Has Mickey Mouse ever been proven evil? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is not a general question about the pros & cons of letting young children watch t.v., this is a specific question about Mickey Mouse & friends, and maybe about other children's t.v. in general.

When I first started letting my LO watch t.v. (which I know has been proven a bad idea for children under 2yo, but I honestly don't know how to get her to sit still in the morning long enough for me to do the final running around before leaving for work/daycare without it!) when I first started, I really really did NOT like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It just seemed boring and a little creepy.

I didn't even turn it on for awhile because of above feelings, but little by little I find that my LO just LOVES the music (they always do at least 2 songs the same every episode) and will just sit transfixed, more so than for any other show targeting small kiddies.

Then just now, on New Years' Eve as I'm about to leave work... I find myself singing "The Hot Dog Song"!!! YIKES! Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog...

And that combined with the level of glee DD gets from the show makes me just worry that each of our brains are being turned to blindly obedient mush and that we'll be in a Stepford Wives-type of robot way by next month!

Have any children's shows ever been shown to have subconscious messaging about products or vacations? Shown to just generally be evil? I'm serious in my questions, even though I'm slightly amused at my panic...
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#2 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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We let our little one watch the old Mickey and Donald stuff. We love it. It is language free (for the most part) and just silly.

I like videos better than tv. It makes me feel better.
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#3 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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Both of my kids love Mickey and it is one of the few shows I let them watch. I like it as it is easy to understand, sweet, and fun. We have all done the hot dog dance together.

Aside from both of my children often acting like crazy, wild, egocentric, psychopaths.... we are all still okay.
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#4 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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There is nothing subtle about Disney. It's rather blatant. After all that's why Disney owns it own cable network. For me, Dylan did watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at age 2. He loved it. And asked for everything shown in the commercials. Didn't mean that I bought any of it.

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#5 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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As far as vacations go...I used to watch the Disney channel growing up and never had an interest in going to Disney until I was 20. My first visit was when I was 24 and I've been 6 times since then...I just turned 30 on the 18th.

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#6 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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Interesting point about the commercials. That is part of the reason I like the show. We tape it on the DVR so there are no commercials before or after and the show is non-stop for 20-25 minutes without any commercials. DS. at age 4, has yet to see a commercial. He knows some disney movie characters from books, but he doesn't watch disney movies, etc.
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#7 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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"Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog" is a They Might Be Giants song. They seem to recently be doing some Mickey Mouse Club things (I haven't seen it I only know one of the cd's we have has a Mickey Mouse song that we always skip)
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#8 of 71 Old 12-31-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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That song is by There Might Be Giants. It's a great song.

My theory on Disney is that they put their rookie writers on the tween/ teen shows-- Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, Jonas Bros, all those annoying shows with stilted dialogue. Then when the writers get more experienced and skilled, they either go to the kid shows like Mickey Mouse, or to the adult shows like Lost.

I have no basis for this theory except that the kid and adult shows are so skillfully written and the tween/ teen shows are so annoying.
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#9 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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Two books will open your eyes to what the big companies will do to gain our kids' brand loyalty and (some say) deliberately cause rifts between the kids and the parents. Born to Buy is one of them and the other is Commercial Kids. And there's an interesting site called Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood: http://www.commercialexploitation.org/

Quick answer to your question: I wouldn't put it past NEW Mickey Mouse to be evil, commercialism-wise. I'd expect it. Stick to the old stuff, on video.It's marvelous.
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#10 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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We watch Mickey and friends every morning. DS has never asked for anything from the show. Now....Disney/Pixar and "Cars" is a whole different story!!! Almost ashamed to say that DS is a walking advertisement. But, he doesn't watch the movie much anymore.

The character I wonder about being evil is "Thomas the Tank Engine". Maybe not so much Thomas himself, but, some of the secondary characters are really mean spirited and I don't like some of the language used.
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#11 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 07:10 AM
 
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Mickey Mouse is totally sending subliminal messages to your kids to eat more nitrates and pig lips. Turn it off immediately.

That being said, DS loved the Wiggles as a toddler and preschooler. I can't tell you how many times I went to work singing the Fruit Salad song. At least they were only brainwashing us to eat more fruit.
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#12 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Landover View Post
Interesting point about the commercials. That is part of the reason I like the show. We tape it on the DVR so there are no commercials before or after and the show is non-stop for 20-25 minutes without any commercials. DS. at age 4, has yet to see a commercial. He knows some disney movie characters from books, but he doesn't watch disney movies, etc.
The whole SHOW is a commercial for the Disney brand and its branded characters.

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And there's an interesting site called Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood: http://www.commercialexploitation.org/
This is an excellent site! Check out the fact sheet on toddlers and TV.

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#13 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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I'm not sure about shows in particular but Disney in general gives me a bad feeling. There are all of those rumors you always here about nazism etc. but my husband and I have a friend in the intelligence dept of the Army who was one of the youngest ever given top secret clearance when we were like 19-20 and he would never tell us anything of course but he did say one time that he had a whole filing cabinet on Disney and we wouldn't believe the kind of stuff they were up to. We haven't spoken to him for a while because he has been doing undercover work in Afghanistan but I trust him still.

That being said my son does watch old school disney movies from time to time like Cinderella.

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#14 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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The whole SHOW is a commercial for the Disney brand and its branded characters.
I would agree, but I still find this less offensive somehow than all the other commercials for toys and cereals than I've seen when I've screened shows on other channels.

We're trying to move away from watching so much tv (mostly me), but on mornings when I've been awake since 4 am with a teething baby or in the evenings when my husband's run out of things to do, we've been known to watch an episode of the Clubhouse or Little Einsteins (also because of the music, clapping and tapping, which our son loves).

Ashamed to say it, but we get a kick out of the Hot Dog song too (and we love the two kid-oriented They Might Be Giants CDs we were just gifted for the holidays).
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#15 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I'd get videos like Kipper before I'd put a toddler in front of Mickey, mostly because there are commercials on that channel, right?

I like the slowness of Kipper.
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#16 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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We watch Mickey and friends every morning. DS has never asked for anything from the show.

I agree. Yes, there are items with Donald, Daisy, etc. on them, but the show itself really isn't an advertisement. My children have watched it, but they've never asked for a single Mickey item, though they've seen them in stores.

LROM, I don't think having a song stuck in your head is a sign of anything other than a catchy tune. It's the same as singing the last song your heard on the radio all day or not being able to get Twinkle, Twinkle out of your head because you sang it on the way to preschool.

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The character I wonder about being evil is "Thomas the Tank Engine". Maybe not so much Thomas himself, but, some of the secondary characters are really mean spirited and I don't like some of the language used.
Thomas was written in the early 1900s by a minister in England. The language and "lessons" really represent that type of religious environment to me. Some are better than others. There definitely are some stories that DS and I discussed after reading that we didn't agree with one facet or another.

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#17 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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There are many things out there that can be considered evil...Mickey Mouse (and kids shows in general) are not.

Annoying? Yes some can be....
Evil....no
Besides there are lots of kids progamming channels that have no advertising per se. I chuckle that whenever Tyr sees a commercial his general reaction is "but mommy we already have that!"

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#18 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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In the old old days someone else could entertain while you did what you need to do.

Have you thought about making music disc? Or a video without commerical?
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#19 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Thomas was written in the early 1900s by a minister in England. The language and "lessons" really represent that type of religious environment to me. Some are better than others. There definitely are some stories that DS and I discussed after reading that we didn't agree with one facet or another.
I knew this and that doesn't bother me, per se. What bothers me about some of the videos are when one character calls another stupid or tells the other one to "shut up".
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#20 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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It's funny you should mention Thomas. That is the ONE brand that I let him watch without restriction (on TAPE....not TV), precisely because I approve of the content, the language the creativity, etc. My son (now 6...but watched it when age 3 and 4) picked up fantastic story-telling skills and good language (i.e. the language is not dumbed-down for kids) from that tape.

We bought all our Thomas tapes via yard sales or else I made them myself via TV when he wasn't looking (he grew up never knowing this stuff could be found on TV, thus I controlled when it was watched), and we only bought the trains and stuff (mostly yard sales and well-to-do relatives at birthday and christmas).....he grew up with me not buying tie-in products for the most part, so he has not learned to make the connection between like-the-movie, buy-the-junk. (we haven't gone to McD's either, so not exposed to the heavy cross-selling there)

But yeah, I thought Thomas taught good lessons. The characters who displayed lousy personality traits always get their come-uppance in the end, or see the error of their ways. And it was not dumbed-down (I thought Bob the Builder was UNENDURABLE for this reason) so my child picked up some good storytelling skills.
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#21 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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LROM, I don't think having a song stuck in your head is a sign of anything other than a catchy tune. It's the same as singing the last song your heard on the radio all day or not being able to get Twinkle, Twinkle out of your head because you sang it on the way to preschool.


I was a music major in College, and one of my professors mentioned a study in which it was proven that the majority of people remember information a lot better when it was set to music. I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was significant how much more they remembered. So just because a song gets stuck in your head does not make it "evil", our brains just remember music more than plain text

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#22 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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It's kind of funny that the OP would ask this question. I think Mickey is probably more subtle today, but he's always been a vehicle for promoting big corporation agenda and yes, actually is evil. All of Disney has not been exactly ethical or moral since its inception. Many people here may not remember, but Disney, and Mickey Mouse were seriously into the ridiculously racist practice of subjecting children to blackface comedy though their cartoons. I remember watching the reruns of these on TV as child. Here is an excerpt from a Wiki article about it:

"U.S. cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s often featured characters in blackface gags as well as other racial and ethnic caricatures. Blackface was one of the influences in the development of characters such as Mickey Mouse.[76] The United Artists 1933 release "Mickey's Mellerdrammer"—the name a corruption of "melodrama" thought to harken back to the earliest minstrel shows—was a film short based on a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin by the Disney characters. Mickey, of course, was already black, but the advertising poster for the film shows Mickey with exaggerated, orange lips; bushy, white sidewhiskers; and his now trademark white gloves."

I don't think Disney has gotten any better in the past 50 years or so. They have always had an agenda that does not sit well with me ethically. They will always do their best to influence our children and even us, through our children, with the big wheel of commercialism. Some parents want to ignore the force that is Disney completely (and many even embrace it totally), and of course it's their prerogative, but I think arming oneself with knowledge will help one to make good decisions about what you want to influence your child.
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#23 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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Mickey Mouse evil. Pshaw.

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#24 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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It's kind of funny that the OP would ask this question. I think Mickey is probably more subtle today, but he's always been a vehicle for promoting big corporation agenda and yes, actually is evil. All of Disney has not been exactly ethical or moral since its inception. Many people here may not remember, but Disney, and Mickey Mouse were seriously into the ridiculously racist practice of subjecting children to blackface comedy though their cartoons. I remember watching the reruns of these on TV as child. Here is an excerpt from a Wiki article about it:

"U.S. cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s often featured characters in blackface gags as well as other racial and ethnic caricatures. Blackface was one of the influences in the development of characters such as Mickey Mouse.[76] The United Artists 1933 release "Mickey's Mellerdrammer"—the name a corruption of "melodrama" thought to harken back to the earliest minstrel shows—was a film short based on a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin by the Disney characters. Mickey, of course, was already black, but the advertising poster for the film shows Mickey with exaggerated, orange lips; bushy, white sidewhiskers; and his now trademark white gloves."

I don't think Disney has gotten any better in the past 50 years or so. They have always had an agenda that does not sit well with me ethically. They will always do their best to influence our children and even us, through our children, with the big wheel of commercialism. Some parents want to ignore the force that is Disney completely (and many even embrace it totally), and of course it's their prerogative, but I think arming oneself with knowledge will help one to make good decisions about what you want to influence your child.
We have the complete collection of Disney shorts on DVD, and I agree that there are some racial "issues". For example, Donald gets hit in the head really hard with a cymbal, it makes his eyes slant "asian" and then plays a stereotype "chinese" tune. That is the kind of thing. Is it ok? No. Is it evil? I don't think so. I think no one would have thought boo about it back then. I don't think it is intentionally prejudiced, just ignorant.
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#25 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I don't think Thomas is much better or worse, just marketed differently and isn't dumbed down like SO MANY other things out there, but since it is mass marketed, we limit our kids exposure. I would rather they see a train and exclaim "Look at the train!" instead if "Look! It's Thomas!". KWIM?

In one of the books we have, the one snotty engine gets a new paint job and another engine says to him "Nice colour, pity about your face though." It's just tossed in there and makes me crack up every time DH gets to that line at bedtime. It's just so...out of the ordinary and unexpected in any children's book!

As for disney, once again - mass marketed. I don't think it's healthy for a child to be so fixated on one particular thing. I think it inhibits their overall development and potentially creates a narrow minded individual.
Thankfully my kids have no interest in TV or movies aside from short clips. Pingu is a favorite around here, 5 minutes max., no offensive language, no hidden marketing, always a "moral to the story", and isn't something they are likely to get obsessed about.

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#26 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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We have the complete collection of Disney shorts on DVD, and I agree that there are some racial "issues". For example, Donald gets hit in the head really hard with a cymbal, it makes his eyes slant "asian" and then plays a stereotype "chinese" tune. That is the kind of thing. Is it ok? No. Is it evil? I don't think so. I think no one would have thought boo about it back then. I don't think it is intentionally prejudiced, just ignorant.
You don't think it's intentionally prejudiced? Do you really think these huge corporations have a mass conscience? While I agree that "Evil" in the sense of spiritual evil is not warranted, they certainly have intentionally and purposely geared their commercial agenda not to make kids' lives happier, but to advance their corporate agenda. They count on people being mis- or uninformed to sell their products. If people took a really hard look at it and evaluated what they are doing, with a knowledgeable and skeptical eye, they would not be the media giant they are. It's surprising to me that so many people are wary of big pharma, but they don't bother to question big media. Business is business. Mickey Mouse is just another tool. He's not evil. Perhaps I overstated that. He's just a tool too. Disney, however, is not trying to make your child a better person. They are trying to hook your child so they can make money.
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#27 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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You don't think it's intentionally prejudiced? Do you really think these huge corporations have a mass conscience? While I agree that "Evil" in the sense of spiritual evil is not warranted, they certainly have intentionally and purposely geared their commercial agenda not to make kids' lives happier, but to advance their corporate agenda. They count on people being mis- or uninformed to sell their products. If people took a really hard look at it and evaluated what they are doing, with a knowledgeable and skeptical eye, they would not be the media giant they are. It's surprising to me that so many people are wary of big pharma, but they don't bother to question big media. Business is business. Mickey Mouse is just another tool. He's not evil. Perhaps I overstated that. He's just a tool too. Disney, however, is not trying to make your child a better person. They are trying to hook your child so they can make money.
No, I do not think that when it was made, in the 40's, it was meant as intentionally hurtful. It was meant as funny, but was ignorant.

Unfortunatly, my child has a handicap that has made her unable to follow dialoge in a cartoon. We have to find entertainment that is understandable without language. The ONLY thing that fits the bill is early Disney shorts, WALL-E, and Pixar shorts.
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#28 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I would also like to say that as a parent of a special needs child, I wrote a letter to Pixar (now Disney) THANKING them for "Finding Nemo", "WALL-E" and their silent shorts. Those movies have made my child's life more enjoyable and I wanted them to know I appreciated it.

BUT they got an earfull when they didn't caption the rental version of "UP"!
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#29 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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Disney is an extraordinarily successful corporation in the entertainment industry. Good for them. Good for capitalism. Does every company that markets things to kids have to be educational or teach morals? Why can't it just be entertainment for entertainment's sake? You know, FUN??? Of course they "target" children and want to get them hooked on their characters. That is their audience, and that's just good business. As parents, we have quite a bit of control over the influence characters have over our children.

Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise sits right next to Disney merchandise at Target, Wal-Mart, etc. And they have a whole section devoted to overpriced train pieces at Toys R Us. If Mickey Mouse is "evil", then so is Thomas the Tank Engine. (And remember a couple of years ago when dozens of Thomas trains were recalled due to lead paint?)

I will be going to evil Disneyland this week, going to evil Mickey Mouse's house with my kids, feeding the evil corporation my money, and I can't wait. Because it's FUN.

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#30 of 71 Old 01-01-2010, 08:32 PM
 
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I will be going to evil Disneyland this week, going to evil Mickey Mouse's house with my kids, feeding the evil corporation my money, and I can't wait. Because it's FUN.

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