Friday, August 26, 2011

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, I had a mildly popular blog on which I used to write top ten lists with my impressive sarcastic wit (which I may or may not be using right this very minute, HA.) After that, I jumped on the xanga train just as it was leaving, and while I did keep that up for a couple of years, I haven’t regularly blogged for quite a while. And I miss it!

I’ve been contemplating starting a personal blog again for several months now. Those of you who know me know that this is normal - I take forever to make decisions, big or small. (This makes grocery shopping quite a predicament, by the way.) Getting things down on paper (or screen) is ultimately where my most significant reflections happen (I’m a hopeless internal processor). And though I journal daily, there’s something about blogging in a public space that makes me more accountable to what I think about. It drives one to be thoughtful and intentional, and not just babble about what I ate for lunch today. 

So I’ve been toying around with what kinds of topics I should write about. Most other blogs I follow have a fairly specific topic, something that the blogger is passionate about and and in which he/she has some level of expertise. It’s also usually something fairly unique that hasn’t been done a hundred times already. What is that for me?

Disney movies.

Um, Laura, you said you were going to be thoughtful.

I know that blogging about Disney movies may not strike one as the most profound thing ever. And it probably isn’t. But look at it this way - this is my opportunity to provide a glimpse into one of the most influential business empires in modern history. One man’s dream became a time-transcending cultural phenomenon, infiltrating every American home (and that of pretty much every other country as well), first with the motion pictures themselves, then the music, merchandise, and most mysteriously, the magic. (Wow, I totally did not intend for all that alliteration!) Why is it that every child dreams of going to Disney World, every little girl wants to be a princess, and every boy a hero (topics I expect will get much discussion in future posts!)?  How did Mickey Mouse become one of the most well-known icons in pop culture? (According to one list, he ranks 3rd, just after Elvis and MLK Jr.)

When you think about it, Disney storytelling covers a broad range of not only familiar but also significant themes - the battle between good versus evil, what it means to be a hero or a loyal friend, finding true love, the heart’s deepest longings, and of course that final “happily ever after”. Such important themes get at the heart of what all of us as humans truly desire. 

J.R.R. Tolkien put it well when he said, “The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories.” In other words, fairy tales and magical adventures show merely a snapshot of the one Story that is completely real and true, and even more wonderful than anyone’s imagination. That is why we are so drawn to them, and why they have lasted throughout the ages. 

I should also mention, not insignificantly, that I absolutely love Disney animated movies. Call me sappy, cheesy, nerdy or crazy - but I have a special devotion to them (especially certain ones) that goes beyond a nostalgic fondness. Starting this blog is just an extension of years I’ve spent loving these characters, songs and films. “Perhaps you’d like to see how Disnerdy I can be!”  (Extra points if you get the reference I just made.)

As a visual creative person, I also really love the animation and art in these films. Media communication is at its best when it combines visual beauty with a compelling story, and I believe there’s no one that does it better than Disney. I’m looking forward to the feast of masterful artistry that was so lovingly created over the years. 

So, over the course of however long it takes, I will embark on this journey of finding meaning and truth (and hopefully, some laughs) in these Disney animated films. Recently Disney just reached the milestone of releasing their 50th animated feature (Tangled, which is turning into one of my new favorites, by the way.) I’m planning to watch one every week, depending on how things go, starting with the very first, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, all the way until #50 (by the time I finish I suspect there will be a couple more on the list).
I hope you will join me in revisiting these classic tales, to laugh, cry, learn, muse, discuss, and return to that childlike wonder that we all have known in our favorite Disney tale.


  1. I definitely did not know Snow White was the first animated feature. For some reason, I always thought it came way later than Sleeping Beauty. or Cinderella.

    Unrelated to your (awesome!) plan: Have you watched any of the early Mickey shorts, from the early Walt days? I still gotta do that someday.

  2. Jafar. Snake like. Count it.

  3. Wow, Laura! You did a great job starting with Disney, seamlessly going to Tolkien, and then talking about the gospel! I'm looking forward to this journey!