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The Mouse That Roared
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To many people, the name Disney has become synonymous with childhood innocence and squeaky-clean fantasy. But in this polemical, didactic work, Penn State education professor Giroux (Channel Surfing) charges that Disney is in fact a powerful corporation whose ideologyÄlargely predicated on getting the consumer to buy Disney productsÄis far from innocent. Giroux tackles Disney's theme parks, its recent forays into education and its movies in an attempt to expose how Uncle Walt's legacy is eroding democracy and endangering our nation`s youth. He disparages Disneyland and Disney World for whitewashing history and casting America's past in a nostalgic light, excluding any mention of slavery, civil unrest, racial tension or war. In keeping with this practice of regulation and homogenization, employees are required to dress a certain way, to have their hair a certain length and to adhere to the "Disney philosophy." Disney's movies, argues Giroux, promote sexism and racism ("bad" characters speak with thick foreign accents, or in inner-city jive; female characters, however strong, depend on the men around them for identity) and encourage massive consumer spending while assuming the guise of innocuous family fun. But because children learn increasingly from popular culture, Giroux warns that it is dangerous to ignore the influence of a corporation whose private town, Celebration, dictates the color of its residents' window shades and house paint. The notion of Disney as a corporate, market-obsessed monolith was hilariously expounded last year in Team Rodent, Carl Hiassen's contribution to Ballantine's Library of Contemporary Thought series. In contrast, Giroux's sustained shock and outrage, buried in thickets of dense, academic prose, quickly wear thin. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Henry Giroux 's pioneering spirit of inquiry never ceases to impress. Here he opens our eyes to the messages that consumer mass culture sends to our children, our schools, our homes. What you see is not what you get read this book and learn what that is.--Homi Bhabha
The Mouse that Roared . . . by the eminent cultural critic Henry Giroux . . . is unusually balanced, conceding that Disney's products can be viewed different ways and recognizing the company's occasional good deeds before lowering the boom with an extremely disturbing array of facts gathered from widely disparate sources. . . . Giroux provides invaluable documentation of the company's exploitative labor practices abroad, its censorship of specific authors, its killing of particular ABC news stories and, most troubling of all, its recent efforts to exert influence over public education both within its planned community (Celebration, FL) and beyond.--Jonathan Kalb "New York Press "
Disney is masterly at rewriting history to convey self-serving messages. . . . [Giroux] makes the link between the corporation s use of 'imagineering' and the broad way in which many big companies (through advertising and other promotional material) do all they can to distort either the past or the present in order to make it more likely that people will buy their goods or services.--Peter Marsh "Financial Times "
"The Mouse that Roared" . . . by the eminent cultural critic Henry Giroux . . . is unusually balanced, conceding that Disney's products can be viewed different ways and recognizing the company's occasional good deeds before lowering the boom with an extremely disturbing array of facts gathered from widely disparate sources. . . . Giroux provides invaluable documentation of the company's exploitative labor practices abroad, its censorship of specific authors, its killing of particular ABC news stories and, most troubling of all, its recent efforts to exert influence over public education both within its planned community (Celebration, FL) and beyond.--Jonathan Kalb "New York Press "
[Giroux shows] the danger of the Disney perspective, the vitiating of the impulse to participate in and to question the fundaments of human society and aspirations, suggesting as it does that American civilization has so arrived that its de-individualized participants need only to kick back and enjoy the fantasy of the moment.
Lost in the vast wilderness of 'Disney studies?' Henry Giroux s stunning meditation on what the Disney empire teaches children is like having a compass in the enchanted forest. Like all of his work, he never wanders from his ultimate course: a radical democratic vision. Anyone who hopes to challenge the Imagineering of America and the world and promote an educational culture free of corporate domination must read this book.--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Yo Mama s Disfunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America
Henry Giroux s pioneering spirit of inquiry never ceases to impress. Here he opens our eyes to the messages that consumer mass culture sends to our children, our schools, our homes. What you see is not what you get read this book and learn what that is.--Homi Bhabha, Tripp Professor in the Humanities, University of Chicago
An absolutely fascinating book about our children and commercial culture! A brilliant, lively, and complex analysis by one of the most interesting public intellectuals in the United States and one that is remarkably fair-minded. Giroux does not deny the real delight that Disney brings our children. What he questions, really, are the uses of delight and, at a deeper level, the misuse of innocence. All in all, a freshly written, unusually invigorating book that even fans of Mickey Mouse will find compelling.--Jonathan Kozol, Acclaimed American Author Of Death At An Early Age
Henry Giroux's provocative study interrogates the pedagogy of the Disney empire, dissecting the many ways that Disney films, advertising, theme parks, and products transmit a view of the world, teach us values, and are thus an important vehicle of socialization and education. This excellent study shows us how cultural studies can address key issues of the contemporary world and provide tools of analysis, critique, and contextualization that enable us to gain critical insight into the cultural forces that shape us and to resist their seductive power.--Douglas Kellner, George F. Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education
Henry Giroux has led the way in contemporary cultural studies in insisting on the need to address the critical question of the effects on children of cultural production and representation. Giroux links the cultural messages promoted by Disney Inc. to the corporate economy, exploitative, and exclusionary practices it at once represents and pushes. In doing so, he faces squarely and analyzes uncompromisingly the implication for democratic politics of culture and desire, education and entertainment, representation and responsibility that most critics fail to register, let alone face.--David Theo Goldberg, Director, Humanities Research Institute, University of California, Irvine

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