Tag Archives: disney

Belle vs. Beatrix Kiddo

This post is in relation to a movie character tournament I’ve entered over at EduClaytion. If you read nothing else, please go there and vote for Belle sometime—either today or Saturday.

Warning: contains violent material but no sex. MPAA rating: G.

The Opponents:

Simple but peculiar country girl.

Belle: A girl from the French countryside, Belle is quiet but intelligent, a bookworm who adores cute animals and singing. She especially loves the waltz, brightly colored floor length dresses, and fairy tales. Her biggest wish in life is to find true love and remain close to her father.

Hardened killer.

Beatrix:  Formerly the most skilled member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Beatrix Kiddo has killed more people for money than live in Oklahoma. She once survived a bullet to the head, awaking from a five year coma only to wreak revenge on her would-be killer. Possessor of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, she is a merciless machine.

The Fight:

The room is completely dark. One spotlight illuminates Belle as she sits at an ornate desk, reading Pride and Prejudice, hardback edition. She hums softly and is wearing a stunning golden ball gown, barefoot.

Beatrix enters the room and slowly approaches the desk, every nerve in her body on edge. She was facing a Disney class pyscho.

“Oh.” Belle murmurs without looking up. “It’s you. That’s too bad. This book is fascinating, and I was just about to get to my favorite part because, you’ll see, here’s where you DIE!”

Still screeching she slams her book shut, thrusting herself away from the desk. Beatrix freezes, mesmerized by the creature…the word  “beast” echoing in her head. Animal-like, Belle leaps three feet into the air, landing on the study as she savors the fear in Beatrix’s eyes. She hisses and then lunges at Beatrix who at the last moment aims a punch at Belle’s perfectly formed chin.

It hits true. But Belle is a most peculiar mademoiselle. Her mouth gapes wide, jaws extending to inhuman proportions, and her teeth sink into Beatrix’s hand flesh. At the same moment, Belle grips her book and digs one of its corners into the ex-assassin’s left eye. Howling in pain, Beatrix attempts to repel the beast with a kick to her abdomen.

Big mistake.

Belle grasps her foot and wrenches it and her entire leg hard to the left. Tendons, ligaments snap. Beatrix begins to lose consciousness, staggering backward until she tumbles to the ground.

The princess is on her prey in a second and gets ready to deliver the coup de grace. She summons everything within her and cries a single tear that falls on Beatrix’s right cheek.

With a perfumed sizzle, her skin turns into a single rose petal at the tear’s impact point. Rippling outward from the teardrop, her body continues its transformation until all that remains of the ex-assassin is a pile of rose petals and a sheathed sword.

With both hands, Belle scoops up the petals and presses them to her face, inhaling deeply. She tosses them on the ground and goes back to reading. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth were about to dance.

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Jasmine’s Journey to Shubra

Destination: Shubra

The high from her rebellious escape soon wears off as Jasmine becomes stuck in traffic on the way to the city. Sitting on the highway, her tummy rumbles and the possible hour and a half of lurching before her doesn’t bode well for the meal situation. She had wanted room to run and prance and frolick, but now she can barely slam her high heeled snake skin boots to the gas for a split second before she has to switch to the brakes again. What will it take to be free?

After an hour of alternating between creeping and sprinting, Jasmine realizes it might be better to explore this city of hers on foot, the way many Cairenes do. This new idea is intimately related with the fact she totaled her father’s car in a bizarre car accident that left her completely unharmed, and a troupe of mimes in either a state of ecstasy or extreme pain. She bribed all the necessary people and walked away from the smoking, semi-silent mess unscathed, but confused. Where was she?

As she gazes around, cars whizzing by, she only sees an endless horizon of mosques, billboards, more highways, and brown buildings. Is this the people’s Cairo? Carless and clueless, she loiters on the side of the highway like an orphan child until a white taxi pulls up and announces itself: “Taxi?” Having never traveled by herself before, Jasmine is puzzled. What does this common person want? The taxi driver says again, more insistently, “Taxi??”

Finally, she understands and accepts this knave’s services, entering the back of the car and saying she wants to go to “somewhere common, where the people are.” The taxi driver is confused by this. Is this some kind of game? Is it a trick? Is she threatening him? Insulting him?

But no, she really is just that oblivious. Her stomach still growling, she states again that she just wants to go where “normal people live; a people place.” After repeating the word people a few times, the taxi driver finally gets an idea. He’s going to take her to the peopleyiest place all, the place where the popolo congregate, and the public gathers, a place where the common folk thrive and your average Mohammad tells jokes to his grandkids.

“Shubra it is” he says….and off they go.

(to be continued….)

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Aladdin Dreams

Not nearly enough zippers on those pants

Meanwhile, a young man named Aladdin saunters down the street in Shubra, past rows of fruit hawkers, underwear kiosks, and junk food stands. Unemployed and illiterate, Aladdin does not even have enough money to cover his chest that bursts with man muscles, and he is forced to wear embarrassingly low cut shirts. He tries to compensate with an extra shellac of hair gel and tight jeans covered in zippers, but alas, he is still unmistakably “lower class.”

An orphan without brothers or sisters, Aladdin’s one real friend is a street ferret named Abu, who he only sees for about 15 minutes at 4 am on weekdays. Needless to say, the young man’s social skills are quite poor, his concept of the outside world limited to what gossip he catches on the metro as he walks up and down selling teaspoons or packets of gum.

Occasionally he gets into trouble with the local authorities, due in large part to his suspiciously unwholesome appearance and Abu’s reputation for stealing the mangoes and pomegranates piled outside of juice stores. But he avoids any serious beatings. Scraping by on wafer cookies and bean sandwiches, he dreams of one day moving out to New Cairo, away from all the chaos and unbridled humanity of Shubra, getting married, and living in a villa with the woman of his dreams, or any woman at all.

Despite his rough upbringing and lack of parents, a home, education, or any real hope of a future, Aladdin is a good soul. He has never knocked an old man down while boarding the metro and can always spare an extra guinea or two for the invalid in need. Somehow he understands that it is the little kindnesses that matter, and that even though the entire world and everyone suffering in it is eventually going to burn, we can make the time we have more pleasant by being civil with one another.

He walks to the metro on this day, like every other day, loaded down with the day’s merchandise. Yet unbeknownst to him, an unadvisedly hopeful product of the Egyptian elite is stuck in traffic on the way to Shubra at this very moment, and the stars have fated that they cross paths……

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Jasmine Yearns

In the movie Aladdin, Disney’s fantasy powerhouse translates a One Thousand and One Night’s story likely filled with licentious characters, murder, and the utter evil of mankind into a tale involving a blue genie, a sorcerer serpent, and characters wearing egregiously fluffy pants that find true love in less than 24 hours. Most people have agreed that the depiction of the Near and Farther East is spot-on and lacks nothing except for more harems scene and a speedier love and marriage process.

I bring this movie up because recently, feeling a little more adventurous than usual, friends and I decided to watch Aladdin after a successful soup making endeavor. While watching it, I couldn’t help but notice the incredible parallels between the world of the American University of Cairo and the poorer neighborhoods of this dusty city: Jasmine’s palace and Aladdin’s shabby home smacked of the walls of AUC’s Tahrir campus and the winding markets of Islamic Cairo.

I decided to flesh out this idea and undertake a partial retelling of the story (aided in party by friends’ input), in order to place it  in a more realistic setting and deflate it completely of any magic it may have once had.

Without further ado:

Once upon a time, in a city of 20 million people called Cairo, there lived a lonely Egyptian girl named Jasmine. Daughter of a natural gas CEO, Jasmine is quite wealthy and studies Literature at AUC’s new campus. The one time she saw Tahrir Square was on television, also the only place she has seen any kind of market selling food. She dresses in the latest styles of skinny jeans and exclusively wears heels that are taller than 5 inches and made out of some kind of animal.

She owns a tiny dog that she dresses in clothing like a human. Though the dog is yappy, incapable of being potty trained, and disliked by the family, her father lets her keep Dot because it was a gift to Jasmine after her mother’s death. Also he’s never disciplined his daughter or denied her anything so it would be awkward to begin now after 20 years of blind pacification.

Yet he tires of her maintenance and really wants her and Dot to get out. The best way to do this, of course, is to marry her off to the next CEO’s son she meets at the McDonald’s on campus. Unfortunately, she has proven an unwilling participant in this marriage endeavor, having watched Titanic too many times. Now, like Jack and Rose, she wants raw, uneducated love from an unpretentious commoner, a regular shab (young man) from Shubra (poorer area of Cairo).

She’s even tried to sneak off with the car and leave the suburbs in attempts to meet the common folk of her city. For her own protection, her father has prohibited her from leaving the confines of their gated community or the gates of the university. Yet she grows restless, yearning for the authenticity she cannot find amongst the waxed eyebrows and chests of AUC. One day, she takes matters into her own hands, bribes the necessary people, and gets her hands on the car keys. Little does she know how much her life is about to change.

to be continued……

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How to Heal America

I realize this is not a Disney character. But I have seen one with Winnie the Pooh. Also, why does this exist?

I spent 90 percent of my childhood dreaming in a room covered in Disney merchandise, frequenting the Disney store at the mall, watching Disney movies, and singing Disney songs. One of my first hobbies was repeatedly singing “Part of your world,” better known to me and my sisters as the “Ahhh…ahhh…ahhh…ahhhh” song. We would put pantyhose on our heads, call  it our long hair, and sing the “ahhhhhh” part of the song over and over again until my mother’s brain exploded. This semi-dangerous and highly annoying Disney obsession is by no means singular to the United States.

A brief tour through any toy store in Egypt quickly confirms that Disney controls the vast majority of children through the sheer bulk of its merchandising power. Disney characters  not only occupy every nook and cranny in kid’s stores, but they maintain a significant presence in other sections of life: stationary, clothing, lingerie, automobiles, etc. You name it, and there is a Disney character pasted on it. It’s almost like someone lasered a television playing a Disney movie, causing it to explode like alien guts all over Cairo and leave Disney goo everywhere.

I have learned that Disney characters/cartoon characters belong on everything. They are more important than saints, more dear than family members, and cuter than children. Anything can be improved through the addition of an adorable figure from an animated movie covered in sequins with a nonsensical caption like “Hungr nam drop.”

Today I went strolling through the markets around the Ataba Metro stop in an almost regrettable decision to leave the house during the day and go into the sun. The spirit of Disney was present everywhere. Disney infiltrates the minds of the children when they are young and here in Egypt this early obsession turns into the desire to cover the entire home in sparkles, flowers, and Minnie Mouse. If you’re desiring to create a more intimate bedroom, perhaps you should consider buying Winnie the Pooh sheets. If your pajamas seem cold and standoffish, surely it’s because they don’t have a big Minnie Mouse on them. Indeed, Disney appears to own a majority share in the women’s pajama market, and Bashar Assad owns a plurality (Syria is apparently well known for its pajamas). I have seen Minnie, Mickey, Donald, and others all gracing almost every part of the home.

Would Americans be friendlier if everyone was covered from head to toe in sparkles, teddy bears, and Mickey Mouse? Would we greet each other with kisses on the cheeks instead of hand slaps or grasps? What happened that caused us to become such an austere people, wearing black every day of the week and slugging every smiling stranger in the face (this might just be me).

I have made up my mind. I’m going to give back to my society, use my talents, and make my fortune by selling Disney themed pajamas for adults in America. I truly believe that this is the only and best way to cure the deep divisions that we have seen widening over the past ten years. I will not stop until President Obama wears Goofy to bed and Michele has a “Best Frien” nightgown with Daffy Duck and Minnie Mouse high fiving each other on it.

I will be the change. I will be the Disney themed pajamas that I want to see in the world.

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