Muse Reporting on the arts and culture

Mickey makes his move

Entertainment | Disney is taking over streaming, and here’s what families should know
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 11/15/19, 06:01 pm

The question “Are you going to get it?” dominated social conversations this week, with “it” referring to the new Disney Plus streaming service. The $6.99-a-month alternative to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others puts Disney’s massive video library—which includes offerings from Fox, Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, Star Wars, and more—at users’ fingertips. The entertainment giant claims 10 million people signed up for the service on Tuesday, the first day it was available. While that number is a far cry from Netflix’s 158 million subscribers, having Mickey Mouse and friends join the streaming fray gives all the other platforms reason to worry.

For families in search of safe entertainment for children, Disney Plus is a gold mine. Not only does it feature recent movies like Frozen and Moana, but it also includes scores of shows made in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, when family values were at the center of the Disney brand (think Pollyanna, Mary Poppins, and Old Yeller).

Nostalgic parents immediately started singing Disney Plus’ praises on Twitter. “Thanks @disneyplus for bringing back classics from my childhood for my kids to watch. We are loving Rescue Rangers tonight!” tweeted Scott Smith of Pasadena, Md., referring to a Chip and Dale cartoon from the 1980s.

But before turning children loose with the remote, parents should know not everything on the platform is safe for all youngsters. It includes some PG-13 movies and seasons of Fox’s The Simpsons, and it does not have password-protected parental controls.

“By its own admission, Disney Plus was not designed exclusively for children,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, which has called for the addition of content filtering to the new service.

Beyond inappropriate or violent scenes, some of the older Disney movies also contain offensive content. The movies Dumbo (1941) and The Jungle Book (1967), for instance, used negative stereotypes of African Americans to characterize animated crows and orangutans. Disney added a disclaimer about “outdated cultural depictions” to some of the shows. But the warning is applied somewhat arbitrarily: Aladdin, which refers to Arabian lands as “barbaric” and tells people to “hop a carpet and fly” over for a visit, doesn’t have it.

Despite those criticisms, Disney is poised to win big in the TV market with its new service. Disney Plus has something just about every other streaming service doesn’t—a vast library of content it already owns. All the other streaming services have to pay big bucks either to license or create their programming. Season 1 of The Crown, Netflix’s historical drama about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, cost $130 million to make. Some entertainment and business experts have argued the streaming market has space for all comers, but they aren’t factoring in the increasing cost of staying in the market. That cost will keep rising for the other platforms while Disney cashes in on old favorites and upcoming theatrical releases like Frozen II, which have their box office revenue stream to cover costs. Not to mention it can also draw in users with its bundle offer that includes Hulu and ESPN Plus (both Disney-owned) for $12.99 a month.

In response to the question, “Are you going to get it?” most TV viewers can probably answer, “Eventually.” Like the comic villain Thanos from the Avengers franchise (also available on Disney Plus), it is inevitable.

Associated Press/Photo by Frank Augstein (file) Associated Press/Photo by Frank Augstein (file) Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles

God’s glory on the gridiron

A vicious brawl at Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers led the NFL to hand down its longest suspension for a single on-field infraction in league history. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is barred from playing the rest of the season for ripping off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and smacking him on the head with it. Rudolph did not suffer any severe injuries from the blow, but it set off a benches-clearing melee.

Garrett, who was the NFL’s overall No. 1 draft pick in 2017, called his actions a terrible mistake and apologized publicly to Rudolph, his teammates, fans, and the league. Neither player has said why they scuffled in the first place.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles this week set an example for how young players ought to handle the hard times. Foles was sidelined at the start of the season when he suffered a broken collarbone. He is scheduled to return this weekend when the Jaguars face the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he quarterbacked to the 2018 Super Bowl championship, earning MVP honors. He said at a news conference this week that he rejoiced in God through success and adversity.

“I still could have joy in an injury,” Foles said. “People hear that and say, ‘That’s crazy,’ but when you believe in Jesus, you go out there and you play, that changes your heart.” —L.L.

Associated Press/Photo by Stephen Wandera Associated Press/Photo by Stephen Wandera Kanye West visits orphanage in Uganda in 2018.

Getting the Word out

The American Bible Society has given away more than 8,800 free Bibles to fans of Kanye West, CBN News reported. The rapper recently professed a born-again faith in Jesus Christ and released a gospel album on Oct. 25 called Jesus Is King.

Taking advantage of public interest in West’s newfound faith, ABS initially offered 1,000 free Bibles to fans who requested one online. But it expanded the giveaway in response to enormous demand. The organization said it will continue to accept requests until Nov. 22. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • Janet B
    Posted: Sat, 11/16/2019 06:31 am

    Lord, please keep Kanye in your grace.  

  • Rich277
    Posted: Sat, 11/16/2019 08:59 am

    The people behind most of these streaming services are some of the most ardent opponents of religious freedom.  So in subscribing to them, we are enriching a powerful force that stifles the expression of our faith.  We are being entertained to death.