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Guest Editor's Introduction

Guest Editor's Introduction DANIEL BATCHELDER Guest Editor ’s Introduction When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires Will come to you. From a modern perspective, it is difficult to imagine a more fitting theme song for the Walt Disney Company than Leigh Harline and Ned W - ash ington’s “When You Wish upon a Star.” Taking the first-person “you” as its subject, this moralistic missive, suffuse with quasi-religious allusions to “fate,” stands as an ode to meritocracy, a promise that “you” are so good, so worthy that the mere act of wishing is enough to guarantee a reward. Like Walt Disney himself, the song assures its listener that you can achieve anything you wish regardless of “who you are.” Of course, the harsh realities of profound inequalities amplify the emptiness of this promise across the broad expanses of the company’s global reach. Yet for decades, Disney has attached this song—often represented met - onymically through its opening seven notes—to its dizzying array of media offerings, from feature films and television series to theme parks and video games. The tender strains of this ballad contain no less than a distillation of the American Dream, packaged http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Guest Editor's Introduction

American Music , Volume 39 (2) – Aug 31, 2021

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

DANIEL BATCHELDER Guest Editor ’s Introduction When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires Will come to you. From a modern perspective, it is difficult to imagine a more fitting theme song for the Walt Disney Company than Leigh Harline and Ned W - ash ington’s “When You Wish upon a Star.” Taking the first-person “you” as its subject, this moralistic missive, suffuse with quasi-religious allusions to “fate,” stands as an ode to meritocracy, a promise that “you” are so good, so worthy that the mere act of wishing is enough to guarantee a reward. Like Walt Disney himself, the song assures its listener that you can achieve anything you wish regardless of “who you are.” Of course, the harsh realities of profound inequalities amplify the emptiness of this promise across the broad expanses of the company’s global reach. Yet for decades, Disney has attached this song—often represented met - onymically through its opening seven notes—to its dizzying array of media offerings, from feature films and television series to theme parks and video games. The tender strains of this ballad contain no less than a distillation of the American Dream, packaged

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 31, 2021

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