Disney100: Victory Through Air Power
Those men and their beautiful flying machines.
In case you had not noticed, last week marked another anniversary of 9/11. (I am sure you noticed.) Aside from continuing to be one of the strangest markers of the passing of time, I am reminded every so often thanks to the social-media wayback machine about how much America became totally unmoored because of the devastating attacks of that tragic day. I was a senior in high school on 9/11, so most of the events unfolded via television, propped up dutifully on rolling platforms in each of our classes. As senseless and baffling as that day was — to the point where my 9-year old, in fourth grade, was detailing the very barebones information he was provided by his teacher last week, itself a highlight of how little nuance can be afforded in an elementary-school history lesson — it’s still hard to square with things like this.
It’s not quite propaganda, of course, though I do like how the Mowry sisters inadvertently end up highlighting the silliness of the phrase “Never forget,” because man, if you were alive enough to watch this on TV, there is no way you are ever going to forget. I still remember the name of the kid in my class who told me that the towers fell. I’m never going to forget that detail as long as I live. Who among us would?
I share this link, and acknowledge the belated 22nd anniversary of this day, not just to laugh at that video. It’s not just to goggle at the utter insanity involved in deciding that, yes, one year after the events of 9/11, there should be a 45-second PSA on the Disney Channel featuring a random assortment of its at-the-moment stars talking blandly about the value of remembering what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I do wonder what it must have been like to be in the room where this decision was made, as well as the secondary decision of which stars should be filmed. (Seeing as Sister, Sister ended in 1999, I really am fascinated as to why the Mowrys got involved.)
I watch that video, and it’s easy to laugh because that thing is funny in a weird, demented way. But I also watch it and I think about how the Walt Disney Company, known for its all-ages films and TV shows, for being the height of family-friendly fare, gets involved in even quasi-propaganda efforts. Yes, you can use such family-friendly means to get a propagandistic message to get across, but you’re likely going to end up heightening how silly it is to utilize, say, animation to communicate the value of fighting a war.
Enter Victory Through Air Power, one of the most inexplicable films you will ever see.
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