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Gospel According To Disney

Gospel According To Disney

3.0 7
by Mark I. Pinsky

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In this follow-up to his bestselling The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family, religion journalist Mark Pinsky explores the role that the animated features of Walt Disney played on the moral and spiritual development of generations of children. Pinsky explores thirty-one of the most popular Disney films


In this follow-up to his bestselling The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family, religion journalist Mark Pinsky explores the role that the animated features of Walt Disney played on the moral and spiritual development of generations of children. Pinsky explores thirty-one of the most popular Disney films, as well as recent developments such as the 1990s boycott of Disney by the Southern Baptist Convention and the role that Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg played in the resurgance of the company since the mid-1980s.

Editorial Reviews

In the spirit of his popular The Gospel According to The Simpsons, religion journalist Mark Pinsky explores the role of Disney animated features on the moral life and spiritual development of American children. Examining the themes of 30 famous Disney films, he shows how the Disney gospel of goodwill, trust in yourself, and "a little bit of something magical" have been imprinted in our moral and religious norms. Pinsky also discusses recent Disney developments, including the 1990s Southern Baptist Convention boycott and the impact of theme parks on American culture.
Publishers Weekly
Pinsky, Orlando journalist and author of The Gospel According to the Simpsons, sets his sights on a larger, yet more elusive target: the Magic Kingdom. As Pinsky argues, Disney's cultural influence is enormous: "millions of children around the world know much of what they do about the practical application of right and wrong from Disney." The "Disney gospel" is simple enough in outline: believe in yourself, never give up, good will be rewarded and evil punished. Unfortunately, the book bogs down amidst the massive Disney canon; and organizing it in "episode guide" format, rather than thematically, does not help. There are sparkles of marvelous, irreverent wit: "Tinker Bell, it is immediately apparent, has undergone some alterations over the decades, including breast reduction surgery and liposuction on her derriere." But for long stretches, the critical tone turns sober, even snarky, as Pinsky picks off obvious targets such as Snow White's passivity or Mowgli's haircut rather than surfacing the hidden spiritual gems he found so often in The Simpsons. Even considering the variety of Disney creations, he seems torn between admiring "Walt's dream, to communicate lessons to children across cultures," and debunking its "uplifting, family-friendly fare" as "a sentimental notion-na ve at best and disingenuous at worst." Still, readers will be struck by Pinsky's cogent observations about Disney classics. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is a comprehensive and quite readable account of the Disney Corporation in its entirety how the company began (including a brief history of Walt and Roy Disney's family), its later and current leaders (Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg), and critiques of 31 individual Disney films. Pinsky (The Gospel According to the Simpsons) also discusses how Disney, both the man and the corporation, influenced American culture and offers opinions from many political and religious leaders on whether Disney truly reflects America's widespread Judeo-Christian background and the current political and cultural clout of the Bible Belt. Pinsky, who draws on his up-close-and-personal knowledge of religious opinion from a range of Jews, Protestants, and Catholics, seems to feel that Disney really espouses no specific religious or cultural stances, although groups on both the left and the right would presumably beg to differ. Each reader can decide. The chapter titled "The Baptist Boycott" is particularly well done and contains enough fodder for another entire book. For public libraries. Mary Prokop, Savannah Country Day Sch., GA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date:
The Gospel According To... Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
0.69(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

What People are Saying About This

Connie Neal
Parents and grandparents who want to share biblical values and memorable lessons with their children will find a wealth of opportunity in Disney animated features-with the help of Mark Pinsky's new book. This easy-to-read book will get you started talking with your kids about good messages behind the movies. Pop some popcorn and let pop culture work for you for a change!
author of The Gospel according to Harry Potter
David Bruce
My highest recommendation. ... The Gospel According to Disney will literally open your eyes and give you a fresh way to understand these important animated art treasures. So, sit back, read and enjoy the journey, as Mark transports you to Disney's magical Wonderland.
host of HollywoodJesus.com
Martin Marty
I think you have a winner here....[Pinsky] helped refresh my memory and taught much.
professor emeritus, University of Chicago Divinity School, and author of Modern American Religion, in a review for the publisher
Harvey Cox
God is not dead, and Mickey is very much alive. Religion is everywhere in secular America, especially where you least expect it, like in Disney films. Mark Pinsky decodes these epics with a skillful and amusing flair.
Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, and author of the forthcoming When Jesus Came to Harvard
Ted Baehr
Mark Pinsky has done it again, a highly readable, entertaining and important look at a major media icon. Bravo. This is must reading.
chair of the Christian Film and Television Commission and publisher of Movieguide
Robert K. Johnston
Here is both an entertaining tour and an educational read through Disney's world of animation. Disney's 'reel' faith is engagingly documented, as is the varying response of both church and synagogue to it.
co-author of Finding God in the Movies and professor of theology and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary
Tony Campolo
Mark Pinsky has done it again. He has analyzed in depth the religious messages that are often ignored in the 'pop' culture of our time. The success of Disney productions is that its people know how to tap into the folk religion that lies behind the sophisticated theological formula of professional religionists. Mark Pinsky helps us to see the religious themes in Disney with clarity and in the end helps us to get a better grasp of the real religion of most Americans.
professor emeritus, Eastern University, and author of Speaking My Mind

Meet the Author

Mark I. Pinsky is the author of The Gospel according to The Simpsons (with Samuel Parvin), The Gospel according to Disney, and A Jew among the Evangelicals. His writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He appears frequently in national media discussing religion and culture.

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The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Hank901 More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book. It surveys all many of the Disney Classics and seeks to prove if there is any spiritual significance and symbolism in the movie or is it just family entertainment. Reads a little like a textbook but the detailed explanations are good. It is more exploratory than conclusive in my opinion. I don't think it would sway a Disney Fan one way or the other but it does give some insightful perspectives for parents of children who may want to watch particular Disney movies. It also delves into the Southern Baptist's Convention's boycott of Disney and seems to give fair treatment to both sides. I would recommend the book for any adult who has questions concerning spiritual doubts related to some of the ideas promoted in some Disney movies. Many of the issues will pass you by unnoticed if you are not paying attention. An example would be Disney's failure to portray Pocahontas as a Christian. This could be a concern but the Disney Companies argument in the book is that even occurred after the time the movie was set. I read the book for a college Theology class and would recommend it to other students for extra reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't judge a book by its cover... or title, I guess. I liked the first few chapters, but then the book became more about sexual preferences and law suits than about analyzing the films. Analysis throughout was slighlty shallow and shortsighted. The ideas here could have been summed up in a 50 page thesis instead of rambling on for 300.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title was too cute not to check out the book, and I was interested in seeing what it was about. While I found some of it useful and enjoyed the beginning chapters, the more I read it the more I felt that the author was biased despite his claims to the contrary. He's a beginning author and his writing comes across like something I'd expect a college student to have written for a research paper. The parts I enjoyed and found useful were actually all the quotes he pulled from other Disney related books and I felt far more interested in checking out his sources than in continuing to read his own book. I felt that for some movies he would be very thorough in his analysis, but then in others he would barely spend any time on them and be rather ridiculous in the conclusions he made about them. I got so frustrated with how he would judge some of the movies with what I felt to be an extreme bias that I put the book aside halfway through and haven't wanted to pick it up since. While he is an enthusiastic author, this is not that great of a book. Useful in parts, but his works cited pages is probably the best part of the whole thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book i had became more of a Disney freak than i already am.Eventhough i know more about disneyland than i do Walt him self i would have to say that this book is just awseome! For anybody of the age of 10 and up I would highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Gospel According to Disney is an interesting and informative treatment of the different Disney movies, going back to his first full length film, Snow White. All of the major Disney films are discussed in an objective fashion and in great detail. The relative lack of Christian observance by Walt Disney is balanced by his promotion of optimism and hard work, the need for faith in what you are doing and that evil is always punished and good is rewarded. According to Disney's movies, you don't pray to God, you wish upon a star instead. A lot of the personal life of Disney is covered, particularly his early years and I found the entire book to be well written and informative, but without the saccharin-sweet coverage that some authors might have put into their works about this remarkable man. I recommend this book highly for parents and students, particularly those in high school. Whether we like him or not, Disney is an integral part of American culture and, as one of my grandchilden recently said: 'Mickey Mouse rules!'