To say I’m looking forward to the new Solo: A Star Wars story would be a mild understatement. I am enjoying each new piece of information that is coming out now rapidly for the upcoming May release of the highly anticipated movie. Just yesterday the new books for the movie were teased which largely come out in May and on most of the covers were images of Han Solo holding his famous blaster in what I think are very traditional cowboy artwork reminiscent of the 1940s to 1950s0—the “golden age of Hollywood.” They are the kind of thing that many of us older than 50 grew up on as kids and I find it refreshing to see. But the mother company of Disney who is benefiting greatly from all this Star Wars merchandising, everything from Star Wars figures sold at Target and Walmart to the films themselves has positioned themselves in this new #onelessgun movement prominently and most disgustingly where another one of their companies, ABC showed a lady cutting up her gun in a workshop so that nobody could use it again. The anti-gun stance of Disney is extremely hypocritical and is worth a bit of analysis.
As I’ve said, I’m a fan of the Disney product and I like Disney as a company—especially in the traditional sense. But what is disgusting is that the head of the company doesn’t seem to understand what the tail is doing, they don’t connect cause and effect at all. Concerning the new Han Solo publication art, what if they didn’t have characters holding guns in their promotional material—do they think they could sell the movie? If kids couldn’t buy action figures to shoot at each other would they even want to play with them? Of course, Disney knows that young boys aren’t going to by Star Wars toys unless there are cool guns to play with. Kids aren’t buying Star Wars toys to simulate cooking, or domestic needs in playing house. Guns are as much of what makes Star Wars popular as anything is, and without guns, the story would be pretty boring.
This brings us to the broader issue of Hollywood taking a stance against guns yet producing in nearly every blockbuster they make a story that prominently features guns. It’s kind of like a porn actress preaching celibacy before marriage. You can’t play this issue both ways. The stories we like as human beings are typically about the drama of life and death situations for which the gun plays a key narrative. To the young boy who looks at covers of Han Solo brandishing a powerful looking gun, the fantasy is to use that gun to fight for the kind of personal independence that everyone wants. The gun is the means to personal protection and asserting oneself in a dangerous world. This is typically what is at play when children play with guns to shoot at each other, they are creating the roots for their primary foundations of independence which will go with them for the rest of their lives. Disney understands this basic concept in marketing strategy which is meant to reach into people’s subconscious and inspire them to go see the new movie that has a cool gun on the poster.
Yet out of the other side of their mouth they support these gun control measures which run counter to everything that the human race stands for. From their elevated progressive vantage point that isn’t based on any kind of reality, but only in hope and personal desire from their timid vantage points, Disney hopes to use their media position to change human behavior—which is where they go wrong. This is also why the mainstream media and entertainment companies that have moved so radically left of center are struggling to figure out why they can’t move the needle on Donald Trump or the gun issue in the slightest. Not with all the protests, or all the programming they commit to the matter, people love guns wherever they are in the world. Guns sell movies, books, comics—just about anything they are put on because what the gun represents is personal freedom which every human being craves in some form or another. Therefore, we can conclude that companies such as Disney are not culture shapers so much as they are cultural reflections. They can make money and benefit off the art they produce so long as it is aligned with human need, and guns are. But if they think they can change the human need from their art, they don’t appear to be able to.
Disney as a company has not had much success with original material, often they have made most of their money off pre-created ideas—fairy tales that had already made their mark in our human mythologies. What they’ve done best is to take those stories to the next step of marketing and consumer reach—which is what they are doing with Star Wars. True, the new Star Wars films and television shows are not as good as they were original creations from George Lucas, but they still offer people something in the realm of entertainment and mythology. Disney isn’t powerful enough to change people’s minds about guns, violence, or political desires, but they can feed the needs that are already there.
That’s of course is not always the case, sometimes a truly great artist can change the minds of people and they often try, such as in the case of the musical group, The Beatles. They were obviously advocating for a left of center political world, and they did pull people in that direction. What seems to be happening in entertainment is that artists judge each other based on their social impact in the art they create. For instance, people might look down their nose at Dwayne Johnson because he makes so many blockbuster action movies and is getting very wealthy off them, but he doesn’t seem to be trying to change human culture for the better, and until he announced that he wanted to run for president against Trump in 2020 he was not considered much of an “artist” in Hollywood. In the entertainment community being an “artist” means being a “change agent.” It is the ultimate power of their ability to manipulate mass audiences—to actually change the behavior of the human race, and it appears to be a grand fantasy that most in entertainment have. Even with all their wealth, they still judge each other based on their “change agent” appeal.
This obviously seems to be the case with ABC News, they want to think they can move the needle on gun control by featuring some overly emotional woman who cuts up her gun in a workshop and wants to be featured prominently as a hero for it. That might be fine if ABC and their parent company Disney were consistent, but they aren’t. On the very same day that ABC featured the crazy anti-gun lady, Disney put out the art work for the new Han Solo movie which featured the hero on all the book covers holding a gun. You can’t have it both ways Disney. Unfortunately, you have to pick. Do you want to give the public what they want and hope they continue coming to your theme parks, which I enjoy doing? Or do you want to be a “change agent” using your media platform to change the human race? In doing so you will likely lose most of your core audience, because they will reject your philosophic premise. I will go see the new Han Solo movie enthusiastically, because he is a hero who uses a gun to instill a brand of justice that I can agree with, and its good entertainment. But if Han Solo were to become a bleeding-heart liberal and anti-gun zealot—you can bet that I’d be the first person off the ship. Because that’s not entertainment to me, its political propaganda from a bunch of spoiled brat artists. And I don’t want anything to do with them—or their beliefs.
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