Animation Nation

Just a cartoon? Or an unique way of education?

Introduction about the educational aspects of Disney!

An Introduction about the educational aspects of Disney

 

Introduction

 

To find a good subject for your research, on a school that focuses on art culture is not an easy task. A lot of subjects rolled into my mind when we where asked to think of this particular subject. Hmm am I going to do a research about the influence of graffiti artists? No!  Do I want to do something with books? Maybe… As I was thinking about the subject, I saw something on the internet about an educated guy giving a lecture. This lecture was about the influence of South Park on social society and politics. I thought this was great news because a program like South Park isn’t just a cartoon and it’s certainly not something for kids. South Park has a lot of political messages and is often a mirror to certain layers of society and celebrities taking advantages of their positions. I didn’t however wanted to do my research about South Park but the base was set. I wanted to do a research about the influence of animated movies and programs on our society. This because in my opinion are being underestimated by adults and a lot of people. “Those shows are for kids’’ they would say. But think about it, aren’t the children of today the providers of tomorrow? And isn’t education the cornerstone of becoming a decent and balanced person? Well if this is the case, and the fact that kids do watch a lot of cartoons and animated movies, these movies aren’t there to take lightly. I was reading and becoming more and more interested in the subject. I found articles about Felix the Cat and his influence in times of war. Political messages that where spread in Russian cartoons to suppress and criticise the communistic regime. Lectures about shows like South Park, filling entire halls and rooms with eager students. But as I continued my search, me and my research coach found out the subject is too broad and I needed to narrow it down. So there I was back to square one on my subject. It was then I got the input for my new idea.

 

Every Tuesday my two little cousins stay at our home in the afternoon, because it was vacation I wasn’t in Tilburg but home in Gemert. While I came downstairs, my little nephews where 5 inches away from our TV, watching the Disney movie Aladin. As the movie was progressing I thought of all the Disney movies I had seen, and was surprised I knew them all by name and scene. The movies brought me a lot of joy as a child and I was enjoying the moment with my nephews. At a certain point one of them asks me why Aladin is stealing bread from the market, because he of course learned that stealing is bad. But before I could give a answer, my 8 year old nephew beats my to the punch and told his 2 year older brother that Aladin did it to survive, to feed himself, Apu, or even children who are starving. The older one replies smartly that it’s still stealing and it’s forbidden. My 8 year old cousin shudders with his shoulders, thinks for a second and replies with the magnificent answer: ‘Sometimes people just know that they got to do’ This conversation from the children younger then 11 really had my mouth open wide. And while I was lying in bed that night I was thinking about how great Disney is in teaching young children important lessons. More lessons then I ever thought from religion, or educational programs that bore me as a child. Disney certainly disserves some respect and credibility for this educational aspect. But they also deserve some gratitude from me, because this revelation combined with me earlier subject gave me the idea for my research. The following posts on this blog will study Disney and focus on the educational aspects Disney has given us through the years. So as Walt Disney would say: Sit Back, enjoy and let the magic happen!

Conclusion about the educational aspects of Disney

Conclusion

Conclusion of research

 

Conclusion

 

To conclude this research report, let me look back to the very beginning where I was struggling a lot to find my subject. Looking back at everything I think I made the correct choice by choosing something I found fun and interesting. To see if the research itself was a success, I must look back at what I wanted to know in the first place. At first I wanted to know more about the influence of animated movies or cartoons on our society. This was too broad to research, but I still answered a little bit of my previous question but I will get to that later. So after my first try at a subject and after that finally getting there, the thing I wanted to know what the educational aspects of Disney movies where. I wanted to know if there where educational aspects, what are these educational aspects and if those aspects really work on our previous, our present time and maybe our future generation. The answer to this question? Yes, yes three times yes. After reading some articles like those in TIME magazine, or the Disney gospel books. I found out there was a lot to find on the subject and most of all I found out there was a lot of appreciation for these educational aspects.

 

‘They (Disney) are America’s most original contribution to culture….’

–         Sergei Eisenstein – Russian director

 

First of al I wanted to find out if there where any educational aspects in Disney movies and for that I had to watch some of them of course. Looking to these movies with a researching eye, puts the movies in another light. After a couple of minutes, certain lines can be drawn in the movies. The main protagonist has to deal with certain prejudices and cant achieve the thing he or she wants, in the course of time the protagonist gains friends how will help him/her with her quest. Children learn how to fight prejudices, to think positive, rely on friends and they will learn that it’s not wrong to ask for help when you need it. A lot of lessons can be learned and where not even halfway through the movie. Then of course there is also a bad guy in the story line, because of his looks, his characteristics and his actions children know right away that he is the bad guy. They learn that the bad guy usually steals something (treasures, secrets and of course princesses), that they don’t show respect for the people around them and most importantly they learn that in the end this bad behaviour doesn’t pay off.  Al these lessons are in intertwined in a compelling story with beautiful animations that make Disney movies a feast for the eyes and a banquet for the mind. So are Disney movies educational? In a certain way they are a lot. They teach children on a early age what’s right and what’s wrong. They learn they shouldn’t steal, they have to respect the people around you, to trust friends, to respect every living being etc. The movies are entertaining and teaches us life lessons. You might think, well those lessons are kind of obvious. But as a child you are still blind from the big world, you will accept almost everything you hear. When my children grow up, I don’t want them listening to what everybody says. I’d rather let them hear the Disney gospel. And think about it, people complain more and more that children these days are getting more aggressive and less polite. The fact is also that grossing ratings for Disney movies are getting lower and lower for over the last 20 years. Coincidence, I don’t think so.

 

Disney cinema gross numbers throught the years.

One of the reasons why I did this research is because I thought that I learned more from Disney movies how to be a good person then the church ever did for me. At the church I was bored and confused. I didn’t know what everybody was doing and why they where doing it. Disney movies al though not real, where a lot more logical for me then religion. That’s my opinion, there are also people how see the exact opposite and we can also learn from this. The writer Phillip Longfellow Anderson wrote a book named: The Gospel in Disney; The Christina values of early animated classics. In this book Phillip sees a lot of parallels between the Disney classics and his Christian beliefs. Themes like self-sacrifice, friendship and good vs. evil are also re accruing themes in the Christian believes. More specific examples is Snow White’s apple which is of course a reference to Eve and the forbidden apple. And Dombo’s ears aren’t an abomination, they make u unique and are gifts from god. In can see the parallels between Christianity and Disney, but I don’t think children will see those parallels. It does show on the other hand the moral values and lessons Disney puts in it’s movie just like Christianity does in the Bible. As my example above says, I had more fun and was more focused watching a Disney movies then I was listening to the priest. So what’s the most effective way to teach your children moral values from the start? Religion or Disney movies? I choose for the latter cause who says education and fun can’t go hand in hand?

 

Before I’m going to sum up the conclusion I wanted to say that I really enjoyed doing this research. I’ve always found animated movies underestimated and this research proves that. I had a lot of fun watching those movies again with a research eye. To read al those articles about early cartoon influence, to learn more about Disney itself and to read those books telling about the Disney values and parallels to religions. Disney draws a line between good and evil so that children can learn from that. They learn how to stand up for themselves, make their own decisions and to never underestimate the value of friends. Certain aspects of life I want my children to know. But if you look at recent Disney statistics and figures, you see that Disney movies are loosing their grip on the animated market. Pixar does good work taking over the wand, but the Disney movies are losing more terrain every year. I want my children to enjoy the same movies that I did when I was a kid. I want them to learn those lessons! So just out of protest and for the sake of my future children, I will sit there in the theatre, watching and supporting Disney’s latest movie and the magical company behind it.

TIME: Disney Archive

Walt Disney on the cover of TIME magazine in 1954

Reference: TIME Magazine, TIME Disney Archive, http://www.time.com/time/archive/collections/0,21428,c_pixar_disney,00.shtml, geraadpleegd op 10-04-2012

Place Feature: Internet: http://www.time.com/time/archive/collections/0,21428,c_pixar_disney,00.shtml

Extract:

“THE WALT DISNEY ACQUISITION OF PIXAR
put the creative reins in the hands of John Lasseter, a former Disney animator who TIME profiled in 1998 as the “Wizard of Pixar.” In that profile Steve Jobs described Lasseter as “the closest thing we have to Walt Disney today.” Some excerpts from our coverage of Disney and Pixar:

Censors have dealt sternly with Mickey Mouse. He and his associates do not drink, smoke or caper suggestively…. But censorship is only a form of public testimony that Mickey Mouse and other animated cartoons are an important and permanent element of international amusement. Sergei Eisenstein, famed Russian director, has said: ‘They are America’s most original contribution to culture….’
From Regulated Rodent
Feb. 16, 1931 ”

Commentary: The last quote tells alot of course, because you dont find many Russians giving compliments about American products. Of course it also it has a negative ring to it, but it still is a compliment to Disney. The quote: ‘They are America’s most original contribution to culture….’ tells a lot about Disney and about America which is criticised for its capatilistic aditude and its brainwashing messages and grip on the world. But Disney is a also a typical American product with also a big grip on the world. But this is one grip where the world has never complained about.

THE WALT DISNEY ACQUISITION OF PIXAR
put the creative reins in the hands of John Lasseter, a former Disney animator who TIME profiled in 1998 as the “Wizard of Pixar.” In that profile Steve Jobs described Lasseter as “the closest thing we have to Walt Disney today.” Some excerpts from our coverage of Disney and Pixar:

Censors have dealt sternly with Mickey Mouse. He and his associates do not drink, smoke or caper suggestively…. But censorship is only a form of public testimony that Mickey Mouse and other animated cartoons are an important and permanent element of international amusement. Sergei Eisenstein, famed Russian director, has said: ‘They are America’s most original contribution to culture….’
From Regulated Rodent
Feb. 16, 1931

10 Things i learned from Disney

Young Walt Disney

Reference: Smith, Gourd, OutofmyGord, 10 Things i learned from Disney, http://www.outofmygord.com/archive/2010/03/15/10-Things-I-Learned-from-Disney-2–Values-are.aspx, geraadpleegd op 10-04-2012

Extract: “Walt Disney’s values were forged in the hardscrabble reality of Kansas City, growing up in a family led by a father that never was quite able to grab success by the tail. Walt was a deeply spiritual individual who held the importance of American and Family values above all else. He spent the rest of his life pursuing an ideal – that of clean wholesome family entertainment. Walt was scrupulous about it. I suspect the adult movies that are now released through Disney’s production arm, Touchstone Films, would have earned a disapproving frown from Walt. Yet of all the major studios, Disney is still the one synonymous with family entertainment.

Whether or not you agreed with Walt’s highly idealistic views, you had to admire the ardor with which he defended them. Walt felt that a corporation without real values was a soulless organization without direction. And his values still live in Disney’s corporate values today:

Values Make Our Brands Stand Out

* Innovation
o We follow a strong tradition of innovation.

* Quality
o We strive to follow a high standard of excellence.
o We maintain high-quality standards across all product categories.

* Community
o We create positive and inclusive ideas about families.
o We provide entertainment experiences for all generations to share.

* Storytelling
o Every product tells a story.
o Timeless and engaging stories delight and inspire.

* Optimism
o At The Walt Disney Company, entertainment is about hope, aspiration and positive resolutions.

* Decency
o We honor and respect the trust people place in us.
o Our fun is about laughing at our experiences and ourselves. ”

Commentary: From the beginning Walt Disney wanted to create a brand image fitting for his entire company. Remember we are talking about the 30’s when all of this happened. Companies were only thinking about the product and definitly not about customer service or brand images. But Walt figuered quite early the value of this. The movies, the products but later also the theme park and its staff, al must be able to tell and express the values and storys of Disney. Walt Disney even whent so far to deny employees with facial hair to work for the company. He wanted his workers to tell the story of a perfect and balenced family feeling and nothing must interupt that. If you look at the core values of Disney you see a couple of things that stand out, for instance the line: ” We strive to follow a high standard of excellence.” Of course you can think: ‘sure every company is thriving this’ but as you can see of the moustache example, Walt Disney was really trying to push it that far. You can also see that in the value: ‘We honor and respect the trust people place in us.’

Feedback

My feedback about: http://diyari88.wordpress.com/

1. Lay-out en uitstraling

De lay-out is prima gekozen vind ik. Het is niet kleurrijk en opvallend, maar een beetje grauwig. Dat is in dit geval geen slecht teken want dat hoort ook helemaal niet bij het onderwerp. De achtergrond is ook mooi gekozen omdat de blog zich niet focusst op 1 bepaalde streek of land. De blog gaat juist over de armoede die over de hele wereld is verspreid. De plaatjes horen ook bij het onderwerp dus ook dat is een goed teken.

2. Referenties

De internet sites referentie zijn goed geplaatst. Alleen in het begin, worden foute referenties gebruikt. Bijvoorbeeld bij het nummer van 2pac (wat ik overigens wel een mooi voorbeeld vind), moet meer informatie zoals wanneer het nummer gemaakt is, door welk bedrijf geproduceerd, in welk jaar uitgebracht etc. Ook het interview van Peter Nas mist wat informatie. Voor de rest zijn de referenties prima.

3. Keuze extract

De onderwerpen van de extracten bevallen mij, zo word hier een nummer als voorbeeld gebruikt en daarna een interview. Bij de extracten waar alleen een plaatje word gepost, mag er van mij wel iets meer informatie bij over het plaatje, al is het maar een onderzin. De doelstelling van de blog is bij mij niet 100% duidelijk bij mij. Als ik niet zou weten waar de blog over gaat, zou ik twijfelen tussen de onderwerpen: sloppenwijken verspreid over de wereld of juist over de inovatiefheid en de creativiteit die mensen in sloppenwijken hebben en hoe zit dit uiten met de middelen die ze hebben. Allebei mooie onderwerpen, maar niet helemaal duidelijk wat nu het echte het precieze onderwerp is.

4. Inhoud van het commentaar

Het commentaar gaat over de inhoud van het extract en heeft zeker toegevoegde waarde. Omdat er vaak niet zo heel veel informatie bij de extracten staat zijn de commentaren wel nodig op deze blog om een beeld te krijgen waar het over gaat. De commentaren sluiten aan op de referenties, en vatten ook samen waar de referentie over gaat. Inhoudelijk ben ik het niet eens over het commentaar over de piramide van Maslow. Hierin vertel je dat mensen in de onderste regionen het gelukkigst zijn en dat mensen in de sloppenwijken hier ook onder vallen, maar daar ben ik het niet helemaal mee eens aangezien de 2e stap van boven (self actualization) ook erg belangrijk is en mensen zeker gelukkig maakt. Zelfontplooing is jezelf beter leren kennen, je creativiteit los maken door bv. muziek te maken. Deze dingen kunnen ook gedaan worden door mensen die in sloppenwijken wonen en ik neem aan dat hen hier ook gelukkig van kunnen worden.

5. Schrijfstijl.

De schrijfstijl is erg prettig om te lezen en stoort totaal niet. Woorden zijn goed geformuleerd en hier en daar wordt er ook krachtig geschreven. Niks op aan te merken.

Her feedback about this blog:

1. Lay out: Heel serieus en lichte kleur. Hierdoor krijg je een ander beeld van wat de inhoud kan zijn. Ik zou hier niet geïnteresseerd in raken om de inhoud te gaan lezen, terwijl het eigenlijk over een heel interessant onderwerp gaat.

2. Referenties: Goede referenties gezocht, goed aangegeven.

3. Keuze Extract: Op het begin was de doelstelling niet duidelijk, maar de laatste artikels gaan er wel over.

4. Inhoud van het commentaar: Commentaar heeft zeker toegevoegde waarde, verdieping over het stuk en je eigen visie erop.

5. Schrijfstijl; engels paar spelfouten alleen.

Opmerkingen:

– Cartoons geen religeuze zaken?

– Meer voorbeelden (wordt later beter)

– Dieper op in gaan (invloeden)

– Animating Youth: goed artikel

– Moderne animatie ook educatief?

The Gospel of Disney: Christian values in the early animated classics

The Christian Values of Early Animated Classics

Referentie: Longfellow, Anderson, Philip, The gospel of Disney: Christian values of early animated classics, Augsbergs Fortress Publishers, 2011, 232 p.

Plaatskenmerk: Bibliotheek

Extract: “Anderson looks at nearly 20 animated Disney classics and uses each as a point of departure for discussion of Christian values. Each chapter begins with a biblical quote to set the theme, which Anderson then develops via the Disney story or character spotlighted. Anderson also employs humorous and touching anecdotes as he shows these sometimes all-too-familiar stories and characters in a new light.”

Commentary: This book draws the line between christianity and Disney’s classics, where i talk about the Disney movies as substitute for the religion. Philip Anderson studies 20 Disney movies and begins with a quote from the bible. He sees a lot of parralells between the two and analyses this. The question is of course if childeren can also see the christian side of Disney movies. The childeren watch the movies for their own amusement in the first place, but at the same time the subtle moral values are remembered by the childeren because they have an emotional bond with the movie which they mimic. I dont think they can also translate this to bilblical references, where a adult can analyse these things.

Here is an example of what Philip Anderson writes about in his book:

“For example, Anderson sees parallels between Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, where the evil queen offers Snow White a seductive “wishing apple” (that’s really poisonous), and Genesis 3:1-7, where the serpent tempts Eve with a piece of fruit. But just as love’s first kiss provides the antidote for Snow White, God’s love expressed through Christ’s sacrifice can do the same for mankind.

Anderson’s other explorations are equally illuminating. Peter Pan’s shadow is equated with the influence each of us can have on the people around us, Bambi illustrates the beauty and fragility of creation, and Dumbo’s huge ears show that what we may first regard as a handicap can be a gift from God.”

The gospel according to Disney: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

The Gospel According to Disney.

Referentie: Pinsky, Mark, The gospel according to Disney: faith, trust and pixie dust, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, 286 p.

Plaatskenmerk: Bibliotheek

Extract: ”

Yet the strength of the more recent animation is the growing assertiveness of the girls and young women, perhaps reflecting the growing number of women at the studio, and the respect they now accord different ethnic groups, religions, and nationalities. This has a great deal to do with reflecting changes in the culture at large. And it probably has much to do with Disney’s identification of its target market for such movies.

Disney’s animated features are not a substitute for worship or Sunday school or ethical education. But they are tools in building moral sensibility, and in reinforcing parental and religious values.”

Commentary: This book is exactly what my research is all about. The moral values Disney gives us and maybe our childeren in the future have always been underestimated by modern press and society. The last line summs it al up for me. Of course Disney movies can never replace a full grown religion, but in can still guide us with moral questions between whats wright and wrong. It can give us a better bond with our parents, and teaches us with the do when in perril or danger. The influence and effect is of course underestimated because it is a childeren’s movie, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them.

Can your Disney family vacation be an educational opportunity?

Disney as education?

Referentie: Krock, Adrienne, Mouseplanet, Can your disney vacation be an educational opportunity?, http://www.mouseplanet.com/9557/Can_Your_Disney_Family_Vacation_Be_An_Educational_Opportunity, geraadpleegd op 26-03-2012

Plaatskenmerk: Internet

Extract: “The Walt Disney World Resort is not only a place of family entertainment, but, in some ways, I think there is a certain amount of teachable moments to be had as well. This sort of edutainment can be especially found in places such as Epcot and Animal Kingdom parks. But if the question is related to cross-breeding the vacation with education for the specific purpose of augmenting the classroom environment, I think it all depends on what you want to accomplish.”

Commentary: The example of Adrienne Krock is not so about the movies themselves but the Disney theme park, as a place for childeren to learn. The parks are of course a direct effect of the movies acting as the place where childeren can live the fantasy. But where the education is subtle in the movies, it is a lot harder to put the subtleness in fun attractions. Still Disney tries, because they know of the influence they have on childeren. I rather think they should leave it to subtleness in the movies because childeren just want to have fun while they are at a theme park. When they watch a movie their mind is occupied and the childeren are not aware of the subtle education imprented in the movie.

The Hidden Message of Pixar Movies

Some of Pixar's heroes

Referentie: Munkittrick, Kyle, “The Hidden Message in Pixar Movies”, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/sciencenotfiction/2011/05/14/the-hidden-message-in-pixars-films/, (geraadpleegd op 20-03-2012)

Plaatskenmerk: Internet

Extract: The message hidden inside Pixar’s magnificent films is this: humanity does not have a monopoly on personhood. In whatever form non- or super-human intelligence takes, it will need brave souls on both sides to defend what is right. If we can live up to this burden, humanity and the world we live in will be better for it.

Commentary: This article about Pixar movies tells about the layers that are put in an animated movie. It tells us about friendship, how to be a good person, how to deal and judge about whats good and wrong. Although animated movies are fare from realistic, the unrealistic characters are often more humane then most people are on this planet. Thats often the message of the movies, even if you are a monster, you still can be good. This may sound cheesy and corny, but think about it. When you where young and when you watched cartoons, you listened very well what they where saying and what they where doing. You would mimic that because you wanted to be that certain hero or villian. These lessons can be important for childeren trying to grow up and become balanced persons. The effect of a good childhood is enormous!

Top 25 Animated movies of all time

Top 25 Animated movies: number 6 South Park

Referentie: Pirello, Phil, Top 25 Animated Movies of All Time, IGN, http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/650/650717p1.htmlb, (geraadpleegd op 20-03-2012)

Plaatskenmerk: Internet

Extract: “Not number one, you say? Walt Disney’s ultimate creation? His piece de resistance? That’s right, it’s not number one in our book. Yes, Fantasia is pretty cool, great stuff — a Disney masterpiece, sure, and a milestone in animation and cinema as a whole. But let’s be honest here… It can also be kind of boring at times, cheesy at others, and dated in the worst way here or there (Those freakin’ unicorns? Seriously? And baby unicorns?!).

And yet, there is still so much to praise for the film, even now 70 years since it was released. The episodic, mostly non-narrative epic is of course set to various pieces of classical music, resulting in sequences like the climactic “Night on Bald Mountain” (featuring the awesome demon-creature Chernabog) that are hallmarks of the genre. Technically peerless, featuring animation that is still among the best ever created, the film should be much higher on this list. But those damned unicorns… ”

Commentary: This is a top 25 by a respected site on the subject of all media. It doesn’t only pick american animated movies, but also picks a japanese movie which had a lot of influence in Japan. Also newer movies like The Fantastic Mr Fox also made the list. The Extract above tells us more about Disney’s Fantasia from 1940. In that horrible time, Disney made a masterpiece in the chaos.

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