Hippos, Pirates, and Indians
- Indian Comics Irregular #85
Last year Disneyland took another step toward the 21st century. As
an article in the LA Times (9/3/01) reported:
They took away the wench-chasing pirates. Now, they've stopped
shooting the hippos.
No more do the wise-cracking skippers reach for their Smith &
Wessons and fire a few blanks at hippopotamuses emerging from the
river bottom. These days, they don't even try to scare the
mechanical creatures with a few haphazard gunshots skyward.
The news upset Disney fans, including one Times reader who remembered
another "fun" attraction:
I will never forget the attack of Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer's
Island. I watched in awe as actors dressed in Native American
costume raided the fort as guests were taking a few minutes to
drink something cool. Carrying tomahawks they sure looked like a
mean bunch. Shortly thereafter the cavalry troops rescued the
fort, with guns blazing, from those villainous Indians. The
soldiers helped us kids handle the pretend rifles, defending the
fort from the next group as they crossed the Rivers of America.
It was the magic of Walt Disney back then that made one feel as if
one were in another land, during another time, that is sorely
lacking from the park these days.
Pretending to kill Indians...a perennial source of amusement. What
fun! What joy! What magic!
Another Times reader defended Disney's moves:
[F]ormer employee Mike DeForest asks, "What's next, disarming the
Pirates of the Caribbean?" Good question. Perhaps a better
question is why anyone ever thought the marauding activities of
pirates to be amusing family entertainment? If you really want to
know about the pirates of the Caribbean, I suggest you read James
Michener's "Caribbean." The descriptions of rape, torture and
other acts are appalling. That we should celebrate such behavior
is a sad commentary on a sick society.
So, I suggest that the disarming of the Jungle Cruise boats is one
small step toward rehabilitating a dysfunctional culture.
Glorifying violence and putting toy guns in the hands of toddlers
is surely responsible to some extent for the slaughter plaguing our
schools and our streets across the nation. Let's look at violent
behavior for what it truly is and stop desensitizing ourselves to
the toll that it takes on our lives.
For more on Disneyland's deadly hippos and Indians, go to
Natives in Neverland
Pirates and Indians were prominent in Disney's version of "Peter
Pan." The 1953 movie made piracy something to aspire to. Captain
Hook and his men were like seagoing cowboys: rule-breakers who took
what they wanted and trampled anyone who got in their way.
The hook-nosed, half-naked Indians were something else: pure
evildoers with no redeeming qualities. They kidnapped children
because, well, that's what Indians do. The movie reinforced the
notion that Natives are fantasy figures from a distant time and
place--an archetype of wildness and savagery.
Thankfully, this year's sequel to "Peter Pan," "Return to
Neverland," omitted the brutish Indians. Maybe some Neverland
soldiers herded them onto a reservation. But Disney still broadcasts
the original "Peter Pan," incorrect Indians and all.
PEACE PARTY Story Debuts
Our illustrated 9/11 story is now online at
http://www.bluecorncomics.com/pp911.htm. It earned PEACE PARTY some
good notices and a National Native News radio interview. Thanks for
the support, everyone.
Blue Corn Comics