Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Werner...and Walt.

Today is an important day for a lot of my friends and coworkers and indeed millions of others around the world. You see 110 years ago one Walter Elias Disney was born. And today more than any other day I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge; a person that seemed to simply miss the point of the day. However unlike Scrooge I will not be visited by spirits of past, present, and future Disney to show me what this celebration is really all about. Furthermore I would not want to be. Disney was a man and he left a company. That is it. Nothing more. So many others seem almost to deify him, and frankly it is sickening. What makes him so worthy of cult-like adulation?  

He was an innovator! Well so was Wozniak and Tesla.

He was a visionary! Ghandi and King Jr. had grander dreams.

Well he created Disneyland! To those that visited the 1893 World’s Faire that was far more impressive in all aspects even if not permanent.

I’m not here to bash Disney. There are more than enough places where that is the case. Each of those things above are true, he created, innovated, dreamt, and made those dreams reality. That is rare in a person and worthy of admiration. However it seems that it is much more than admiration what I witness. Yes, I live in one of two ground zeros for that sentiment. So I perhaps am unfairly critical because of my constant contact with this blind love. I’ll give you that. It doesn’t change how I feel though that this admiration borders on fanatical devotion to one man. A man to whom has been attributed much more than what he actually did and no notice paid to any of his own personal faults. Faults that in today’s society would have him become a social pariah in moments. Or perhaps not, Disney was as much shaped by his time as he did shape it.

Walt Disney left an indelible imprint on American culture and entertainment and his influence is hard to overstate.  However he is not a myth, he was just another successful director/producer/studio head with a much better reputation than most. Seems the man my friends celebrate today was too good to have lived. Is this how heroes are born? Someone quote Joseph Campbell please!

There are theories as to why he receives such an inordinate amount of love, but I will save that for another post. I leave you friends with birthday wishes to TWO men I admire (but do not idolize) with utmost certainty: Happy Birthday Walt Disney and Werner Heisenberg!
Werner Heisenberg...I'm pretty certain

Walt Disney

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