This archived article was written by: Joshua H. Behn
White, Elizabeth “Snow”, 72, of Lake Buena Vista passed away at the Withering Pines Home for the Societal Irrelevant on Park Place terrace on Feb. 6, after a courageous but lingering battle with feminism.
She was born on Dec. 21, 1937 in Los Angeles, the eldest of the seven would be princesses born to Walt and Diana (Spencer) Disney. Her birth came as a surprise, as the couple had been hoping for a marmot or myna bird to round out the step-children from Walt’s previous marriage to “Steamboat” Willie (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Daisy). Despite the setback of having a completely human child, they were delighted to have one they would not have to lock in the basement.
For the young princess, growing up was a magical time full of romps in the woods with vertically challenged midgets, assassination attempts and a wicked step-mother; the childhood dream of every girl. She married her knight in shining armor, Prince Charming and took residence in the Anaheim Castle. She was the epitome of what her father expected of her: she was naï ve, possessed the anatomical deformed beauty of a Barbie (named for Australian grilling practices) and swore unquestioning fealty to her Liege and Lord. Her sisters Aurora and Cinderella would follow suit.
But few things in life truly are “Happily Ever After,” and times were changing for the dynasty. New ideas and changing gender roles in society were on the horizon. At first, nothing changed and the three matriarchs were able to staunchly cling to their white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian values of propriety and servitude.
As much as they tried to stop it, change was here to stay. It first became apparent with their non-conforming cousins. Mary Popins’s Marxist views became too much for her uber suffragist employer and she was fired from her nanny position. Old Uncle Remus would be accused of using racist symbolism and would spend the rest of his life unreleased in the vault (while his “Zip-o-de-do-da” would find reemergence as a song for children who would never know its’ true origin). And Angela Lansbury would be embraced for being a good witch by the people who would have burned her a decade prior.
With the death of their father, and despite the good fight in their realm to keep the rules of chivalry and moral order alive, feminism would strike suddenly and decisively with the four younger sisters. These wayward children, without a father figure to lead them would struggle with the freedoms and problems of the new generation. The bar was now lowered in society, and Snow would watch in complete helplessness as they became infected with progress.
Ariel was the first to be diagnosed. A fiery redhead with a voice not heard since “Once Upon a Dream,” she gave up a promising career as a lounge singer at the South Seas Club to find out about the world around her. She dabbled in antiques and curiosities until she was treated for Trans-Species-Identity Disorder. After undergoing surgery to have her fins removed, she realized she had made a mistake and underwent the knife once again. Today she does fish impersonation drag as “Charlie the Tuna.”
Of all the daughters, Jasmine’s fate was the most tragic. The first ‘liberated’ princess, she would suffer the full consequences. Refusing to marry a man who was suitable, she became obsessed with marrying for love’s sake. The Sultan’s council grudgingly allowed her the choice, and she married a man far beneath her social status that had no job. Jasmine surprisingly found herself supporting him, and when the royal treasury became bankrupt, she was forced to find work in a silk factory. They live in a Kurdish commune in Turkey, where she supports herself, her husband and his hookah habit, his four other wives, and their 47 children (who, following their paternal example also chose to not get jobs).
Belle’s fancies were less worldly and more of the intellectual pursuits. Possibly the finest mind in provincial France, she spurned the charming Gaston (whose masculinity and prowess were unchallenged) to live in the world of Voltaire and Rousseau. One fateful day she fell in love with the collected works of Gertrude Stein. Following her example, she took up residence with the enchanting Madam Mim in a house on the outskirts of the dark forest, swearing off men forever.
Esmeralda, the youngest of the sisters, was born of an affair and consequently unable to inherit her royal title. A firebrand and freethinker, she struggled the most to find her identity. Running away from home after college, she joined a roaming band of Romany in Paris and lived life as she saw fit. She danced for money in the Moulin Rouge dance hall. She developed a fetish for deformed men and would earn her own fortune starring in “Carnie films” (rumors abound that Joseph Merrick was extremely found of her advances). Her soldier love eventually ran off with another man and she finally conceded that Disney adaptations of Hugo novels merely prolong the inevitable Shakespearean tragedy sequences.
Aurora and Cinderella lived long but troubled lives, Aurora suffering from undiagnosed narcolepsy and Cinderella enduring severe depression and alcoholism. All three of the princesses remained staunch traditionalists and would never go out without high collars and ankle-length dresses. As their husbands were busy ruling kingdoms, they were frequently neglected and lonely and took solace in the small woodland creatures of their youths.
“Snow,” the last of the Grand Dames, spent the last 10 years in relative seclusion. Her final years were fraught with heart ache, first losing thousands of dollars to Bernard Madoff’s schemes and having to relocate to elderly housing supported through Medicaid. She remained upbeat to the end of her days but would yearn for the return of the “good old days,” where politicians still philandered, women were closet alcoholics, and children still wanted to be princesses when they grew up. A fading relic of a by-gone era, her death makes us all recall the childhood of our youths.
At the family’s request services will be private with interment in Hollywood Forever Mausoleum. Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Forget the Memory of Michael Eisner Fund, 2405 Imperial Highway, Anaheim CA 98007.