Rambles on Disney Pt.1

First off, may I just say, Disney has been my childhood, my fantasy, my inspiration on many occasions, and a joyous part of my life. Children grow old, people can bash, but Disney will always be something special for me.

Even if it is a multi-billionaire franchise. Even if it does leech money off every parent in the world by hiking up Disneyland’s entry pass price every 2 years. Even then, Disney films and stories forever rest in a special place in my heart.

With my stance on Walt Disney’s legacy made clear, I shall proceed.

I’ve had many bits of thoughts and inklings of Disney over the years, but they only began solidifying into more critical observations once I hit college. After all, when you’re young, you merely watch the movie, not really getting the reference to Greek mythology in Hercules but thinking that Pegasus is pretty cool (and you want a flying horse too. Mommy please?).

And admittedly, Disney movies don’t seem to hold much philosophical content. As they rightly shouldn’t – let little children enjoy movies about princesses for a while! Before they learn that princesses don’t actually exist in real life (at least, not the fairy tale kind. I hear there’s still some princesses surviving over in England and Lithuania, but meh). I mean, I’m sure I once believed that I could become a princess too. Didn’t really want to do it…sounded pretty boring, actually, but my kindergarten mind thought it existed on the job market for girls.

But there are some things to learn from Disney: whether it is truths on life or what you should never ever ever EVER teach your kids. Disney movies have a lot on both ends of the spectrum, and I believe that sometimes seeing an extreme example of both the good and the bad things in life can serve as a great medium for hunkering down and teaching children something useful to live by. Don’t bash on Cinderella’s magical transformation too much . . . sure, it won’t ever happen to a real girl, but at least this movie gives adults an opportunity to teach their kids to approach life realistically. When else would you have the chance to teach her that fairy godmothers don’t exist?

So really, Disney movies are good for children to watch.

And not just children; parents definitely benefit from the existence of these movies. Sure, Christmas and Birthday gifts just got a lot more expensive, but think of all the hours you can get your child to sit still and watch a Disney movie on the big screen. Or of all the Disney villains you can conjure up as you threaten the 2-year-olds to go to bed.

These films have something for everyone, in a very literal sense.

To top it off, there’s no real harm in watching these movies. Excessive viewership may become a problem, yes, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a case where a girl became so disillusioned by Aurora that she rejected every boy that wasn’t Prince Phillip. I don’t think there’s any girl that doesn’t eventually outgrow their fantasy that a prince on a white horse will come sweeping her off her feet out of the midst of 7 dwarves. We grow up, we grow out of fantasies, but Disney gives us a thoughtful and memorable time to look back on. It’s accessible too – megashare any Disney classic for 100 minutes of “Aww, I remember that!” or “Wait, I actually liked this movie?” or “I DON’T REMEMBER THAT HAPPENING.”

(For example, re-watch the scene in Cinderella where the animal critters sing “Cinderelly song” while making her dress. Pay attention to the parts where the birds are tying the ribbons onto the dress. Wait for it . . . watch them defy ALL laws of gravity, physics, science, and bow-tying logic.)

All very fun.

And one final note: read the original fairy tales. It will give you a new appreciation of Disney like no other critique or positive Rotten Tomatoes review can. The amount of joy and childlike wonder that was added to make Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid G-rated movies fit for a child audience is quite ridiculous. Let’s all give props to Disney for making these wonderful (gory, racist, incestuous, violent, highly sensational) fairy tales into films fit for children.


My laptop is my friend and my enemy

There it is. My laptop.

HP, Windows 7, intel Pentium blah blah blah (the specifics don’t interest me, sorry).

It sits on my desk, its black screen flipped open, and I see my conflicted expression reflected back at me. Should I turn it on? Or go read a book?

10 seconds later, that flat piece of machinery is humming to life.

Instances like this happen every day; I can’t remember the last day I went without turning on my laptop. It’s never been off for more than 24 hours, unless I’m out of town (in which case, I use a computer in the nearest library). There are e-mails to check, Facebook updates to catch up on, Tweets to retweet, and things I need to Google. I need Microsoft Word for my essay, Powerpoint 2007 for my next class presentation. I need to play some music while I take a break on iTunes, and pause that song while I browse through some Youtube videos.

Seriously, how did people survive without these things 10 years ago?

I barely remember a time (long, long ago) when it was standard for every family household to have 1 computer. A desktop computer. Now, you’re waaaaay behind the times if you’re over the age of 7 and you don’t have your own Apple Mac. I mean, come on. We can’t seem to get anything done without these things to help us out.

Yet, way back when, people got along just fine without them. The difference between the 90’s and now is simply how pervasive laptops have become. When nobody had them, nobody needed them. Yeah, sure, the rich kid down the block might have a hi-tech portable computer (that, in hindsight, is the size of 2 chemistry textbooks stacked together), but since he was the only one, he’d be the odd one out. Every other guy just played baseball outdoors. But now that most of the 1st-world country’s citizens own one, it’s hard to get by without joining the crowd. It’s become a bandwagon trend, and you’ll get left behind pretty quickly if you don’t set up a Facebook account to keep up with what’s happening on the status page. Professors and employers expect you to own one, and they expect you to carry it around and get work done with it.

So yes, laptops have invaded every level of our society, simply by becoming a necessity to almost every single person out there. This device makes it impossible to function normally without it, and shapes me into a human being that is constantly dependent on it. I need it for information, for work, for school, for socializing . . . heck, even this blog post is being done on my laptop.

But laptops are also undeniably our helpers, our assistants, our convenient tools . . . and they definitely make life a lot easier. The world is smaller with Internet Explorer (or Google Chrome), and jobs are easier with a Microsoft package.

Yet I sometimes wonder, if one day I decided to throw my laptop out the window, as I am often tempted to do, what would happen? If every single laptop shut down and never came back alive, would we survive?

Yes, we would. Humans are creatures that can adapt marvelously. We’d get along just fine without a bright digital screen blaring at us from its altar on the desk. We’d probably revert back to good old notebooks and pencils.

But of course, it’s all speculation. Laptops are here to stay. Do we really have a choice in whether or not these things will become essential in our lives? Especially because they already have.

consider the lilies

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” -Luke 12:27 (NASB)

Yes, lilies are very pretty flowers.

But Jesus doesn’t talk about pretty flowers just because they happen to be there. All his stories lead us to a profound truth about the goodness of God.

Here he compares lilies to King Solomon: the wealthiest man in Biblical history, the one who completed the constructions on God’s temple, the king whose wisdom was such that the Queen of Sheba gifted him with enough spices to last Israel quite a while.

This great, wise, filthy rich king, who probably bathed in the spices that Queen Sheba brought, and afterwards put on robes of finest velvet inlaid with gold, cannot even compare to a single flower. The point isn’t that lilies are just that amazing. That beautiful, marvelous, stunning, gorgeous.

It’s that the lilies “neither toil nor spin,” yet they are still able to grow, flourish, and be beautiful.

God’s providence is so clearly set out before us in this passage, that His overwhelming generosity and kindness hits us like a slap in the face. In Matthew 6:25-33, which also describes this same moment, Jesus asks his disciples, “why do you worry?”

Why do you worry, when you can see how well these flowers grow even without working for themselves?

Why worry, when God will allow you to thrive even more than these puny little plants?

“if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30)

Yes, we are of so little faith. Always fretting about those finals to study for, projects to finish, the keys that got misplaced. Worrying about how to make up after the fight with your friend, or when you’ll find the money to pay for Christmas gifts. Daily troubles, weekly chores. Social obligations and job commitments. Too many things in this life weigh down on our foreheads until the stress gets etched into our premature wrinkles.

But no, God calls us to trust in Him, in ALL of these things and more.

The lilies of the field do not worry; they simply do what they have to do – be planted, gather sunlight, and grow. So too, we should remember that God only requires that we be planted with the seeds of His Word, bask in the light of His presence, and grow in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Even in this, God will be our helper and provider. And everything else? Though they seem pressing and worrisome, though they seem like emergencies, at the end of the day you will still bloom like a flower and God will array your life with bounty you could not have garnered on your own.

Let us live in thankfulness and joy each new day. Celebrate, because God is our ultimate gardener and provider in all things. Rejoice, because He loves us so much more than a single flower in the fields.