ap124 Archetypal capitalist. Marxist criticism. The contradictions. The freedom versus the tyranny. What is hateful about Disney as his bad taste. The small town sentimentality and moralism he expresses. There is a certain romance in his capitalist success story. One cannot blame him for being paranoid about communism and trade unions. That is what he was. Something about the degradation of taste consequent upon capitalism. How paranoid should we get about capitalism? Or is this no more than a phase? Historically determined, nothing to worry about in the light of history? This rationalisation of progress. Fordism, ultra specialisation. Marxists treating it as catastrophic, as if it were the only force in society. Influence of The Birth of Tragedy upon Russian and Soviet thinking. Revolutionary Wagnerism of this. This praise of the Dionysian. The interpretation of the Dionysian that makes it a tyrannical idea. Relation between Disney and Wagner. Actually present in the relation between Neuchwanstein and Cinderella's castle.
ap127 Contradictions of the capitalist , like Disney. His vulnerability to communist attack. The ideology with which he defends himself. Necessarily some strange contradictions about freedom. One who desires the power to reduce human beings to automatons, to subject them to his own will. Justification through wealth creation. Romance of wealth creation. The plain contradictions, almost bound to create paranoia. Difficulties with Wagner's achievement hardly so blatant. Wagner's real genius. Something to which one could be proud to contribute. The imperialism of freedom
nn21 Walt Disney as essential to the understanding of America's place in the history of culture. Refer to Mcluhan and his simple yea saying. What is involved is not merely shallow optimism, but militant shallow optimism. What normally would stand in the way of this is obstinate human emotion. What the yea saying requires is a comprehensive trivialisation of all difficult emotion. Walt Disney may be primarily for children, but he has thoroughly invaded the adult consciousness. Disneyland, first and greatest of the theme parks, is an original American contribution to world culture. Here is not merely escapist fantasy, (one might say that of the Brighton Pavilion, or even of Blackpool) but an interpretation of the world that robs it of all its danger and perversity, that insists that everything is fatuously simple. In Fantasia, Disney's horrible little animals dance about to classical music. A great technical achievement no doubt, but all to what end? That dearest to the American spirit, the American dream, e pluribus unum, Skinnerist behaviourism, the simplification of life and of all emotion. Nothing real and deep is expressed, that is precisely what is to be avoided at all costs. The great artistic task was one of total trivialisation. A comprehensive trivialised model of life is set up in place of reality, one infinitely easier to handle than reality itself. Superficiality has great creative resources to support it, but this is a stunningly ignoble exercise for any art. Walt Disney, kept on ice, rotted with cancer, significant symbol of the modern world.
ab346 Cultural paedomorphism. As the urgencies of survival have produced a retention of infantile traits in the adult in some races, such as Bushmen, Pygmies and Negritos, so the necessities of American capitalism have produced a retention of infantile traits in the culture.
ab372 Human fulfilment and America. Influences. The anonymity of the American dream. Too much acceptance of other people's dreams. The all embracing tolerance of fantasy. The inadequacy of this. The aspiration one has to some kind of originality, to some kind of excellence that escapes the norm, a kind of creative heat that surmounts the popular wisdom or cliché. Whitman's mysticism. Its naive quality. Consider that the all embracing tolerance of the American dream is inadequate for human fulfilment. Because such tolerance implies a tolerance of things one would not really want to tolerate. To be made compatible, a far subtler conception of human nature is required, one that goes far deeper into the emotional possibilities of experience, exhausting them more fully. One needs to be able to feel genuinely superior. Disneyland as a phase of human culture that has superseded romanticism.
af 382. A book like The Golovevs (Saltyakov-Schredin). Genuine 'tragedy', the tragedy of wasted life. Inspired by literature of that quality the Russians tried to set up a 'perfect' or fulfilling society. This is what we would call religious feeling. The dream of perfection. Compare with the American Disneyland. The infantile sentimentality of Disneyland. Mickey Mouse, with Bush, just after he became president, shaking hands with Emperor Hirohito when he visited the US.