The Wonderful, Warped World of Walt Disney.
When we think of the Orient', immediate images of exotic beings and places, fundamentalism, Islam, hookahs and pagodas come to mind. Western media and pop culture has influenced our idealistic misconceptions and the way in which we interpret and understand the Orient. In an age where television and music dominate children's culture it is easy to fall victim to these false representations of the Oriental world, namely Asia and the Middle East. Perhaps one of the biggest culprits of this misrepresentation of the cultural other' is Walt Disney, one of America's most well known and profit making co-operations. Walt Disney is an American icon that exerts a certain level of global control over our culture and because of its influence it is able to lure us into this magical and mythical world of make believe. No doubt, Disney embodies the Oriental world with stereotypical images of Arabs and Asians and as we can see supports the notion that through Disney, the Orient is misrepresented. .
Disney, as a Western enterprise attempts to interpret cultures and lifestyles of the East in what Edward Said calls Orientalism. As a discourse it is concerned with the East and West. Said describes Orientalism as "a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orient's special place in European Western Experience."" (Said) It expresses and represents that part culturally and even ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarships, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial style. .
In order to fully understand how Walt Disney exerts such influential control over children's culture and how it portrays Eastern cultures, it is important to understand both how Disney works and the concept of Orientalism. The relationship between what Edward Said calls the Occident (West) and the Orient shows us how Western culture has manipulated our thinking and it is also an indication of European power since it is the place of Europe's riches.