By: Gregory Weagle Editorial Completed on: 12/12/2003
There are some things in life that I don't understand. They are things that aren't supposed to happen and yet they do happen. One day; I was reading People magazine and I was reading the responses to a previous article on certian parents who were using a growth hormone on their sons and daughters to make them taller than six feet. According to them; it was to _improve their self-esteem_. The responses were overwhelming againest such a practice and rightfully so. To me; it is irresponsible to use a product that has not been tested for safety among children and waste thousands of dollars just to improve someone's self worth. It's basically putting their self-worth ahead of their health and well-being. However; no amount of critism is going to change their minds because in reality; the only alternative is for society to change their prespective on short people in general. These parents who allow their children to be at risk are basically saying that it is society's fault because they accept only tall people and create an image that they are worthless; or worse, the work of the devil. In short; those letters are in a very tiny minority. This is why I'm writing this editorial; because these people deserve to see the evidence that short people are often protrayed in media as heroes and that short people do have a wonderful place in this world. I've heard the excuse that these parents use the growth hormone so that their children can slam dunk a basketball. I find that quite selfish because there's more to life than playing basketball. Hey; there's more to playing basketball then slam dunking a basketball for that matter. However; the social fabric doesn't treat short people correctly. Even 60 Minutes; which is supposed to be completely impartial, is egging this on when they talked about a boy who was going through the growth hormone just so that he could grow to be six feet and be accepted. I cannot believe 60 Minutes II would ever do this at all and considering that they are supposed to be impartial; this is only going to make to whole situation worse. They show that the social fabric is unwilling to let the short people in the world shine.
For the purposes of the editorial; I'm going to show that the best character ever created in animation are in fact short; as in under four feet tall. Now I'm not going to use the characters from Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers even though most people would use it as clear as crystal choice. The reason is that the Ranger live in an animated version of the real world and that taints the whole purpose of the editorial. There is no feeling of height here since the humans are tall and the Rangers are short. It doesn't work; so I'm going to use the short people from TaleSpin as my witnesses to this editorial because that's what my website is about and I've got enough of them to prove my point. Just like the creators of TaleSpin did in creating original female characters, they also created memoriable character who are in essence under four feet tall......
[1.] Kit Cloudkicker (3'9")- I know what you're going to ask: How many times are you going to use Kit in a study since I've already sang this kid's prasies enough in previous editorials? Well; the answer is that I can do it because it's my website and I ready want to point out the greatness of this character from yet another angle. If you watch Kit; as great as he is a character, you probably noticed how short he is. So why does being short have an advantage? Well; consider the kind of life Kit had on the streets. We all know that Kit was in the unforgiving world without a home to call his own. When you are literally fighting for your own life day in and day out; you cannot afford to take anything lightly and you must take every advantage you have available to you to surivive; let alone flourish. Kit's height is actually helpful in a number of situations as he can hide himself from danger and his small frame and speed help him lessen the chances of being caught. People who are larger and taller would be more noticable. However; now that he is at peace at Higher For Hire you would think that small would be worthless. Think again! This under four foot tall bearcub has many skills that he can apply to his new home that makes him a great chatacter regardless of his height. Let me count the ways:
[1.] He navigates the SeaDuck (strong math and geography skills).
[2.] He's a great babysitter because he's quite a softie.
[3.] He can surf the clouds like no one can; which almost no one does in real life.
[4.] He flew the most diffcult plane (The Thunderyak) in existance pretty well with a little instruction from Baloo.
[5.] He can mimic voices of certain people; a useful skill to create paranoia.
[6.] Be a conscience to people who are greedy, fat and lazy even when it doesn't work most of the time.
[7.] He can peel vegetables and could make a fine cook.
[8.] He can create disguises and help women who can do just as much as men can.
[9.] He is an excellent stuntmen with the agility of a gyminst and could be a track-and-field star.
 He helps those who cannot help themselves and has a mind of his own...
There are many many way I can count on this kid (like saving a city from a bunch of terrorist); but I'll stop. All of this while being short and he's a very popular kid among us. He alone could be more than enough to prove my point. However; since I am usually in the belief in detail; I'll continue with the next subject....
[2.] Molly Cunningham (3'2")- I picked the little daughter of Rebecca (also known as Rebecca Jr.) because some people would think of the episode "The Incredible Shrinking Molly" (which is considered the worse TaleSpin episode created) where the lesson of the show was not to ignore those who are small. I didn't think it worked because Molly acted like being small was a bad thing and it was completely out of character with her. People who are short might think that being small makes people not care about you. Molly is a great example where height doesn't matter. She is one of the sneakest girls around. She can hide away from adults and watch them carefully in order to make sure that the male who wants go on a date with Rebecca isn't trying to use her. She has the most painful shin kick in the history of animation (also known as MOLLY VIOLENCE, all hail!). Ask anyone who has been kicked by her; it is painful. She can also be a good mother as Molly took care of Henry the Yenekara. Her mind is sharper than her mother; mainly because she tries not to act as hypocritical as her mother often does. Molly can really take care of herself and has gotton a pretty good imagination. She is full of energy and is not afraid of anything. She brings a prespective of innocence that none can copy...and most importantly; she's half a foot shorter than Kit is!
[3.] Oscar Vandersnoot (3'4")- If there is one minor character that has impressed me in TaleSpin; it was Oscar Vandersnoot. A timid almond bearcub who basically wants to be accepted into the Jungle Aces Secret Midnight Club and couldn't get in because he didn't have an adventure due to his overprotective mother. Now Oscar only appeared in Captains Outrageous and for the first half of the episode; Oscar looked quite useless other than his priceless tone in his voice. When Don Karnage captured the SeaDuck and Oscar found out that the whole fake pirate adventure was in fact a fake; Oscar realized that this was his only real chance to prove that there was more to him than being the son of a snobby mother. He started by blowing up the wall of the torture chamber; singing the Jungle Aces fight song as he entered. How many kids are allowed to do that in a cartoon? Not very many. Oscar was very brave to go striaght into the torture chamber with a smile on his face as five Air Pirates were ready to kill him. At this point Oscar was doomed. However; he manages to outsmart Don Karnage by literally showing him how the secret anti-pirate weapon works and uses the wrench to cause the tank of gas to fly around and attack Don Karnage with it. A small fry got to play the hero in this one and I found it to be very believable.
[4.] Colonel Ivanhog Spigot (3'6")- Now you would think that Colonel Ivanhog Spigot is a main reason why short people are mistreated so. I mean; he is casted into the role a mean, evil, bad guy dicator who looks like Yosmite Sam without the pistols. He is basically the posterboy for all the short jokes in this series. However; despite all those jokes on him; I really do feel for Ivanhog since he really isn't evil at all. He is a misguided soul who is trying to please his lordship; The High Marshall. He has an unquestioned loyality (in canon anyway) to his boss that few people show nowadays regardless of their height. While it is ture that Colonel Spigot acts in an unethical manner in Flight School when he basically covered up a mistake made by an airplane company over an orde for the Paitotric Flounder and deserved to be punished. However; Colonel Spigot works in a facist country where the punishment is that he can be shot dead and it doesn't discrimate. Nevertheless; Spigot is an agressive little man and knows how to give orders. Sure; he takes a lot of abuse, we laugh at his expense and he has trouble flying. However; _nothing_ and I mean _NOTHING_ will ever stop him from trying to win the heart of the High Marshall. Loyality isn't a bad thing when used properly.
I believe that the whole issue of height is silly and pretty petty in the whole scheme of things. As you can see; small people can do just as much as tall people can. However; the issue will never go away as long as studies continue to bombard us with stuff that states that short people aren't worth anything. A recent study shows how bad discrimation againest short people has become as it states that tall people make more money than short people do. The taller you are; the more money you make states the study. Well; I know the _following_ fact to be ture: There is _NO_ study in the world that tall people are more intellegent, caring and/or better than short. No one has stated that a tall person IQ and EQ are better than short people; which are better indicators of a good person in general (particually EQ which is lacking regardless of height). Making more money is not a good indicator on the quality of life. It never is. There are many tall, rich people out there who are so miserable that it is not funny...and many of them play for the NBA for the sole purpose of slam-dunking a basketball. The fact that people actually spend lots of money on growth hormones just to play sports and the fact that people who run these sports refuse short people speak a very bad and ultimately dangerous ideal. If we allow this to continue then what is to stop the refusal of otherwise healthy people from being a part of the social fabric which should be shared by everyone because they are too fat....or even too thin for their liking. This line of perfection is dangerous to the human race because the truth is: The more perfect you beomce; the easier you are to be destroyed. It's one of my favorite sayings and it's not jsut from a moral point of view; but so a physical, spiritual and mental point of view as well. What I am saying is that if you are short; there is no need to change your height just to impress a few _friends_. I say that it is time to find some new friends which actually care about who you are regardless of who you are. It is cheaper and easier for your self-esteem, your morality and your overall health and well-being. There's more to life than playing sports and it's there to discover if you take your own head out of the sand and realize that all human beings are worth it in this world.......
To end my editorial; I'll talk about the recent resignation of the uncle of Walt Disney; Roy Disney. On December 6th, 2003; Roy Disney resigned from the board of directors and is actually requesting (Read: demanding) for Michael Eisner to step down as chair of the Walt Disney Company. It should be noted that it was Roy Disney who brought Michael Eisner into the Disney _family_ in 1984 through similar methods. Now with that said; I'm very surprised. Not because Roy Disney resigned from the company; but because it took him a few years for him to make such a bold move. I figured that considering all of the bad products that have come down the pipeline over the last five years under Eisner's tenure as chairman and CEO would have given Roy an earlier hint. However; the aquiring of FOX Family (now known as ABC Family) and putting Digimon and Power Rangers (which sparked protests againest Saban for violence) on that channel without considering original content was apparently the last straw for Roy (and without question the last straw for me) and the biggest beef in his letter (Link) calling for Eisner's resignation. Well of course it was bad Roy! I've already pointed this out in my editorial FOX & Family Devalued (and it's sequel Part Deux) that doing this means that the Disney company has run out of ideas period and has become a global zombie just trying to catch up.
Roy's next biggest beef (and mine too) is the mirco-managing of both movies and television products. Well; Roy, I have a better phrase for it and it's called: Treating your talent like dirt...and that's putting it mildly. What's the reason for people to even work their when they know that Eisner doesn't really give a care in the world what the talent actually creates? To me; most of the Disney Afternoon was a homerun (particaully TaleSpin which in Jymn Magon's own words wasn't embraced by the Disney organization) in Eisner's eyes was because there was nothing else to compete againest it. Roy and Jeffrey apparently thought differently because Roy has stated on the record in his letter that the first ten years under Eisner's tenure were of a second Golden Age, basically admitting that shows like TaleSpin were in fact a ture homerun and not a convience for Eisner to make money from. (Man; doesn't that feel good?) Roy is correct of course although quite a bit late for that I suppose. However; the success wasn't due to Michael Eisner at all outside of approving projects and creating the basis of the idea for Adventures of The Gummi Bears. Eisner still doesn't get the fact that if it wasn't for the artists who came up with the great ideas then Eisner would be out of a job much sooner than it is now. Let me recall the names just from the Disney Television Animation Division alone who have quit Disney since creating their beautiful creations during the first ten years and not only took their heart; but more importantly their talent from the company:
Fred Wolf, David Block, Art Vellito (?sp), Alan Zaslove, Mark Zaslove, Jymn Magon (The most inexcusable of them all), Robert Taylor, Jamie Mitchell, Gary Krisel, Larry Latham, Alan Burentt, Duane Capizzi, Greg Weissman, Len Uhley, Libby Hinson and many more. Too many to list.
That is just the Television Division; I shudder to think how many Disney Feature talents left Disney. The only supervising producer still working at Disney at the moment is Tad Stones and considering that even his output has been down in the quality department since Aladdin; I still wonder (although I blame micro-managing a lot more than a lack of ideas from Tad for this problem). Victor Cook (who is now the leader of the DTVA division now) who I respect as a storyboard artist hasn't been able to get the television division back on track for the most part (although Stich! The Animated Series is a good first step) just yet that could be compared to the second Golden Age (Kim Possible not withstanding) and I don't see any relief in sight with Dave The Barbarian coming in 2004; or Young MacDonald later on. The problem is that Eisner's micro-managing has not only caused the quality of some show to hit rock-bottom; but it has also allowed Disney to sponser R-rated films from Miramax, degrade school for cheap laughs (I know this line is getting tiresome; but it is ture) and create an evironment of animation-by-committee in the feature division that has no real direction.....Add on scandals related to Disney's acceptance of homosexuality (which is silly; but it's happening), lack of openness, squashing reasonable dissent (reasonable as in disagreeing on directions that could be determental to the company itself) and charges of being atypical of family values and Disney has a diaster on its hands since the post-Gargoyles era. No wonder Roy resigned. The ship has been sinking and the captain doesn't even care that it is happening.
Now; I am grateful for Roy Disney resigning from Disney; he did the right thing here (although I think it was the only way). However; Roy would have gained more creditability if he had apoligized for allowing Eisner to get out of control over the last ten years. To make matter worse; Eisner can use the strength of Pixar's Finding Nemo to justify his standing as chairman (not to mention a 30% increase in profits). Pixar is the _ONLY_ reason why Disney lives and breathes right now and once the two merge when Disney abandons 2D animation (and basically screws itself when going 3D only since 2D is required to make the 3D work); how much do you want to bet that Eisner will micro-manage the company to death? It will happen; it always happens when you subscrible to the theory of making money at all costs. Once that happens; and Pixar becomes a former shell of own self then Disney will be nearing critical-mass; the same place where Eron was a couple of years ago with creative accounting and fudging numbers just to make them look good when they were nearly dead. Is Disney going to die? I doubt it seriously; however, it will be wounded to the point of no return if Eisner doesn't resign and the person replaces him (and this is the most important thing) quickly learns a hard lesson: If you make money at all cost for the sake of making money without _PROPER_ consideration for your talent, workers, the public at large and the spirit/purpose of the company that Walt created in the first place for; then this company will be completely bankrupt; let alone morally bankrupt. Bring out a great product first; then the profit will take care of itself and then you won't have to look so dirty when doing it. Captailism has it's limits; and it can be destroyed in an instant. That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next time.