Friday, June 5


I love animals. I really do. You can ask anyone that knows me, and they’ll tell you if you’ve got a sad animal story, you’d just better hold it until I am out of the room, buddy. And then you'll say, “I’m not your ‘buddy,’ friend." To which I'll reply, “I’m not your ‘friend,’ pal.” Then we’ll glare at each other and walk away, stopping only to briefly look one more time at one another over our shoulder.

But really, I can’t watch anything on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet and I have to be very careful about which Disney movies I watch. Once, while channel surfing, my husband and I caught one of those old Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom specials. It started great, like all nature shows do. It was about some place in Africa where once a year this fruit ripens and falls off trees onto the ground where it ferments. All the animals in this delightful place eat the fruit, get drunk and turn Africa into a virtual Rue Bourbon. Basically, it was a blooper reel of drunk animals falling into each other and passing out. In other words, it was hilarious.

Then, all of a sudden, Marlin Perkins takes on a dramatic tone and starts talking about some oncoming drought. Faster than you can say Jeff VanVonderen, I see families of disoriented animals dying on my television set. As my eyes started to well, Mark frantically searched for the remote. Tears began streaming down my face, as Marlin “animal killer” Perkins detailed the death of a baby duckling from dehydration. BabyDuckHaterPerkins then proceeded to show me his carcass covered in flies. “What kind of show is this?” I screamed at the TV. “Why couldn’t the camera crew just give him some water? You know they had some!” The TV then zoomed in on carnage of the entire dead duck clan. I wailed. At this point, Mark gave up looking for the remote and just charged the cable box, changing the channel manually. I think that he tried to calm me down with some “Circle of Life” talk, but soon realized that wasn’t the way to go.

Ever since then, the minute, née, the second there is even a hint of animal shenanigans on the TeeVee, it doesn’t matter where in the house he is, I hear “TURN THE CHANNEL!” almost immediately. Those Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials? “TURN THE CHANNEL!” Promo for Animal Cops: Detroit? “TURN THE CHANNEL!” Commercial for any Disney movie? “TURN THE CHANNEL!” Yeah, you heard that right. I don’t do Disney. Frankly, I think that Disney is a little rough. I mean, did you see Finding Nemo? I don’t want to spoil anything for you here, but were you aware that Nemo’s Mom and siblings got fucking eaten in the first 30 seconds of the movie? That’s not even accounting for some of the incredibly twisted and sad old school stuff they pawned off on us as kids. Not just cartoons, I’m looking at you Dumbo, but live action movies like Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. What the fuck was going on in the 50s & 60s?

But yeah, when I went to see The Lion King, it was pretty great being in the audience with about 100 totally freaked out kids when they killed off Simba’s Dad. Smooth move, Ex-Lax. And yes, I cried. Well, it was sad. And when Simba thought it was his fault, and then there was that shitty Elton John song, well it was just too much to take.

I will say that I don’t think that my animosity toward Disney is all Walt’s fault. I think that it may, it MAY have something to do with the Bambi incident of ’77. Disney re-released this beloved, screwed up classic and my Mom thought it would be a great idea to take me to see it. Because you know, I was so good with dealing with animal tragedy, real, imagined and cartooned. Everything was going OK until the end when the fuck-nuts at Disney decided to shoot Bambi’s Mom. Which made me cry, because I was a little kid, and they killed Bambi’s Mom. But being four and wrapped up in my own problems as little kids are prone to be, I failed to noticed the meltdown that my own, very much alive Mother was having in the seat next to me. See, my parents were going through a separation during the time frame of Disney’s re-release (I don’t think that one had anything to do with the other) and I guess that Linda was harboring some complex feelings about the whole thing. Because after Bambi’s Dad came galloping through the forest to save the day, the next thing I knew, my Mom was standing up in the theater screaming at the screen. “Well now you come back! You sonofabitch! Now, after the baby’s been fed and the diapers have been changed, now you come back! Well I don’t think so!” My Mom snatched me up out of my seat and we left the theater with Thumper, Bambi and that sonofabitch Dad of his looking back at us. I really don’t know exactly how Bambi ends, I just sort of assumed that it kind of ended there.

Needless to say, after that I tended to shy away from Disney. I was never very fond of Mickey or Minnie. I always thought it was freaky to wear their ears on my head and I never, ever dreamt of going to Disney Land or World when I was a kid. Maybe I just thought of it as a place where you got on “It’s a Small World” and your Mom yelled at all the characters as you zoomed by. As an adult, I just resent Disney because they took great fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm and made them into happy-slappy movies with sleeping bag tie-ins. If you get a chance, read the real Little Mermaid or Snow White and Rose Red. That’s right, bitch had a sister. And let me tell you, the ending’s aren’t the same, but they are wonderfully twisted. Not Crispin Glover reading Jack and Jill twisted, but twisted. But I shouldn’t be too hard on Disney, they do love to kill off the parents of main characters afterall.

Believe it or not, this entry doesn’t end here, but I’d really like to hold your attention, so I’ll post the rest in a couple of days and I swear it won’t be about Disney.