By Jason Sperb
The Walt Disney corporation bargains an unlimited universe of films, tv exhibits, subject parks, and item, all conscientiously crafted to give a picture of healthy relations leisure. but Disney additionally produced essentially the most notorious Hollywood motion pictures, Song of the South. utilizing comic strip characters and dwell actors to retell the tales of Joel Chandler Harris, SotS portrays a kindly black Uncle Remus who tells stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and the "Tar child" to adoring white youngsters. Audiences and critics alike discovered its depiction of African americans condescending and outmoded whilst the movie opened in 1946, however it grew in popularity—and controversy—with next releases. even if Disney has withheld the movie from American audiences because the past due Eighties, SotS has an enthusiastic fan following, and items of the film—such because the Oscar-winning "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah"—remain all through Disney's media universe.
Disney's such a lot infamous Film examines the racial and convergence histories of Song of the South to provide new insights into how audiences and Disney have negotiated the film's controversies during the last seven a long time. Jason Sperb skillfully strains the film's reception historical past, exhibiting how viewers perceptions of SotS have mirrored debates over race within the higher society. He additionally explores why and the way Disney, whereas embargoing the movie as an entire, has repurposed and repackaged parts of SotS so greatly that they linger all through American tradition, serving as every little thing from cultural metaphors to patron products.
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Extra info for Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence, and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South
Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin defined “remediation” as a process whereby newer media rerepresent and re-produce older media, and vice versa. Grusin and Bolter discuss how emergent media such as the Internet, digital photography, and video games fit within a history of media studies that goes back to television’s recycling of film, film’s adapting of literature, and so forth. In the age of convergence, newer media today are neither ahistorical nor unique to our current historical moment. Moreover, different media remain in tension with one another, regardless of which form they assume.
In short, Song of the South was not typical of other Hollywood films of the time in terms of its depiction of idyllic life on a peaceful Southern plantation. If anything, one could argue that Disney’s film was the first of many nostalgic films after World War II that went out of its way to revive this otherwise dormant, even shunned, subgenre of the Hollywood melodrama. Of course, despite the best efforts of political activists at the time, this was not the end of the story for Song of the South, unlike many nowforgotten films.
This achievement would lead to the passage of various pieces of “Great Society” legislation in Congress. In addition to providing health care and aiding community action programs designed to educate and empower the inner-city poor, the Great Society included laws that were intended to put an end to racial discrimination at the voting booths, within housing policies, and in employment practices. The Great Society was arguably the single biggest legislative achievement in the history of the civil rights struggle for African American causes, and it benefited from widespread support among many white voters.
Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence, and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South by Jason Sperb