New and NOT Improved

Don't mess with Mickey!

Comments (58)

(58) devora, January 15, 2010 3:54 PM

if it aint broke don't fix it

(57) Anonymous, December 7, 2009 1:07 PM


Amen! I couldn't agree with you more!

(56) ShoshPen, December 1, 2009 5:55 PM


I agree. I guess we will see with time. WIll kids who grow up with the Mean Mickey learn that it's okay to be mean to others?

(55) susan, November 22, 2009 12:51 PM

Mickey Mouse

I agree with your comments. Hopefully Disney Corp will be satisfied with the negative publicity thieir announcement will generate. Maybe all they will need is this attention to invigorate the brand without changing it.

(54) Anonymous, November 18, 2009 8:03 AM

I cannot agree more with you. century xxi is an era of modernity where all things are so easy and that make people worse. there is no patience left, people is so aggressive now, and values do not exist anymore. so, how do you make more money with your products??? with an aggressive and immoral look. the more you dare, the better it sells and that makes life terrible. i also like the old stuff, even though we had less Torah than these days.

(53) yardeneire, November 17, 2009 7:48 PM

Spot on!

Thank you for standing up to those who are not well-versed in history or anthropology. RE-Branding has been around for centuries and is often a flop. You are what you are and you are not what you are not. A brand is only a symbol and anyone who truly believes that changing that "symbol" will improve something is naive. Furthermore, there are many "product developement and brand managers" making six figures from these companies to come up with something new. Sadly, Disney has listened to these "experts" more often than not and created icons that have taken away from what originally made Disney's products a favorite. I wonder what will be left of the true Disney in a 50 years? I wonder how many landfills will be clogged with these new products that they develop to support their billion dollar enterprise? All very sad. Thank you for pointing this out.

(52) Anonymous, November 17, 2009 3:09 PM

u hit the nail on the head!!!!

i guess we get blinded by the modern and new, u helped our view on things!!! thanks!

(51) Dvirah, November 16, 2009 7:46 PM

Society's New Vaues

This is a reflection of the USA Society's new values. Think a minute what attitudes lead to "cantankerous and cunning" behavior. Aren't those attitudes prevalent almost everywhere today?

(50) Anonymous, November 16, 2009 6:08 PM

I'm with you, Rabbi. "Rebranding" is the new catch phrase for those who want to "think outside the box." Interestingly, both of these terms are fast becoming cliches which mean change for the sake of change and a lack of creative thought.

(49) Davida, November 15, 2009 8:03 PM

As much as I enjoy new things, Mickey is an internationally enjoyed character BECAUSE we can count on him for positive input. Certainly Disney has creative resources to ADD a character who is sly and cranky without causing distrust of our lovable, trusted icons.

(48) Devora, November 15, 2009 9:01 AM

I 100% totally agree

(47) Anonymous, November 15, 2009 8:31 AM

. It is always difficult to change things in your life,to agree with something new.Even things that lead us to better life,are perceived difficultly.But this is only one explanation for "the new thing,not always a good thing" :) people are afraid of changes in their life. It is our nature.

(46) Anonymous, November 15, 2009 8:16 AM

Mickey a rat, i think you are right on about Mickey. Just one more thing to add to movies, games etc. to make our kids more aggressive and negative and hurtful. Get all you want for your self regardles of what it does to others. Being barbaric is the way to go. They are even giving classes to management on how to be, agressive, using vulgar langage as it is really how the ones you employ really want you to be and you get more production out of them if you strong arm them., teaching your managers to do the same. How sad that we've come to this. Now it is the children that are and have been being trained in the way to go through games books movies.The scripture said one day the good will be bad and the bad good. Have we reached this point?

(45) Anonymous, November 15, 2009 8:11 AM

"New is not always better" - I agree with you completely!

(44) Anonymous, November 15, 2009 8:11 AM

check your history, Rabbi. Mickey didn't start out as a "nice guy". He was mischevious, and perhaps cunning and coniving. Watch the oldest black and whites, and silents too. Mickey then, is not Mickey now.

(43) Anonymous, November 15, 2009 8:02 AM

Mickey's perfect just like he is!!! If you destroy such an inocent mouse By turning him into an ugly louse It will only destroy inocent people Because love of money is the root of all evil

(42) Sebo, November 13, 2009 4:10 PM

Taking down what is good.....

Hollywood has done this for a long time. The comic book figure of Batman, was ruined, Superman's character was ruined, even TV series do this by changing Monk from an idiosyncratic to weird.... House this season has also been warped. Is seems to be spiritual entropy. Thank God people reject it!

(41) , November 13, 2009 4:08 PM

I was just talking about the same thing to my husband. Unbelievable. You're right on with your comments. How ridiculous can they get? CG

(40) Vadim, November 13, 2009 1:58 PM

I suppose it has deeper significance.

It is always difficult to change things in your life,to agree with something new.Even things that lead us to better life,are perceived difficultly.But this is only one explanation for "the new thing,not always a good thing" :) people are afraid of changes in their life. It is our nature.

(39) Daisy, November 13, 2009 11:41 AM

Great opinion on Mickey Mouse

Lets continue with the positive fun Mickey Mouse that we all know and love. We should teach the children of today happy and uplifitng messages about life and they can learn through the time tested and always terrific role model for learning in children, the original Mickey Mouse

(38) Angela Miller, November 12, 2009 8:54 PM

Mickey a Rat?

I was at the theme park (Universal) this year in August, and I will say that the whole thing gave me severe depression. Everything was truly awful. So it didn't surprise me until you said Mickey was going to be a rat. That surprised me for a moment. New isn't always better. God bless you, Rabbi.

(37) Rosen, November 12, 2009 1:41 PM

change vs. originality

Perhaps change ought to be taken by a grain of salt in moderation. Usually, it's within our human nature to seek something better, as well as be greedy. However, since change can come in moderation, I can agree with Rabbi Solomon that the newest thing isn't necessarily better. It's like when I get those annoying credit card offers in the mail or at my bank while I am already satisfied with the check/debit card I currently have...Also, as for the video Rabbi Solomon posted last week when it comes to "cheap Jews" and how there may be nothing really wrong with that, I can certainly relate to that because the laptop that I am currently using to view such websites like among other things like checking up on my account balances, apparently, my screen was on the fritz, so instead of paying at least $200 to replace it, I spent roughly $4.50 on 2 big bulldog clips in order to hold the screen upright and its been working fine. Thus, why pay so much for a certain service that will likely profit when you can DIY for a lot less money? - That's been my experience when it comes to moderating change.

(36) Renee, November 12, 2009 6:05 AM

Whose children?

I've seen a few nay-sayers suggesting that this is not appropriate for children. So what? I haven't seen that this game is being marketed toward children. Those who are not a part of the gaming community may not be aware that in games targeted toward adults (like "Epic Mickey") a popular trend is to allow gamers to make moral choices as part of he game. If players choose to make immoral choices the game alerts the player that he is becoming evil. Players who choose to make moral choices end the game with a character who has a god reputation in his world. "Epic Mickey" is a part of this trend in gaming which I believe really took off with "Fable" a few years ago and has blossomed to other on-line games (recently "City of Heroes/Villains" has added the option to make ones villain become a hero and vice versa). If your children aren't ready for this kind of entertainment be a responsible parent and don't let him play! (If he's too young for "Schindler's List" don't let him watch it.)

(35) Cynthia Eckert, November 12, 2009 1:44 AM


Rabbi, Thank you so much for sharing your views on this. I couldn't agree with you more. So many people are searching for always something 'new' even when it comes to religion..they think that Judaism is 'old' and 'outdated'..when,myself, a jew by choice, knows full well that G-d's Torah is the same yesterday, today and forever....and there is always something 'new' we can learn from Torah and inspiring rabbis like yourself. Todah!

(34) Sarah, November 11, 2009 10:30 PM

I agree. It relates to the fallacy in Obama's campaign slogan for change!

I agree 100%! Keep the innocence of Mickey and of our children. The basic fallacy in Obama's campaign slogan was that "Change" is not always for the better! Nor is it necessary to change our icons and classical figures!

(33) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 7:44 PM

Mickey a Rat? Clearly anti-Union!

Will Mickey cross a picket line on the first episode? Wasn't Walt Disney anti-union?

(32) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 5:02 PM

I was stunned when I saw the article on this in the New York Times. How can they mess with Mickey. Have we gone so far that nothing is sacred. I'm all for growth and change; but why does Disney feel that they need to tinker with an icon. Yes, Adam Cohen is right. Mickey has had an edge to him. He could get jealous (Mickey's Rival) or mischievious (Sorcerer's Apprentice"); but always Mickey remained "human". He never was mean spirited or cantankerous. Disney has enough properties to expound on those qualities. As a teacher, I see enough of my students embracing the negatives of human nature. Why not, as a culture we have become a bit ignoble. We have shown them, through our media, that we tolerate cruelty, cheating, indifference, hatred, greed and violence. Heck, we don't just tolerate it, we reward it. Mickey represented,for many of us, the positive aspects of our nature. The simpler side of life. Perhaps I'm a bit naive, but I'm hoping that Mickey's transformation doesn't go beyond this game. I'd hate to see trailers for shows like "The Mickey Mouse Fight Club".

(31) Nancy McGill, November 11, 2009 4:45 PM

why not new?

why not a new mouse? Maybe mickey's uncle? why change? And keep it like the past where good would always win!

(30) Leizer, November 11, 2009 4:26 PM

Years ago, my Rov asked me "What's the opposite of good?" I answered confidently "The opposite of good is bad." "Wrong" he said. "The opposite of good is better. If you have good, don't look for better. You'll end up regretting the good you once had and yearning for it."

(29) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:57 AM


(28) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:53 AM

I'm surprised that Disney wants to turn Mickey into a rat. If they do, I'm sure that will be a decision that they will regret.

(27) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:52 AM

. I agree with you. Please leave well enough alone.

(26) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:51 AM

You are RIGHT ON. Thanks for saying so. When greed is the motivator, there is no creativity and everyone can tell.

(25) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:50 AM

Look at the Original Cartoons and they mimic the behavior that will be seen in this game. The Disney Company is trying to outreach its product to the new generation. It's not evil. It was how Walt Disney protayed him in the original cartoons! Watch steamboat wille,Plane Crazy and do some research before you jump to a big conclusion. Anoynomous Disney Fan

(24) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 10:43 AM

I agree 100%.

(23) tzipporah, November 11, 2009 6:47 AM

the original creators would be disappointed

I agree with what you said Rabbi Salomon. I think the original reators would be disappointed to see how this is going. Like what was said in the UN speech that was banned that talked about how the original creators of the UN would be disappointed to see that the only country in the world the UN addresses for civil rights is the one with the most humane tactics - Israel.

(22) DJ, November 11, 2009 6:40 AM

mickey mouse

I totally agree with you. Leave Mickey the way he is. Like my Uncle Moshe always told me: If it works, don't fix it.

(21) Dale Cordell, November 11, 2009 5:29 AM

No changy the mousey!

If your cartoon image of Mickey is what the new Mickey is to look and act like, I'd have to say ,"Nay!". I grew up with the old Mickey and he's changed over and over, during my 58 years. But, still today, I find myself watching cartoons from back to the 1940's, when Mickey and others were initially "famous". Suddenly turning Mickey into a grouch, angry, mischevous or anything else... just doesn't fit his image.

(20) Adam Zion, November 11, 2009 2:44 AM

It's actually appropriate to remake Mickey in Disney Co.'s image

Yes, people of a certain age remember sweet, fuzzy Mickey Mouse, and the Mickey Mouse Club, and all that. Nice memories, to be sure. But that is most definitely *not* today's Disney. Today's Disney is the world's largest media conglomerate, owning such diverse properties as ABC, ESPN (and all the associated Websites, cable stations, and radio stations), all the Disney theme parks, Disney Cruises, Disney films- the list goes on. As a media empire, its methods are not always, shall we say, cute fuzzy. In fact, I'd say that cantankerous nasty would be two of the kinder things which one could say about today's Disney. So, remaking Mickey Mouse into something of a rat, as Rabbi Solomon puts it, is a pretty accurate depiction of the corporate culture.

(19) David, November 11, 2009 2:31 AM

Don't know what to think

I was ready to agree 100% with you. Then I read the first 5 posts and they make sense too. So, after thinking about it, I find myself in agreement with #5 Renée. Excellent piece and excellent reader comments. Wow.

(18) Rebeca, November 11, 2009 2:29 AM

Who Cares about Disney...

We don't need corporate idols for our children. This is non news as far as I'm concerned. Disney has always given me the creeps, and not because Walter Disney was an anti- semite(although he was), but because of the corporate feel to every single thing that they do. EVERYTHING Disney feels like a marketing scheme. I don't need that in my life, and neither do our families.

(17) Marvin Baron, November 11, 2009 2:00 AM

Mickey is the best mouse in the house

You said it exactly like it should be said

(16) Shirah, November 11, 2009 1:08 AM

Following social trends

I'm not a big fan of the Disney machine although I have fond memories of Walt Disney and his visions when I was a child. It seems that Disney is following the media trends of individualism to the point of harming others. Being nice and helping others is out of style. Will we see Mickey and Friends with bad attitudes at Disney parks? I guess those places no longer will be the happiest places on earth anymore. So sad... Even animated characters can model good moral values. I won't be buying this game or any other epic Mickey products for my kids.

(15) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 1:06 AM

chazak vnitchazaik i support you 100%

(14) Djerr laVou, November 11, 2009 1:06 AM

Steamboat Willy?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

(13) Grace Fishenfeld, November 11, 2009 12:51 AM

Let's Play Nice!

You are not off base Rabbi. I like to raise my children with a strong exposure to gentle kindness and sweetness of sentiment. The culture has enough hip slang and crudeness. I want my girls to believe that a charming prince will be in their future and my boys to be as polite and thoughtful as Lancelot. I like the sweetness of Ruth toward Naomi and the faithfulness of Noah and his family. I'll settle for Micky Mouse in love with Minnie.

(12) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 12:29 AM

Mickey mean or Mickey nice?

Dear Rabbi, Thanks for your input on the new Mickey game. It helps to know what is coming. Whether children can reasonably be expected to discern good and evil is questionable, especially in the form of a nice icon gone wrong. More likely, they will be enticed into a new mindset. Remember the Palestinian TV shows using Disney characters to implant ideas about being suicide bombers? This kind of phenomenon is not new, and seems to reflect some warped judgment on the part of the Disney producers. We agree with one of the bloggers that Disney has always had a dark side. Maybe the root of that is greed, after all.

(11) JONathan Shopiro, November 11, 2009 12:14 AM

Can Mickey catch up with Salomon?

Mickey may be becoming cantankerous but he'll have a long way to go to catch up with Salomon.

(10) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 12:09 AM


From your mouth to the Disney execs ears. Really. Your words are/were perfect. Sometimes I sort of agree with you, sometimes I don't agree with you but this time....100%.

(9) Anonymous, November 11, 2009 12:00 AM

You're joking, right?

No way can the real Mickey be anything other than what he always has been and always will be. I haven't researched what you've purported, but please don't joke about this, Rabbi. You're frightening me.

(8) Merry Anne, November 10, 2009 11:50 PM


You are so wise! I wish that thewhole world would listen to you.

(7) gerson, November 10, 2009 11:45 PM

as a stock holder in disney this is the first i heard of it it also will smell like day old dog food

(6) arnold shear, November 10, 2009 5:09 PM

great commentary.

couldn"t agree with you more. from a young great grandfather

(5) Renée, November 9, 2009 5:30 AM

I'm looking forward to "Epic Mickey"

Aren't you jumping the gun a bit here? You say "new is not always better" and I agree. But old is not always better either. I think we should give "Epic Mickey" a chance. The Disney brand generally produces safe, fun, family entertainment. I've learned to trust the company. Of course, if we find that there are serious moral objections to the game we will reject it. I just think we oughta know *why* we object to something (specific examples of inapropriate content are in order) before we condemn it. What ever happened to giving someone th benefit of the doubt?

(4) 585, November 9, 2009 4:55 AM

You said it all perfectly.

(3) e. m. lefrak, November 9, 2009 1:29 AM

Was it really ever good?

I agree with the point that s/t new is not necessarily better. I also agree that it's really a shame that Disney thinks that it has to make a nasty Mickey to make money. However - was Disney ever really that great? If you look at Disney cartoons with a critical eye, you will see that there's an undercurrent of bad middos that are displayed, in various ways. For example, Donald Duck makes a fool of himself . . . It's reflective of an important truth: sometimes things appear to be all nice and sweet and wonderful, but after a while, the negative side comes out - just like Mickey. I agree with number 2. Mendel the Mouse is the only mouse that I wish to have visit my house!

(2) Mendel's older sister, November 8, 2009 5:27 PM

Mendel the mouse

Well, at least Mendel the Mouse is still second to none!

(1) Adam Cohn, November 8, 2009 1:38 PM

Looking forward to the new Mickey game

Thank you Rabbi Solomon, I enjoyed your blogpost on the new Mickey Mouse. While I am generally no fan of the marketing machine of the Disney Corporation, and am constantly on guard about what kind of moral garbage they are trying to sell my son and daughters... I am really looking forward to the new Disney game Epic Mickey. I am a big fan of Mickey Mouse and the creative genius of Walt Disney. The new Mickey, is really the old Mickey... more like the cartoon character of the 30s. In the old cartoons, he was cantankerous, vengeful, and mischievous. The people making the game understand the evolution of the Mickey character and how he morphed into the fine morally upstanding Mickey character we know today. One of the interesting things about the new game is that the player will have the ability to make moral choices... and those moral choices will determine how Mickey develops through the game. The more destructive you are in the game environment... the more rat like you will become. You will look and act more like the 1930s Mickey. The more kind and caring you are the more you will be like the modern Mickey. My son is very much into video games and this is one of those great opportunities to talk about the impact of the games and the moral messages embedded within them. Thanks again for the thought provoking post.


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