(RHET 400) Review: Disney Animated Movies – A Magical World

March 18, 2009

Disney Animated Movies – A Magical World is an article that was written by a Kennet Scott on the website articlebase.com. This website is a “free online articles’ directory” that allows non-professional writers to expose their writings to a broader audience. Although, on some level, this website acts as a group-blog, it offers another service: it syndicates the article and gives the author online recognition. Kennet Scott is one out of 86,064 authors who submit their articles to the website. The fact that the article’s location is somewhat unusual lends a certain peculiarity to the article itself, which is evident in the structure, if not necessarily the content.

The article can be considered somewhat unusual because, for one thing, the title of the article does not reflect its content. Though this type of article is usually characterized with garnished titles to lure the reader into reading it, it nevertheless has to maintain a certain level of relevancy. Scott’s title achieved the former but not the latter.

The title, Disney Animated Movies – A Magical World, preps the reader for an article reflecting on the dazzling world of Disney. This reflection could include listing movies to provoke a feeling of nostalgia from the reader, could be reflecting on their usefulness for children, or possibly even attempt an explanation at why they are so popular with children and adults alike.

Scott starts off doing just that: He introduces the reader to Disney throwing one name after another so that the reader immediately relates – Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, Lady and the Tramp, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast. He gives a brief background by pointing out that Disney produces both animated and non-animated movies and, later on, that it also produces movie books. These facts, on the one hand, validate the author’s authority as a Disney movie-watcher. On the other, mentioning the books and the “meaningful songs…[that] expose the child to emotions” brings to the reader’s attention the educational value of the Disney business.

Suddenly, however, he shifts into a discussion about accusations of sexual content in the movies. Granted the author transitions swiftly with an “In spite of the high level of endearment…., there are rumors”, the reader is somewhat caught off-guard (at least I was). Although the “rumors” were brought up to be countered by ridicule and as such strengthen the main point of the argument – that Disney is a Magical World, my reservation still stands that the thrust of the article shifts from one talking about children’s animated movies, books, and songs and their value to one refuting accusations about implicit sexual-content. The added thread is undeniably interesting, yet its inclusion in this article seemed somewhat awkward. Had the article been longer or more comprehensive in its assessment of Disney, this shift would have been only natural, yet in an article limited in both size and scope, I think it throws off the article’s balance.

That said, it could be that the author did that intentionally and that the whole article, including the title (Disney…A Magical World) was meant to be satirical, i.e. the author was mocking the innocence of the movies all along and the final transition into implicit sexual content was just the cherry that topped his pie. But even then, the fact that the reader is left wondering whether he was or was not (being satirical) is in itself a shortcoming that could be held against the author.

Though I maintain my reservation on its unflattering effect, I do understand how bringing in “debauchery” to an article about kids’ movies might be a tacit to hook in a broader audience. The website that this article is located in, as has been mentioned, is “free online articles’ directory” i.e. this site caters a broad range of articles that are not specific to any one subject matter.

Moreover, even though they do categorize articles into subsections depending on the article’s topic – for example the Art & Entertainment subsection under which this article was found, the number of articles submitted is still enormous. An abundance of articles inevitably implies fierce competition and to have an article that stands out, the author need to entice the reader. I believe that “the tower on the cover of The Little Mermaid that resembles the male genitalia, the apparent erection of the priest in the wedding scene of the same movie and the dust taking the form of the word sex in The Lion King” qualify as enticing.

Other than that, the target audience seems to be a western popular audience. Western because references to shows like Sesame Street and Tellytubbies assumes that the audience is familiar with these shows, which is not necessarily the case in the Middle East and probably the Far East as well. One other, more obvious prerequisite for the audience is that they be Disney movie-watchers, for none of the many references to particular scenes would make sense to a non-watcher.
Generally the article was an interesting read and, despite the fact that the information at the end adds a twist, it nevertheless seemed somewhat inappropriate for the size and scope of this article.

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