Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I Like Dumbo

Let's be honest for a minute. I'm going to lose my few readers, probably. But I have to finally admit it.

I hate Disney.


I don't know if it's leftover jealousy from never having gone to a Disney them park as a kid. Or if it's when I realized "Happily Ever After" leaves too much left to chance and I really questioned how those princess marriages actually worked out, considering the princes usually only just met the women and were married quickly after. Or maybe once I saw how much commercialism went into the damn brand, I boycotted it.
BUT ...

There are a few Disney things I can't give up.

No. 1, Mary Poppins.

I don't think I obsessed over any movie more growing up. It became my go-to movie throughout college and beyond when I was feeling lost and down. Maybe it was the nostalgia. Or, what I'd hope is the subconscious reason, maybe I was drawn to Mary, herself. Come on, let's discuss:

  • She didn't need a man to save her, make her happy or love her.
  • She could come and go as she pleased.
  • She helped even without being thanked. I could relate. I still can.\
  • She was forward and direct with what she wanted. Sometimes I needed that inspiration to be as direct.
  • Julie Andrews is the epitome of awesome. Hell, this bullet point should be further up. When I got to meet her in person (!) last year, she was just as wonderful and lovely in person as you would imagine. She took one look at L. and said, "Gosh, she's pretty!" True story, Julie, very true.
  • THE BAG! I think this is the one part of Mary Poppins I've been able to bring into reality. The bag that may not be in style but, let me tell you, if you need something, there is a good chance it's in my bag.
No. 2, Fantasia.

Look, I'll admit it was never the most popular movie. And, actually, Disney used Dumbo to make up for Fantasia's losses. But it really is a great movie, especially since it did leave me with an appreciation for classical music. And whenever I hear certain songs, I can say something like, "Oh! This is when they hippos were dancing with the alligators!" The looks I elicit from such statements fill me with a weird sense of pride when I can remember things like that. The only song I would fast forward through is, clearly enough, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." It's that damn mouse.

Oh! That brings me to another reason I hate Disney. Mickey Mouse has to be the most annoying cartoon character, second only to Caillou. Parents, don't disagree. You know that whiney voice taunts you in your sleep, too!

(This is where a photo of both Caillou and Mickey Mouse would go. But, oh! Guess what aren't listed on Wikimedia Commons!)

But, back the what I Disney character I have come to write about.

No. 3, Dumbo.

For the longest time, I didn't really like this movie. Clowns did (and still do) scare me. And this movie was rampant with them. And, of course, they were some of the bad guys. But, here's the thing. The movie is short. About an hour, at the most. It's become a tradition to put it on before naptime while I clean up after lunch.

Another thing is, it's not as annoying as I remembered. Sure, the clowns are pretty awful. But, really, they are such a small part of the movie. OK, for those thinking, "But what about the 'Pink Elephants on Parade' song! That's some freaky stuff right there!" Yes, I'll give you that, and the song does have a tendency to get stuck in my head.

But, let's look at a good.

  • Timothy Q. Mouse sees a clique of elephants picking on someone because he's different. Not only does he stand up for someone he doesn't know, but he then befriends him and helps him reach his true potential. (A better mouse than a certain Disney spokes-mouse I can think of, wouldn't you say?)
  • Mother is devoted to her baby and stands up for him, to the point of being locked up. But really shows her love for Dumbo. And don't tell me your bottom lip doesn't quiver just a little bit when "Baby Mine" is playing. I just want to cuddle with L. every time.

  • Timothy Q. Mouse's quote, "The very things that held you down are gonna carry you up, up, up!" I loved it so much, I printed the quote out and it's hanging on L.'s wall in her room. I'm so happy to see it's been repinned three times! I hope more children grow up with that in the back of their minds.

  • Again, it's under an hour. About the threshold for my attention span of Disney anymore. Sure, I become a little nostalgic for the princess movies, but, really, I know L. watches those with her father's family enough. The only Disney Princess merchandise (like the chair above) was brought into the house as gifts. I don't know, ever since reading "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" by Peggy Orenstein, I've noticed the ridiculous marketing ploys and princess paraphernalia being pushed on L. and now I try to avoid it.
  • Speaking of princesses, I don't mean to harp on it but, other than the more recent Princess movies, I can't really think of the classic "heroines" being very self-sufficient or independent. Oh sure, I envy Cinderella's and Snow White's cleaning and their patience for watching their work go unappreciated and quickly ruined. And Sleeping Beauty, well, I get pissed when The Boyfriend kisses me and wakes me up when he gets home from work if I've fallen asleep. If you love someone, you let them SLEEP! But, Dumbo, as a hero of the movie, he doesn't wait for someone to save him. He learns he's had the power to fly all along and away he goes!
So, I've decided to embrace Dumbo. Pink elephants and all.

And, just in case you haven't had any nightmares in a while, or in the case you are reading this after the kids have gone to bed and drinking some wine and need some entertainment (I can only imagine this gets betters with some chemical or alcoholic substances in ones system), here you go.