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Disney's Disastrous Year Ends with a Big Realization as Legal Protection Upheld Since 1928 Finally Runs Out

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It feels like the end of an age. But endings often mean fresh beginnings. As a culture, where are we headed next? Disney is in a position to point the way.

A nearly century-old mouse will soon enter the public domain. Mickey Mouse’s original copyright expires in 2024, according to Deseret News.

Mickey Mouse has been the face of The Walt Disney Co. since his 1928 film debut in “Steamboat Willie.” In 1929, the first Disney logo featured Mickey Mouse.

The “Steamboat Willie” version of Mickey Mouse is the only one impacted by the law so far. That version of Mickey will be the one to enter the public domain. Other versions will expire later.

The short film “Steamboat Willie” is available for viewing on YouTube. It speaks of another time.

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Compare the 1928 “Steamboat Willie” version of Mickey to some contemporary Disney characters and you may wonder if they inhabit two different realities. In some ways, they do.

In March, Disney corporate president Karey Burke said she wants “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories,” according to the Washington Examiner. I have no idea what some of those letters mean because, frankly, they don’t mean anything. Language that doesn’t correspond with reality is nonsense.

That is one road open to Disney: the way of nonsense that leads to unintelligibility.

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In its “Reimagine Tomorrow” program, Disney has committed to a minimum of 50 percent of characters being LGBT and racial minorities. Disney production coordinator Allen March said his team is committed to “exploring queer stories,” and he has created a tracker to make sure they are creating enough “gender-nonconforming characters,” “canonical trans characters” and “canonical bisexual characters,” the Examiner reported.

Walt Disney would be appalled. In the biography “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” author Neal Gabler writes that while Disney was sometimes opinionated, especially when it came to his anti-communist beliefs, he wanted to keep his business empire free of politics, according to the New York Post.

That road, the one of solid storytelling, is still open to Disney if it chooses to take it.

And if the box office is any indicator, Disney should take it. In just one example, Disney’s new movie “Strange World” isn’t doing so well. It is estimated it will lose $147 million. The film features Disney’s first gay teenage character.

In an attempt to staunch the woke wound in Disney’s pocketbook, the company dumped its CEO and rehired Bob Iger in November. So the entertainment juggernaut is at a crossroads.

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The world at large appears to be at a crossroads as well.

Pope Benedict XVI passed away this New Year’s Eve. Barbara Walters, the iconic television broadcast journalist, died a day earlier. Both were legends from another era, an era before social media and wokeness converged in an attempt to replace tradition and excellence with shallowness and mediocrity via identity politics.

Woke Disney would impose its values on its audience, if the audience will have it. Establishment journalism would do the same. And yes, so would the current pope. But they may be missing something: the will of the people.

The key to it all, it would seem, is whether the people will conform to the new norm of cultural Marxism or if they will — in the spirit of the Founding Fathers — throw off the yoke.

Disney is in a position to play the weather vane. Keep your eye on what it does in the coming years.

Let’s hope that the winds favor tradition and excellence. Let’s demand it.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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