By John Kass
April 8, 2022
When our twin sons were four years old we broke down and took them to Disney World. I was not thrilled.
Their cousins had been to Disney World, and other families, so the boys couldn’t help but pick up all the excited trilling about the Magic Kingdom, the rides and that urgent Disney-approved corporate warbling.
We took them for one day, which was about all I could take. It was hot in Orlando in July, about 100 degrees and oppressively humid. In the Magic Kingdom, the boys saw Merlin walking away.
“Merlin! Merlin! Stop! Merlin, please!!!”
They knew him by his purple peaked hat, long purple robe and white beard. And there, in the very spot Merlin had been, was a wonder:
The sword in the stone. Their destiny.
Have you ever watched two little boys bust their guts in the heat trying to draw the sword from the stone and become King of England?
They wouldn’t stop pulling, the sweat and humidity soaking their clothes. They pulled and pulled for about half an hour, perhaps more. They refused to be distracted. Their minds were focused.
“I will be King of England!” one boy shouted.
“Me, too!” cried his brother.
They took turns pulling separately, then teamed up to pull together to share the throne. They would wield the magic sword Excalibur, sword of kings. But their cries about destiny and becoming king turned to real cries about the cruelty of the world. And they cried and cried.
OK, let’s get a smoked turkey leg, I said, rather stupidly, trying to distract them, using my best sensitive dad voice.
No, said my wife, consoling one weeping child and handing me the other. Their myths shattered, and I dared ask for a smoked turkey leg?
That was more than 20 years ago.
Now Disney corporate has been captured by the angry woke left has captured and destroyed so many other great American institutions. The family entertainment conglomerate opposes Florida law prohibiting elementary school teachers from instructing young children through 3d Grade on sex and gender issues.
The law, pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and supported overwhelmingly by Florida Democrats and Republicans, is just common sense. Perhaps that’s why Disney hates it so.
Introducing children to such sensitive issues is a job for parents, not a job for zealot political activists with teaching certificates who are determined to deconstruct what’s left of the American family.
If I were at the sword in the stone today and the boys were still four years old? A woke Disney activist would confront me forcing an impromptu struggle session:
Does the stone have a gender? Is the sword symbolic of “the patriarchy?” Is withdrawing the sword from said stone be a triumph, or a sign of deep, crippling timidity? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself Mr. Kass? And why can’t girls be kings?
No matter how you answered, you’d run the risk of disqualifying yourself from humanity.
Back then, with the boys exhausted in their attempt to draw the sword and become Kings of all England, we searched for those hand-held battery powered fans with triggers to spritz you with water. We avoided purchasing jars of $30 Winnie-the-Pooh peanut butter and waited until the fireworks show. We got stuck in a thunderstorm. And I never did get my darn smoked turkey leg.
Yet even then, more than 20 years ago, it wasn’t the Disney of Walt Disney, America’s fatherly figure who loved children, families, Old Yeller, Mary Poppins, and Those Calloways.
Even then Disney was going woke. And now? Disney has become unbound with frenzy. Disney has “de-gendered” its theme parks by removing all references to “boys and girls” and “ladies and gentlemen.” Today’s Disney consumers are now referred to as “friends.”
Hello Friends! Should Disney topple the Walt Disney statue, put Walt into some prison of offensive statuary, even as corporate vice presidents set fire to themselves to prove their virtue?
Someday, this saga of self-immolation will be taught in business schools: “How to Destroy Your Brand and Your Company.”
But for now, a great American institution damages itself beyond repair, the way American corporate legacy media has destroyed itself by playing the bobo for the left; and as universities have destroyed their core mission by allowing themselves to be captured by activists of the left.
With this issue, Disney activists are doing everything they can to help DeSantis eclipse former President Donald Trump and run for president himself in 2024. He’s on his way.
Disney, the once iconic pro-family American company that sold safe mass family entertainment has been transformed. Now Disney battles American parents over their children. We’ve seen the same with woke school boards and teachers in Virginia battling parents over the teaching of Critical Race Theory. How did that work out once parents pushed back?
“You have companies, like Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights and criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten and first grade classrooms,” DeSantis said the other day. “If that’s the hill that they are going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China.”
This was in reference to Disney’s cozy relationship with China, which is similar to pro-China corporate kowtowing by the NBA and Hollywood. Disney’s remake of “Mulan,” an action adventure featuring a girl warrior, was filmed near Chinese concentration camps committing genocide against the nation’s Muslim minority Uyghurs.
Disney has put its considerable might against DeSantis. And left-wing media–meaning just about all of journalism–dutifully carries the approved corporate spin, calling the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That is a lie. And this lie is repeated ad nauseum every time a broadcast news reader references the controversy. It is not an anti-gay bill. It doesn’t contain the word ‘gay.’ It is a family rights bill, giving families the right to protect their children from educators.
And it makes clear that sensitive subjects like gender identity are for parents to talk about with their children. It’s just common sense. But the left and their media stooges hate common sense that would thwart them. So they shriek.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy,” said Christopher Rufo, the conservative journalist and fellow at the Manhattan Institute who has broken the Woke Disney story wide open.
“They’re falsely accusing Gov. DeSantis of implementing a ‘don’t say gay’ policy which is not true at all, while they’re telling their park employees to eliminate ‘ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.’ We’ve caught them on tape and it’s damning,” Rufo said.
Rufo has done important work exposing neo-Marxist identity obsessed racists pushing Critical Race Theory. And his work on Disney, including his release of videos of Disney corporate leaders working against parents’ interests is also critically important.
You might want to follow him on Twitter at @realchrisrufo or go to City Journal and read his fine work, and that of others.
Americans aren’t consumed by policy debates. They’re consumed by other things, working, trying to deal with inflation, and raising their families. Many don’t yearn to crawl into the policy weeds. But they do care about their kids.
This isn’t China or Russia or North Korea yet. This is America. And parents have rights to protect their children, despite what the corporatists of Disney insist.
Walt Disney understood American families. He knew parents had choices on where and how to spend their money. And I don’t think Walt Disney would like what his company is doing to his legacy.
Some media ignore the issue and hope it goes away, just as they ignored Lia Thomas, the biologically born male who dominated women’s collegiate swimming. They ignored his plumbing, as feminists, women swimmers and the NCAA stood awkwardly silent, afraid of transgender power politics, lest they be denounced as bigots by the left. They all hoped it would go away. It did not.
Nobody wanted to be called a racist for opposing Critical Race Theory in schools, either. Many suburban parents working for corporations–parents wise in the ways of diversity, equity and inclusion indoctrination and threats to careers for heresy–stayed silent in the face of CRT and its offshoots when used against them at work.
But when it was imposed upon their children, they stood up. They voted.
Yes, woke pundits of the woke corporate media will push their lie about the Florida bill. The media will continue to mock DeSantis because they’re afraid of him. Some pundits will be subtle. Others will attack him with the subtle wit of a 5th Grade boy consumed by fart jokes.
They’ll mock parents too, and shame them. That’s what they do. Ridicule is the coin of their realm. And shame is their goad.
But parents will push back. And most parents, independents, Democrats and Republicans are concerned about their kids.
Walt Disney, the company founder, knew the truth of it. But the company he founded has gone woke and those who run it have forgotten what Disney was once all about:
Family, fantasy and happy endings. Disney offered even more–that warm safe feeling that came to kids while watching a Disney movie.
Disney pushes extreme agenda-driven politics and clashes with their parents. There’s not a warm, safe feeling in any of it.
What kind of child would want that? What kind of parents or grandparents would pay for it?
We’ll find out.
And so will Disney.
(copyright 2022 John Kass)