All Roads Lead to Disney

So maybe it’s just me but I’ve wondered why some brands stay around for a long, long time, and some seem to come, have a good run, then eventually lose the interest of the public, no matter how hard they try to adapt and change with the times.  Companies like Sears, K-mart, JCPenney, The Limited just can’t connect to the modern consumer, even though they try very hard.  The Gap-that used-to-be bastion of coolness-has grown stale.  Even Levi’s is not hip anymore.  Coca-cola.  It has had to develop new and different products periodically to keep up.  Shockingly, even McDonald’s has had lagging domestic sales in the last few years.  It seems to be a normal cycle for about any long-term company or brand that has been around 20 to 30 years or longer to go through a period of decline and unpopularity, where they must work to re-invent themselves, bring on new products, or something to that effect.

There’s one brand, however, that marches on never seeming to change, nor having to do anything to appeal to a new audience of consumers.  It doesn’t appear to advertise much.  The same talking Mouse has been around since the early ’50s, without any updating.  The Mouse and his Magicc Kingdom have gobbled up enough media companies and movie and TV companies to become the world’s largest media conglomerate.  There’s always an addition here, a new Shanghai-Disney groundbreaking there.  Economy downturns, whatever, the Mouse House marches on, tripling or quadrupling its revenues every few years.  It’s like the Mouse is supercharged or something.  I know families who go to Disneyworld every year, or twice a year; they get ecstatically excited when talking about it.  Why does an old talking Mouse, horridly long lines, and insanely hot weather, for a few 70s-era, dated, corny rides bring out such emotion(and such “happiness”..) in people?  This connection to such emotion-what could it be??

In the late 90s/early 2000s I was a Britney fan.  I thought she was really good-a very different singer, and a great dancer.  I always thought, too, that she was much smarter than the consensus seemed to want to show.  But mostly what I liked about her was her very pure, kind of simple, spirit (maybe it was the small, southern town origin connection..)  She wasn’t cutthroat, blindly ambitious, or ruthless.  She just seemed to genuinely enjoy performing and making albums and pleasing people.  An aside–she and Justin and Christina, et al, came to the Mickey Mouse club in Orlando just a couple of years after I was there for the summer. (See: Bacchanalia)  We lived not that far from the MM club studios and got to tour them and watch shows being recorded.  So funnily, I’m actually familiar with the MM club studio and set where she got her start.  Anyway-yes, there might have been blatant sexuality in her music and videos, but the big question really is was it her, her people around her, or just the society expectations?  Nobody ever really seemed to make the connection that she was an original Disney star and using strong sexuality in her music, videos, etc as a teen star.  You would think that wholesome Disney might be concerned by having their pure, family brand of entertainment connected with a former star with such an open expression of sexuality.  Wouldn’t it seem that way?

When things started to go south for Britney in the mid-2000s I watched some of it, one-because you couldn’t avoid it, two-because it was so hard for me to understand how a person could change so much in such a short time.  It didn’t seem right, and there seemed something very odd about it.  Since then, I’ve noticed that every year or so, the media trots out a new young starlet who is going through difficulties, and drastic personality changes, where they look to be unrecognizable from their former self.  Sometimes there may even be more than one startlet going through this media show, or they overlap with one another.  It sounds like the plot of a bad B-movie (maybe even a Disney movie??..).  Lindsay Lohan has been going on for a while, and the public seems to have gotten bored with it by now.  The new starlet who was a former Nickelodeon child star with, I would guess, a connection to Disney through it or one of its myriad subsidiaries in producing at least one of her movies, who is generating the media buzz at the moment appears to be Amanda Bynes.  I don’t want to feed it, but the change in her physically is mind-boggling.  You just don’t wake up one day and decide to change so drastically.  I have a hard time believing anyone can do that, but when it is one child star starlet after another, after another, after another, you have to wonder.  I also want to include the former male child stars here as well, such as Macauley Culkin-he of the Disney juggernaut, the Home Alone movies, and many others who go through highly publicized difficulties.  It’s like they start living on a lower plane or something.  Some other, negative plane.  Whatever it is, my hope is that the public won’t feed the media show and give it any energy.  You really don’t know what these girls and guys are going through, and you certainly shouldn’t take what the media tells you as anything other than a fictional entertaining story.  Except the thing is, these people’s lives are not entertainment, nor conductors to bring in massive amounts of negative energy.  Watch with your eyes open.  Connect things.  Look for patterns.  It’s easy to see once you start really looking.

‘Rebellion’ Unreleased Britney track-Record company wouldn’t release it

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