Archives for the month of: August, 2014

While I’m having trouble getting Tableau Public to do anything resembling co-operate, here’s a screen grab of the narrative locations of Disney’s live action films from 1960-1999.

Disney Live Actions 1960-1999

Compare that to the locations of the top 25 films set in the US during the same time period:

Top25 1960-2000

There’s much less of a focus on New York for Disney, and quite a bit of the SoCal locations are more or less speculative – it’s not quite clear where the films actually take place. For instance, a number of Disney live action films, like The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) take place in a fictional location – Medfield College. In cases like this, I combine shooting location and fictional location to say that the film takes place in Pomona. Disney featured a fair number of mountain west locations, in contrast to a relative lack top 25 films set there (although the next 25 have quite a few mountain west/southwest settings). In addition, the upper midwest features quite a bit more in Disney – again in speculative locations like “Hickory, Iowa” in Follow Me, Boys! (1966) (which was a film they showed to all of us at Hough Street School one year – a 16mm print that was in pretty good shape, seeing as how it never once broke or melted) and in real locations like the Dakota Territory ones in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

Perhaps most interesting to me is the way in which the Disney live action films don’t linger anywhere. It’s a smaller set of locations, but no place appears more than two or three times, with the exception of the fantastic Medfield. To preview the argument in the book, it’s this set-all-over-ness (and this includes the rest of the world) , combined with a general avoidance of avowedly urban settings, that makes Disney films so powerful as hegemonic white suburban texts – they’re set where those kinds of people are – various anonymous suburbs and small towns all across the country. But more or less minus the south. The chapter after the Disney live action chapter will cover that – first in terms of Burt Reynolds as a necessary movie star and then in terms of prestige films after the Civil Rights Act.

I just sent proofs back for my chapter, “New Zealand Lamb Is People: Bad Taste, Black Sheep and Farming.” There were two changes, one of which was a missing “g” in “includin”. But the other change was a non-change. The “offending” sentence reads like so:

But sheep remained important to New Zealand’s economic and cultural identity; their population may have peaked in the early 1980s, but sheep remain Kiwi as.

The book’s editor, Tom Hertweck, asked me about this when I sent him the first version of the chapter. I explained how “Kiwi as” and “Sweet as” and “WORD as” works. He saw that it fit in with the chapter’s larger argument: a chapter about sheep/lamb in the NZ cultural imaginary is a fair place to use NZ slang.  But the press’s editor wrote “If this is a NZ colloquialism, maybe delete?” Tom, to his credit, dusted off our previous correspondence to back up my desire to keep “Kiwi as.” He’s on the lifetime cool list for that.

Almost the entire point of using “Kiwi as” is to make a claim in the way that the people I’m talking about would make it. I mis-pronounce every placename in Brisbane that has either “wh” or “ng” in it because I completely internalised Te Reo Maori pronunciation so that I wasn’t That Kind of American. It’s not too much effort to “indulge” other English-speakers their language.

FoodonFilm3

The cover art is cute, and the book will be out for Christmas (not that you should buy it from amazon)