IT IS FASHIONABLE among the political left to affect dislike for Walt Disney movies, mostly on the grounds of Disney’s crude commercial tactics and their representations of peoples of colour. And yet, let’s be honest; haven’t we all thoroughly enjoyed at least one Disney movie? There is perhaps only one Disney story, variously told, and that is the story of the underdog who, against all odds, triumphs. This is the gist of every Disney movie I have seen, from Cinderella to Matilda. Only the characters and the settings change. The subject may concern a soccer team, or a princess; the setting may be early America or ‘The Orient.’ Nevertheless, we get a certain unmistakable sort of story, a recognizably ‘Disney’ story. Careful marketing dictates that it shall be thus, but marketing only discloses what seems to work, not why it works. Why do we enjoy a Disney movie? And why is the left reluctant to admit they do enjoy it?
THE CHIEF THING that I remember of high school Canadian history is that it was boring. I suspect the same is true in your case. Here is my summary of high school Canadian history, roughly as I recall it: Canada was a pristine land inhabited by some Indians, and discovered by John Cabot in 1497. Jacques Cartier later explored the interior. It’s thought Vikings were in Canada before Europeans, but in any case Samuel de Champlain first colonized the land adjacent to the St. Lawrence (Upper Canada). The French settlers took to fighting the English over control of the resources. A number of alliances with the Indians were made by each side, and trade networks were established. This was the era of the courier de bois, or ‘woods-runner,’ usually a “half-breed” who moved goods from indigenous supplier to white trader. The English gained the upper hand over the French at the Plains of Abraham, in the 1750s or so. The Treaty of Paris ceded North America to Britain. The Yankees then took to fighting the British. In the War of 1812 the Yankees were finally driven back for good. Isaac Brock fought heroically and died beside Chief Tecumseh at Queenston. Troops from Halifax invaded Washington and burnt down buildings, most famously a building which was afterward painted white and called the White House.