Disney and World Peace

Millions of kids in America and around the world are big Disney fans.   So am I.

In fact I think that Disney may be doing more than *any other entity* to bring harmony and peace to the diverse and complex cultural landscape.   Although they avoid some of the complex and probably unsolvable problems like wahabism vs western culture, they really do a great job promoting racial understanding and cultural understanding via the diversity in the programming .  Simply *modelling cooperation and understanding* to a global audience is powerful,and when you add the huge appeal of Disney music and production values it works on more levels.  More powerful are shows like the upcoming special filmed in India where fun trumps conflict.

Is Disney’s a childish vision of global harmony?    Perhaps, but maybe that is the most effective path of all.

In defense of Miley Cyrus, who still rocks …

As the dad of an 11 year old I’ve seen more than my share of the Disney Channel’s huge TV hit: Hannah Montana.   But I don’t mind because Hannah Montana is a great family show.   Unlike so much of the garbage that passes as family fare these days, real life father and daughter Miley and Billy Ray are delightful and charming in a funny and clever show which often brings in subtle and important lessons about teens navigating the complexities of an unusual life.     The show is so appealing in fact that Miley is on her way to being one of the world’s youngest …. billionaires …. as the show and concerts and spinoff merchandies are already pulling in more than that much each year for Disney, and this franchise is likely to last for many more years.

The Media hurricane surrounding Vanity Fair’s publication of mildly provocative pictures of Miley Cyrus is a sorry commentary on the state of TV news, but it has also given us an opportunity to see the *right* way to handle media scrutiny.   Miley Cyrus has apologized to her fans and many have very reasonably criticized Liebowitz, Vanity Fair, and the parents for failing to see that a few of these pictures were simply not appropriate for this legitimately very wholesome superstar (failing to see may be generous – I’m guessing that provocative was what they wer after here as that’s going to sell far more Vanity Fairs).   

I think the jury is still out on whether photographer Annie Liebowitz and Vanity Fair took advantage of the fact that the Cyrus family – mom and dad were present at the session – is hardly going to start telling Liebowitiz how to do her job.    The pictures were not all that outrageous in a current media context, but I think for many of us who greatly value Miley Cyrus’  modest dress and attitude the pictures came as something of a disappointment.

But that said I’m still a big Hannah Montana fan and I’m happy to have my daughter continue to enjoy a great show – still one of the few islands of childhood modesty and sensibility in a world largely under seige from Hollywood’s onslaught of violence and sexual propaganda fueled by our own sad yet powerful prurient interests.