My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part V) – Mulan

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series-long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.*

This month’s installment includes my head-scratching questions and off-the-wall theories about Disney’s retelling of the Chinese legend Mulan.

Continue reading

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part IV) – The Lion King

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s most famous tale The Lion King.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I was not and still am not in love with The Lion King. Continue reading

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part III) – Aladdin

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s diamond in the rough Aladdin.

Another one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, Aladdin is just another enchanted musical film based off of one of the many stories of 1001 Arabian Nights. In the original story, it’s said that Aladdin may have actually been Asian, as the story does take place in the Middle East, which is… near Asia. Either way, one of the many reasons I adore this movie is because of how ‘street’ it feels. While I’m not at all a fan of movies that are set in a country with its inhabitants speaking in another dialect or accent, I let Aladdin slide for his somewhat Brooklyn-esque demeanor though he should sound more like a Habib from Pakistan.

I also liked the idea that Jasmine was kind of tough-as-nails to counter with Aladdin’s diamond-in-the-rough persona. While I did think that Disney was sipping on some Shakespearean ‘Taming of the Shrew’ for his picture of Jasmine, the fact that I believed Jasmine could hold her own in a male dominated world made me respect her. Though I do wish she got more sassy when that man was about to chop her hand off. She should’ve known better though, nothing’s free. They didn’t build the palace for free… or maybe they did (shrugs)… One of my many quirks with this movie is how Jafar played the role of a mafioso, but not to its fullest potential. I say that because he was constantly glamoring the Sultan with his snake staff and never once thought to glamour Jasmine into marrying him. I think that would’ve made things 101 times easier for him, no? But I guess he just liked things the hard way.

Another problem I had: why were the royal guards of Agraba so damn stupid? Not only could they NOT capture Aladdin, I’m quite certain he wasn’t the only person doing his dirt in the city.Was there not enough crime to sharpen their ability to actually capture someone? And how stupid or sheltered rather, were they to not recognize Princess Jasmine when they found Aladdin in his little roof-top shanty house? I mean, even Superman had a bit of disguise with glasses and a curly bang, but she had a hood over her head. You can’t tell me she looks that much different with a HOOD on her head?! And since when is the royal Vizier more important than the Princess? I mean, her saying ‘release him’ should’ve been ten times more important that Jafar calling him in, no? And was it just me wondering or did you ever question how crusty, dusty and calloused Aladdin’s feet actually were, running around barefoot day and night? He must’ve had some serious hobbit feet cause in that hot sun, I don’t know how he did it. Also, I don’t understand how these people just accepted a guy with a flying carpet into their palace without even asking where the hell he got it from. I mean the Sultan asked for a ride on the thing (which I might have asked for too), but didn’t ask “where did you get it from? how old is it? how is it alive?” These people were some kind of slack.Then again, I couldn’t expect any better from a Middle Eastern Sultan who let his daughter walk around in a crop top. Are you kidding me? Okay, sure Jasmine’s body was banging, but she wasn’t a part of some harem. Arabic dudes these days ain’t standing for that hot mess… especially with a girl with that kind of temper… oh HELL no. OH and did I mention, another Disney princess without a mother? Yeah. Now you’re seeing the pattern, aren’t you.

Now we all know that one of the many characters that made this movie was Robin William’s Genie, but this also made me question that actual nature of the genie. Think about it, if a Genie can only grant you three wishes, what good is he to you when your three wishes are up? Do you throw him away until the next person comes to find him or is he like a slave that can only do menial labor that does require a wish like a slave? Can I tell Genie to pick cotton without “I wish” and he’ll do it? I mean, if you can’t wish for more wishes, what good is he afterwards? And so we’re onto to the educational part of this lecture:

Theme One: Not All Homeless People Are Crazy Alcoholic Crackheads

This movie makes a great point of showing children that not all bums and poor people are stinky, nasty alcoholic fueled low lives that sell their bodies for crack. We meet Aladdin who is a bum and a thief, but a kind-hearted one who shares his bread with his (possibly rabid) monkey friend Abu and stray children left to die in the streets. He was a victim of circumstance, not having any parents (again a would be ‘prince’ without parents) or any money to support himself in his adulthood. Aladdin also had tons of sense for a young man who probably never went to school. He was able to secure clothes, food and shelter for him and his pet without breaking much laws, maintain a decent relationship with some of the people in the neighborhood and was able to walk around the streets without people wanting to gag at his odor which MUST have been exacerbated by the hot Middle Eastern heat.


Theme Two: When You’re A Woman, It’s Okay to Be a Bit Bitchy!

So if it’s one thing that Princess Jasmine taught me, I must say that it’s okay to be a bit of a bitch from time to time. Jasmine went through what most females go through on a daily basis with dudes trying to get all up in her pockets and her va-jay-jay and she wasn’t having it. And she held no restraint when it came to telling these guys off. She even let Raja get in on the action and bite a man’s ass because she wasn’t just going to let any swarthy looking ‘ooh baby I’m hot & I got money’ foolio come into her midst without coming correct. She didn’t even like Aladdin in the beginning when he was trying to be Mr. Fancy-Pants with her. If it’s one thing I have to admire about Jasmine, is that she wasn’t standing for any man’s bs. I mean, she caught Aladdin in his lie (even though she didn’t know how deep it went) and made sure to give Jafar a piece of her mind. Atta girl!

Theme Three: There’s Always Corruption in Politics

No matter where you go, there is ALWAYS corruption when it comes to politics and Aladdin is the #1 case in which we blatantly see abuse of power and ambivalence to the needs of the common people. Let me dig into the Sultan really quickly- while in my mind he is meant to be one of the “good” characters, the fact still remains that this man was the ruler of a kingdom where he would rather spend more time playing with miniature dolls and feeding a pretty bird crackers, than figuring out what to do with these homeless people on the street. Why are there no orphanages or workhouses? Why does Aladdin, who’s already poor as it is and has to contend with a (possible lice-ridden & rabid) monkey for a pet, have to give his food away to poor starving kids? Bad Sultan, very bad!

Next you have the fact that the Sultan’s second-in-command is running shit under the Sultan’s nose. Not only does he use his little snake staff to hypnotize the Sultan in order to get what the wants, he runs the palace guards to search for Aladdin, not once but TWICE! The first time, he has them lock him in prison and fakes his death, and the second time they threw “Prince Abooboo” over the cliff! Some SERIOUS mafioso “sleeps with the fishes” shizzz! I have to admit, I gave Jafar his props for that one – the shiz was GANGSTA! THEN he tries to force the princess to be his chick?! That screams scandal! Makes me think of all those politicians with side-piece chicks, or prostitutes… If that isn’t an abuse of power (forcing a woman who hates you to love you), I don’t know WHAT is. BUT my point is that even in cartoons, politics are a risky and often messy business.

Theme Four: Knowing Your Geography is Tantamount

Prince Ali of Babwa? Are you kidding me? And why is it that no one in the palace thinks to look on a map for Babwa? I find it really ridiculous that they would allow a Prince from an unknown country, village, community or whatever roll up in the palace and say I’m here to marry your daughter. What if they wanted to travel to Babwa or join the kingdoms? What would’ve happened then? I mean, when a foreigner marries nobility, usually the woman goes to his kingdom and the territories are merged. Jafar was the only one thinking. Really though, Babwa? This is why as kids, we are taught geography – so when some dude comes in your house from a made up place, you can call his ass out on it and send him packing!

Theme Five: Be Careful What You Wish For

So of course, there is the element (as with ANY genie tale) to ‘be careful of what you wish for.’ Though Aladdin wished for money and a title, he was given a heap load of trouble with almost ‘sleeping with the fishes’ and well, being revealed as a poor hack. Then we had Princess Jasmine who wanted to be free and live a life without restrictions and found her hand nearly chopped off. Seems that if you want to be free and uninhibited, you end up poor and even then you’re not free from the law in your ass for stealing. And things also got worse when it came to Jafar who initially wished to be sultan, then a powerful sorcerer and then finally a genie. When asking for power, we see here in this Disney tale, it’s something that always leads to a serious downfall. This touches again on the subject of corruption in politics and ultimately the idea of power being the root of evil. But then we also think of what happens when you ask for simplicity – Jasmine may have found a guy she liked but what was she gonna do? Live the rest of her life as the common-law bride of a street rat? Hmm…

Theme Six: You Can Change Your Life, No Matter Your Circumstances

Now this is a  serious rags-to-riches tale that can probably do a world of good to anyone out there who is looking to better their life. Not only did Aladdin come from nothing, he came from being one of the most disliked street urchins of Agraba to the princess’s main squeeze (WOOT)! Sure he lied, but what rags-to-riches story doesn’t have a little fib, here and there? A lot of people make themselves out to seem more than they appear. And that’s all that it comes down to right? Faking it ’til you make it! But on a serious note, it does give those out there with nothing to them the hope that maybe some day, they will find a banging rich girl bored with life to be their sugar mama.

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part II) – The Little Mermaid

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s favorite little fish The Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid

I really enjoyed this movie as a girl. Jodie Benson did a fantabulous job with her vocals in this movie and how can anyone forget the song, “Part of Your World.”  This adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale is pretty darn good, especially since in the original version the prince marries the woman he thinks is his ‘savior’ and The Little Mermaid, well… dies. In this version, we’re introduced to a precocious little red-head named Ariel who falls madly in love with a human. We’re given tons of wonderful colorful characters to love including Flounder the gullible guppy and Sebastian the musical crab. While, this is yet again one of my FAVORITE movies to watch — its musical content is enough of a reason to watch — I have some questions to ask: Continue reading

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part I) – Beauty and the Beast

I’ve been meaning to write this somewhat long (and possibly well-thought) dissertation on several underlying themes in most of my childhood cartoons, some interconnecting, others stray thoughts and questions, but I’m almost always sidetracked. Today, I will force myself to get these ideas out.  Not because I’m looking for someone to read this to go “Damn, that was deep,” but because it’s really a thought and I’d like to hear the opinion of others and because… well, I’m weird and yeah, that’s about it. 

So, I’m a fan of cartoons. I grew up on Disney, as most adults my age have. I was a part of the 1980s generation that were old enough to watch films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid and enjoy the hell out of them. However, as I’ve gotten older (and yes, watched these movies over and over again), I began to question A LOT of things I normally wouldn’t have questioned when I was five. I will be writing for different movies as my questions come to me. Like I said, I’ve been compiling this in my brain for a while, so it will take several installments to get this all out…

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast – One of my all-time favorite movies hands down and critics have agreed because well, the movie garnered a four-star rating. While I love this film, I (as an adult) have questions that I’d desperately love explained: Continue reading

Xhibit P: WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: MAD MEN’S DON DRAPER SELLS AMERICAN DREAMS

WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: MAD MEN’S DON DRAPER SELLS AMERICAN DREAMS

By 
Written By Afiya Augustine

What’s better than having a juicy conversation on the latest pop culture happenings? Listening to your favorite pop culture characters have a conversation about it! In the WWTS blog series, we re-imagine pop culture through the eyes of your favorite characters in movies, television and more.
This week, Don Draper from the hit series Mad Men delivers one of his Draper-esque monologues on remembering 9-11.
Don Draper: This Sunday will be September-11th, a day that is to be remembered in American History as one of the greatest terrorist attacks on American soil. Now let’s put aside for a moment all the conspiracy theories and government faults that many have complained about for a minute because this even is bigger than an individual person. We have to remember first, that we are Americans, and that and we pride ourselves on the values that we’ve created for all those who walk on this country soil. It’s not about how strike fear into the Islamic communities that shook the nation with its heinous act; it’s about how we can be better ourselves as Americans and glorify what it means to be a proud American. What it means to be a confident citizen of a country built on our strength and courage.
We must look at our children, growing up in an ever-changing world and maintain that sense of innocence and nostalgia that we held dear before the towers fell. We should help them to grow up with the all-American vision in mind. They should not feel that they should cower in fear, but rather walk with their heads held high because they did nothing wrong but live a life that can only be defined as the American dream.
This will be a time to look back on of all the 9-11 workers who risked their lives for this country. They felt their sense of Americanism flowing through their veins and gave up their lives to keep that blood pumping…going. We have to their memory alive and keep the values that they had in them very much a part of us. And as for the fear mongers- let them know that on Sunday, we will not look back and remember the fear that these terrorists set into us, but rather the bravery that they unlocked within us all.
Peggy Olsen: Wow Don…that was beautiful.
Don: I know. But I’m just speaking from my heart here…
Betty Francis: I didn’t know you had one of those Don…
Pete Campbell: Good job selling America, Don. Who are we pitching this one to again?

Xhibit P: WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: TRUE BLOOD GALS GAB ON KARDASHIAN WEDDING

WHAT WOULD THEY SAY: TRUE BLOOD GALS GAB ON KARDASHIAN WEDDING

By 
Written By Afiya Augustine

What’s better than having a juicy conversation on the latest pop culture happenings? Listening to your favorite pop culture characters have a conversation about it! In the WWTS blog series, we re-imagine pop culture through the eyes of your favorite characters in movies, television and more.
This week, Afiya imagines what our favorite leading ladies and resident fabulous gay character from the hit HBO Show “True Blood,” thoughts were on the matter of Kim Kardashian’s recent wedding.
Sookie Stackhouse: I for one think it’s great, even amazing that people are able to find love and feel it so quickly. I just don’t agree with her making her life public like that…I mean I wouldn’t. But, I wish her the best of luck.
Tara Thorton: That shit ain’t gonna last longer than a snowball in hell.
Sookie to Tara: Tara, you shouldn’t say such things.
Lafayette Reynolds: Please Sook, you know Tara’s just jealous. If I found me a rich man who wanted to marry me after a few days and all I did for a living wasmaking a sex tape and selling my plastic body, honey I’d marry that in a heartbeat. Go on hooker!
Jessica Hamby: I think it’s sweet and all that she got married. I mean, I dreamt of getting married to get away from my daddy…but he didn’t even like me talking to boys. I don’t like my daddy…
Tara: He married her to get on that show. I hope it gets cancelled.
Pam De Beaufort: I can say that I without a doubt don’t give a fuck.
Sookie to Pam: Come on Pam. Tell us what you really think…
Pam: I don’t like weddings. But I wouldn’t mind seeing what she tastes like.
Arlene Fowler: I love weddings.
Tara: You should…you’ve been married so many times…
Arlene: Excuse me Tara?
Lafayette to Arlene: Don’t bother with Tara, she’s just jealous … but how many times have you been married Arlene?
Arlene: What does it matter! I’m married now and love my Terry Bellefleur.
Sookie: I wish them the best.
Arlene: Me too.
Tara: Whatever.
Do you have a WWTS conversation that you’d like read next? Let us know!