Un-Worthy: English Cleric Accuses Disney of Corrupting the Youth

150px-mickey_mousesvgimage45-1Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex, has accused Disney of “exploiting spirituality” to sell its products and corrupting youth. Even worst, he says that Disneyland is now a modern day pilgrimage site.

I will note that, long ago, I had the courage to disclose in a column the fact that Michael Eisner was the biblical beast revealed in Revelations.
He argues that it pretends to provide stories with a moral message, but has actually helped to create a more materialistic culture.

He may find unwelcomed allies in a couple of Islamic clerics who recently condemned Mickey Mouse to death, here.

The good reverend notes that “The message behind every movie and book, behind every theme park and T-shirt is that our children’s world needs Disney. So they absolutely must go to see the next Disney movie, which we’ll also want to give them on DVD as a birthday present. They will be happier if they live the full Disney experience; and thousands of families around the world buy into this deeper message as they flock to Disneyland. . . .This is the new pilgrimage that children desire, a rite of passage into the meaning of life according to Disney. . . Where once morality and meaning were available as part of our free cultural inheritance, now corporations sell them to us as products.”

Of course, Christmas and Hanukkah do a pretty good job mixing mammon and God. Now, if the Abbey of Worth were just to add a couple of rides and a fun pass, attendance would go up. Would it kill the abbot to add a laser show on Sunday or allow parishioners to win something if they successfully toss coins into donation basket. Market thyself, dear Abbot, Market thyself.

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19 thoughts on “Un-Worthy: English Cleric Accuses Disney of Corrupting the Youth”

  1. 2L,MN, and susan,

    You both make excellent points. There are “crossover points” between religion and Disney (or corporations in general).

    “has accused the corporation of “exploiting spirituality” to sell its products…it pretends to provide stories with a moral message, but has actually helped to create a more materialistic culture.”–see christian bookstores.

    “…how consumerism is being sold as an alternative to finding happiness in traditional morality.” This is a mistaken idea. Both consumerism and much of traditional morality teach that having things and being wealthy are a sign of success, sometimes even of “election by god”.

    “He cites films such as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians that feature moral battles, but get into children’s imaginations and make them greedy for the merchandise that goes with them.”–again, see christian bookstores and merchandise such as BIBLEMAN! Go to the new age store and see how spirituality is impossible without altars, crystals, statues, yoga mats etc.

    “The message behind every movie and book, behind every theme park and T-shirt is that our children’s world needs Disney,” he says.” This is a staple of religious and secular religious ideology. Children need ideology or brand X to grow up moral and good.

    Religion and secular religious ideology have been stealing from each other for years. Now the corporations have taken note and use many of the same techniques these groups developed over thousands of years. There is a near seemless blending between religious and secular ideology, and corporate marketing.

    P.S. I still want the Cinderella package!

  2. Does the good Abbot not realize the irony in his claim? If a corporation, looking to provide services while reaping profits is capable of being a new “religion” with a modern day Mecca in which its “worshipers” travel to, then isn’t it possible that the very church he serves is simply a corporation looking to provide services while reaping profits? Be careful what analogies you make, the similarities may frighten you.

  3. i thought the point was corruption, and one needs not replace religion with disney to introduce corruption into religion.

  4. Susan,
    We didn’t probe the cleric’s point. We just proved that just because people have fun with the characters, it doesn’t replace religion.

  5. True rafflaw. Powdered wigs are rather fetching. You CAN go to the ball, as can we all!!! It would be fun to schedule a giant group-Moonie style Cinderella wedding at Disney. Talk about an acid trip-OMG, as the vicar would say 🙂

  6. The soul saving business must need a bailout too, since things are obviously slow around the vicarage.

  7. Jill,
    I am betting that the Cinderella packages are a big seller! Especially if you can get the drivers with the powdered wigs!! Who wouldn’t want that?!

  8. Here’s this book I read, which in part, covers Disney weddings. I don’t like the book as it’s too mean spirited overall but this part is hilarious. Goofy and Pluto are not paid enough to be saints!

    “…{when} she details the packages offered by Disney, she quotes a spokesperson who stresses that the company’s famous characters are available to appear at receptions, but not the weddings as it might detract from the dignity of the occasion. But the carriage-drivers can wear powdered wigs,” (In case you were wondering the carriage drivers are part of the Cinderella wedding package.)

    Mead, Rebecca. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. 2007.

  9. What kind of message do you send when there are two dogs, Goofy and Pluto, and one is treated as a natural person while the other is treated as chattel?

    Intrinsically evil? Perhaps not, but then again . . .

  10. I’m going with the Abbot on this one. Disney is a little creepy. I’m waiting for the Disney funeral–we put the FUN in funeral! The following is from Disney’s wedding website.

    “Ceremony
    Whether you wish to be married in front of Cinderella Castle, at sunrise in an international Epcot destination or beneath starry skies lit by a spontaneous fireworks display, a Wishes Wedding or commitment ceremony can be anything your heart desires.”

    http://www.disneyweddings.go.com/site/wed/cus/start/

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