The irony is that religion is likely considered "too controversial" to be included in children's entertainment. Which primarily means it's controversial to the social circles of the people involved in creating said children's entertainment, while sexuality etc are actually non-controversial topics.

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The only problem with your argument is that is doesn’t go far enough. There actually are plenty of other religions featured in movies/shows, even recent and current Disney shows (Buddhism in Turning Red, Islam in Ms Marvel, Judaism in Moon Knight). But there are definitely not Christians. Especially Evangelical Christians. (You could make the argument Daredevil is Catholic… but he’s a very conflicted Catholic)

I’m not crying persecution, because this is decidedly not, but it is a form of discrimination. And as you say, it doesn’t reflect reality at all.

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This move from Disney/Pixar is just another example of something I've suspected for years. I think that most of our cultural elites (in Hollywood, politics, finance, and even Evangelicalism) have taken to believe that what occurs on social media (Twitter, primarily, but others as well) is an accurate consensus of what a majority Americans values and believe. Even major new networks have fallen for this when you hear them make sweeping claims because "Twitter says…"

Now, I don't disagree with your take with the Corinth vs. Mayberry axiom. We probably are in a Corinth world more than Mayberry. And I think even if you looked under the hood of the remaining "Mayberry's" there are in America, you'll find Corinth there. I also think that has been the case for a long time now. We've tolerated this stuff in our entertainment for a LONG time (Boy George, anyone? George Michael? Elton John? Birdcage? Will & Grace?) Granted, not in children's entertainment. But it's been there.

But my question is what kind of Corinth are we talking about? And what kind of Mayberry?

What I mean is, and maybe I'm too optimistic here, is that I think our cultural elites have relied too much on social media as their cultural barometer way too much. And so have we. I think Americans as a whole are more Mayberry and less Corinth in our day-to-day, offline lives than they (or we) even realize. What HAS changed is what is primarily occurring on screens (Okay, that and the price of gas. But given inflation, that could even be debated). There are for sure exceptions, such as corporate HR policies. But overall, if I have picked up on what you've been putting down for a long time now, you are seeing this too. Your assessment of how almost all of this culture war is an online, digital, and social media culture war tells me that maybe the Corinth/Mayberry divide is better summed up as an Online/Offline divide.

We have seen the digital world spill over into the real world at times, but not as much as our daily does of screens would lead us to believe.

All that to say, this was another great piece and great cultural assessment. I would love to hear more about how you see this trend in film playing out in connection with the online/offline realities you've been writing about.

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This is akin to an 'All Lives Matter' argument. What is the point of representation? Is it to ensure that groups with an inarguably outsized influence on society are given an equal platform alongside all other identities, or is to give a *slight* platform to an, again inarguably, historically disenfranchized group? On an even more basic level, does it not prepare children for the society they're going to exist in? Certainly they can't reasonably avoid seeing a same sex kiss in real life, or having a gay friend or colleague. Why bother establishing such an involved strawman argument as you do, when the practical value of even this base level argument for same sex representation in children's cinema is prima facie critical to a functioning society.

When we ignore that this is a strawman argument, you taking issue with your own identity (you refer to a 'devout Protestant or Catholic character') not finding itself worthy of equal representation in the Disney lexicon should be appreciated for its implicit acknowledgment of why the LGBT community might value precisely this representation.

Finally, your comparison of LGBT representation to that of a disease (alcoholism) or a parent who has literally committed a crime is something I would consider removing from this piece. You've cleverly dropped this in right after acknowledging we live in a post-Obergefell world, and it's hard not to hear the dog whistle here.

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I understand that we are living in a post-christian society, and things we don't approve of will be celebrated as normal, even in front of our kids. But what I'm most annoyed about in "Lightyear" is how the lesbian relationship seems to have been put in as a direct affront to evangelical christianity. The kiss scene was actually cut from the film at one point, but was reinstated as a response to the whole "don't say gay" controversy in Florida. That kind of deliberate baiting is just too much; I don't feel like I need to watch the film if it is deliberately trying to provoke me.

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Good piece! This might worth mentioning for fun though :)


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