Where It's At...Part IV
The Rise Of The Disney Kids!...
(OR - Do You Really Trust That Cartoon You See?)

A living document that changes...
A document dedicated to "ROCK" spirit and attitude!

And ROCK!

This is where the epicenter of the worldwide movement is friends, it looks small now, but you're all being cool and signing on...and we see you showing up on our http server with your IP's and you wouldn't believe how many more of you are all comin' through our portal. Cool grooves and way cool enough. And we know that what you're about to read is a little strong, but with a war going on, now is not the time to just sit there. We'll see ya at the finish line and bring your friends, then we're gonna have a party and that's gonna be a lot of fun...for all of us! Just dig what Brian's got to say, that's all.
L. Lewis/CEO Worldwide TMA

 

By Brian Sidler - Former Music Writer For Chicago Music Magazine

(Chicago, IL 2 SEP 2008) You can bet we're more than happy that the programming heads in the media centers of America are listening to us...jeez....we can just about bare an hour of listening to radio again. They're all aping our groove!!! The creative departments, A&R Departments and others in that food chain have been gandering at us since the 31st of August in 2006 and within one and a half months rap fell off the late night magazine shows, all six of 'em. We started playing Phoebe Snow in our lineup, nine days later, an old Saturday Night Live episode aired with her as the guest artist of the week. We started playing Dr. John and The Night Tripper...now there's a new television series using the very same track advertising it...we didn't catch the name...we'll add it later. And then the heads over at Columbia finds this bunch of youngers called Metro Station (Miley Cyrus' (a Disney Kid) little brother) with a 2007 single called "Shake It"...and guess what, it actually sounds like music (a little disco-ey Like Miley's stuff but oh, well - it beats a blank)...and all the little girls are nuts about 'em. It's an upbeat tune too. It exploits sexual undertones...but that's what teenagers are about, raging hormones. We also think that the insipid keyboard intro's on every single cut are a bit pedestrian too...perhaps one day they'll mature musically, and so will their producers...whoever the fuck they are. Yet still the music market is trying to define itself and it's still confused. The late Twenty-something, Thirty-something and early Forty-something dweebs in the A&R departments are groping to find a groove, hey they ought to just ask US, instead of aping our groove or trying to!...Well let's just say the last few months haven't been that good.

Gnarls Barkley - Hey that was a cool release...Amy Winehouse - another good one, or single anyway...too bad she's all fucked up, huh?

So back here in Chicago, Hip Hop and Rap have been marginalized to only two radio channels and as an afterthought on two others...and none of it, and no one who would even think of open format programming, would play any of that stuff in a serious lineup of music. The reason for that? It's not too inventive! The same old minor 7th keyboard vamps with an emphasis on the down beat. Hey did you ever wonder why the arrangements are so sparse? You think it's an expression of style? Nope...it's an expression of "can't play much more than a bunch of single finger, hen plucking notes" in some kind of coherent fashion: Which should distinguish itself as music, right? Yeah right!!!

But it's the sex crazed little pre-teen and teenage girls that have driven the trends for the worlds musical community for quite a long time. Especially the little girls in America. As America goes, so goes the world. Other than the Brits, there is no other country in the world that has been as successful promoting "their tastes" to the biggest music market. Well, let's say Jamaica has had a bit of a say too, and leave it at that.

So what was in the background the whole time molding the generations of American youth? Cartoons! Lots and lots of cartoons! Merry Melodies, Looney Tunes, Popeye, The Super Hero's of Marvel, D.C. and the like. And the Granddaddy of them all, Walt Disney! Later there came the Anime from Japan and of course, how can we forget The Transformers!

Why is this significant?

Here's one more piece of information before we contemplate that. In 1967 the MPPDA (Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association) dropped the Production Code, also called the Hays Code, which all film makers and television producers that up till then, adhered to, reluctantly since around 1930. "In the early 1960s, films began to deal with adult subjects and sexual matters that had not been seen in Hollywood films since the early 1930s. The MPPDA reluctantly granted the seal of approval for these films, but not until certain cuts were made. The Code was finally abandoned in 1967." (Wikipedia)

Here's the provisions of that code:

The Production Code enumerated three "General Principles" as follows: 1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin. 2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented. 3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

Specific restrictions were spelled out as "Particular Applications" of these principles: * Nudity and suggestive dances were prohibited. * The ridicule of religion was forbidden, and ministers of religion were not to be represented as comic characters or villains. * The depiction of illegal drug use was forbidden, as well as the use of liquor, "when not required by the plot or for proper characterization." * Methods of crime (e.g. safe-cracking, arson, smuggling) were not to be explicitly presented. * References to alleged sex perversion (such as homosexuality) and venereal disease were forbidden, as were depictions of childbirth. * The language section banned various words and phrases that were considered to be offensive. * Murder scenes had to be filmed in a way that would discourage imitations in real life, and brutal killings could not be shown in detail. "Revenge in modern times" was not to be justified. * The sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld. "Pictures shall not imply that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing." Adultery and illicit sex, although recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to be presented as an attractive option. * Portrayals of miscegenation were forbidden. * "Scenes of Passion" were not to be introduced when not essential to the plot. "Excessive and lustful kissing" was to be avoided, along with any other treatment that might "stimulate the lower and baser element." * The flag of the United States was to be treated respectfully, and the people and history of other nations were to be presented "fairly." * The treatment of "Vulgarity," defined as "low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects" must be "subject to the dictates of good taste." Capital punishment, "third-degree methods," cruelty to children and animals, prostitution and surgical operations were to be handled with similar sensitivity.

After reading the preceding, perhaps in retrospect of your own life you may find why it was necessary to have such a code. Human beings are frail. Their psychology can be led to excess in any direction quite easily. Most, though many would not admit to it...have no real imagination or independent critical thought. Sad but true nonetheless. Back to why Disney and the rest of cartoondom became significant.

In the early years of television (in America) the TV set became the first defacto "babysitter" or kid occupier while Mom tended to the house or other cares. Back then there wasn't much need to monitor what the kids were watching...there were only 3 National channels one PBS station and most cities had their local programming as either affiliates of the majors or independent stations.

Cartoons were an extension of slapstick comedy. Anything could happen to the character being "slapped" around on the screen and there would always be, to some extent or another, a happy ending where everything survived to be slapped around another day. Buster Keaton, Red Skelton, Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers, Abbot and Costello, and many others that followed in those footsteps made us laugh till our sides bust. The good thing was and still is, nobody took it literally. Anyone who watches this understands up front, it's humor not real life. It's an exaggeration that amplifies abuse of something or someone to such extent that it can't be taken seriously.

Walt Disney was one of the fathers of early animation. Felix The Cat was replaced by Tugboat Willie and he became Mickey Mouse. Disneyland was a kids biggest dream...all of us wanted to go there. To this day, the Disney brand is unparalleled in amusement and fantasy parks...and they are all over the world. But you know that, right?

The original Mouseketeers of the Mickey Mouse Club were the models of behavior for many kids who saw early childhood in the mid to late 50's. There was always a wholesome moral undertone to the show and short skits to demonstrate what being a good person was meant to be. Many kids wanted to be Cubby or Annette. All of us loved this show. In retrospect it espoused conservative values and promiscuity was nowhere in site...not in this show! As an aside, the closest thing that we knew in terms of promiscuity was Olive Oil's obsession for Popeye!

Sadly Walt Disney died in 1966 of lung cancer. Also along with Walt, we must mention his peer and colleague, Tex Avery - remember Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig? Who doesn't?! God bless both of 'em, may they rest in peace.

Isn't it ironic that right after Walt died, within a year...Hollywood and New York rejected the Production Code as a standard.

Well the original Mouseketeers only lasted on ABC until 1959. Later on The Mickey Mouse Club was revived for a short run towards the end of the 70's with a disco flair...but wasn't too successful. Then came the 90's. We'll get to that in a bit.

What happened to the Disney Brand after Uncle Walt died? Well it lost its center and core values. It aimed at selling rank consumerism as a substitute for educational programming. That's what the original series of the 50's was all about. Sadly, even back then...educational programming wasn't a commercially viable medium of expression and had been relegated to the PBS as its only means of dissemination...like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. But then, "Corporate America" had gotten a hold of Disney sans Walt. And its mission was and still is; to sell, sell, sell! And the art department? It's being run by a bunch of left wing gay guys...them, Pixar...it's all the same. We do want to congratulate them on the release of Ratatouille and Meet The Robinson's (Keep Moving Forward was the underlying theme of the whole movie and they quote it in the end of the flick...Who's quote? Walt Disney, of course)...Those were good cartoons!

Television is a very persuasive and powerful medium for mass information. Duuuhhhh, right? The most powerful commercial engine of our times along with the Internet and radio. See our previous article entitled, "Where It's At...My Babies...Part III - Television, The Visual Garbage Can". And the Internet? An extension of television on demand...which also happens to link Point Of Sale purchase from your comfortable armchair seat. Advertising is something you can't escape if you choose to expose yourself to the use of either of these mediums. Hey listen to the cut by Dr. 8 (their profile is in our top friends list) called Big Brother...it's all right there in the lyrics.

How powerful are cartoons? They use the darn things as the arbiters of what we should all buy! The most powerful ads have been running for quite sometime now like the GEICO GECKO (we love it) and e-surance.com and the like. You know what we mean, right?

Enter the Stage Mom's and Dad's. These people are the obsessed individuals who bring their kids into the spotlight for fame and fortune. To some it could be viewed as child torture. After all, look what happened to Michael Jackson (of course in his case his father, Joe Jackson was the driving force behind his dysfunction). And what about poor Jon Benet Ramsey?

Here's a short list of famous stage mothers: * Jaid Barrymore (mother of Drew Barrymore) * Jane Carter (mother Nick and Aaron Carter) * Carol Connors (mother of Thora Birch) * Lillian Coogan (mother of Jackie Coogan) * Ruby Dandridge (mother of Dorothy Dandridge) * Tina Douglas (mother of Ashanti) * Susan Duff (mother of Hilary and Haylie Duff) * Evelyn Foster (mother of Jodie Foster) * Ethel Gumm (mother of Judy Garland) * Maria Gurdin (mother of Natalie Wood) * Lynn Harless (mother of Justin Timberlake) * Wanda Holloway (The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom) * Rose Hovick (mother of Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc) * Tina Knowles (mother of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles) * Dina Lohan (mother of Lindsay and Ali Lohan) * Minnie Marx (mother of The Marx Brothers) * Lesley Panettiere (mother of Hayden and Jansen Panettiere) * Johnnetta Patton (mother of Usher) * Patsy Ramsey (mother of JonBenét Ramsey) * Lela Rogers (mother of Ginger Rogers) * Teri Shields (mother of Brooke Shields) * Lynne Spears (mother of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears) * Sara Taylor (mother of Elizabeth Taylor) * Gertrude Temple (mother of Shirley Temple)

Next point. Kids don't have a natural defense mechanism against commercial propaganda or commercial media. Especially little girls! To wit; the brand...American Girl! Do you have any idea how much money affluent mom's and dad's spend to get their impressionable kid one of those dolls and accessories? Believe us, it's a small fortune that could feed a starving kid in any part of the world for years! So...Well what a waste!

Justin Timberlake (to his credit he did mature quite well...better than the rest), Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton (though not a Disney emanation fits in the mold), and now the mother success of them all MILEY CYRUS! Holy crap! Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and in some rare cases Prince were their models. And then the whole slew of people that tried to make it as their contemporaries...hey look they're all over MySpace.

So where shall we go next guys?

Keep listening to our player at Bittersweet Records...take the codebase and post it somewhere....where it will get more exposure and do some good!

Now if you've gotten this far, you may ask yourself...are these guys fucking nuts?...What does any of this have to do with ROCK and why do we care?

We'll be back with more of the rant soon...you can't think we're done yet... stay tuned...Same Bat Time....Same Bat Channel.

My name is Brian Sidler and I write about music, et al.


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