It’s Astonishing How Quickly Things Can Turn Around

MoviesHere I was all happy after our trip to Disney World; I was willing to let slide all of the nasty corporate shenanigans, the discriminatory hiring practices, the flagrant pollution... all of it. We’d had a wonderful time, the kids had come away with no-doubt everlasting memories of a phenomenal experience, and we were all awed at the sheer grandeur of the Disney World experience, the unparalleled effort everyone behind the parks had clearly made.

And yesterday, every last shred of that goodwill went right into the crapper.

Shades of Dogma all over again — according to The New York Times, the monolith that is Disney has explicitly forbidden Miramax from distributing Michael Moore’s new film Fahrenheit 9/11 (the picture I presume Moore was shooting when we met). And just as was true in the case of Dogma, Miramax is in no way in violation of its contract with Disney, which allows the parent company to bar distribution only under specific circumstances, most notably budgetary overruns or an NC-17 rating. Disney is specifically prohibited from interfering in Miramax’s operations on the basis of a picture’s content.

But now, fearful that Duh-bya’s über-corrupt brother Jeb will pull back some of their special Florida tax breaks, Eisner’s stepping in, in explicit violation of the contract. And before any of you strict capitalists out there start arguing that the company has a right to protect its interests, under most circumstances, I’d agree with you — I’d freely call them cowards, but yes, they’d have a right to do so. But in this case no, they don’t have that right: When they bought Miramax, they signed a contract giving up any such right to interfere in the subsidiary’s operations — that was a condition of the sale. This is exactly the situation for which that clause was inserted.

That’s it. I hereby renounce anything positive I said or thought about the Disney corporation (I think I’ll pick up a copy of Carl Hiaasen’s Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World). Fuck the mouse.


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