May 30, 2005

Legitimacy of Walt Disney's Work

Ever since I was in grade school, I've heard the "older" (supposedly wiser) cool kids made fun of Disney and discredited his work. They [the older cool kids] argued that Disney ruined fairy tales and sugar coated it in order to brainwash today's generation of youth. Now that I'm not in grade school any longer and I actually had some college-level literature courses, I could justify how wrong they were and why I disagree with them. I will briefly summarize the origin of Fairy tales and its structure while considering the socio-historical context which influenced Disney's early works (the beginning of his career and the Disney Empire).

***All this information is from a book called "Fairytales: The Magic Mirror of the Imagination" by this author (i forgot his name- this book could be found in th Reeves Library)

Fairy tales fall under the category of Folk tales. The beauty of fairy tales is that its roots come from oral tradition. This means that they were passed on to the next generation by word of mouth by talented story tellers. This can be looked upon as either a flaw or a unique characteristic. This is a flaw because the "true" original would be difficult to distinguish from a copy. On the other hand, this is unique because the interpretation can reflect the specific period it reflected. Also since fairy tales are passed down orally, it's hard to tell which is real or not. The good thing about this is that "there's no plagiarism in fairy tales" unless of course you took a work that's already "copyrighted" such as Disney's Snow White and claim it as your own.

Some would consider this insubstantial. But the essence of fairy tales could not be solely captured by words alone, its essense is universal and intrinsic to humanity. It's something that is found in all humans (not just the 98.9% DNA we all share). It's an idea, something abstract. Ideas cannot be copy righted (however you can copy right a product from the idea). Fairy tales are just one of the many ways it can be expressed (in a written form).

Fairy tales are for all ages. This statement is often overlooked when others "judge" fairy tales. The irony in fairy tales is that its simple form is really complex. It's convoluted and multi-layered. The audience determines the meaning of the fairy tales so each group will evaulate it differently. The book, which I read, came up with three categories of audience: pre-adolescent, adolescent/post-adolescent, young adult/adult. Of course there are nuance of these categories.

Themes of fairy tales usually deal with drama and anxiety (of course, conflict always make a good story), and have traits such as: relatable protagonist (usually someone common), adventure/journey to a magical realm (exotic place or the unknown mind), deals with the fantastics and Magic (something unbelievable to everyday mundane things), a complete resolution with happy endings.

The above inforamtion proved that Disney's work is authentic. Yes the "ignorant" claimed that he stole from Grimms' Fairy tales. They do so blindly because they grew up in the world of "copyrights." Since the Grimms' were probably the "first" to record fairy tales on paper (manuscript/hard copy style), they invented fairy tales (but fairy tales existed long before who knows when). Every time they say that Disney ruined fairy tales, they were referring to the different styles that Disney and Grimm employed to convey certain fairy tales.

But if one were to consider the socio-historic background which influenced the works of Grimms and Disney, one will see the uniqueness of each. From my art history class I took last semester, I learned (pardon the generalization) that norhtern Europeans had a tendency for realism that included cruelity and pain. This would explain the harsh treatment of the stepmother in Snow White (the cold and scathing and harsh German winter probably added to the mood). Also during th 1500s-1600s, the most literate group of human beings were "adult" aristocrats of the upper-upper echelon. Like women, children were considered property and commodities. They entertained the adults not the other way around.

During Disney's time, he experienced a time of war, and solidification of a nation (as a result of coming out of the depression), followed by a rise of a young nation to empire status. So Disney's "Dreams do come true" attitude was very fitting and true to his work: his art. His "naive", innocent and unjaded child-like aspect towards life was captured in his cartoons as engendered by Mickey Mouse. He portrayed the essence of optimism in youth which was nurtured by his environment (i'm not dismissing individual calling and vocation/ destiny). Children were the future thus they were the audience. They would have to continue the human saga so they might as well be educated.

Disney's work is authentic. In fairy tales, there's no such thing as plagairism because the source is from oral traditions. Thus they are free for interpretation. Grimms recorded fairy tales in books. Disney transfered these stories to the medium of film (motion picture). Disney was faithful to the essence of fairy tales and to his time. The enthusiasm he captured mirrored the vigor and spirit of a young nation and its people in the rise of 'empirehood.'

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:18 AM | Comments (3)

May 17, 2005

What "Constitutes" being an American?

After being in the United States for 12 years, I'm finally an American Citizen. Why 12 years you might ask, well I was waiting for the right time.

I consulted with my astrologist and made sure that the stars were properly aligned and also with my fortune teller to see if today was auspicious. Would you believe me if I were to say that I applied sometime at the beginning of the 2nd semester and I received a letter from INS a couples of weeks later stating that I would hear from them within 6 months (between Feb and July).

It would be ideal if my parents became citizens before I turned 18 so I would "automatically" become one. But things were always inhibiting them- mainly money. It took a great deal of money just to renew four green cards, imagine how much it would take to pay for the INS application fee (for three adults at least less than $1000 total). $1000 was not that dispensible in my household, especially since credit card bills, tuitions and supporting other family members were on top of the "priority list."

So fellow bloggers, I implore this question,: What constitues being an American? Is it a piece of paper that states one's "Americanhood," is it the color of your passport or the label of citizenship- American? What is an American?

So after waiting for 12 years to apply, less than 6 months to set up an interview and probably 2 months until I attend an official ceremony inducting me American Citizenship, I would "technically" become American.

Today I attended my interview at 10:40 a.m., I waiting 40 minutes until my name was called. My interview lasted less than 5 minutes. The INS officer asked me to tell the truth, restate my address, sign and print my name on the lines specified, and told me to write "I love this country." She then asked me if I knew Martin Luther King Jr, what the thirteen stripes represented in the flag, and what was the capital of PA. She handed me a piece of paper that stated my passing the interview, she told me about the letter that would arrive in the future telling where and when the ceremony will take place. She asked me if I had any questions. After this, I was done. She told me that the exit was to left of her office.

I passed the interview, and now I'm "waiting" again for that letter, which would approximately arrive before July. I'm somewhat of an American citizen, I'm just waiting for the "official" ceremony.

play idea

set: green chairs, american flag, picture of statue of liberty
two doors one on each side

main character: Mika Vicoli
sits in chair

flashes back to past (transitions)
Mother braiding hair of little girl
Father giving candy to son
Baby girls of a different ethnicity waving goodbye to another

A black woman approached Mika to ask to see if she could borrow the study sheet

Mika hears different languages tagalog from behind, spanish to her right, italian to her front, An African language mixed with french to her left

MDQ: What constitutes being American?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:07 PM | Comments (3)

May 2, 2005

2nd of May

Chilly
moisten ground,
white blossoms, white petals falling like snow of sprinkled sugar on chocolate earth
playful twittering of birds
gliding in the air like torpedoe-like seels
grass sway like ripples of wavelets
incoming cars like gales of wind
rustling of leaves and branches like gentle hissing sea spray
creaking of branches like door hinges or rickety swing sets
fragrant flowers
cartwheeling brown leaves of autumn scurrying like copper chipmunks
clouds changing, form ethereal composition--nature's own "happening's"
blue jays calling out to the sea of the sky like bell buoys

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)