What You Can Learn from a Dragon
I know everyone is so excited about Disneylandís 50th and all, and so am I, but I wanted to share something small and cool that I discovered the other day.
You know those Disney Treasures tins that the Mouse releases every now and then? Well, I have a bazillion of them. Theyíre just sitting there on my shelf. Some of them I have never watched. (I think this is partially due to the fact that the tins themselves have nothing listed on the spine of the tin case. So, my mind dismisses them often when I am searching for something to watch. And because Iím tragically lazy, I donít open them while I search either. Thereís also the complexity of separating the DVD case inside from the tin. But that can lead to losing the tins altogether or the inability for the "untinned" DVD case being vulnerable to gun fire outside of itís metal shellÖ) But the other day, I opened one and watched the Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studios DVD. More interested in seeing the Disney-fied version of what the inner-workings of their studio was, I watched it. It was pretty amusing. But what really struck me was the Disney version of ĎThe Reluctant Dragoní. I didnít think much about it before, in fact, I thought it was silly and fun. Little did I know, it would lift me up one day.
As some of you know, Iím a total news junkie. Itís 24/7 NPR, CNN, CSPAN, Google News, My Yahoo News, BBC News for me. I try to totally tune myself into news on civil rights mostly. Being gay, my ears perk up at anything dealing with the community. But it definitely does not end there for me. Any kind of discrimination against any person or group ticks me off. And I canít tell you how many times I have called our president and bugged Senators Feinstein and Boxer. Anyway, yaddah yaddah blah blah politics left right red blue CNN Fox News Al Franken Rush Limbaugh yeah, yeah, yeahÖ
So, while taking a break from our mainstream media, I sit to watch a silly little Disney cartoon.
If you have not seen it, I believe the only way to see it is on this Disney Treasures DVD, you should. It will explain a lot to you.
So a medieval town lives in fear of a dragon that lives on the hill. Everyone has an idea in their head that the dragon will get them and that he is an enemy of the people. So one boy in the town decides to find out for himself what the dragon is really like. He discovers that the dragon is nothing more than a fey blue lizard who spouts poetry and plays the flute. The preconceived notions of the dragon is thrown out the window for this boy. The town, without meeting the dragon, decides to get a knight to come and battle the dragon. (You know, as knights are supposed to do.) The boy meets the knight and finds that he too does not match the stereotype of what a knight is. The knight is not strong, overtly heroic and a killer. He is a skinny intellectual who enjoys poetry and long baths. The boy checks his storybooks from time to time to verify the deeply held beliefs of what a dragon and knight should be and finds it to be wrong. The storybook and the stereotypes that the townspeople have in their heads are wrong, wrong, wrong! The boy, dragon and knight get together and decide to put on a show for the town with the dragon and knight battling. The dragon feigns being the victim of the knightís lance and the town is happy. Then the knight brings the dragon to town and everyone accepts the dragon into their community and it all ends on a happy note.
When it was done, I sat there as if someone had hit me in the head with a sledgehammer. This story is completely pertinent to what is going on today. Everyone has deeply held beliefs that people should be a certain way and itís not until they actually meet the person that they realize what has been said about them isnít necessarily true. (Not to mention that 'The Reluctant Dragon' dragon is the gayest character ever created by Disney.) AND I could totally relate to the dragon (no snide jokes, y'all) but the dragon was forced into the fight that he'd rather ignore. Kinda like me and gay advocacy. I'd rather ignore it all, but if we all did that we'd be toast.
Not only this, but it made me think about the preconceived notions I have about people. Sometimes I think people should live up to my stereotypes about them. Time and time again, I've been proven wrong. And that's awesome.
You never know what you might learn from a dragon or a silly little cartoon...