Best Of The Web
“Love, in the world of Walt Disney films, has changed. Between Tangled (2010) and Moana (2016), the ideal of heterosexual romance has been dethroned by a new ideal: family love. The happy ending of our most-watched childhood stories is no longer a kiss. Today, Disney films end with two siblings reconciled despite their differences, as in Frozen (2013); or a mother and a daughter making amends, as in Brave (2012) and Inside Out (2015); or a child reunited with long-lost parents, as in Tangled, Finding Dory (2016) and Coco (2011). Love remains the all-important linchpin of these stories: love is supposed to bring us joy, solve our problems, and get us to our happy ending. We are told to love love, for love will always save us in the end. But over the past 10 years, we have been told to love a new kind of love.
The stories of love we find on the silver screen are not just representations of the emotions within us. They also shape our expectations of what love will be like – expectations by which we will want to abide, leading us to shoehorn our feelings into that idealised form. Just a few centuries ago, romance held a much less central position in the cultural imaginary than it does today: love was primarily a question of family allegiances and controlled reproduction. This changed with the advent of modernity, where romantic love acquired the cultural acclaim that it commands today. And if the nature of love has changed before, it can change again. Disney’s depiction of love over the past decade might be a sign of what’s to come. Love is central to the fabric of society, so any change in its ideal will ripple through all sorts of human relations: between workers and bosses, between states and their citizens, between the ideals of modernity and those who are branded as ‘ethnic others’, to name but a few.
Today, Disney no longer expects us to expect a knight in shining armour, but rather to forgive our siblings and make peace with our parents. Consider the gulf that separates Sleeping Beauty (1959) from its remake Maleficent (2014). Both are based on Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant (1829), but in Maleficent the story has been updated for the times. The princess is still told that only a ‘true love’s kiss’ will end her magic sleep. The prince’s lips, however, have now lost their power. We see him kiss the princess and the music swells – and nothing happens. But when the fairy godmother then realises her mistake in cursing the princess and bends down to kiss her forehead in remorse, she wakes. The story arc is still the same as of old, but the words ‘true love’ now mean something new.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"In June 2012, I stood with hundreds of thousands of Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where they prayed that the Egyptian military, still powerful behind the scenes, would allow a fair ballot count. Independent tallies suggested."
"For 246 years our laws supported a system that made people slaves, divided families, and treated human beings as property. And for nearly 100 after Reconstruction, that dark legacy continued with Jim Crow laws throughout the country."
"Iran May Soon Try to Provoke Israel to Gain the Upper Hand..Intelligence assessments suggest that Tehran might initiate a provocation along one of Israel's borders in order to exacerbate the crisis, using one of the groups it operates in the..."
"I haven’t been able to stop thinking about “Striking Vipers.” Black Mirror’s best episodes are about relationships, and how technology can facilitate forms previously impossible in a pre-digital era. That’s why “San Junipero” has remained such a..."
"Facebook has announced a plan to launch a new cryptocurrency named the Libra, adding another layer to its efforts to dominate global communications and business. Backed by huge finance and technology companies including Visa, Spotify, eBay, Pay..."
"RECENTLY, some of my friends have started using their faces to pay for things. Not by charming strangers in bars, but instead by using the iPhone Face ID feature, which has users “glance” at their phone to make a contactless payment. The glance..."
"In April 2013, Austin Cooper followed his boss into what he thought was a work meeting at their engineering firm. Instead, the now 31-year-old Ohio native was met by his family, who were staging an intervention. “It was the scariest moment of my..."
"...two new books give lucid, stimulating accounts of recent discoveries in neuroscience and psychology. Both authors aim to challenge antiquated views of the brain and human behavior. In so doing, they help us think through perennial debates..."
"Corporate parental leave policies are earning their share of headlines: Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid leave, Microsoft offers 22 weeks to birth parents and 10 to those who don’t give birth (and now will only work with companies that offer paid..."
"In the United States, the public panic about the dangers of genetically modified foods is fading fast. This is an amazing—and rare—triumph of reason and science over public hysteria and political posturing. On Monday, for example, the New York..."
"Geneticist Rotem Sorek could see that his bacteria were sick — so far, so good. He had deliberately infected them with a virus to test whether each ailing microbe soldiered on alone or communicated with its allies to fight the attack...."
"Birthright, which has brought over 700,000 young Jews to Israel since 1999, is not a partisan program. It’s not basic training for propaganda wars, Left or Right. It is a Jewish identity-building program offering Israel 101 – a basic introduction.."