July 22, 2006

Another Reason to Hate Disney

Yesterday M. was baby-sitting a little neighbor girl, whose mother is recovering from surgery. Little Sarah brought over a Winne-the-Pooh book, the colorized, dumbed-down Disney version that must have A.A. Milne spinning in his grave.

M. was reading it to her, and when she came to a page with the Australian children's song "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree," she even pulled up the tune from the recesses of her memory.

Only in this book it was not a "gum tree" (eucalyptus, etc.) It was "oak tree." That's wrong on so many levels. Oaks are not native to Australia, but you can easily imagine that some Disney editor figured that "gum tree" would be confusing to American children. Perhaps they would imagine a tree whose leaves were sticks of chewing gum.

So they changed it, rather than taking an opportunity for education about another part of the world. Let's keep the world brightly colored, simple, and un-challenging. It's the Disney way.

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