05 January 2006

P. L. Travers

by Cecily
I already hated Walt Disney, but I was recently reminded of my hatred by a New Yorker article about Mary Poppins. I hadn't really thought about the movie for a while, other than to hate it in a vague sort of way and be generally indignant about little children who watch too many videos.

But then I read this article and started thinking about how sexist and anti-feminist and crazy that movie is, and how annoying the animated penguins are, and then I got the "spoon full of sugar" song stuck in my head, and my hatred expanded. Kind of like when the Grinch felt his heart grow three or however many sizes, except with hatred of Walt Disney growing instead. Less pleasant, but totally deserved.

Why is the title of this post "P. L. Travers," you ask, when I am complaining about Walt Disney and Mary Poppins?

Because P. L. Travers is who wrote Mary Poppins. The books. All eight of them. The ones that Walt Disney and Julie Andrews turned into weird, sappy, chauvenist tripe about working parents and penguins. And P. L. Travers thought Disney did a stupid, sucky job of the movie, too, although she probably would not have chosen to use the word "sucky."

I don't really care if Disney wants to make crappy movies about things. Animated penguins don't really bother me all that much on their own. Disney can invent as many lame-ass, pointless, sappy little animated features as it (he? they?) wants to. Just make up the stupid story yourself, and don't blame it on real actual books! Because I do care when he (it? they?) takes books that are good and turns them into crappy movies that aren't. Not just Mary Poppins; this has happened to a lot of things. And then no one even KNOWS that there were books, and they think the crappy Disney movie IS the story, and they raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes at me when I start screaming about how much I hate Walt Disney.

So next time you see me, refer to the following as titles of books and not movies, and you can both avoid listening to me go on and on about the Evil Disney Empire and also make me your new best friend.

Mary Poppins: There are 8 books. Mary Poppins is mean, and vain, and cranky. There are 5 children (Jane and Michael, and also John and Barbara the twins, and Annabelle the baby). Mary Poppins is sarcastic and volatile and rude and very, very funny. The parents are kind and loving and unable to control anyone. Mary Poppins shows up and leaves and shows up and leaves again, 8 times. There is no moral, which is just as it should be: morals only belong in Aesop.

One Hundred and One Dalmations: This one is by Dodie Smith, who also wrote another of my favorite books called "I Capture the Castle" which now someone is also making into a crappy movie. People usually make fun of me when I talk about the 101 Dalmations thing, because they don't believe me about it being a good book. Which makes me even angrier, because Dodie Smith does not deserve that. There are only 97 puppies, because there are FOUR main adult character dogs, and no one is as annoying as the dumb dogs in the dumb movie.

Winnie the Pooh. I think some people realize that these were books first. But not so much how good the books are. How lacking in sappiness. Again, they are funny, even if you are a grown-up. The Disney versions are not funny. They are sucky. And dumb. And I only ever even SAW those cartoons once when I was 10, but I can still remember what a stupid, sucky, whiny, annoying voice they made Winnie-the-Pooh have.

The Once and Future King (Sword in the Stone to Disney) you should re-read this one right now because everything old T. H. White had to say in 1939 about war and politics and governments and human fallibility, is all still exactly and frighteningly true now. I read it right before the Iraq war started and I had goosebumps and felt sort of sick because really history just keeps repeating itself. But you would never know this by watching the stupid, crappy, Disney version, which makes you think it is all just a happy story about a dumb little blond kid.

Stupid Disney. I hate them. (It? Him?)


  1. Rachel Halligan Gibbs3:17 PM, January 18, 2006

    I, too, hate Disney for the aforementioned reasons & then some. The Walt Disney "Imagineers" are personally responsible for all of the ugly-ass crappy urban in-fill design of the last 8-10 years. You know the stuff-- IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME! Most of the developers & design teams for most U.S. cities are affiliated with them in some way-- were trained by them, worked for them, are funded by them. The "Urban Experience" as per Disney-->You park your car in some gigantic concrete parking garage & go to some restaurant that looks "urban" (or what they think urban should look like) but it's really a chain with about a million other franchises all over the country. The buildings are all shades of moss & plum & terracotta & look the same regardless of whether you're in Albuquerque, Kansas City, Phoenix, ANYWHERE in California, & of course, Florida. To my knowledge, I've only seen this shit primarily in the midwest & the west (except for Florida, the seat of their evil empire). My main problem with all this is that I inherently loathe hegemony, in culture, in design, in thinking. I also loathe consumerism. The two go hand in hand here in America and I think that's what Disney is all about. Not to mention that their factory workers in Haiti make like $0.14 per day to make shitty Pochahontas t-shirts......

  2. On the other hand, have you seen The Triplets of Belleville? I constantly have the image in my head of that crazy headwaiter who looks like a curve with his arms akimbo, squinting in and out of the kitchen...

    also of frog popsicles.

  3. did they make that???? or just release it. everytime i see someone on a tenspeed bike, i think of the hunched over man.....

  4. Disney had nothing to do with it, I just mentioned it as an example of a cartoon that is genius, so people wouldn't think that I am a cartoon hater.

    I think Sony released it, but it was all made by crazy French people. Not Disney. And maybe a few Canadians. French ones.

  5. that last comment was me. but I was commenting via my tiny handheld pager device and it wouldn't let me log in as my own self.

    Anyway, my point was that I like cartoons and movies, I just don't like stupid ones like the ones Disney makes.