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2 Reasons Why Meryl Streep Smeared Walt Disney as an Antisemite and ‘Gender Bigot’

A strange attack during an awards announcement leads this collection of 10 headlines from Thursday, January 9, 2014.

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

January 9, 2014 - 6:30 pm

This is Week 1, day 4 of my New 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media I encounter each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com.

1. Fox News: Meryl Streep calls Walt Disney ‘gender bigot,’ Disney family organization fires back

According to Variety, Streep was presenting fellow actress Emma Thompson with the organization’s Best Actress award for her portrayal as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in the film “Saving Mr. Banks.” Along the way, Streep called Thompson “a beautiful artist” and “practically a saint.” And then she turned her attention to Disney, played in “Banks” by Tom Hanks.

Disney’s reputation has long been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism, but Streep focused most of her attention on Disney’s treatment of women, calling the legendary impresario a “gender bigot” and quoting longtime Disney animator Ward Kimball, who said his boss “didn’t trust women or cats.”

Streep also accused Disney of supporting “an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group,” believed to be a reference to the Motion Picture Alliance, and quoted a letter purportedly written by Disney’s company to an aspiring female animator which read, in part “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”

Late Wednesday night, the Walt Disney Family Museum fired back at the actress via their Twitter account, suggesting that Streep needed to get her facts straight.

As usual, the attempts to defend Walt Disney from the Marxist disinformation that has dogged him since the early 1940s are inadequate. Nobody has yet to explain coherently how and why these rumors emerged in the first place. I’ve been piecing together the story the past few months in my research through the different Disney biographies and offer a few highlights at the end of today’s link round-up. I’m not finished with my research yet — there are still several more books I need to finish reading — but it doesn’t take long to find the names of the ones responsible.

2. From the Korea Herald, via the Epoch TimesKoreans become more conservative

Progressives are often associated with being doves in South Korea’s North Korea policies while conservatives are associated with taking strong national defense postures against the Stalinist regime.

The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs survey was conducted between January and June of 2013, as North Korea was escalating tensions by conducting a rocket launch in December 2012 and a nuclear test in February 2013. Kim Jong-un then unprecedentedly closed the inter-Korean Gaeseong Industrial Complex in April 2013.

“Our society itself has become increasingly conservative,” said Bae Jong-chan, chief director at Research and Research, an opinion survey company.

3. Today at PJ Lifestyle from Charlie Martin, exploring a theme I wrote about in September 2012 in a more optimistic way than I did: Is Phone Sex a Sign of Conscious Thought?

Her carries it on a little further, when the main character falls in love with the personality that serves as the front end for a new operating system. They eventually consummate their love in what is supposed to be a rather steamy, and apparently mutually satisfying, episode of what’s a whole new meaning of “phone sex.” (I say “supposed to be” because I haven’t seen the movie yet; in any case, this isn’t a review of the movie.)

So here’s a question for you: when Samantha, the operating system’s personality, has an orgasm, is it real or is she faking it?

4. Hat tip to Charlie’s piece for reminding me of this David Gelernter essay in Commentary that I mostly disagree with but that still has some worthwhile points and is admirable in stylistic dazzle, as is to be expected from the author: The Closing of the Scientific Mind

The Kurzweil Cult.

The voice most strongly associated with what I’ve termed roboticism is that of Ray Kurzweil, a leading technologist and inventor. The Kurzweil Cult teaches that, given the strong and ever-increasing pace of technological progress and change, a fateful crossover point is approaching. He calls this point the “singularity.” After the year 2045 (mark your calendars!), machine intelligence will dominate human intelligence to the extent that men will no longer understand machines any more than potato chips understand mathematical topology. Men will already have begun an orgy of machinification—implanting chips in their bodies and brains, and fine-tuning their own and their children’s genetic material. Kurzweil believes in “transhumanism,” the merging of men and machines. He believes human immortality is just around the corner. He works for Google.

Whether he knows it or not, Kurzweil believes in and longs for the death of mankind. Because if things work out as he predicts, there will still be life on Earth, but no human life. To predict that a man who lives forever and is built mainly of semiconductors is still a man is like predicting that a man with stainless steel skin, a small nuclear reactor for a stomach, and an IQ of 10,000 would still be a man. In fact we have no idea what he would be.

5. Openculture.com: An Introduction to the Political Philosophy of Isaiah Berlin Through His Free Writings & Audio Lectures

Berlin was enormously prolific, in print as well as in recorded media, and we have access to several of his lectures online. One radio lecture series, Freedom and its Betrayal, examined six thinkers Berlin identified as “anti-liberal.” Perhaps foremost among these was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his lecture on Rousseau above (continued here in Parts 2345 & 6), Berlin elaborates on his important distinction between types of liberty, a theme he returned to again and again, most famously in a lecture, eventually published as a 57-page pamphlet, called “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Berlin adapted much of the ideas in these lectures from his Political Ideas in the Romantic Age—written between 1950 and 1952 and published posthumously—a text that Berlin called his “torso.”

6. Book reading from this morning, Ann Coulter’s Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism:

“It is a fact that hundreds of agents of this blood-soaked ideology became top advisors to Democratic presidents, worked on the Manhattan Project, infiltrated every segment of the United States government.” – page 34

"It is a fact that hundreds of agents of this blood-soaked #ideology became top advisors to Democratic presidents, worked on the Manhattan Project, infiltrated every segment of the United States government." - #AnnCoulter page 34 of Treason: #Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the #War on #Terrorism #freedom #america #democrat #republican #communism #history

7. Noah Rothman at Mediatite: Dershowitz: Christie Should ‘Lawyer Up,’ Prepare for Criminal Prosecution over Bridgegate

Lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz appeared on CNN on Thursday where he insisted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could be held criminally liable for the death of a 91-year-old woman who passed away after being caught in traffic resulting from the closure of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013. Dershowitz said that prosecutors could hold Christie liable for “willful negligence” and recommended that he be prosecuted in New York because of the governor’s “history of taking revenge.”

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin noted that Dershowtiz has already recommended that Christie “lawyer up” and prepare to face criminal prosecution over his involvement in the bridge closure. His argument centers on the death of a 91-year-old woman, but he also said that many others may have suffered as a result of the New Jersey government’s actions.

“Clearly the people who originated the traffic jams and approved them are guilty and probably guilty of crimes,” Dershowitz asserted. “Their actions led directly to very significant harms, particularly if they can demonstrate that the woman died as a result of the traffic jam.”

8. The Algemeiner: Actress Meryl Streep Blasts Walt Disney as Anti-Semitic; ZOA Condemns Actress Emma Thompson

Ironically, Streep’s nine-minute speech was to honor the actress who portrayed ‘Mary Poppins’ creator P.L. Travers in The Walt Disney Company’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’  Emma Thompson, who the Zionist Organization of America denounced on Thursday for her letter in the Guardian advocating for a boycott of Israel’s Habima Theater troupe, which is to perform later this year at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, in London.

Hat tip to Roger L. Simon.

9. Noah Rothman again at Mediaite: Press Agonizes over ‘Culture’ of Christie’s Admin After Dismissing ‘Culture’ of Obama’s White House

Follow the most fair-minded media critic online at twitter here: @NoahCRothman He’s one of the best non-ideological writers analyzing politics and the media.

10. Forbes: Is Meryl Streep’s Disney-Bashing Just Oscar Season Mudslinging?

It is perhaps a leap to believe that Ms. Streep intentionally set out to trash Walt Disney in a publicized speech with the implicit intention of harming Ms. Thompson’s Oscar hopes and thus raising her own chances of securing a nomination, with the side effect of boosting The Weinstein Company’s August: Osage County‘s box office as it expands this weekend. But Oscar season is one rife with politics and skulduggery, one where how a film is perceived morally is as important as how its perceived critically. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio aren’t working overtime to convince everyone that Paramount’s The Wolf of Wall Street is not an endorsement of Mr. Jordan Belfort for fun. And those unheroic allegations about the real Captain Phillips didn’t materialize out of thin air, much to Sony’s chagrin.

Streep’s news-making reiteration of Walt Disney’s long-alleged sins, in a speech intended to honor Emma Thompson, helps Streep while hurting Thompson. It would no different than Viola Davis giving a toast of Meryl Streep in January 2012 where she scathingly criticized the conservative politics of Margaret Thatcher. Ms. Streep’s Oscar chances and August: Osage County‘s box office prospects are now improved while Ms. Thompson’s Oscar hopes and thus Saving Mr. Banks‘s box office prospects (doing well with $60m domestic thus far but with much to gain from Oscar traction) are harmed.

Yes, that rationale makes enough sense. But who was actually behind the smears of Walt Disney that Streep is recycling in her campaign for another Oscar? And why do these rumors persist so long after Disney’s death? Who is to blame? In my New Year’s Resolutions list last week I announced my intent to finish researching it this year:

New year's resolution 5: to intensity my study of #disney culture, for the next 2 weeks I will have #Disney films and documentaries and #cartoons on in background the whole time I am working. This is experiment that I will then apply to others. I need to train myself to dig deeper into the history of media and culture to find old gems and new realizations. So much that is old can be made new again.

Disney himself was convinced Communists were behind the smears of him. Page 170 of Bob Thomas’s Walt Disney: An American Original excerpts a 1941 statement he made to a newspaper columnist about the lies printed against him at the time which still haunt him even today half a century after his death.

Walt #Disney was convinced Communists were behind the smears of him. Page 170 of Bob Thomas's Walt Disney: An American Original excerpts a 1941 statement he made to a newspaper columnist about the lies printed against him at the time which still haunt him even today half a century after his death. #Communist #disinformation sticks around.

Last year I read these two Disney biographies that promote the closet-Nazi smear:

My Disney Disinformation research is almost complete. I've now figured out the person most responsible for the smear of Disney as a Nazi-sympathizing antisemite...

I suspect this passage from page 211 of Leonard Mosley’s Disney’s World of being Soviet disinformation. It offers unsourced allegations and a fake sounding quote also without source. The way the smears of Disney appear match a number of the patterns that Ion Mihai Pacepa described in his book Disinformation about how the KGB sought to frame iconic figures after their deaths. Smearing of Pope Pius, Lyndon Baines Johnson (for JFK’s death), and Nicolae Ceausescu’s political enemies mirror the attacks on Disney.

I suspect this passage from a Disney biography of being Soviet Disinformation. Page 211 of Leonard Mosley's Disney's World offers unsourced allegations and a fake sounding quote also without source. The way the smears of Disney appear match a number of the patterns that Ion Mihai Pacepa described in his book Disinformation about how the KGB sought to frame iconic figures after their deaths. Smearing of Pope Pius and LBJ and Ceausescu's political enemies similar to the attacks on Walt #Disney.

“[Arthur] Babbitt evolved into a leftist intellectual given to a preachy style of speechmaking that many found grating.” – Steven Watts, page 217 of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life. This animator was Walt Disney’s arch-nemesis who led the strike against the studio. He hated Disney his whole life after the bitter strike at the studio. In Marc Eliot’s Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince he is the source of the claim that Disney attended Nazi meetings. He was telling that as late as 1990, when Eliot conducted the interview. So for 25 years after Disney’s death he was smearing his old capitalist boss.

"[Arthur] Babbitt evolved into a #leftist intellectual given to a preachy style of speechmaking that many found grating." - Steven Watts, page 217 of The #Magic Kingdom: Walt #disney and the #american Way of Life. This #animator was Walt Disney's arch nemesis who led the strike against the studio. He hated Disney his whole life. In Marc Eliot's Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince he is the source of the claim that Disney attended Nazi meetings. He was telling that as late as 1990, when Eliot conducted the interview. So for 25 years after Disney's death he was smearing his old #capitalist boss.

The animators who led the strike against Disney were influenced by “the leftist culture of the Popular Front in California” according to page 207 of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life:

The animators who led strike against Disney were influenced by "the leftist culture of the Popular Front in California" according to page 207 of The Magic Kingdom: Walt #Disney and the #American Way of Life by Steven Watts

A few years ago a novel that depicts Disney in his final days as a racist, antisemite, and sexually deranged narcissist was released. I read it recently and in addition to the attacks on Disney as a bigot it also recycles Babbitt’s whining about his boss not really deserving as much credit as he got and not being a real artist:

I finished it. Absolutely terrible and meaningless nihilism. The techniques of Disinformation are all over it. The blending of seemingly official material and apparent factual research with outright fabrications. Having read the various #Disney biographies recently I can see which aspects of the Disney smears he cribs from. And it's as though the ghost of Arthur Babbitt haunts the book. It almost gets repetitive the way his style of grievances about credit are repeated and exaggerated repeatedly. Sad that it's been made into an opera that will further spread the Communist smears of one of the 20th century's greatest Americans... #history #film #freedom

It has been recently turned into an opera — thus matching the technique used to smear Pope Pius with The Deputy play: aim at the high-brow intelligentsia and then just let the smear filter down to the masses.

What is it about Disney and his films that has driven Communists, progressives, and the elite of today’s Hollywood so mad for so long? I have my ideas about how Disney embodied the traits of Americanism in action more boldly and visibly than any other entrepreneur or entertainer in the 20th century. But there are still more books to read before coming to any conclusions.

Among the next titles on my list is what’s regarded as a more measured — but still Marxist — anti-Disney critique focused more specifically on what culture his films, TV shows, and theme parks actually promoted. So in the coming weeks and months I’ll hope to dive into The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney

5 books from my #Disney research pile. #hollywood #history

See At PJ Media:

Andrew C. McCarthy: Will Contrite Christie Save Combative Christie?

J. Christian Adams: NAACP Lawyer: ‘Absolutely My Honor to Represent Mumia Abu Jamal’

Bryan Preston: MUST-SEE VIDEO: Meet Scott Turner, the Former NFL Defensive Back Who Tackles Today’s Entitlement Mentality

Bridget Johnson: Christie Rolls Some Heads, Says He’s ‘Heartbroken’ by ‘Betrayal’ of Staff in Bridge Scandal

Bridget Johnson: CNN Host Grills Wasserman Schultz About Thinking Christie’s Hiding Something While Obama Always Claims to Be in the Dark

Mike McNally: Gangster Whose Shooting by Police Sparked London Riots Was Lawfully Killed, Jury Rules

PJTV’s Trifecta on Colorado and ‘Getting High in the Highest State’ (Video)

And Also At PJ Lifestyle Today:

Bonnie Ramthun: The Slacker Manifesto

PJ Lifestyle Cute Animals: What Ivan The Cat Used to Do When I Needed to Get My Work Done

Kathy Shaidle: The Once-Unimaginable Occurs: David Bowie Turns 67

Chris Queen: Disney’s Tasty, Controversial Turkey Legs

Susan L.M. Goldberg: Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth

Becky Graebner: Your Feel-Good Youtube Video for Thursday

PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: A Michigan Polar Vortex Sunrise Courtesy of Dave Forsmark

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Babbitt was almost pathologically anti-Disney and is thus eminently impeachable as a source. The stories of Disney and the Bund come exclusively from Babbitt and no other evidence has ever substantiated the claim. Quite the contrary ...

Identifying Jews as Jews in that day was simply typical and shouldn't be strained through the over-the-top sensitive PC filter of today's politics. As a small indicator, the Sherman brothers who play such a large role in the recent Saving Mr. Banks were particular favorites of Walt Disney, and they were Jewish. Robert Sherman is briefly identified with a bum leg, a result of being "shot", but in fact he was shot in the leg while in the Army in World War II at about the same time that he was part of the patrol that initially discovered Dachau.

If Walt Disney was anti-Semitic, imagine the irony of the company being so involved and taken over by Saul Steinberg, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Ovitz and Robert Iger.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the late '60s and early '70s, the black sequences were edited out of most films shown on television---they were "racial stereotypes," and tender eyes had to be shielded from them. The superb Ivie Anderson sequence from "A Day At the Races" was un-viewable for about ten years; the "Amos 'n' Andy" show vanished, etc., etc. Even today, films like "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather" carry groveling apologies for their "attitudes."

It's disgusting. Our loss of the freewheeling humor of past decades, with its ethnic stereotypes, lapses into drag, etc., shows how far the meanspirited puritan termites of political correctness have devoured and hollowed out our society.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having the Big Bad Wolf dress up as a Jewish peddler was NOT "antisemitism"; in the terms of the day, it was multiculturalism.

Movies of the late '20s and early '30s are full of Jewish references, homosexual references, black references, etc. These are considered to be INCLUSIVE. The best example is the "I'm Laughing" number from the film "Stand Up and Cheer," in which Warner Baxter is appointed Secretary of Entertainment to help America laugh its way out of the Depression.

The "I'm Laughing" number has an obviously Jewish verse; an obviously Irish verse; an obviously "hayseed" verse; several "workingman" verses; a chorus girl verse that refers to the chorus girls' "round heels" (a reference both to worn shoes and to the girls' easy virtue), and concludes with a black church-revival scene presided over by blackface comic Aunt Jemima (Tess Gardella), a star of the time.

This was an attempt to INclude people. So was James Cagney's scene speaking Yiddish in the opening of "Taxi"; so was Eddie Cantor's hilarious "Moe the Tailor" sketch in the film "Glorifying the American Girl." It is absurd to equate the use of stereotypes with anti-(fill in the blank) bigotry.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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I once spoke to an amusement park king, a religious Jew who fasted Mondays and Thursdays during the winter, a custom not so common these days. He felt that Disney was anti-Semitic because of the decision he made in awarding the hat concession (Mickey Mouse caps). This did not personally convince me- if there were two candidates ,there could be lots of reasons.

But I think the jury is out on the accusations; while the KGB certainly was behind a lot of disinformation (especially attacking the CIA), there was a lot of soft anti-Semitism in those days, in universities, hospitals, and corporations. And, of course, Henry Ford was notorious and his publications are still sold in Islam.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Her calumny will have its way with her.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Streep fails to understand that the 1930s and 1940s were a lot different than they are today. Of course, she has an inflated opinion of herself, probably partly fueled by her testifying as an "expert witness" before Congress on a farm issue because she happened to portray a farmer's wife in a movie. If enough sycophants tell you that you are wise and great, you eventually start to believe it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Much of the criticism of Disney is likely because of his anti-union stance. That many of the union supporters and agitators in his company were communist Jews was not his fault.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Were they "communist Jews" or "Jewish Communists"? I doubt that very many of them were religious.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neil Gabler's biography of Disney is also less than flattering, and reads as though Gabler has an axe to grind.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't read Gabler straight through yet. I've checked it out from the library a few times for research but haven't focused on it. Chris Queen has voiced his criticisms of it and I tend to agree. From what I've read it's kind of a narcissistic book -- the author really injects a lot of himself into it instead of focusing on his subject. And he draws from unreliable sources like Eliot. I need to finish reading Michael Barrier's biography - it seems to be the most balanced and professional so far.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Babbitt was almost pathologically anti-Disney and is thus eminently impeachable as a source. The stories of Disney and the Bund come exclusively from Babbitt and no other evidence has ever substantiated the claim. Quite the contrary ...

Identifying Jews as Jews in that day was simply typical and shouldn't be strained through the over-the-top sensitive PC filter of today's politics. As a small indicator, the Sherman brothers who play such a large role in the recent Saving Mr. Banks were particular favorites of Walt Disney, and they were Jewish. Robert Sherman is briefly identified with a bum leg, a result of being "shot", but in fact he was shot in the leg while in the Army in World War II at about the same time that he was part of the patrol that initially discovered Dachau.

If Walt Disney was anti-Semitic, imagine the irony of the company being so involved and taken over by Saul Steinberg, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Ovitz and Robert Iger.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"If Walt Disney was anti-Semitic, imagine the irony of the company being so involved and taken over by Saul Steinberg, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Ovitz and Robert Iger."

Can't say anything about Katzenberg, Steinberg, or Ovitz, but I'm pretty sure Disney letting Iger and Eisner work at Disney, not to mention take it over, proved to be a very big mistake for the company. Right now, thanks to them, Disney's being viewed as a progressive company pushing left-wing agendas, probably as early as 1992 (The Little Mermaid was still right-wing in its message ultimately, so Beauty and the Beast would have to apply here.). That's not even getting into their sickening dithering to the Clintons regarding The Path to 9/11's first release and any future releases, as well as their creating/continuing Gay Days at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney's really spinning in his grave right now, and now I'm not sure whether there IS any method to quell the madness thanks to Diane Miller's death. Is there any way to stop them?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Identifying Jews as Jews in that day was simply typical."

Absolutely. So was banning them from country club memberships, withholding promotion, limiting Jewish immigration, and so on. Institutional antisemitism in the US and Canada pretty much collapsed following the Holocaust, but was a common and largely unexamined part of the cultural landscape until then.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Although not unknown. The did have "Gentleman's Agreement", the book and movie.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's also the canard about Disney having received a dishonorable discharge from the service. He tried to join the army in World War I but was refused for being underage. He then went to France as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disney was a Red Cross ambulance driver in WWI? That puts him in company with the far-left Ernest Hemingway and the then-left, later-right-wing, John Dos Passos, both ambulance drivers.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great comments! Thanks!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Much appreciated! I tweeted it out.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Women have claimed that they don't have to answer to men so why should men have to answer to the ugly Streep?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm looking through the sources you cite above for anything of relevance to Meryl Streep's comments on gender or anti-semitism, and I'm not seeing it. Can you point more directly to the relevant rebuttal? Thanks.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
My quotations from 4 different Disney biographies indicating that loudmouth leftist animator Arthur Babbitt was the one telling the pro-Nazi smears about Disney as late as the 1990s is not an adequate rebuttal for you that the charges are bogus?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
My own take on Disney's anti-Semitism is that it was real, but not particularly remarkable for the day, and had nothing to do with any affection for Hitler. We forget nowadays that casual antisemitism was very much part of North America's cultural landscape right up until the fifties, and that cultural stereotypes like Disney's original Big Bad Wolf (who in the first versions of the short was dressed as a Jewish pedder and had a pronounced Yiddish accent) were common. His famous meeting with Leni Riefenstahl was a meeting between master film-makers, not political allies.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Big Bad Wolf cartoon and Riefenstahl meetings are evidence of nothing. I haven't found any credible evidence that Disney was racially bigoted. That he had pre-feminism attitudes toward gender is a non-issue given all the thousands (tens of thousands?) of women who have launched and grown their career through the company he founded.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, I agree (as I said) that the Riefenstahl meetings are evidence of nothing. The Big Bad Wolf as a Jewish peddler with a Yiddish accent is, to me, indicative that Disney was probably about as anti-Semitic as your average North American of the period, an era in which anti-Semitic attitudes were freely broadcast by some of the most popular folks of the day. I don't condemn him for it, nor am I surprised by it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having the Big Bad Wolf dress up as a Jewish peddler was NOT "antisemitism"; in the terms of the day, it was multiculturalism.

Movies of the late '20s and early '30s are full of Jewish references, homosexual references, black references, etc. These are considered to be INCLUSIVE. The best example is the "I'm Laughing" number from the film "Stand Up and Cheer," in which Warner Baxter is appointed Secretary of Entertainment to help America laugh its way out of the Depression.

The "I'm Laughing" number has an obviously Jewish verse; an obviously Irish verse; an obviously "hayseed" verse; several "workingman" verses; a chorus girl verse that refers to the chorus girls' "round heels" (a reference both to worn shoes and to the girls' easy virtue), and concludes with a black church-revival scene presided over by blackface comic Aunt Jemima (Tess Gardella), a star of the time.

This was an attempt to INclude people. So was James Cagney's scene speaking Yiddish in the opening of "Taxi"; so was Eddie Cantor's hilarious "Moe the Tailor" sketch in the film "Glorifying the American Girl." It is absurd to equate the use of stereotypes with anti-(fill in the blank) bigotry.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those are good points. For some reason Laurel and Hardy are just comedy but a black version is racism.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the late '60s and early '70s, the black sequences were edited out of most films shown on television---they were "racial stereotypes," and tender eyes had to be shielded from them. The superb Ivie Anderson sequence from "A Day At the Races" was un-viewable for about ten years; the "Amos 'n' Andy" show vanished, etc., etc. Even today, films like "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather" carry groveling apologies for their "attitudes."

It's disgusting. Our loss of the freewheeling humor of past decades, with its ethnic stereotypes, lapses into drag, etc., shows how far the meanspirited puritan termites of political correctness have devoured and hollowed out our society.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess we'd need to agree on what "antisemitism"means in the context of this discussion. The promotion of a negative stereotype (a mock-Jewish peddler whose goal is to slaughter the three little pigs) doesn't seem particularly benign to me. But I think we basically agree: I see no evidence to suggest that Disney was any more anti-semitic than a lot of folks of the day, and probably less so than people like Lindbergh or Father Coughlin.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The idea of a 'Jewish' wolf dealing with pigs doesn't strike anyone as an inside joke?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're suggesting he wouldn't have eaten them after all? :)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very well said. Many thanks.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
BTW, speaking of Riefenstahl, the closing sequence of "Stand Up and Cheer" deserves to be viewed together with Reifenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." "Triumph" features a number of "work brigades" in serried ranks---youths stripped to the waist holding shovels to symbolize how Hitler was putting people back to work, etc. These work brigades are very reminiscent of the Weimar-era photos of August Sander, who did pictures of "typical Germans" in many different professions.

The closing sequence of "Stand Up and Cheer" features rank upon rank of people dressed in the characteristic garb of their trades---bakers, farmers, workingmen---marching together and singing "We're Out of the Red." Aesthetically, it is Reifenstahl gone Hollywood.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Streep criticized Disney for alleged anti-semitism, and for attitudes on gender. Your excerpts seem to address his attitudes vis-a-vis labour relations.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, my excerpts address how during the Labor Strike his communist animators set about to smear him. And one of them - Art Babbitt - was still doing it as late as 1990 in Marc Eliot's Disney smear book.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, your excerpts address allegations about labour practices. No, they do not address allegations about his anti-semitism or gender attitudes.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
This post shows that Disney has long been the subject of slander by the left.

If you want a more specific rebuttal about Disney's sexism go here: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/01/10/debunking-the-disney-disinformation/?singlepage=true

The default response about any claim of bad character/malice by a leftist/progressive/whatever about a non-leftist should be one of immediate dismissal.

If a leftist says a conservative hates women/blacks/gays anybody we should not try to defend but simply say "you are a leftist hence you have no standing or credibility"
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gosh, that won't lead to many interesting discussions.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The labor practice allegations were blended with the fascist allegations and come from the same source who is untrustworthy for the reasons I have provided. The gender attitudes issue is irrelevant. Nobody cares that Walt Disney was a typical man of the period. But it's a big deal if he was an evil man at heart.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The gender attitudes issue is irrelevant."

Not if we're discussing Streep's assertion about gender attitudes. But again, was Disney notably more sexist than the bulk of the male population of the day? Dubious.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're compartmentalizing this whole issue into separate smears and not recognizing these are all just pieces of the same Marxist disinformation effort to smear the most creative American entrepreneur of the 20th century.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shrug. I have a high regard for Disney as a creative force and an entrepreneur, and I think he was probably as antisemitic as many north Americans of his era. I suspect Streep is viewing him through a twenty-first century social filter (I assume - I really don't know what she's referring to), and that's pointless.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
He's impeaching the source of the allegations.

I'll go further -- Babbitt was likely saying these things under the direction of the CPUSA and through them, the Soviets.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, that's the challenge with disinformation -- trying to figure out if someone is actively going with Soviet orders, or if they're further down the chain and are just promoting/creating disinformation independently. We can see the patterns but it's hard to determine their origins given the nature of Disinformation to take on a life of its own once it's been unleashed. So it's hard to say whether Babbitt was smearing Disney with the guidance of the Soviets, domestic Communists, or if it was just left-leaning labor practices, or how much of it was genuinely personal.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Was she auditioning for a time slot on MSNBC?

What the hell is it with these actors that they just *have* to make some comment of other that proves its better to keep your mouth shut and let the world think you a fool than to open your yap and remove all doubt?


35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have you read Ben Shapiro's Primetime Propaganda? They think they're saving the world through their movies and celebrity activism.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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