comments by Meryl Streep last Tuesday at the National Board of Review
regarding Walt Disney set in motion a flurry of corrections from esteemed
sources such as
Floyd Norman, who knew Walt personally.
It matters not whether Streep (pictured above, from the forthcoming Disney release Into The Woods) felt correct in accusing a
dead man of things that have long been disproven, rather, it displays a
shocking aversion to simple fact-checking that anybody familiar with Google can
This is regrettably an all-too-common fact of life when it
comes to animation; simple fact-checking is ignored in a way that seems to
suggest a blasé attitude to a legitimate artistic technique.
How often is the latest DreamWorks film casually mentioned
in the press as a Pixar film? How quickly are cartoons lambasted for content that
is openly tolerated and accepted in live-action?
It almost seems that plenty of people simply couldn’t be
bothered to do their homework when it comes to animation. Does the industry
truly face the challenge of fighting ambivalence?
In a way it does. Animation is an industry that’s small and
close-knit. People within it and with an interest in it are knowledgeable, but
those on the outside are not, and far too prone to simply making assumptions.
Live-action is large enough to support a level of general knowledge within the
population. Animation is not, and it suffers because of it.
This is why Streep’s comments are so infuriating; they
highlight, yet again, that animation and the people within it aren’t held to
the the same standards as others in the entertainment industry.
Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.