Walt Disney’s Civilizing Mission: From Revolution to Restoration
No artist and writer in the twentieth century managed to have such a profound infl uence on civilizing children and adults as Walt Disney. Once he discovered his utopian vision and mission and learned to organize other artists to do his bidding, he was relentless in his pursuit of the perfect clean and orderly world that was mirrored in all the fairy-tale fi lms and books he created while he was alive and envisioned in his theme parks. His utopian vision and spirit were so powerful that, even after his death, the Disney Corporation continued to operate as though he were alive and as though it still had to shape the fairy tale to fulfi ll his wishes, realize his dreams, and spread his ideology. Whether the people who worked for him and the millions who watched and continue to watch Disney fairy-tale fi lms truly shared and share his utopian vision of the good life and wholesome entertainment, he made his presence felt: it is impossible not to give him credit for revolutionizing the fairy tale through the technology of the cinema and book publishing industry. But in reality, his revolution was a major regression and caused many of the liberating aspects of the fairy tale to be tamed and to turn in against themselves. The Disney civilizing process leads to the degeneration of utopia.