Couple new books about Disney. HOW TO BE LIKE WALT: CAPTURING THE DISNEY MAGIC EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE by Pat Williams is a “character biography” which aims to draw out important lessons from the life of Walt. Might be good, might be bad. I have no idea. If it turns out you don’t have what it takes to be like Walt, you might have better luck with another book by the same author: HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS.
Next is FROM WALT TO WOODSTOCK: HOW DISNEY CREATED THE COUNTERCULTURE by Douglas Brode. Being from a university press, the book could potentially be just a bunch of overwrought pretentious nonsense, although the premise of this is fascinating enough that I’m tempted to give it a read. Here’s the book description from the Univeristy of Texas Press website:
Douglas Brode overturns the idea of Disney as a middlebrow filmmaker by detailing how Disney movies played a key role in transforming children of the Eisenhower era into the radical youth of the Age of Aquarius. Using close readings of Disney projects, Brode shows that Disney’s films were frequently ahead of their time thematically. Long before the cultural tumult of the sixties, Disney films preached pacifism, introduced a generation to the notion of feminism, offered the screen’s first drug-trip imagery, encouraged young people to become runaways, insisted on the need for integration, advanced the notion of a sexual revolution, created the concept of multiculturalism, called for a return to nature, nourished the cult of the righteous outlaw, justified violent radicalism in defense of individual rights, argued in favor of communal living, and encouraged antiauthoritarian attitudes. Brode argues that Disney, more than any other influence in popular culture, should be considered the primary creator of the sixties counterculture – a reality that couldn’t be further from his “conventional” reputation.