Disney+ Means Outdated Tech, and Outdated Attitudes [PHIL-OSOPHY]
The two big stories this week that will impact your streaming viewing enjoyment include Netflix and Disney.
It looks like some gizmos will no longer be compatible with Netflix in the near future. As of December 1, some TV tools will no longer be able to stream Netflix because of "technical limitations," including Samsung and Roku products. So you may see an error that says, "Due to technical limitations, Netflix will no longer be available on the device after December 1st, 2019. Please visit netflix.com/compatibledevices for a list of available devices." To continue streaming, you'll need to spend more money on their appliances.
This week, Disney also reportedly signed up more than 10 million subscribers on the first day of the Disney+ streaming service with their own cautionary warning about "outdated cultural depictions" in the movies. "This program is presented as originally created," the warning is quoted saying. "It may contain outdated cultural depictions."
The Aristocats are acting contrite, Jungle Book expresses remorse, Dumbo is down on one knee and Lady and the Tramp are dining on humble pie rather than spaghetti. The warning stems from changing beliefs. The original Lady and the Tramp film depicts a pair of Siamese cats taunting Lady via a song, using exaggerated Asian accents and deliberately butchered English. The cats also feature large buck teeth, a common Asian stereotype from that era.
Dumbo has been criticized in the past for depicting a group of wise-cracking crows using African-American stereotypes of the time. With a white actor voicing the crow, critics in the media have called it a vocal equivalent to blackface. It's interesting that Song of the South has not been included on Disney+. Of all the Disney films, Song of the South has been perhaps criticized the most because of its portrayal of African slaves.
These warning notices are valueless. Disney should use these classic films as teaching points to show how different our culture was in the past. A warning sign won't change anything. A short video on the exact issue in the film and how things have changed would be much more effective Imagineering.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.