So last night I was persuaded to watch Disney’s The Lion King for the first time ever. I know it’s meant to be a classic, you know, a modern myth and a watershed moment as far as big-budget animation goes… but it came out in 1994. I was 16 then, and at that age you tend to be reflexively scornful of mass-market blockbusters, and intent instead on making sure the record-store clerk is aware that you knew who the Smithereens were before Kurt Cobain started talking about them (untrue in my case, and yes, it’s consumerism all the way down).
In any case, I watched it a bit too late in life, I guess, or maybe I’m just in a Kosovo state of mind. Though monkey sorcerers and implied polygamy are great and all, I couldn’t help thinking about those hyenas.
You know who I am talking about here: The slavering, undifferentiated mass of barbarians who could not ever be allowed representation within the leonine power-structure? The backward, mindless bundle of flesh and sinew who were permitted only to slither around the polluted wastes at the edge of the kingdom, lest they overwhelm the polity with their destructive impulses and short-sighted demands?
Isn’t this kind of… non-democratic, message-wise? Aren’t these sorts of portrayals dangerous? Don’t we have a bad history with this sort of thing?
Or maybe I’m just old.
Thanks a lot, adulthood. And thanks, the Balkans.