I am desperately trying to avoid weighing in on on the weirdo whose unhinged LiveJournal about Disney wokeness was published in the Orlando Sentinel this morning. For reasons that should be fairly obvious to anyone who follows me. However, it feels very important to me to address one specific point he makes in the piece, because it’s a point made over and over by conservatives and it’s really problematic so I want you to be on the lookout for it. It’s a hallmark of a bad-faith argument.
Read this sentence and tell me what it means: “The more Disney moves away from the values and vision of Walt Disney, the less Disney World means to me.” Because I have takes.
Here’s where my mind immediately goes:
The founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.
— Rep. Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) April 22, 2021
As probably millions have quickly and correctly pointed out to Rep. Loychik, “the founders” did not intend for Black folks and women to vote either, yet those things are widely accepted as obviously good and appropriate.
“The founders” also did not necessarily expect the nation to grow beyond the initial 13 colonies, and yet here we are, standing with 50 states, on the precipice of adding another. Maybe.
So, back to our Disney friend. He holds up Disney’s attempts to modernize and update their theme parks as an example of “moving away from the values and vision of Walt Disney.” Hmmmm.
PUTTING ASIDE the, uhm, deeply problematic nature of many of Walt’s “values and vision,” why do we care about them? Why do we expect a company in 2021 to live by the values of a man who died over 50 years ago?
And PUTTING ASIDE the, uhm, deeply problematic nature of many of our Founding Fathers, including the fact that most of them enthusiastically owned slaves, why do we care about their notional intents for the nation they founded?
They’ve been dead for hundreds of years. The world we live in now is *unfathomably complex* compared to the one they inhabited. It’s implausible to think they could have had an answer to every issue we face today. Implausible.
Ultimately, it feels like an abdication, an excuse not to think for yourself. Or, more cynically, an excuse to continue to hold shitty, retrograde, anti-progress viewpoints just because Walt Disney or the Founding Fathers held them, too.
It’s garbage thinking, garbage rhetoric, and I hope this post made the case so we can all be more quick to call it out and publicly shame it.