Yes, “Coco” is good but Disney/Pixar shouldn’t be telling our story and Latino consultants need not to be selling out

Disney-Pixar Animation Studios’ new film “Coco” has been introduced with great fanfare in both sides of the border.  The movie has done well domestically. It made a little over $70 million in the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  And it was an utter success in Mexico, and it made almost $50 million. Enough. I will leave to others to write more about how great this movie is.

I want to laser-focus on another story that has been utterly ignored.  Disney shouldn’t be telling our story.  This corporation doesn’t have a good history with Latinos in Calfornia, from refusing to pay its fair share in Anaheim, home in where the majority are Latinos,  to joining Pete Wilson back in the 1990s in attacking our communities. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I dislike Disney with a passion for the obvious reasons.

I dug up information, wanted to know how the Coco, the film was first conceived. It was in 2010 when a non-Latino filmmaker, Matthew Aldrich first thought about taking on this animated endeavor.  Most of the interviews and reviews that I have read give this director all the credit for the success of the film.  You wouldn’t know that there is another Latino director there, Adrian Molina, unless it is a Latino network with a Latino audience.  It seems that most of the Latinos added to the crew are being used just to sell the movie to our community.

I also unearthed that Disney back in 2013 stupidly filed an application with the Patent and Trademark organization to have ownership of the phrase “Dia de Los Muertos.” There is a lot that can be extrapolated about this stupidity, for starters it is clear that Latinos have yet to gain the needed power to protect their interest in this society.  No corporation will ever dare to do something like this against another group in this country.

Pushing back against Disney for trying to trademark our culture, Cartoonist Alcaraz published an iconic poster (the one below ).  It was widely published, and our community was agitated and forcefully demanded Disney to stop the stupidity in trying to have ownership of that phrase.  These disgusting corporate forces want to trademark “tu cultura,” he told all his followers who admire him and who are receptive to his messages display on his cartoons. Disney eventually realized its stupidity and withdrew the trademark application.

It was not the first time that Cartoonist Alcaraz sparred with Disney.  Back in the 1990s, when Disney supported Pete Wilson the most anti-Latinos/immigrants in California.  I vividly remember Mr. Alcaraz’s “Migra Mouse” that he published to reject Disney’s support for an anti-immigrant politician and governor for California,

After that fiasco, Disney/ Pixar wised up and wanted to avoid being accused of exploiting ethnic folklore out of willingly or unwillingly ignorance. So they started seeking for Latino consultants who were willing to attach their names to the film and selling it to our community.

Now, I wish one could have told me to brace for this.  Disney reached out and asked Lalo Alcaraz, its biggest foe at one point to join the company for this Coco movie. Everyone extrapolated that Disney had no chance to persuade Mr. Alcaraz to join them in light of how ruthlessly disrespectful Disney had been toward Latinos. He couldn’t resist and he joined them.

Everyone was speculating as to what Chicano writer in Orange County was going to say about this film and Alcaraz working for Disney.  It was common knowledge that both Arellano and Alcaraz are close and that both like to promote each other.  Gustavo Arellano finally wrote a piece (click here for link).  Arellano swung and missed. He pathetically ended up marketing the film for Disney. I was dumbfounded to read Arellano’s piece.  Since Arellano knows firsthand how the happiest place on earth is bleeding dry the city of Anaheim.  Evidently, speaking truth to power to our oppressors is easy speaking truth to power to our friends requires strength

Really, how and why our community’s artists and leaders have no qualms about selling out like that?  Alcaraz became the marketing mouth-piece for Disney/Pixar and he might have used his reputation to appease or silence other Chicanos who are usually skeptical of being too close to the corporate power.  The Chicano revolutionaries, the anti-capitalism, and anti-corporate power are nowhere to be found.  Yes, how does one transform from being a firebrand Chicano activist fighting for the ‘”cause” with his art to become a servant to the plutocracy? This man should be a case study in the lecture halls at UC Santa Barbara’s Chicano Studies Department.  A place that is known as the epicenter of Chicano/a Studies.

This was a major league sell-out.  It truly illuminates with startling clarity the status of our community.  Our leaders in non-profits, in elected offices and business they all appear to have a price.  A note on another sell-out, recently, Los Angeles Times published a piece in which highlighted all the greedy corporations that former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa works for (click here for link).  The former mayor is now a millionaire.  He consults for Herbalife, a corporation that bilks poor immigrants.  It has become the norm not the exception for our leaders to engage in this unethical and repulsive behavior.

It is vastly evident that corporate America is corrupting all ways of life in this society.  The Websters Dictionary defines Plutocracy as a government of the wealthy.  Indeed, It is difficult not to argue that for the last three decades this country has fallen into this system in which the levers of power have been hijacked by corporations.

Intellectuals and academics fret and warn us that our liberty is not sustainable when the captains of industry are in charge of our democratic institutions.   The abundance of resources that the corporate sectors enjoy give them the power to control institutions of our democracy.  That control is vital for the protection of the corporate interest.  The game is rigged, and all those advocating for anything that would conflict with corporate power will have no chance. Our leaders are incapable of resisting to advance their economic interest and end up objectifying and commodifying our people’s struggle.

There is that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where the film’ protagonist, George Bailey rejects to be bought out by a  greedy pig banker who was continually seeking to enrich himself on the back of the poor in this town.  The aggressive slumlord and evil banker, Henry Porter failed to buy out the young idealist, George Bailey. The honest and dedicated family man who runs a small community bank from Bedford Falls, N.Y, refused to sell out.  Any individual who advocates for the masses must learn a thing or two from George Bailey.  Selling out must feel good in a short term but in the long run, it might not be sustainable.  Our community is hungry for more George Baileys with steely spines who reason that the collective interest should always exceed one’s personal or financial interest.

Finally, I was surprised to learn that in the afterlife, as being presented in the ‘Coco’ film, might very well be a class society.  Based on the images of the places shown in the movie, one might surmise that there is poverty there.  So, we now know why true progressives and socialists are in tears while watching this corporate film.  Or maybe our people cry because they are being forced to watch that stupid 21-minute Frozen short film at the beginning. Long live capitalism!

Thank you for reading.

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Sources consulted.
Arellano, Gustavo. “How Disney Redeemed Itself With ‘Coco’ After the Dia De Los Muertos Trademark Fiasco.” 16 Nov. 2017.  Web. Nov. 24 2017.
Crump, Andy.  “Why ‘Coco’ Feels Like an Act of Defiance.”  The Hollywood Reporter 25 Nov. 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017.
De La Fuente, Anna Marie.  “Pixar’s Coco Moves Morelia to Tears.Variety 21st Oct. 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017.
Garrity, Shaenon K. “Why Disney/Pixar Hired One of Its Biggest Critics to Work on Its New Movie. io9 gizmode 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2017.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore. Liberty Films, 1947 Film.
McNary, Dave. “Box Office: ‘Coco’ Topping ‘Justice League’ With $70 Million Over Thanksgiving Weekend.” Variety 22nd Nov. 2017.
Miller, Daniel. ” Is Disney paying its share in Anaheim.”  Los Angeles Times 24 Sept. 2017. Web. 23 Nov. 2017
“Plutocracy.”  Entry 1. Merrian-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 9th ed. 1988. Print.
Robison, Joanna. “Pixar’s Coco is a ‘ Love Letter to Mexico’ in the Age of Trump.” Vanity Fair 6th Dec. 2016. Web. Nov. 23, 2017.
Scannell, Herb.  “Neglecting the Latino Community Is Hollywood’s Multibillion-dollar Missed Opportunity.” Addweek-Voice 16 Nov. 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017. Spiegel, Josh. “What Disney Finally Gets Right With Coco.”  Hollywood Reporter 23rd November 2017. Web. Nov. 25th, 2017.
Tagliani, Herna. “6 Reasons Corporate America Misses Out On Trillions of Hispanics Dollars.” Entrepreneur 1 June 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017.
Ugwu, Reggie. “How Pixar Made Sure ‘Coco’ Was Culturally Conscious.” New York Times 19 Nov. 2017. Web. 23 Nov. 2017.
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34 Comments

  1. Gustavo Dominguez November 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I have always been against stuff like this. I have had it with corporations taking over our communities all in the name of “business” and making a quick buck. I’ve also had it with our so called “leaders” not really doing any type of leadership work and actually standing up to big names such as Disney on stuff that really matters and affects virtually everyone who is within the community surrounding areas such as Disneyland or Universal Studios. I remember reading about how Disney is the main problem that is causing the homeless levels in the area of Orange County, to rise to incredible levels and causing it’s own workers, many of which who are minorities, to even LIVE in their cars all while working for the mouse. I am guilty of contributing to is wealth because I have gone a total of 2 times to the park, the 1st of which I did completely blind to what Disney really did and the second due to a personal celebration with my significant other. Nevertheless, I don’t plan on visiting again anytime soon and as I previously stated, I won’t ever be ok with what is going on with corporations and our so called leaders. I have always dreamed of being that ONE person who won’t be bought out by anything. In my opinion, sticking to your beliefs and to who you were before you were in a good enough position whether it be financially or not, this is the only factor of each of us that will truly define us as being “human” and having some sort of humanity within us. This has to end some day and I hope to see that many or anyone really from my generation, to come up alongside other people like how cartoonist Alcaraz was before he sold out, and really push for a change in all of this and truly succeed in preventing a plutocracy within our already wealthy controlled society. Films such as Coco are nice and all but they are only working to blind us from what their creators are really doing. In my eyes this is still a form of cultural appropriation because you have people who don’t truly know our background and our beliefs creating things that are based off of those same beliefs. The level of ignorance and arrogance within Latino communities is amazing to me but should also be taken seriously, because without an educated and an engaged community, we might never see the end of things like this and of any other oppression that minority groups face against big companies or any wealthy individual really.

    Reply
    1. Chamba November 27, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      I think we need to somehow figure out how we can have access to capital so artists from our community would tell our story – I abhor corporations telling our story while laughing all the way to the bank.

      Reply
  2. Destinee T. November 28, 2017 at 2:52 am

    It is disappointing how Disney is fiddling with our community, especially with the heritage that they strongly adore. I did not know anything about Disney trying to claim Dia de Los Muertos. When I noticed Disney came our with this movie, “Coco” I immediately thought, “Finally they come out with a movie showing Hispanic heritage,” but I did to know the actual reasons why they decided to put a movie like that in the big screen. It shows to me that they are trying to cover up what bad decisions they had been making towards the Latin community. How can Disney do such a thing when knowing that their supporters and buyers are Latinos. I have been a fan of Disney for mostly all of my life and I am disappointed that Disney can do such a thing. It is also disappointing how money being involved can really change how a person feels, just like how Alcaraz did. How can he show such strong feelings opposing Disney’s acts by creating Migra Mouse and then suddenly side with them. my opinion he is not setting a good example of he Latino community to Disney. He is showing that he is easy convinced and he is willing to sell our his beliefs, especially when there is money involved. Now the message he was trying to present to Disney means nothing now since he is working with them for the movie “Coco.” Hopefully our people that are the faces of our community stay strong against these corporations that show no respect for our community.

    Reply
  3. Merlin Sosa Olivares November 28, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Well, crowds will never be pleased. Some may find the movie offensive, a Disney’s tool to sympathize with the Latino community or a fair representation of a minority’s beliefs. Yes, we can call any Hispanic a “vendido” just because they opt to work for Disney and making a living out of our culture, but let’s face it: are we as a community supporting our local talents? are we buying from the small business? are we helping to prevent this? NO. WE NEVER DO. Just think about it: how many times have you supported a street artist? someone selling “chocolatito” in the streets? In this case, everyone talks about supporting our local leaders and any other person in need of financial aid to prevent things like “Coco” from happening, but the truth is that we live in a culture of internet activism where nothing gets done. It is not of your liking that Disney profits from a culture? When was the last time you watched a movie where Disney did not make a buck? We want things done, but we do nothing to achieve a change. As my grandmother would say “a nadie se le da gusto”/”no one can be fully pleased.”

    Reply
    1. Chamba November 28, 2017 at 4:57 am

      Yes, hashtag activism for sure, Merlin.

      Reply
  4. Johana November 28, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I understand this article is supposed to expose what goes on behind the scenes in regards to Disney and the Mexican community. However, Disney is a company that caters to children. Children are the real consumers and their parents fund their wants (toys, movies, visits to the park, etc.). If you tell a Mexican American child that they shouldn’t watch “Coco” because Disney it is selling out their culture one, it is safe to assume the child will have no clue what you’re talking about and two, they are going to want to watch the film anyway. Now, adults and adolescents might be affected by someone approaching them and saying that statement, their reaction might be to never go to Disneyland or purchase their products. Yet, it is also safe to assume not all companies are run by saints. So if we as consumers vow to never support a company who sells out a community then we would be very restricted to as places where we as a community go to enjoy ourselves whether it’s by purchasing their goods or attending a venue, such as Dodger Stadium. Most of us know what happened in order for Dodger Stadium to be where it is today, try standing outside the gates during a game while people are rushing in to get their seats, they won’t care how the stadium was developed and how many people were ran out. Some people might care, but the majority won’t they are just there to have a good time and unwind just like people who go to the theater.

    Reply
  5. Gevorg Mkrtchyan November 28, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    We can look at this in a different perspective. Is Disney insensitive and ignorant towards the Latino culture, and do we have case studies that strongly reflect that? YES, are they the right messenger for COCO? Obviously NOT and I can understand how offensive this can feel to many people from the culture. If there was a different messenger would this animated film be this successful? I don’t think so! As good as a film can be, Disney has industry strings to pull to promote and push the film which is what resulted in its success. Disney/Pixar have made a strong reputation over the years for putting out amazing content and most people that watched this film have been introduced to the culture because of their trust and love for Pixar films in general. I still strongly agree with the article but I wanted to mention if the animator did not sellout, the message wouldn’t be this successful. While Disney used the animator to push cultural values to make profit I will argue that there is a benefit of this to the Latino culture in spreading the message that is so constructive and positive. We shouldn’t respect Disney for their trademark attempts and I 100% agree and there should be NO excuse for their awful actions but we can try and see the benefit of the popularity of this animated film in hopes of making people more sensitive to different cultures. That is just my opinion and I would love to hear what you think. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  6. Rachel November 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    When I think of Anaheim the first thing that pops out of my head is Disney Land. Not that long ago I was near Disneyland and what I saw were many homeless people. I asked myself why are there a lot of homeless people if there is a lot of money with in Anaheim. I guess the money is being invested on making more beautiful hotels, more restaurants, and obviously on Disneyland. Recently I read an article about how homeless people are being kicked out because it ruins the reputation of Disneyland as a matter of fact Anaheim has taken away bus stop benches so that no homeless may sleep there. In the article Yes, “Coco” is good but Disney/Pixar shouldn’t be telling our story and Latino consultants need not to be selling out” says, “ So, we now know why true progressives and socialists are in tears while watching this corporate film” the fact that it is telling a story of Latinos and how traditions are , brings back memories in a way making it realistic for the audience. Personally I have not yet seen the movie but, my brother, cousin, and aunt told me that they cried. I think that Coco is a great way of telling the Latino story, i mean it’s a cartoon movie what do we expect it’s not reality. I think that other nationalities should know our beliefs and traditions, even though the director of the film were American and Latino. I mean it’s their movie they get to do whatever they want with it, it’s our choice to interpret the movie in a good or bad way. Honestly kids do not care about who the director was for Coco all they want to do is watch it, because it’s a cartoon movie, kids do not try to figure out the message of the movie for them it’s just something that caught their eyes. Without Latinos Disney will not be losing anything.

    Reply
  7. Joshua torres November 28, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    when i first saw the movie trailer i thought damn FINALLY Disney is making a movie showing the Latino heritage and i was happy to know they where making it but reading this just makes me sick to be honest. i know that there main viewers are kids and that is who they aiming for and those kids do not know a thing of what happens in corporate America but knowing that some of the Disney’s writers are Anti-immigrant it makes me think twice to even watch another disney movie. it disappoints me to know that disney has fiddle with the latino culture how they have tried to “file and application with the patent and trademark organization to have ownership of the phrase “Dia De Los Muertos”. like really dude does disney really think they can just buy the name of something so sacred to the latino/hispanic culture. they have to be some stupid ass people to think they can do it and have the latino/hispanic culture approve that. i know i do not respect disney anymore after reading this article i think they should reevaluate what they have done in the past and fix there wrongs and not try to fix there wrongs by making a movie showing the Latino culture but in other ways they has hispanics working for them but they are not making a difference if anything they are just adding to the hate that we feel towards disney cause there working there and not doing anything to make a difference in our latino communities.

    Reply
  8. Addley "Sonic Is Gay" Walker November 28, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Disney is yeah an evil company that will copyright culture until the cows come home if there is no one there to stop them. This is because they are the WORST kind of company… a successful one! With all that capital, they can scheme up whatever crazy shit they want to. I would please like reference to such a corporation that has not committed horrible violations against people’s freedom and dignity, please, anyone! Wouldn’t that make for a great case study?

    Coco is probably rather respectful and well crafted, since at the end of the day whatever they make, Disney employs very dedicated and passionate artists, who would naturally want to create something good and not bad. But yeah Coco sucks, as the url to this blog accurately points out, because beyond Latino culture getting commodified and owned by whities, it is ultimately just another product from a media empire that sets the standards for what we accept as legitimate pieces of entertainment that then drive artists nuts trying to compare themselves to, maintaining an industry we are supposed to work towards becoming a part of to finally feel validated. As Merlin says, art happens everywhere all the time. The underground is rich with activity, much art to be had, many new things to see. Unfortunately, much art is merely trying to mimic what we accept as “polished” work that major studios and makers do and get famous for, which is why I prefer to watch this video of a man screaming while his friend masturbates himself with a vacuum cleaner

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbRg8V1Uh4M

    Now that’s art!

    Reply
  9. Marco Santana November 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    “Sell out” a phrase condemning any individual as a traitor and untrustworthy. Disney has created image for itself that not only brings joy to those who attend its theme parks but also known as the godfather of animation. As a result of this Disney has made sure to stay clear from anything controversial, in general anything that could stain the Disney image and ruin its reputation. However, controversial accusations such as the manipulation and control of Anaheim’s economical system. As a result of their tremendous power they have been criticized and ridiculed for their irresponsible decisions and should be held accountable for those decisions. The fact that Disney has the power to corrupt those who stand against it such as Alcaraz is outrageous and unbelievable. Political leaders are supposed to be leaders who represent those who cannot speak either because they are afraid to speak or they do not have the power to be heard. Alcaraz was someone who not only stood for the communities best interest when our culture was being misrepresented and glorified rather shedding light onto something that needs mediate attention. Unfortunately money talks louder than justice and has managed to seep its way into our communities. Let our mistakes not affect our future generations, let them enjoy what they have and let us who understand and see the deception step forward as a movement and stop this plague that has clouded our perception and childhood memories.

    Reply
  10. Jose Torres November 28, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Everyone knows Disney is a big corporation that can easily put you out there. Working with Disney is like making it to the major leagues for an athlete. Most of us have the mind set of, you have to start somewhere to become someone. This is what these actors are thinking of when they sell themselves out to big corporations that don’t have any interest in their views. Landing a huge role in a Disney or Universal film will always be a huge accomplishment that many actors wish to achieve. When the opportunity comes the answers is most likely if not always, yes. The way Disney advertised itself is somewhat different from today. TV in general is different now a days. Disney films had violence and even showed Micky Mouse smoking a cigar. Disney sees a profit or business in everything. They decided to blow up a part of our culture and show it as something different. All of this is how a business works. Corporations have being doing this. Another issue like this happened with the movie Rio. Where another culture was blown up for entertainment purposes. Corporations like these shouldn’t involve a piece of a culture and not giving it some type of meaning, of what it really resembles.

    Reply
  11. Jocelyn Martinez November 29, 2017 at 1:32 am

    After reading this article it is really surprising to me to find out what Disney was all about when filming the movie Coco. When i started to see trailers about the movie i thought “Wow finally Disney comes out with a movie about our heritage.” But even then i realized how they weren’t portraying the Latinos beliefs and traditions correctly. They used the Dia de los Muertos, a meaningful tradition to Latinos, to bring bank to themselves knowing that majority of Latinos would go and watch it, not caring whether they got the stereotypes or facts they used in the movie right. I myself haven’t seen the movie, but from what i heard of and have seen on social media, its been said that before the movie begins there is a 21 minute short film of Frozen, and it is being made as a joke saying Disney knew Latinos arrived late to every event thats why they added that short film. Although it may sound funny and may be true in some cases i believe it was such a waste to had added that before. It is sad to see people selling out but people will always sell out no matter if it is against their own culture and beliefs. cultures are going to keep being used to make money out of it, things wont change unless something is being done, and lets be realistic nothing is ever being done to make a change.

    Reply
  12. William November 29, 2017 at 3:14 am

    This article criticizes Disney for adopting Latin American culture as a premise for Coco while using community activists as selling points for the movie. The purpose of this article is to bring attention to the aforementioned issue. The article was written to inform readers on how community leaders easily sell out to corporations.

    One fact that should have been added in order to make this article more complete is the financial success of Alcaraz (if possible). With that information, readers can better understand why these people sell out. Perhaps being an artist does not financially sustain him enough for basic services like rent.

    I do agree that a large corporation should not be able to own a phrase that rightfully belongs to a culture. I also agree that non-profit leaders also play a part in encouraging this kind of encroachment by looking the other way and pocketing sums of money.

    Something that we can do is in the next elections, vote out politicians and leaders who sell out and perform acts that betray their own community. To do this, voters and concerned citizens should research and meet with potential candidates in order to find out whether they are real leaders who can resist the allure of money. They should find out if they are truly aware of the issues that plague their communities. Otherwise, we will be stuck with the same people doing favors for corporations such as approving development that will displace communities.

    Reply
  13. Jamal Brinkley November 29, 2017 at 3:37 am

    This Disney scandal was a shock to me, I was unaware they betrayed this type of behavior towards the Latino community. I have yet to watch the film Coco, but I definitely will after reading this article. There is dirty/ shady work all over the country, especially in the state of California with all the different races that reside here. What happened with Alcaraz & Arellano doesn’t shock me, just knowing “MONEY” plays a big role in people’s lives. Seems to be the motive. You speak on our community needing to have more steely spines, individuals who are in it for the collective interest more than themselves. I think this is easier said than done sadly. Everybody wants to live in the land of the free and be treated equally, but even those with power don’t fight hard enough for that. I was really 100% a Disney fan prior to reading this article, but I’m having much of a problem respecting them. How fantastic it was for Disney to make Princess and The Frog being an African American based film. I felt the same that Disney was producing a movie about Latino heritage. Now I believe Disney did this as a petty apology.

    Reply
  14. Jrobinson November 29, 2017 at 3:58 am

    A more positive way to view the situation is that at least Adrian Molina (Who was the writer for the film) and a handful of other notable names were tied to the project like comedian, Gabriel Iglesias (who also capitalizes on his culture along with pretty much all other ethnic comedians) and the legendary Edward James Almos. The optimist in me sees the benefits of having Latinos tied to a commercial project like this. Considering the source material, it would be easy for Disney to get it wrong, but considering the reception its gotten in both America (including Latino communities) as well as Mexico, the film must have at least some credibility, whereas, if it was widely inaccurate, it would most likely have been rejected no matter who’s name was on it. The flip side to this coin is the capitalist in me. While there are several social advantages to having names like Molina, Edward James Almos and Gabriel Iglesias connected to a project, this is still their chosen profession and indeed their livelihood. Perhaps they, along with Lalo Alcaraz saw an opportunity to be given a voice through Disney. Either way, are they going to just say no to a role with one of the biggest film/merchandising companies? The film was going be made no Whether Almos was attached to it or not. Does the fact that he capitalized on the opportunity to entertain make him less of a pillar in his community?
    I think that Merlin summed it up better than anyone else probably could. There is a huge lack of support for struggling artists in ANY culture unless you happen to come from a wealthy family. Art Center in Pasadena costs over $20,000 per term in tuition. Don’t even get me started on the for-profit schools like art institute where the best you can hope for after graduation is a job mixing paint at Home Depot (they literally consider that working in the art industry). Without an art degree, an artist is little more than a street performer competing with several other artists who are just as talented if not more so than he is. With this in mind it could be argued that without the $200million in monetary resources the movie Coco wouldn’t have been made at all.

    Reply
  15. Merlin J November 29, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Sadly, it is true that we live in a society where people with power will always win. Some people know that they can’t go against these big corporations and are forced to sell out. Since we were little, we got exposed to Disney’s movies that showed us that no matter what, good always wins. It’s only when we grow up and are faced with the real world that we find out that all of that is just fantasies. Disney, like other big corporations, is only looking for ways to make profit…cultural appropriation, much? Don’t get me started on Herbalife; another corporation that uses poor immigrants who are willing to invest everything they have to become rich and help their community become healthier in the process. They sometimes end up losing everything! I still cannot believe that Antonio Villaraigosa consults for them. That is one of the biggest reasons why is hard to believe in politicians. They are just puppets for this big corporations. It just makes me think that even if you try to elect someone good to represent you; they will always have a price.

    Reply
  16. Roberto Flores November 29, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I agree that we need more people like George Bailey. I live in Boyle heights and I am witnessing all these mom and pops shops going out of business and being bought out by corporate America. if this continues to happen I feel we will all end up like Anaheim were these companies control our entire cities. after reading this article I agree with a lot of your statements, because Disney and Pixar are doing very idiotic things and, yet people don’t seem to care. I feel that any person who respects Latin culture should be appalled with the fact that they are trying to market a culture, putting a price on it, and trying to sell it off like if they came up with the culture itself. personally, I don’t find it shocking that a giant company like Disney makes so much money yet won’t pay the city they are infesting some well-deserved taxes. after I read the part that they tried to own the phrase “Día de Los Muertos” I couldn’t help but laugh at the level of stupidity they reached. it’s so stupid that the same country that is deporting millions of hard working Latinos is also trying to take credit for something that they know nothing about (just like trump involved in politics) and has no significant meaning to them. therefore, they don’t find it hard to put a dollar value on it. it is sad to see that our own people are willing to sell out for a few dollars when corporate America is still raking in all the money and have no shame in the distaste full actions they are taking part in.

    Reply
  17. Rose Garcia November 29, 2017 at 6:19 am

    It is no secret that big corporations are filled with business men with millions who are interested in making their businesses even more millions to create the profit they desire. Along with that narrative, it is safe to assume their lack of sensitivity towards the Latino community, since it is not their experience. Disney trying to “patent and trademark” the phrase “Dia de Los Muertos” is baffling, not concerning. It is a hilariously stupid move that Disney made, nonetheless, that must be addressed to assert the real ownership over the Mexican culture and it’s traditions. I completely agree that the naive nature Disney has when it comes to social issues concerning the rocky racism towards latinos still in this day is hard to digest. How could the world’s infamously family friendly company receive such criticism? How does the frontman of Disney, Mickey Mouse, receive so much backlash from the latino community? Well, Disney may not have realized that the world is watching and that leaves the shot wide open for scandals to be targeted on not only themselves, the CEOs and leaders of Disney, but also the company as a whole for showing the support. Now, I agree to the action Disney/Pixar took in seeking Latino consultants for the film. Recruiting Latino consultants, who have actual Latino experiences, to assist in building a Mexican cultured film seems responsible. These changes are the changes that consist in democracy. It is also a smart move in order to gain exposure in the networking department from these Latino recruits order to sell the movie, but let’s be honest does Disney need that networking? Not to say the words that come from the Latino recruits for the Coco film are meaningless, but it is notable that this move was to benefit the storytelling in the film itself. Saying this, I don’t believe we should give Mr. Alcaraz such a difficult time for deciding to join the Disney team. Mr. Alcaraz was probably trying to be part of the settlement of the feud between Disney and it’s anti immigrant past, which by the way, dates way back before the 1990s. Mr. Alcaraz joining Disney is just as much of a statement as Disney making the moves to create a film that teaches great morals alongside with accurate representation. Finally, George Bailey is a fictional character from a warm film, of course Mr. Bailey rejects the “greedy pig banker”. However, real life situations aren’t always black and white. There are plenty of things to take into consideration. The pay, the merits, the reputation that comes along with working with Disney on a groundbreaking film is not something Mr. Alcaraz should be shunned for considering. Okay now on to the context of the film and the reasoning behind the different classes in the film; this was a common plot used in the film. The underdog is Hector, the peasant. The reason why he is a peasant to begin with is because he has no family on the land of the living to keep him alive through their memories. The two extremes in the characters Hector, the peasant, and Ernesto De La Cruz, the sensational superstar, were naratives that were needed to create rivalry and depth to the story line. Having the two extremes of fame and poverty is also a fairly simple contrast for children to grasp.

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    1. Chamba November 29, 2017 at 6:42 am

      A well thought out analysis –

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  18. felix November 29, 2017 at 6:36 am

    For many years minorities communities had been used for marketing by corporate power knowing that Latinos are the most significant buyers in the country. Therefore, many big corporations used any resource to encourage people to buy their products. Sadly, many leaders are incapable of resisting the temptation of their economic interest which many of them end selling their products. For example, politicians, council members, even the president. Personally, I did not know how Disney influences politics as stereotyping the Latino community. Also, I did not realize how Disney corporation was trained to claim a culture day as “Día de Los Muertos” which I believe its own by the Mexican culture which day does not have a price. After watching Coco film at first, I got impresses how Disney was trying to wash and market Frozen to my family. Nevertheless, after the movie, started question myself why Disney or Pixar film a Mexican film. Later, I understand how they were trying to buy me and distract me from the reality of how prejudice Disney has been with Latinos in the past.

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  19. Emmanuel Aguilar November 29, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Well, this was certainly a surprise to read about. I always knew that Disney had problems that were questioned by many people, but I never expected this kind actions from them. I mean, the fact that they tried to own the “Dia de los Muertos” phrase is certainly laugh-material and an act of stupidity. Reading about how Disney does not help the community of Anaheim with their taxes just shows how uncaring they could be, especially because the majority in Anaheim are Hispanics and Latinos. It is probably a good thing that I did not end up watching the movie because of my job, because after hearing about this, it is safe to say that I respect Disney a bit less now. Corporations will do anything these days to make money, and this should be STOPPED.

    By the way, the way you compared Disney to “It’s a Wonderful Life” of being a sellout was spot on! Well done.

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  20. Andrea November 29, 2017 at 7:24 am

    This matter can get very disturbing for many people but at the same time. We are a capitalist society and we live in America. At the end of the day we will always be known for the country that gives the rest of the world what it has today. There is a reason why Disney focuses what they focus on. I like to believe for society. I like to say that they are just another American business. They are made to be innovated and different. They are supposed to find the attention of someone else rather than America. So in this case Disney did a good job by gaining the attention of the Mexican culture. I do not think Disney is in it for any other reason other than that one. It doesn’t really offend me as to why or who the director is and what his motives are for.

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  21. Jorge Fernandez November 29, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    The blog post describing Coco as “selling out” because of fairly unknown business practices at their Disneyland resort in Southern California. I believe the article should have focused on how American culture tends to forgive and forget pretty swiftly – then use some of Disney business practices to support that argument. Overall the article makes good point about who should tell the story of Day of the Dead: certainly not corporate plutocrats, like the Disney Corporation. I am sure another artist, like Alejandro González Iñárritu or Guillermo del Toro, for example, could have created an equally entertaining and culturally accurate film.

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  22. Giobanny November 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Big corporations are known as big machines of economic centralization and economic stratification. They tend to suck up huge amounts of wealth and capital and deliver it to a rather small number of people, its no surprise that Disney does this in way to buy a community and gain their trust by manipulation in a way to show a movie that has mass appeal to kids which they convince their parents to go see. I had no knowledge that Coco was so controversial , the article opens up in different ways of critical thinking and exploits Disney for what they truly are. No other corporation has the balls to put a trademark and own the phrase ” Dia de Los Muertos “, this is pure ignorance and stupidity at is finest. 

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  23. Teo November 29, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    The impression I get form this article is that people are never satisfied. The fight against the movie industry before Coco came out, was arguing that Latinos have been represented unfairly in movies. Portrayed as non-English speakers with strong accents, drug dealers and gang bangers. Ironically enough, now that there is a fair representation, in a digestible movie to watch, Latinos jump up because their cultures are getting stolen.
    I imagine that as a counter argument, people might say that these movie should have been made by Latinos. Reality is, we would wait for a really long time for that movie to come out. Only big corporations like Disney are able to produce this caliber of a movie. Both because of their expertise and their financial resources. And if the argument that the budget should have been loaned to Latino filmmakers, my answer is that it would be unrealistic. Just to produce that movie a budget of no less than a $150 million dollar is necessary, on top of which distribution expenses need to be considered, usually an equal amount to the production cost.
    In conclusion, Coco is the best the Latino community is going to get for a good while. A fair representation of their culture, with an effective effort of showing it to the world. I totally understand the reason why our leaders sell out, probably because this isn’t a Disney movie.

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  24. Andrew Flores November 30, 2017 at 12:18 am

    The idea of artist selling out is not anything new. In terms of Lalo Alacraz “selling out” is to complex to understand. Artist as a whole get the worst from the people that they grown with, being underground is what makes an artist edgy and cool. The hardest part of defending Lalo with this, is that fact that he was one of the people that went completely against the Disney ideals. He is now looked at as a hypocrite, a hypocrite who bought into the system of oppression. This system that has completely and blatantly had prejudice towards specific groups of communities.
    I myself have not watched Coco, and I do not purposely plan to watch the film, only because it seems as if this idea of hispanic culture is based solely around the idea of a holiday. the holiday is important to the community, but the lack of culture is killing me. Lalo should be seen as a traitor to the community, unless, he gives back to the community. It has only been one week since the movie has be out, and maybe (with a grain of salt) he’ll consider giving back to the hispanic community. Until then, we will have to wait and see. Lalo is a sell out, but isn’t everyone. Technically, hispanics as a whole love putting themselves in predicaments. They place Walmarts in their own neighborhoods (this is in terms of the Downey area). I don’t mean to undermine people, but the truth is we support racist corporations all the time and we don’t even know it. We don’t have the luxury of having our own local companies, or local businesses that help put back into the community. So, hopefully Lalo will. Once you pass a certain tax bracket, you forget where you came from.
    It’s also not fair to completely disregard someones opinion on the movie. Whether a low income family loved it or not, the decision that they make is the decision that they make.

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  25. IGNACIO MARTINEZ November 30, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Basically, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Damned if I support this film, damned because it is devouring our culture and leaving no left overs para “el recalentado.” Our culture and traditions have just become a way for corporations to monetize on it and thrive. It is very unfortunate but it is happening, but what do I do? That is the Million dollar question. Visually, the film looks amazing and I have heard nothing but great reviews about it. Very touching and sincere, heard it tugs at the heart strings. It was actually a topic of conversation at a lunch gathering at work today. Many coworkers have seen the movie and were raving about it, I heard there is even a Spanish version of the movie. But as they began discussing the movie, I recalled our conversation in class yesterday. How Disney tried to Patent and trade mark the phrase “Dia De LOs Muertos,” how Disney is sucking dry the city of Anaheim and how Lalo Alcaraz, well, became a sell out. I shared all these details with my coworkers and actually forward the blog to them to read. It makes me feel conscious, I don’t like it one bit, but I know it is good to be awake. It is not all fairy tales and pretty pictures, and as a community we need to be more aware of what we are and our value. Is Alcaraz is a sell out, maybe, but can you blame him, dangle a bag of cash in front of me and ill probably will dance too. Deciding not to dance is what truly makes you stronger and a true advocate for your community. Slowly but surely, my dance is going from a full chacha, to just a foot tap, and that’s all we can do for now. Knowledge is power and and an empowered community is unstoppable. Will I be seeing this movie? Most likely, yes. I can’t help it, my foot is still tapping but its on its a way to be stilled and hope to help others on the way.

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    1. Chamba November 30, 2017 at 5:25 am

      “El recalentado.” Hilarious !

      Reply
  26. Jonathan Calderon November 30, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I don’t agree when you quote “Disney should not be telling our story”, reason being that this is Disney’s first movie portray, of a Hispanic characters that is relatable to other children. When you State that this movie didn’t have a fair share when It came to paying Anaheim, was it really about the payment or making a movie that was relatable to children. I do agree however, with the fact that they didn’t give credit to the other film maker and that Matthew Aldrich was given all the credit, but I don’t believe that the crew that was a majority of Latino characters was to sell out their community because who better to tell a story then a community of people who can relate to the information given. At the end of the day, it’s about who is the most offended in my opinion.

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  27. Cristina Sosa November 30, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I just want to start off by saying that I love Disneyland but for what it affects it has on the community around it but for the simple fact that it gives me nostalgia when I go. Although, as much as I love Disneyland, it doesn’t make me a big fan of it’s films. Maybe because I don’t have kids and experience the films the same way kids do or maybe because I feel like I can see right through their exploitation on different subjects like race, gender, culture, history, etc.. In regards to the “Coco” film, I have not seen it to have an opinion about it. When I recently went to Mexico City for Dia de Los Muertos, the film was already showing there. My cousins mentioned that it was really good, that I should see it. It left me with curiosity because I didn’t get a chance to go see it when I was there. I looked up the trailer for the film and it left me wondering if this was a sequel to “The Book of Life”, a film produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez. Have you heard or seen this film? I am not sure how much different the films are from one another but I feel like the exploitation of Mexican culture has been around for quite some time and not only by Disney. Let’s look at Cinco de Mayo for example, it is not Mexico’s Independence day, it is a holiday for beer and other big corporations to profit from. Capitalism does not hold any soft spots for anyone or anything. But I have to agree with you on the stupidity of Disney wanting to trademark the phrase “Dia de Los Muertos”. I mean it’s kind of funny and pathetic of them because at the end of the day, it is just a phrase to them without any soul. Our culture is not defined by that phrase, we carry with us day in and day out our beliefs, our roots, our salvation, our culture. Lalo Alcaraz saw a money making opportunity in his hands that he could not refuse, he has his own personal reasons why he sought to sell out. Desperate times come with desperate measures, that’s just the kind of human nature that is common in this present day. The George Bailey character in “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes from a more simpler time, with a more pure and honest heart. I see America as a backwards selfish country it is no surprise we are conditioned to be brainwashed from the get-go of living on this earth. It is always telling us what to do, who to be, how to live, etc, without us, capitalism would be non existent.

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  28. Emiliano Lopez November 30, 2017 at 6:52 am

    This film has brought a lot of joy into the lives of many children of different classes and ethnicities. Frankly, I like that our culture is finally being embraced in the wider pop culture. In the past it was the cowboys and Indians. When cowboys rode into a town Mexican people were depicted as drunks and cooperative to the gringo super heroes.
    I do agree that the selling out of our culture to corporations like Disney do put a bad taste in my mouth. However, as time goes by and we continue to see people lay down to consumerism and complacency what is a revolutionary to do? He sells his ideas to the highest bidder in order to leave something in the world that people could enjoy. Selling out is now part of the market. We see and feel it in every part of our lives. Essentially we sell out by using the goods and services by corporations that exploit people for cheap labor by buying those fashionable designer cloths, vehicles that are made in other countries and the food we eat, picked by migrant workers who are continually threatened.
    Our culture has been bought already. Each individual has sold out in some way. At least the artist that “sold out” made something from it.

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  29. Jose S. November 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Big companies will continuously screw over and misrepresent the little guys for generations to come. This can be seen from Marvel and DC comics trademarking the term “superhero” (comic creator Ray Felix tried to fight back by using superhero in his graphic novel a world without superhero’s) and can even be seen today with YouTubes’ demonetization algorithms, which continuously hurt wholesome channels in their infancy whilst not attacking egregious deplorable channels which rake in the views (search Kids channels on YouTube). Besides that, I would have to say yet again you presented a problem without an answer.
    I understand that the main focus of your piece is to stop the people from “selling out”. In which case you use a fictional movie and character to ascertain that we need young stand up people for our communities. However, where you see selling out I see buying in. For example, real life underground artist Banksy, when first starting out, had a big disdain for people selling his pieces of art. Although, he wanted to protect street art (which for the most part is) he was no fool in realizing that he stood to make a lot of money (film Exit through the giftshop). In this same sense people need to make a living. It’s already tough for some struggling artists to support themselves so when they miraculously see a paycheck they are going to better their lives. While were on this topic I also feel that the attack on Mathew Aldrich is completely unwarranted. This man has been fighting and clawing to make some sort of big budget film. Although he was ultimately successful, his name is barely attached to the film less than Adrian Molina as you put it.
    Now let’s get back to the main problem at hand which is all these monopolized capitalists powerhouse companies. How do we stop Disney, NBC, or even Marvel (which is somewhat owned by Disney not all characters) from continuously hurting the little guy or misrepresenting the people? Is it a matter of protests and boycotts? Or simply allowing ignorance to be bliss.

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  30. Susan Cisneros November 30, 2017 at 8:03 am

    As a consumer and a fan of the Disney work as a child, this is an eye-opening article to read. I have ignored these facts until now. These are its pros and cons about this situation. This is a way that people, non-Latinos and latinos will learn a bit of the Mexican culture. But at the same time we don’t have those that are strong enough and not sell out to do so. Yes it’s a film made by Disney that at one point contributed to President Wilson’s proposition 187. As well as has done other wrong doings to the Latino communities. But at these point who hasn’t. Because we as a community don’t unite and stand up for one another. We are one of the largest in population and yet the weakest in power. Like many can say that “la misma raza” meaning Latinos discriminate one another. For many different reasons, which are not limited to where the Latino is from, meaning what country they may be from, or simply because of appearance. For instance the ones that look more European/ white will discriminate towards someone who looks more indigenous. Because we are weak, the corporations or the rich feed us anything and mop the floor with us. Pretending they know the culture and placing a common face to promote.

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