Book Review - The Gospel According To Disney by Mark I. Pinsky
As I've mentioned before, I'm a Disney addict. So it was understandable when I picked up The Gospel According To Disney - Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust by Mark I. Pinsky. As usual in these types of books, I was somewhat disappointed...
Pinsky is the religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, and he's also written The Gospel According To The Simpsons (which I haven't read). In the Disney book, he first looks at the Disney organization and attempts to determine what the company religious views are. That can mean anything from the company's view of life to how they tolerate organized religion. This information then provides the backdrop for the majority of the book, which is a review of the company's animated films and what religious concepts are woven into them. The last couple of chapters examines the Disney theme parks and the Baptist boycott in the light of religious themes.
Now I have a bias here myself. I don't go to Disney films to gain religious instruction or insight. I go to be entertained. And while there are lessons to be learned in films, it's also easy to superimpose a personal view or bias and then interpret everything in that light. Unfortunately, I feel that's what is happening in this book. Since Pinsky is looking to find religious thought in each film, everything that appears is colored by that expectation. It's very possible that what he sees is really there and was really intended. But all too often I felt as if the explanation was possible only because you were looking for it. I'm sure if an organization like PETA were to write a book like this looking at Disney from an animal rights perspective, they would end up seeing the same type of thoughts that pertain to their views and make it look like Disney's foremost thought in films is animal rights.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you reduce any examination of events to a single issue (politics, religion, etc.), it's easy to see things that aren't there. I come away from this book feeling like a fair amount of that occurred.