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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0572.  Saturday, 25 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jun 1994 20:58:37 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
(2)     From:   Elise Earthman <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jun 1994 14:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0561 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
(3)     From:   Jason Hoblit <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jun 1994 13:47:28 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jun 1994 20:58:37 +0200
Subject: 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
Ready to be shot down in flames---
 
Yes, I just saw *The Lion King.*  I am very fond of Disney movies (gasp!) and
wouldn't miss it.  Candidly, those who are worried about the purity of the Bard
needn't worry--it has about as much in common with *Hamlet* as a cake does with
an omelette--I understand they both use eggs.
 
Now I'm really in trouble.  I enjoyed it.  The score is not up to the old
Howard Ashman-Alan Mencken standards, and the film is rather uneven.  However,
the voice talent is phenomenal.  Fellow Rowan Atkinson fans have a definite
treat in store.
 
While I'm sawing off the branch I'm sitting on, I might as well add that the
sanctimonious tone here is incredible.  Is this really the same list that's
been carrying on about the tabloid miseries of football celebrities and
*Othello*--and Disney is beneath us?  Even if Disney were to do an animated
*Hamlet* (and they didn't--it's an original story)  would it be so terrible to
expose children to the plots of classic plays at the tender age of four or
five?  We seem to be forgetting that animated ripoffs of Shakespeare are not
new--Bugs Bunny, Mr. Peabody, etc. have all done it. At least this is done
semi-seriously and well and not the tired old "Wherefore art thou" (always
misread as "Where are you") again.
 
        Wearing my asbestos suit--
        M. Aaron
        ("Then know that I one Snug the Joiner am/
          A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam.)
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elise Earthman <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jun 1994 14:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0561 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0561 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
I just returned from dropping my son off at the S.F. Shakespeare Festival's
summer camp for young people; while there, I begged them for a copy of this
year's poster which shows Shakespeare in the crossed-arms/ finger-signal pose
now familiar from rap groups, and calls him "the original rap-master" or some
such thing.  I'm sure this could be offensive (perhaps even moreso) to people
who are offended by the obvious (and widely publicized) links between Disney
and Shakespeare, but come on--if seeing The Lion King inspires one kid to read
Hamlet on his own, or if an "M.C. Shakespeare"  poster sparks curiosity in a
young person unlikely to think of him otherwise, shouldn't we rejoice?  Can
Shakespeare possibly be diminished by these connections?
 
Tad Davis, I have the same poster of Walt Disney as a young man on my wall (now
next to my Shakespeare poster)--on my campus, the flak I get for it is over
having a picture of a fascist on my wall.  Sigh.
 
Elise Earthman
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jason Hoblit <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jun 1994 13:47:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0566 Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
> A good example of the marriage of Shakespeare and popular culture is
> the recent film +Renaissance Man+. A bad example would be two-inch
> rubber models of "Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, / Warwick and
> Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester / Be in their flowing cups (of coke
> with fries in our "happy meal") freshly remembered."
>
> We all should expect better than that.
 
So, is a 'good' appropriation one that appeals to Mr. Williams, and a 'bad' or
a 'shameful/disappointing/offensive' appropriation of Shakespeare determined
only by taste?  Does the 'shock' of Disney's appropriations extend to _Black
Adder_'s note in the credits "Additional Dialogue Provided by William
Shakespeare"?
 
It sounds as if the people disturbed by mentioning 'Disney and Shakespeare' in
the same breath are crusading against immorality rather than expressing a
difference in taste.  The hidden implications of 'We should all expect better
than that' seem to be that >we all< should share the same aesthetic values, and
that such UNacceptable uses of Shakespeare should be put to a stop.  I find
this reaction more disturbing than any poor appropriation of any writer's work
could ever be.
 
Jason  Hoblit
University of Washington - Seattle

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