When history is told by the victor, ask questions. Went to Doron Fishler's lecture today on why Scar (Simba's uncle) deserves a retrial. I thought it was very interesting, but I was also drunk. What was obvious though, was the hidden message to the Israeli audience.
Here's the skinny:
1. Just like the movie 300, the Lion King is told from the winner's perspective. And just like 300, we must ask ourselves if we were cheering for the real good guys. Spartans were barbarians who killed weak babies, whereas the Persians were a lot more civilized, but because the movie depicted the Persians as ugly and creepy - and dark-skinned and kinda gay, errr, flamboyant - they were, of course, the bad guys.
In The Lion King, the hyenas are the bad guys, as is Scar. What does Disney use to make Scar look bad? Dark skin and gay demeanour. Scar's masculinity isn't what we're meant to celebrate, Mufasa's hypermasculine, machoistic, brawny masculinity is. Also, Mufasa is a lot lighter. The hyenas are depicted as stupid, ugly, and useless, whereas in fact, hyenas are just as keen hunters as lions, and can be very friendly and social.
2. The Circle of Life is the lion version of white privilege. Mufasa tells Simba all creatures live in harmony and mutual respect, so why are the hyenas not only excluded, but actively oppressed and hunted down for trying to survive and be part of the CoL? Such a dynamic exists between white Israeli Jews and Jews of colour and Arabs, and it exists between white americans and African americans, and nobody calls that harmony except for gated white communities.
And as for the antelopes who eat the grass the dead lions turn into... It's not a circle of life, it's a fucking food chain and the lion is at the top! The lions don't get killed and eaten by the grass the antelopes eat, so there is no justice or balance here. The lion just dies one day and grass happens to grow over his body, but grass grows whether a lion died or not, so lions are not being eaten or victimized by anyone. The grass does nothing, the antelope peacefully grazes, the lion rips your antelope momma's fucking guts out in front of you and you can only watch, because you're an antelope, he's a lion, you got no rights and no power, the lions rule, so they fucking get to kill you or not as they see the fuck fit, and they conveniently and romanticisingly call this "circle of life". No. It's not even trickle-down.
3. The movie only ever tells Simba's version of the story. Provided the movie is based on true events (Simba's life and Scar's rise to power being the true events), then the narrative makes it obvious that Scar or his supporters weren't asked for Scar's side of the story. That's very problematic. For example, Simba never saw or heard what Scar said to Mufasa before the latter died, and Simba also had no one within earshot to hear him. Maybe Scar didn't even throw Mufasa, but rather, lost hold? Maybe Scar said, "I'll never let you go, brother... noooooooooooooo!" and Simba screamed "FUCK YEAH IMMA BE KING NOW!"
4. Scar's confession - apparently Doron Fishler asked a real lawyer about this - doesn't hold in court because it was coerced. When Scar is shown first telling Simba he killed Mufasa, he whispers it and only Simba hears. How convenient! The only time Scar confesses for all to hear, is when Simba, a lot bigger, is pinning Scar down and strangling him! When a bigass lion is pressing his paw and his huge-ass claws into your throat, you tell him whatever he wants to hear! Innocent suspects under duress incriminate themselves all the time just because they're being coerced, tortured, intimidated. A legal confession has to be either voluntary, or backed up by hard evidence, but neither is the case here.
5. Scar was a lot like Abe Lincoln and Yitzhak Rabin. All three wanted to unite two people, to free the oppressed, and coexist in peace. All three were quickly labelled traitors and wound up dead.
6. Circle of Life again: it's not harmony and mutual respect when one animal has all the power and the others just have to suck it up and pretend this is what's best for everyone. That's fucking fascism. Recap: the lions get to eat everyone, hyenas get to eat nothing, and everyone has to bow to the lions who are only in power because God said so (remember the sunlight shining on Baby Simba during his presentation and Baby Simba's food bowing to him LIKE FUCKING NORTH KOREANS TO KIM JONG IL AND UN?).
7. Scar was basically a socialist. He wanted to end fascism and implement a reign where everyone got to eat. If he did indeed kill Mufasa and tried to kill Simba, he did so because Mufasa's ideology left countless hyenas languishing in poverty and starving!
8. The evil hyenas... When did they ever do an evil deed? Throughout the whole movie, all they ever were was hungry and desperate. Because of everyone's precious Mufasa! And who were Scar's only friends when he was younger and treated like and called Dirt by his family? Hyenas. (this is canon as per A Tale of Two Brothers)
And when you really wanna exaggerate someone's evil image when you know they're not truly evil enough, resort to Nazi visuals. The hyena march during Be Prepared was very much "look at these Nazis". When all they ever wanted, was to stop starving... This was never once misrepresented. They only ever wanted to eat, and Scar promised them this.
9. I added: Simba might be a manipulative psychopath. The movie is told from his point of view, and the movie makes him look ever so innocent, yet heroic. Innocent more so than heroic, because: did he ever do anything of his own initiative? No. Mufasa told him what to believe, Zazu was bossy all around, Scar planted the idea with the elephant graveyard, Nala had the idea to ditch Zazu, Scar told Simba to practice his roar in the gorge, Scar told Simba to run, Timon and Pumbaa told Simba to fuck it all, and Nala and Rafiki told Simba to return. So Simba is either a victim of everyone else's manipulation, or he has us all fooled blaming everyone else for his actions by only subtly making it look like their ideas.
10. Disney movies love to misrepresent true stories in their based-on movies. Pocahontas for example, was around 10 when she met John Smith. Creepy! So who says Simba's story is told objectively?
11. "I just can't wait to be king" is a very ominous choice of words, isn't it? Pretty soon after that song, during which Simba manipulated all the animals into assaulting and bullying Zazu, his father was dead. How does a prince become king? Daddy dies! But Simba fled? Well, he was just a child, he probably panicked when he realized this was really happening. Maybe Scar really meant to save him when he had him chased out of the Pridelands, saved him from suspicion and revenge?
Also, the intro of that song is very similar to "Under the Sea". But there is no sea in Simba's habitat, is there? So what sea did he go to to hear that song and create his own cover? Is this Simba being a smug criminal taunting us with hints? Under the sea... under the sea... there is a "sea", as in, a "c", phonetically speaking:
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
THE LION KING
Under the "c" of "pictures"... what is there? I. Is this Simba gloating, telling us on the very movie poster that he had had Mufasa killed all along?
12. Something is very wrong with the royal family. Mufasa's name means King, whereas Taka's (Scar's original name) means Dirt... Mufasa was raised to hate and starve hyenas, Scar befriended them and tried to help them thrive...
13. Scar is blamed for the kingdom's decline, but can you blame a ruler for climate change when he's been in power only a few years? Food shortage due to hyena overpopulation, maybe, but the barren lands that start to bloom again once Simba returns, that's a bit hard to swallow, or nah?
The Lion King is basically a prime example of history being told from the victor's point of view, ommitting crucial information as to what made the "villain" do what he did, information that may force us to see the "heroes" in a whole new light. If you told 300 from the Persians' point of view, and if you told The Lion King from Scar's point of view, you'd get a whole different story. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why hasbara has to die.