Sticking Plaster Childhood
What is it that makes the juxtaposition of saccharine children's characters with the realm of daily struggle so full of potential to disturb? This was the question I asked myself as I sat waiting in the blood test waiting room when my eye fell upon this simple piece of subversive intervention. Far more resonant than a moustache on la Giaconda but sitting quietly neglected round corner after corner in a largely unused Victorian hospital. The reason I swiftly concluded was that the image derives from the commodification of childhood. I was thinking specifically of Disney. This is not to say that Disney cartoons are completely without merit for they have large teams of creative people confused enough to let themselves believe that it is somehow not the violation of culture they are involved with, who are, by the laws of probability bound to give some of their creative soul to the endeavor. But all the plots and images are ultimately shaped by the drive to commodify as efficiently as possible. They say sex sells. I think what they mean is exaggeration sells. Experiments on the chicks of seagulls found that if the red dot on the beak was increased to more than one dot their pecking for food became more frenzied. Fact. Hence, if you'll forgive by brevity, Jordan's bosom and more relevantly the doe eyed creations of Disney. The rich creative passage of childhood has been warped out of shape in the name of bums on seats. This is not a puritanical defiance of all things fun on my part but rather a fury at the visceral manner in which commerce has shaped the imagination so much so that it has become the norm. These mutoid creatures are far scarier than anything the Brothers Grimm collected. Life can be tough and folk tales are a primal coping mechanism not a quick morality lesson designed to boost profit margins. This was the message I gleaned from the swiftly applied sticking plaster on the mural. Please don't be offended if you like Disney films I will continue to watch them with my children in the crook of arm picturing an idealized world.