnerable to certain types of exploitation. It alludes to disturbing possibilities, glancing only long enough to get into your head, never going for the gratuitous shock value. The art is wonderful, and appropriately rough in spots, as you can see in the sample pages in Google Books. And Mickey’s by far not the only cartoon character featured; a few other Disney characters show up, but there’s perhaps even a larger number of Warner Brothers and other animation houses’ characters.

Three Fingers isn’t for everyone. But for some of us, it’s perfect.

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