About the Author

Satiricalifragilistic grew up during the Disney Renaissance, and The Little Mermaid was the first movie she ever saw in theaters at age 3. Her mother flatly refused to let her leave the theater when Ursula got huge and terrifying, and maybe that explains her troubled psyche.

While she'll admit to being an inveterate nitpicker, she firmly believes in loving a piece of art even while criticizing it, and in the importance of engaging critically with what she loves. She has special contempt for anyone who tries to claim the politics in Disney films don't matter because "they're just movies," because she knows exactly how much the Disney Canon influenced her little gradeschool self—for good and for ill!

She loves art, design, music, dancing, movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, and British comedy...expect a lot of these to turn up in her reviews and mashups!

When Disney Characters Find Themselves In A Safe-Sex and Anti-Drug PSA...

Pocahontas chasing a waterfall.

So, I think this may be the most tasteless thing I've ever done, and considering my single most popular tumblr post suggests Gaston gets together with a 7-year-old girl, that's saying something:

When I mentioned the idea for this mashup to my loyal peanut gallery, Dad said

"If only Disney had explicitly explored the tobacco industry side of the colonization of the Americas."

...and my little sister said

"But instead of AIDS, it's smallpox?"

The snark is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And, my sister has it...


Zootopia Packs An Impressive Punch of Moral Ambiguity

Judy Hops offers her officers a fist bump

Wow, I can hardly say how impressed I am with Zootopia! As someone who blogs about feminism and politics in Disney films, rather in spite of myself I've followed Wesley's advice and gotten used to disappointment. It's easy to feel a certain amount of thoughtless traditionalism is simply baked in, and our decades of criticisms about Disney will never quite fix it. Watching Zooptopia, on the other hand, I felt like....

I guess that means Disney's next move will be whatever the social justice equivalent of shouting "COME ON, DOVER! MOVE YOUR BLOOMIN' ARSE!!!" at Ascot is ... I can't wait:


The Virtue Of Speaking Ill of the Dead

The Disney Villains and sidekicks, with Ronald and Nancy Reagan

So I watch a lot of Disney movies (you may have noticed...), and you know what I can safely say that absolutely no character has said, ever?

It may be hard for your settlers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about environmentalism back in the 1600s. And because of both Governor Ratclifffe and Wiggins, in particular Wiggins, we started a colonial conversation. When before, nobody would talk about cutting down trees, nobody wanted to do anything digging up earth, and that too is something that I really appreciate with Wiggins' very effective low-key advocacy, but it penetrated the public conscience, and colonists began saying, ‘Hey, we have to do something about this too.'
Wiggins wearing his arrow hat

at least the issue seems to have penetrated Wiggins' conscience, so there's that...



Disney Do Not Disturb...

Tumblr user the-disney-elite shared some adorable Disney "Do Not Disturb" door tags:

Now that's fine as far as it goes, but there are just so many opportunities here!

May I humbly suggest:


The Importance of Feminism in Pop Culture, Republican Debate Edition


At the Republican debate on Tuesday, Chris Christie (an actual human being alive in 2015 and actively trying to say things that will appeal to people!) actually said this:

“Think about the mothers who will take those children tomorrow morning to the bus stop wondering whether their children will arrive back on that bus safe and sound. Think about the fathers of Los Angeles, who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children.”
Alice nodding sarcastically

Since the statement itself is so blatantly sexist I don't even need to deconstruct it, I'll go beyond that and look at this boneheaded remark in the setting of my analysis of Inside Out's poor choice to regurgitate a very tired stereotype of the "normal" family structure.


Part 4: When Sexism is More Than Just Bad Table Manners
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

Okay, everybody...buckle up: we've got to talk about the dinner table scene.

Oh, no! NOT THAT!

Let me just say at the outset that this is an extremely ambitious concept to attempt, and Pixar has my genuine respect for trying something as conceptually complicated as this scene: you've got to get inside three people's heads, so instead of having three characters interacting in one location, you've got eighteen characters (counting each human separately from zir emotions), ten of which the audience has never met before, in four locations, in two of which the audience has never been before. I get that you have to rely on shorthand at some point. HOWEVER, there's good shorthand (e.g., the first 10 minutes of Up) and then there's lazy sexist stereotypes. I found myself sitting in the theater saying to myself "Well, I guess they had to dumb this down so people could follow it..." and if a viewer is consciously aware of your filmmaking constraints and trying to make excuses while watching the movie in realtime (the FIRST time I saw it, I might add!), your ambitious scene has failed.

I'm giving this scene a participation award.


Snow White's To-Die-For Apple Pie Recipe

IMPORTANT: start this recipe **at least** one day ahead!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share with you all a foolproof recipe for the most delicious, beautiful, guaranteed-to-delight-and-impress-your-friends-and-relatives apple pie you have ever tasted:

Tastes even better than it looks, might I add...

Let's start out by describing exactly what the perfect apple pie IS NOT, and then I'll share the amazing techniques that fix all those problems and gives you rich, flavorful goodness and a perfect texture.


Part 3: Has Anyone Else Noticed That Riley's Parents Kind Of Suck?
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

So far this series has discussed problems that have implications in how Inside Out relates to our larger society, but that don't detract from the movie's own internal worldbuilding. Today we'll look at some storytelling laziness and associated plotholes, most of which boil down to one simple fact that the movie doesn't seem to understand about its characters:

Riley's father and (to a lesser extent) mother are pretty shitty parents.

C'mon, we're Disney parents and we're alive--what more do you want?!


Part 2: Inside Out's Feminism, and Other Imaginary Friends
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

Welcome back to my series on Inside Out! Today we'll be looking at the tendency of some viewers to refuse to engage with feminist criticism of the movie because it has female characters and/or is more female-centered than other movies, to the point that this installment might as well be called Excuses for Sexism, Pathetically Low Standards Edition.

We're supposed to be satisfied with WHAT, now?!

One of the common responses to the uninspired gender roles in Inside Out is the defense that since Riley and three of the emotions are female, it is apparently unfair to criticize the gender dynamics in the rest of the plot. It's this sort of thinking that leads to defending the film with excuses like:


Part 1c: Look How Hilariously Political Traditionalists Are, (Especially) When They Think They’re Not
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Feminists are frequently mocked for pointing out that the customs our society takes for granted are sexist, and those who like the status quo often accuse us of being too political. We are often told we are reading too much into customs/movies/whatever, when in truth the traditionalist is reading the exact same things into them, ze just likes it that way. In Part 1 of this series a commenter gave an epic example of just how political some knee-jerk defenses of the status quo can be:

When did it become unacceptable for a woman to follow the path of motherhood and caregiving? When did it become unacceptable for a man to be intelligent, driven and successful?

STRAWMAN ALERT! I'm not saying it's unacceptable, I'm saying this is the combination we see over, and over, and over again, and we deserve more varied role models. I'm saying that it's unacceptable that we see so pathetically few alternatives.


Part 1b: No, Dudes, Sitcom Dads Are Not An Evil Feminist Plot. They're Postmodern Patriarchy.
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Being able to openly laugh at this is insufficiently empowering to make up for the fact that guys are STILL taught that it's ok to act like this in 2015.

If you happen to be a feminist on the internet, especially someone who comments on media representations of women, you have likely had some of your critiques met by self-righteous dudes who insist that the portrayals of men in sitcoms are THE WORST INSTANCE OF MISANDRY EVVVVAAAAR!!!! and that you, the feminist, should abandon whatever critique of gender norms you were in the middle of and divert your attention to assuaging their man-feels.


Part 1a: When "Choice Feminism" Really Means "Don't Question The Status Quo, Ever"
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

In response to my post Actually, Inside Out’s Gender Norms Are A Real Problem, I received a comment on reddit that encapsulates a huge part of the frustration I have with the defensiveness of “choice feminism.” Quite simply, this is a prime example of taking the idea of supporting women’s choices to the absurd and shark-jumping extreme of reflexively lashing out at anything that even criticizes the game rather than the player, let alone suggests the patriarchy-approved choice might be patriarchy-approved for a reason.

As opposed to this kind of shark jumping, which is awesome.

Anyway, the comment is quoted in full and in its original sequence, with my response interspersed.

You know why gender norms like these exist in fiction?

Because that's what a typical family looks like.

Actually, no. Not at all. According to the bureau of labor statistics, in 2014 only 19.9 percent of married families had a sole male breadwinner.

Moreover, the fact that this is what's considered "typical" is HUGELY affected by centuries of economic, social, religious, and educational oppression against women.


Part 1: Actually, Inside Out's Gender Norms Are A Major Problem
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

I honestly do love the vast majority of Inside Out ... despite the fact that this post is going to be all negative stuff--sorry! I've had to admit to myself that the dominant emotion at my Headquarters control console is probably Disgust...

...Snarky and Nitpicky? Perfect!!

At first, I got a little annoyed in the theater that the family seems to be picking up its life and centering all its goals around the Dad's job, but I told myself at the time "Some parents get really great opportunities they can't pass up. People move for jobs. That is A Thing that happens, and it doesn't have to imply male-centric social norms."


The movie still reinforces that social norm: Dad is portrayed as the one having the big ideas for the family, being the central provider, and Mom has no job that I could make out, and seems to do the majority of the child-rearing and home-and-hearth stuff. And BLEGH. Even the whole speech Riley's mom gave her about how they appreciate how positive she is came with some rather squicky undertones about the womenfolk needing to fall in line with the Man of the House's goals. Amanda Marcotte seems to think the film offers a critique of the gendered expectation that women be the positive emotional support, but I honestly didn't see that in the work itself. While Marcotte's critique is definitely spot-on for a lot of real women and girls' lived experiences, I don't think that in-universe the movie actually criticized or challenged these gender norms, or even understood why this is problematic.


Why Does Bree Newsome Look So Familiar?

Let's see: bold & outspoken, courageous, dismantles oppressive stereotypes, willing to face unjust punishment from her narrow-minded government for doing the right thing, thinks outside the box, outsmarts an enemy that resorts to terrorism after it lost a war...

...and oh, yeah, kickass climbing skills:

Congratulations, Bree, you've just embodied one of my childhood heroes.


Prologue: So...one little nitpick about Inside Out
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Ok, overall, a really great movie...there’s only one teensy little problem:

I kinda understand the stress of moving to a new house, especially at that age, and I (kind of) get to a kid that city living would be a difficult adjustment from a big midwestern farmhouse... But I grew up near San Francisco. Riley just moved in to a Victorian in the middle of San Francisco.

Let me repeat that...


Now, I can’t find any screencaps online right now of the exterior of the house (if you know of any please put a link in the comments and I’ll update the post!), but comparing from memory here’s what 10 minutes of googling some real estate sites showed me:


On Frollo and Josh Duggar

8/27/15: Updated below!

Josh Duggar: the later years...

Today's object lesson in "Everything you really need to know in life you should have learned from Disney Movies" comes to us in the form of the Josh Duggar scandal, which could have and should have been avoided if certain conservative Christian sects had paid closer attention to The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Yeah, turns out maniacally suppressing your sexual self in pursuit of "purity" is bad for you...

Gee, y'think?!


Confessions of A Disney Blogger


Whenever I say the word "Renaissance," I am about 100 times more likely to mean this:

than this:


When John Smith evasively tells Ratcliffe that he was "out scouting the terrain, sir..."