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Lightyear: Our Newest Divisive Topic

Tuesday, June 22, 2022

The internet is full of what I call the "loud minority". Screen warriors opining on topics of no consequence with hyperbolic sensationalism and selective outrage. The newest target? Disney Pixar's newest Toy Story inspired film: Lightyear. Acting as an origin story for the space toy that Andy fell in love with, Lightyear showcases a simple kiss scene between to women. An inconsequential scene that lasts no more than a blink and you miss it moment. Yet, conservative commentators across the internet are loosing their minds accusing Disney of sexualizing children's content.

Leave it to half-assed online pundits to spiral this non-issue into a debate about transgender rights or the "gay agenda". Conservatives have been shooting themselves in the foot on social issues with terrible, compassion-less rhetoric and their critiques of Lightyear are no exception. Unfortunately, Lightyear has lagged below box office projections which has given credence to their claims that the populace is upset over this lesbian kiss scene.

“Disney works to push a ‘not-at-all-secret gay agenda’…Parents should keep that in mind before deciding whether to take their kids to see ‘Lightyear,’” tweeted Ben Shapiro, popular conservative commentator.

Shapiro's assumption that gay inherently means lewd or inappropriate for children is quite a shallow opinion of the LGBTQ community. Discussion of drag shows at schools or puberty blockers for children aside, things we really need to discuss - Lightyear itself is not some massive conspiracy to melt children's minds with lesbian romance.

He continues:

If our society is in a "state of moral collapse", I can assure you it isn't because of onscreen kissing. If this was such a terribly inappropriate situation, I'm curious to know where Ben has been for any children's movie showing heterosexual relationships. If he's worried about pushing sex on children, he should be consistent. But there is a massive difference between grooming children, showcasing porn and innocent romance in the form of a kiss or a hug.

Chill out Ben, Lightyear isn't the problem - your divisive rhetoric and failure to focus your energy on the real issues is. Comparing this to the very real discussion of what is appropriate for children in media and education is disingenuous and counterproductive.

Lightyear isn't suffering at the box office because of that nanosecond of a scene. It suffers from being unoriginal and riding of the coattails of Toy Story. This has been commonplace for Hollywood. Rehashing things from the past and squeezing all the money and content out of beloved franchises. There is absolutely movie goer fatigue, and I am certain we aren't back to pre-pandemic attendance either.

Additionally, since Lightyear's genesis it suffered an uphill battle with Tim Allen not reprising his role as the voice of Buzz. Many conservatives had already demonized Disney because they thought this was in protest of Allen's conservative values. Yet Disney is still making a Santa Clause Disney+ series with him... so.

Disney, and the minds behind Lightyear explained that Tim Allen is and always will be the voice of Buzz Lightyear, the toy. Chris Evans is merely voicing him for the movie that Andy and his friends saw prior to the toy's existence. That is quite normal for a movie to have a certain cast and any other product, like toys or video games, to have different voice actors. This was a non-issue from the start, but it put this film in conservative crosshairs.

My own personal issues with Disney as a company very much still exist, and this is no defense of them. Their track record of social justice hypocrisy and coziness with China are alarming. This is to call out selectively outraged individuals, like Shapiro and the rest of the Daily Wire team, who claim this simple kiss scene is harming children.

Might I point out their silence when Woody and Bo-Peep flirt and kiss in several Toy Story films? Or how about Anakin and Padme kissing in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, a film series advertised to children? Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a kiss, The Little Mermaid features and entire scene with a song entitled "Kiss the Girl". Shrek's plot hinges on the Princess' quest to find true love's kiss. The list goes on.

Disney Pixar's Toy Story (1995)

I find it hysterical, and pathetic, that otherwise intelligent individuals would attack such irrelevant issues. Its clear they only stir up this dust to get clicks and likes on social media, further toxifying the discussion around these topics.

Lightyear is not some wild far left woke gay agenda pushing film. If conservatives want their perspectives and grievances to be taken seriously, they must relax the rhetoric and inflammatory comments surrounding innocent moments like this kiss in Lightyear. Focus your energy on real issues that deserve debate and discussion. The anger and distaste with moments like these comes across as homophobic, an adjective the modern GOP needs to shake if they want to be successful.



Listen to our reaction to the first 4 episodes of the Disney+ exclusive series Obi-Wan Kenobi and stay tuned for our reaction to the complete series, available on June 27th.

Listen to our podcast "The Cogan Conversation" on all podcast platforms!

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