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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mouse That Roared

“Mickey Mouse has been beloved by generations of fans, and has seen his share of American tragedies and triumphs” wrote Jackie Kass in her Examiner page. “Throughout the pain and joy, Mickey Mouse has remained steadfast in his mission to remain innocent while entertaining children and adults alike.”

Mickey Mouse celebrated his 81st birthday on November 18, after his first appearance with synchronized sound in the cartoon Steamboat Willie-although he had appeared in the animated short Plane Crazy six months earlier.

In an apt celebration of the iconic rodent’s big day, Disneyland theme park in California is currently offering free admission to any child who happens to be celebrating their own birthday when they visit the theme park until the end of the year.

However, the birthday celebrations are neither limited to the U.S. nor in to Walt Disney Company based locations. Perhaps this is an account that Mickey Mouse is as famous and important as Santa Claus to all children of the world.

The Times of India newspaper states that two students of a city-based animation institute recreated the magic of Mickey on Vidyamandir grounds in Palanpur. Indrajit Sisodiya and Kapil Rawal created a 43 by 57 feet, 3D Mickey mouse in a span of 12 hours by.

“Earlier too, I have made 3D images of Mahatama Gandhi and Michael Jackson on sand” said Kapil to the Indian newspaper. “However this was special as it made me very nostalgic.”

How is it possible that almost every child in the world can still associate with a 81 year old, half-naked –he was always depicted without a shirt- animal which most of the kids would freak out to see inside their house? Beyond the sweet scratches and funny adventures, there lies a giant.

The Walt Disney Company is the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world. Founded on October 16, 1923, by brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney as an animation studio, it has become one of the biggest Hollywood studios, and owner and licensor of eleven theme parks and several television networks, including ABC and ESPN. By 1931 more than a million people belonged to The Mickey Mouse club.

Nevertheless, the world-wide fame of the Mickey Mouse does not stand without a sense of criticism: It is not a surprise to see Mickey Mouse fighting cannibalistic ooga-booga African natives, dressing in drag to perform a belly dance in front of oriental desert image-like stages, finding savage Africans inside bananas or as a soldier fighting on the front. According to a meassage in an Ibo-talklanguage mailing list, a copy of the “1932 Mickey Mouse Annual” which included the word “nigger” in its text was sold in an auction in London for $54,000.

Moreover, a number of academics – from communication, gender, Africana, Asian and pedagogy studies, already started questioning not only the controversies of Mickey Mouse cartoons but also the Walt Disney Company’s role to shape the desires, needs, and futures of today’s children.

Mickey Mouse’s character is not only copyrighted but also trademarked, which lasts in perpetuity as long as it continues to be used commercially by its owner. So, the Mass Media Newspaper cannot be in the position to publish neither ordinary nor controversial images of Mickey Mouse without an expensive cost. Though the Iinternet still provides a “trademark free” platform for several bloggers and webmasters, who are willing to bring the Walt Disney topic into discussion. A glance at our “recommended reading list” will guide you to the core of the issue.

About the Contributor
Barış Munyakmaz served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Managing Editor: 2010-2011 Culture & Diversity Editor: 2009-2010