I have always held fast to the belief that the true determinate of a person's value system lies not (as many sadly and wrongfully surmise) in that person's religious affiliations, personal professions or even actions. Nope. If you want to know the truth about what a person values, you need only ask one question: "Who is your favorite super hero."
Uh huh. You heard me. Favorite. Super. Hero.
And Tarantino agrees with me. (See Kill Bill Vol. 2 you cinematic Philistine!)
You see, the hero one picks says less about the hero itself and more about the person doing the choosing. The choice provides a clear outlook on the virtues (or lack thereof) of the person answering and can therefore serve as an unsuspecting (and unguarded) window into said person's very soul. As an added bonus, it can also serve as a starting point for deducing the person's innate fashion sense, views on spandex, and desires from a romantic partner. But more on that in the novel I plan to write...
Speaking of novels, I have had another in my back pocket for many years, and, for those of you who know me well, you know it is dangerous for me to allow an idea to fester for long. The outcome could go one of two ways--1. It could age as a fine wine and delight the palate or 2. It could build like the pressure of the fat kid in Willy Wanka's tube of chocolate, eventually spewing out in a yummy lard mess that only little orange and green men would ever want to sing about.
Either way, the fat kid dies.
Here Piggy, Piggy.
Lord of the Flies reference.
In any event, the title of my back-pocket book is How Disney Ruined My Life and the tale would be a chronicle about the hidden negative messages in classic Disney films that have lied to us about the nature of life since we were young, presumably innocent, and wide-eyed enough to believe them. WARNING: If you steal my book idea, I swear to every pagan God that has ever demanded the slaughter of a farm animal, you will be punished. Oh yes. Fear me.
Now--warnings out of the way--(I am serious BTW. Thought theft is punishable by violence. Mark my words, infidel!), I had an epiphany yesterday. Seems I had been taking rather a negative view on Disney, and, in what could only be described as divine revelation from one of the various aforementioned pagan deities, I received this insight: You can judge a person's values by their favorite super hero, but you can judge their approach to life by their favorite Disney film.
There it is, ladies and gentlemen. Divine truth.
Now let me lay this smack-down on ya.
Say the person you are questioning under police-grade interrogation lights says that his or her favorite Disney film is Aladdin. Easy. You know the story. Riffraff streetrat finds blue genie who sings incessantly; streetrat then wishes to be a prince so he can woo the princess, and BAM! All hell breaks loose.
Lesser mortals may be confused by the revelations behind this tale. Still others might be humming "Never Had A Friend Like Me." Either way, Disney has distracted your fragile little mind with CGI-enhanced spectacle. So let me go Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on ya. Or Daniel, for those of you partial to "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin."
Aladdin follows a boy, born of low stature and no means, from his childhood of theft, irreverence and "easy living" through his coming of age--a journey he must undergo to rectify the consequences of his deceit. Those who are drawn to this movie (Prince Alis, if you will) see themselves as having come from a less-than-desirable circumstance--an excuse they have used since puberty to justify their less-than-reputable behavior. Thing is, behind the veneer of loose-living lies a good heart and a nagging desire to make a positive change. And Prince Alis would do so "if only this or this or this would change/happen/be different..." The bad news? This way of thinking keeps Aladdins in a holding pattern of destruction in their youth. The good news? P.A.s believe they have the capacity to do a complete 180 if given the chance. This hope is frustrating for an Aladdin youth, but encouraging for an Aladdin adult, who may just decide to do that 180--and will come out an amazing human being on the other end. The ride is never easy though. Such transformation usually comes from an Aladdin harming someone they love--a friend or lover. To ensure the 180 in an Aladdin, the P.A. must determine that it is more painful to remain the same than to take the steps necessary for change. When the P.A. makes that decision, his or her recompense is genuine and permanent. An Aladdin adult won't make that same mistake twice.
By this point, I know the truth of my formula is dawning on you like a beacon in the pitch. But I see the others--those of you rolling your eyes and sighing "bubkis!" Either way, I'll give you more.
The Little Mermaid: young fish lady/full time dreamer yearns for a realm outside of her humdrum home. So naturally she visits a sea witch who offers her the olde "legs for voice" swap, which our red-headed heroine naively accepts. After all, what could possibly go wrong? If your quandry is a member of the Ariel Nation, he or she is idealistic and values the power of dreams--most likely because, for him or her, those dreams often come true. An Ariel enthusiast often realizes dreams through actions. Rather than just singing about what he or she wants, an Arielite believes the dream will come true, and behaves accordingly, often, ironically and Oedipally, ensuring through his or her own actions the outcome he or she seeks. Throughout life, the Arialist may remain naive--and why not? Nothing is impossible, even with physical, spiritual and emotional limitations.
Snow White/Cinderella: oldies but goodies, these two tales parallel each other in meaning. Simply, the two lovely lasses were ill-treated by those who were supposed to raise, love and care for them--and all for no other reason than that they just happened to be born astonishingly beautiful. (Boo hoo. Life is hard.) But, rather than live a life devoid of positive reinforcement, each pretty lady overcomes the hardships of childhood by relying on her plethora of friends for aid (salvation?). In the end, through the help of friends, White and the Cinder Girl are swept away by a prince (who is given no personality and very few lines, but is gorgeous, which, really, is the most important thing...) So there you go. Snow White/Cinderella fans identify with being given a hard deal, and are keen on the idea of someone swooping in to save them. On the positive side, they value friendships highly, and are always willing to clean the dishes if you are the one to prepare the dinner. And they sing. A lot.
Sleeping Beauty: If the person you inquire of pulls a Briar Rose, RUN LIKE HELL. This pretty princess has nothing going for her aside from her stunning face and impossibly small waist. That and she has three annoying aunties, each of whom seems to make it a point to live the term 'busybody' to its fullest extent. Briar Roses should be herded up and confined to one area, "Escape From New York" style. But them's just my two cents.
Mulan: In a male-dominated society, Mulan, who fails at all things 'feminine,' (therefore bringing dishonor to her family) chooses to take her father's place in war when the Emperor calls his soldiers to fight the invading Mongols. As women are not allowed, Mulan must disguise herself as a man, fighting, struggling, and surviving amid the bravest men in all of China. When she proves herself brave and cunning in battle, Mulan brings a new and unprecidented honor to her family. In short, Mulan is a feminist and a badass. Those who choose Mulan as a favorite value individualism and embrace, though not always willingly, the challenges that come with remaining true to oneself. Despite obstacles, Mulan teamsters will persevere for honor and for family, but be damned if you're going to make them wear a pretty dress!
The Lion King: Ahhhh Simba. From the day he arrived on the planet, and blinking stepped into the sun, he knew he was destined to be king. But destiny is not always a straight path, and when evil uncle Scar scams for the throne, the young cub shows his weakness--pride. LK fans are prideful. They value station and very early on they realize--if only mentally--their place in the world. Unfortunately, like Simba and so many others, LK fans sometimes find out the hard way that pride comes before a fall. When burned, Simbas can retreat from their destiny, losing themselves in hedonism and laziness, and it often takes a strong kick in the ass to get them back in gear. Once catalyzed, however, their return to destiny can be awe-inspiring. If you meet a Simba, hope you are present for the climax. It'll take your breath away.
Beauty and the Beast: And now we come to my favorite. Remind me to tell you sometime how a dream about Belle actually changed my life. And speaking of dreams, B&B enthusiasts are dreamers through and through. Often oblivious to (or bored by) the banalities of reality, Belles bury themselves in books and ideas and often reflect on "the way things ought to be." Idealists, Belles can be disenchanted with the world around them, and as a consequence, often miss the everyday magic going on just under their noses. Conversely, as they are 'thinkers' to the core, Belles can often see both sides of any situation and are caring and empathetic to those they see as mistreated. B&Bs are disgusted by arrogance, and are naturally drawn to the less fortunate, as 'rescuing' them appeals to the Belles' sense of justice--a virtue which, B&Bs believe, is sorely lacking in the world. A Belle will be the most loyal friend you have ever had, and will rise to your defense under any circumstance. They--we--love with all of our hearts and hurt desperately if that love is not returned. This tendency, though admirable, often gets Belles into trouble though, as B&B folk genuinely believe in the transformative power of love. In other words, "If I just love him enough, he WILL CHANGE." For this reason, Belles may spend their entire lives diligently chasing after what everyone else has the common sense to see is a lost cause. Belles are often disappointed and take it personally when their efforts fail to yield results--but in the rare cases where the Belle's love prevails, you can be sure that love's recipient has experienced a powerful, beautiful, life-altering change. And transforming from a beast to a prince ain't so bad either.
So there you have it folks. Your guaranteed personality analysis, straight from Walt Disney and Yours Truly. Given more time and study, I may also link these personality profiles to certain star signs, but, as it is, I have a lot of things to cross off my list today, and I cannot be bothered to solve all the mysteries of the universe and the human condition in one Sunday.
And for those of you left in wanting because your fav WD film wasn't featured: take heart. You are not forgotten. I realize there are those among us who place The Rescuers, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmations or The Great Mouse Detective at the top of your "To Watch Repeatedly" list. For you I will contemplate a follow-up. After all, I would not want to leave you out. To do so would be unjust, and justice--well, that's just what we Belles do!