Even my kids guffawed.
“Why does Disney care about the Navy,” my 10-year-old asked on the morning drive to school. “Will there be a roller coaster where you shoot Osama bin Laden or something?”
This after the radio news reported that Disney had applied for a trademark of the term “SEAL Team 6,” the highly trained, secretive counter-terrorism group that descended on a compound in Pakistan, shot and killed America’s most wanted criminal.
Fishbowl NY reports that The Walt Disney Company applied to trademark “SEAL Team 6” two days after President Obama announced the U.S. Naval Warfare Special Development Group, known by its former name, SEAL Team 6, had tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden. The trademark covers “clothing, footwear, headwear, toys, games and ‘entertainment and education services,’ according to the media site.
Writers over at Freakonomics explain what’s patently (ha!) obvious: by trademarking the name, Disney will have the best shot of making the most money from story-boarding this exciting turn in current news events. Though anyone can make a movie about Osama bin Laden’s capture and the drama behind finding and killing the man who orchestrated and funded the killing of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001, Disney will be the only company legally able to put “Seal Team 6″ in a title … or on T-shirts, posters, shoes (?) or in a video game.
Disney may host a pretty good family cruise. And they’ve made a decent movie or two. Factual, probing docu-dramas are hardly the kind of material Disney is good at. The company’s strength is in the sanitized narrative with a happy ending.
The thought of my son getting little Seal Team 6 action figures for his fourth birthday makes me shudder. (It was my daughter who pointed out this could be a possibility.) Who knows how exactly the company will cash in on Seal Team 6 if it secures the trademark. It looks like they’re keeping all possibilities open. Which will it be: a Hanna Montana wig or a SEAL Team 6 helmet and matching jumpsuit?
Of course, Disney executives were just making an inevitable move — if they hadn’t done it, Mattel or someone else surely would have. But it’s still disappointing (and a little frightening) that the telling of one of the major plot-points in the story of my generations’ adult life will be interpreted through Disney — creators of Hanna Montana, a bunch of sexy princesses that have defined girl toys for the past decade, and the Happiest Place on Earth.
The fact that Osama bin Laden is out of commission is, indeed, a happy ending. But that leaves the question: what will Disney do with everything in between? And what in the world does footwear, headgear, clothing and toys have to do with any of it?
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