Friday, September 07, 2007

Disneyfornication


A few years ago I taught an advertising class at a small liberal arts college in NC. I showed a brilliant expose on the manipulation of our teens by Viacom/MTV/BET and (and by extrapolation, our kids and "tweens" by Disney, "Big Food"--everyone from cereal to candy to juices-- "Big Fast Food" and "Big Toy," in cahoots with other Net, broadcast, cable and gamer media outlets). It was a DVD called The Merchants of Cool, produced by Frontline/PBS (which is why many Republicans hate it). Now, when you manufacture stars from normal flawed 18 year olds in THIS culture to market your products to 8-11 year old girls, make goo gobs of cash, and thus mollify your private equity fund shareholders, debtholders and the financial markets overall (and thus get a bonus that would provide four poor families health coverage for two years), I'd think you'd want some fail-safe mechanism to guard against miscues like theone evidenced in the lovely photo above, authenticated as High School Musical 1, 2 mega-kiddie star Vanessa Hudgens. The scoop now is that she took this photo for her co-star and somehow it got on the Net. See, this "romance" with said other mega-kiddie star from the show, Zac Ephron, was manufactured as a PR gimmick and then became a real teen hormone and money/fame-induced hook-up. What else are two 18 year olds making five grand a week going to do on vacation? hahaha. Yes it is as smarmily calculated as HSM 1 &2 co-star Corbin Blu's racial ambiguity, or Whoopi's statements and Rosie's before that on "The View," the radio jock "Mancow" going "squeaky clean," or anything Karl Rove cooked up for Dubya, or Vick's "apology" or the "outrage" over the OJ and Anna Nicole books...

...yet backfire, yes things often fall apart no matter how much corporations try to control nature, either Mother Earth or humanity. So little Vanessa's now shown to be a typical clueless American teen, as was Lindsay Lohan. Now the Lolita factor carefully calculated by Disney to get the DADS AND OLDER BROTHERS OF THE TWEENS WHO WATCH has literally been "laid bare."

If this photo offends you, GOOD. It should offend you not for me including nudity on this blog, because I blog about culture and politics, etc. no less than books,and this is of public concern. It should offend you for the allegory (my FAVORITE WORD again) of the hypocrisy, greed, manipulation that is the hallmark of our America in this new century, from the White House to Wall Street, from the police to the pulpit, within families and within whole comunities. Interesting how it's utterly appropriate to dress this girl in short shorts and minis and tanks tops for her 11 year old fans, but it's offensive when she's nude. Think on it...

16 comments:

nabila J said...

Wow! TMGN (too much gratuitous nudity). You could have found a blurred photo! You will say it has a point but given what I've gleaned from previous posts--your ironic sense of humour--I think you did this on purpose as well as to make the excellent points in the post, 90% of which I agree with.

I don't agree that these teen actors are simply regular kids who get a little money and fame and then do what comes natural, be it coke and liquor and sex or just exposing themselves to their boy/girlfriends. I think if you receive the right home training and your parents don't see you as a cash cow even though the studio or Disney or MTV do, you will at the very least have to good sense not to let this leak out or resist the temptation to use it as a means to show you are a "badgirl" or "badboy."

lance williams, sr said...

Hail Hail the Lolita factor, bruh!

Lisa said...

OMG!!! So what do I tell my daughter who is not quite a "tweener" at age 6, when this chicky is fired? She's central to the show.

You'd think that Disney, with all the skrilla riding on this franchise, would have told these kids to take the boot knockin' deep deep undercover! This isn't the same thing at Pirates of the Caribbean or Marky Mark in Invincible.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

TSK, TSK Chambers! I know you like to push the envelope, but gee! I agree with nabila. A little pixilation would have gone a long way brother. I see you are trying to appeal to the males with this one.

This is a shame that these "kids" are performing for and being role models to children who are much younger than they are. In reality they can't live up to that standard. At the same time, they are of age and are most-likely having sex and taking nude pictures. Unusual? No. Bad taste and poor judgement? Yes! Lack of guidance? Probably.

I have one niece who is 18, and I can say for sure that she would not take nude pictures for her boyfriend. She thinks that is crazy. I also have another niece who is only 7 and loves high school musical. How indeed to explain to these young children where this chick has gone, and why?

She should know better.

Anonymous said...

Disney will keep her and try to spin, Bush style, the private life f-ups of the cast. It's got the parents and kids zombie-fied into slavish devotion. Have you seen the interviews so far? "We stand by Vanessa!" say the parents. "The show's our best babysitter ever and love to buy our ten year old provocative clothes to match!" It's sad.

Hathor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hathor said...

Lolita? This is not a child in most places. She is old enough to take responsibility for her actions. Maybe a hard lesson learned if she were fired. It is not unusual to even have older young adults play high schoolers.

I think that the corporate world should not make these people icons to the "tween" world. I got so sick of Brittany making a marketing coup out of virginity.

America worships the Lolita and I think that they really want to turn out that in the young female. They want girls not women, for fear feminist will take over and deny men what they want.

I remember a famous Brazilian children's TV show, with Xuxa being half naked. Didn't seem to bother the Brazilians.

Anonymous said...

My question is why parents settle for this? You can lobby for less bubblegum and hype without sounding like a Bible-thumper, eh?

byrdparker said...

It's disgusting !!! I agree with you whole heartedly on this Mr Chambers ,. No Tv for kids . Disney has leaked the picture to the net , and made up that romance , when most of the major enfotainment blogs are saying the boy is Zac eff gay . But I digress the real tragedy here is Vanessa Hudgens , and all the young kids that watch her and idolize her .. Boycott Disney ///

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I like how you summed up everything that is wrong with our culture in 2007.

brilliant.

Anonymous said...

to hell with disney, tell me more about "the darker mask."

Lola Gets said...

The Disney Company has never been a bastion of innocence, so this "scandal" doesnt suprise me at all.
L

Anonymous said...

Apparently more photos are coming out. So under your universe, you're saying you wouldn't even be surprised if the boy or her leaked them?

Anonymous said...

Some commenters here have asked, "What do we tell the children?" In our house, when "Eddie" from Disney's "That's So Raven!" got busted with a large quantity of pot, and "Chelsea" from the same show caught a DUI case, I told my 8-year-old about it as a cautionary tale.

Kids get stars in their eyes when they see these other (legal-adults-playing)-kids on TV, and it's important that they know that it's not all or even mostly sunshine and roses for the majority of these actors.

Kid TV shows and movies are objects of consumption, just as much as a Big Mac is. If kids are going to be consumers, we should teach them to be savvy, even cynical consumers.

The look on a child's face when she first "gets" that Stuff They Say on commercials isn't necessarily true: priceless.

~Deesha

I am not Star Jones said...

so glad you ran the photo. Parents need to wake up to what is truly going on and if you have to show it to them, so be it.

Amen to this post.

Anonymous said...

The most surprising thing about that photo is that it doesn't offend me...or titillate me. She's 18, naked, and totally neutral looking. Not sexy at all.