Item description for The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust (Gospel According To) by Mark I. Pinsky & Westminster...
Overview Explores the role that the animated features of Walt Disney played on the moral and spiritual development of generations of children by exploring the most popular Disney films.
In this follow-up to his bestselling "The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family," religion journalist Mark Pinsky explores the role that the animated features of Walt Disney played on the moral and spiritual development of generations of children. Pinsky explores thirty-one of the most popular Disney films, as well as recent developments such as the 1990s boycott of Disney by the Southern Baptist Convention and the role that Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg played in the resurgance of the company since the mid-1980s.
From Publishers Weekly Pinsky, Orlando journalist and author of The Gospel According to the Simpsons,
sets his sights on a larger, yet more elusive target: the Magic Kingdom. As
Pinsky argues, Disney's cultural influence is enormous: "millions of children
around the world know much of what they do about the practical application of
right and wrong from Disney." The "Disney gospel" is simple enough in outline:
believe in yourself, never give up, good will be rewarded and evil punished.
Unfortunately, the book bogs down amidst the massive Disney canon; and
organizing it in "episode guide" format, rather than thematically, does not
help. There are sparkles of marvelous, irreverent wit: "Tinker Bell, it is
immediately apparent, has undergone some alterations over the decades,
including breast reduction surgery and liposuction on her derriere." But for
long stretches, the critical tone turns sober, even snarky, as Pinsky picks
off obvious targets such as Snow White's passivity or Mowgli's haircut rather
than surfacing the hidden spiritual gems he found so often in The Simpsons.
Even considering the variety of Disney creations, he seems torn between
admiring "Walt's dream, to communicate lessons to children across cultures,"
and debunking its "uplifting, family-friendly fare" as "a sentimental
notion-na ve at best and disingenuous at worst." Still, readers will be struck
by Pinsky's cogent observations about Disney classics. (Aug.) Copyright 2004
Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust (Gospel According To) by Mark I. Pinsky & Westminster has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 09/01/2004 page 160
Publishers Weekly - 07/12/2004 page 60
Christian Retailing - 08/02/2004 page 31
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.94 lbs.
Release Date Sep 29, 2004
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
Series Gospel According To
ISBN 0664225918 ISBN13 9780664225919
Availability 0 units.
More About Mark I. Pinsky & Westminster
Mark I. Pinsky is the author of several popular, critically acclaimed books, including The Gospel According to The Simpsons and A Jew Among Evangelicals, and he was religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel from 1995 to 2008. Columns by Pinsky on faith, disability, and inclusion have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and was the subject of a feature article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.
Mark I. Pinsky currently resides in Orlando, in the state of Florida. Mark I. Pinsky was born in 1947.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust?
Lazy Research Nov 9, 2006
It sounds like a good premise if a bit of a tall order, examine Disney's animated features for the role that their themes have played in the moral and spiritual development of generations of children. The idea being that these themes originated in the minds of Walt Disney and his successors, who were not entirely motivated by a bottom line, but had certain political and social agendas to advance.
Unfortunately, Mark I. Pinsky, the religion reporter for The Orlando Sentinel, conducts his analysis of the Disney animation world like a reporter running late for a press run deadline. Mostly this consists of a cursory viewing of 31 Disney films, plucking out a few nuggets of content that support his theme, and creating short chapters speculating on the symbolism within each film.
At the end is a non-philosophical analysis of the 1990's boycott by the Southern Baptist Contention.
Shortly into the book it becomes obvious that Pinsky has made little if any attempt to examine the source material for each film, attributing each relevant element to Disney rather than to the source material from which each screenplay was adapted.
This becomes especially glaring when a reader is familiar with the source material. A more useful approach would have been to compare and contrast the original material with its adaptation; identifying which elements Disney elected to keep, to cut, and to alter. It is likely that what was excluded is just as important as what was included in understanding the motivational forces at work within the Disney empire.
For example, the animated film "Alice in Wonderland" (1951) was more inspired by than adapted from the original Lewis Carroll story. Little more than title, some character names, and the basic premise (little heroine dreaming about going down a rabbit hole into a strange wonderland) was utilized by the Disney movie. That most viewer's believe it was a closer adaptation stems from the use of John Tenniel's original prints as inspiration for the character sketches.
Pinsky details several scenes in the film that were not even part of Carroll's story, then states: "For all the complaints about Disney's tinkering with and sanding down the edges of fairy tales, "Alice in Wonderland" demonstrates the pitfalls of fidelity to the original, of illustrating a classic story rather than transforming it and making it your own". As anyone even vaguely familiar with the book and the film know, on this point Pinsky is totally incorrect. Only someone unfamiliar with Carroll's original could have reached such a faulty conclusion. The failure (be it error or laziness) to do basic research in this case should set off reader alarm bells regarding most of the other assertions Pinsky makes in this book. No doubt some are valid but readers would do well to not accept any of Pinsky's points at face value.
Which doesn't mean that Pinsky's ideas are totally useless. They introduce fresh ways to examine many elements within Disney's features and might actually provide some useful insights to anyone motivated to aggressively explore his cursory assertions.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
Pure tripe Apr 28, 2006
The editorial review of this book is spot on. As a long time lover of Disney, I picked up this book at the library, interested in seeing something more akin to the history of the studio or an analysis on animation as an ever-evolving artform. Instead I found a book written by an author who can't decide to praise Disney or bash it. In every entry, he practically gives away the plot of each movie by summarization. He then finishes off with a hyperbolic overanalyzation of the "message" of the movie. It would be wrong to call this book "propaganda" because he flip flops between love and hate. While it IS great that he shows love for Disney's accomplishments in many movies, including the underrated The Fox and the Hound, the author has a habit for picking out "messages" and "themes" that nobody in their right mind would honestly believe. Okay, it's easy to see how The Fox and the Hound is a parable about civil rights and the issues of color, just as it's easy to see how The Lion King is either an adaptation of King Lear or a ripoff of Kimba, but that simply wasn't the point of the movie. In other places, the author gets downright looney. Most viewers saw Atlantis: The Lost Empire as either a straightfoward, gung ho action adventure movie or a seering disappointment. The movie according to the book? Atlantis was an attack on the ideas of "venture capitalism", saying that western ideas of progression are poorly disguised evil imperialism. More importanly, with the movie, Eisner is deliberately attacking Walt's ideals. "Walt must be spinning in his grave" the author writes. So I guess Rourke isn't the villain and what he's doing is right? In The Emperor's New Groove, the author doesn't enjoy the movie simply for its outrageous humor but takes a look at the villain Yzma and quips "once again Disney shows its misogynistic hatred of old and ugly females." It was at that point that I closed the book and put it back on the shelf. I would like to close by noting that the earlier movies, with their "passive" princesses and dead parents, weren't all bad and that we don't always need to have fiery, headstrong types. Furthermore, by writing everything in a religious light, the author makes Disney sound like a big religion itself, with sole ownership on movies with "moral messages", instead of just the simple entertainment giant that it is.
Couldn't put it down, BUT... Jul 15, 2005
As an avid Disney fan, this book catered to my interests. It was written well, and the writer brought up some interesting positive themes in Disney movies both old and new. However, he was a bit too liberal for my tastes...I really don't think a four-year-old is going to get the idea that the crows in Dumbo are perpetuating stereotypes about African-Americans. There were a few such examples in the book that just seemed like a bit too much...but all in all, it was worth reading!
Textbook Writing Jul 4, 2005
I found this book to be boring and reminded me of reading a text book in college. Big disappointment.
Discussing ideological themes in thirty-one Disney films Jan 11, 2005
Religion journalist Mark Pinsky presents The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust, a sober exploration of the role that the animated features of the Walt Disney Country have carried out in the spiritual, emotional, and ethical development of generations of young adults. Discussing ideological themes in thirty-one of the most popular Disney films including "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Beauty and the Beast", and "The Lion King", The Gospel According to Disney also reaches beyond the impact of the morality plays on the big screen to such issues as the postive and negative contributions that theme parks have on American culture, why the Southern Baptist Convention chose to boycott Disney in the 1990's and the repercussions of that movement, and much more. An astutely researched and written exploration of the interesection between spirituality and one company's domain of popular entertainment.