Disney has made a lot of beloved animated films. All over the developed world, kids grow up with them. There is something that has long bothered me about them, however–they have long presented children with morally uncomplicated, black and white, hero versus villain narratives. In this way, these movies contribute to our moral socialization as children, normalizing deontological moral beliefs–the notion that actions are right or wrong in themselves, regardless of the outcomes they produce. There is also an anti-intellectual thread running through many of these films–the villain is typically a clever schemer, while the hero is typically an every-man who happens to have unusual physical abilities. Today I’d like to highlight this issue in our culture by taking the plot of the beloved film The Lion King and morally reconstructing it so as to make Scar sympathetic.
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