David BOWIE  Mickey Mouse and Mcdonalds Culture

Walt Disney & Co is accused again of lack of taste, encouraging of slapdash art and disregarding non-white in general and non-W.A.S.P. in particular culture. Last time such a wide negative...

Walt Disney & Co is accused again of lack of taste, encouraging of slapdash art and disregarding non-white in general and non-W.A.S.P. in particular culture. Last time such a wide negative resonance was caused by ⌠The Lion King■ cartoon soundtrack, composed and performed by Elton John. In spite it had got ⌠Oscar■ in ⌠The Best Soundtrack■ nomination, many among cinematographists consider it characteristical rather for low general and artistic level of American cinematography than of a of a merits of the movie itself. Many a ▒worldbeat' musicians regard this soundtrack as an example of exploitation of external attributes of ⌠exotic■ for US cultures by commercial pop singers, meanwhile totally ignoring the spirit of both music and culture.

This time as Latvian newspaper ⌠Chas■ (⌠An Hour■) reports, it was the new Disney's animation movie, ⌠Selma, Lord, Selma■, which has to come January 2000, that already had attracted and collected indignation. Amelia Boynton Robinson from Alabama sued the company on sturring up racial and religious hatred. Among many claims there are the ones of special interest for music lovers. It concerns exaggerating up to the absurd Negro spiritual anthems - Gospels, and depicting it's singers almost as an idiots.

We can only suppose that Walt Disney company wanted in to give an appreciation of a life in a Negro town, of life of ⌠different■ people - in a ⌠comprehensive■ (lightened to the level of cultural pop-corn) way. Probably, it was thought, as usual, as of ⌠multicultural education■ for kids. But according to the opinions of many musicians and specialists in culturology, this is just another way of establishing the ideals of American way of life, while alien form of presenting them helps produce an impression that this is the only possible in the whole world and common for all the cultures way of life.

This opinion is shared by the leading musicians. Peter Gabriel when establishing WOMAD (World Of Music, Art and Dance) proclaimed it's goal as to get the world acquainted with authentic traditional and modern representatives of ⌠another art■. In his interview to Musician Magazine (April 1997) David Bowie said (the question concerned his song ⌠I am Afraid of Americans): ⌠A lot of my formative enthusiasms were American, everything from Jack Kerouac to blues music. But that's not the culture that's being transmitted to the rest of the world; it's Disney and McDonald's, the worst of America. To be in Java or somewhere on the day McDonald's is opened is really depressing.■ Well-known ethnomusicologist and percussionist Bill Summers in the interview to ⌠Modern Drummer magazine (March 1990) put it even more straight: ⌠They took this culture and turned it into garbage. It took me years to find the true music and what's it's really about.■

17.09.1999, Борис ЛАБКОВСКИЙ (ЗВУКИ РУ)