I read this yesterday: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...esteem/278596/
It talks about how modern-day animated films are
reinforcing selling the idea that you can do anything if you believe in yourself, or what the author calls "magic feather syndrome", after the "magic feather" that the eponymous flying elephant Dumbo had. Dumbo believes he can fly by virtue of the feather and is forced to fly without the feather in the film's climax, at which point he realizes he could fly all on his own, all along. The fact that elephants cannot fly isn't even glossed over, just as the cropduster in the soon-to-be-released Planes can't fly faster than a fighter jet and Turbo the snail can't move at a speed of 300 mph and win the Indianapolis 500.
As a counterpoint the author references Peanuts and the character of Charlie Brown, a melancholic character who infamously believed he was a failure and was usually proven correct.
Released in 1969, A Boy Named Charlie Brown turns the clichés of the magic-feather syndrome inside-out. It opens with Charlie Brown suffering through a string of failures: His kite crashes to the ground, his baseball team loses its 99th consecutive game, and even his toy sailboat sinks to the bottom of the bathtub. "I just can't seem to do anything right," he laments to himself. On his way to school, Lucy, Violet, and Patty taunt him with a heartless song: "You never do anything right / You never put anything in its place / No wonder everyone calls you / Failure-face." Sensing Charlie Brown's despair, Linus, his lone confidant, advises him that he's "going to have to win at something--something that will restore your lost self-confidence."
Determined to prove himself, Charlie Brown enters the school spelling bee and emerges victorious. By winning he becomes the area representative for the National Elimination Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Before his departure he confides to Linus, "There's a good chance that instead of being a hero I'll make a bigger fool of myself than ever." Somewhat unhelpfully, Linus responds, "Don't be discouraged, Charlie Brown. You have nothing to lose. You'll either be a hero or a goat."
Up to this point, A Boy Named Charlie Brown has largely followed a familiar pattern: The protagonist defies his doubters, improbably qualifies for a major competition, and now needs only to channel his inner strength to triumph. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume that Lucy will soon disavow her initial skepticism and tell Charlie Brown at a crucial point in the competition that he's always had what it takes to win.
But that's not what happens. Instead, Charlie Brown survives to the final round (his words include unconfident, disastrous, and incompetent), and then carelessly misspells the word "beagle" while his dog Snoopy points at himself from the front row. Afterward, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy depart the theater in silence. When they're dropped off at the bus station that night, the streets are empty. "I guess nobody realized that we were returning," Linus remarks. The movie then spends an excruciating amount of time on Charlie Brown wordlessly unpacking, changing into his pajamas, and slipping beneath the covers, his eyes glazed with utter defeat.
When Charlie Brown doesn't show up for school that next day, Linus stops by his house. Still in bed with the shades pulled down, Charlie Brown tells Linus that he's never going to attempt anything again. Rather than trying again to build up Charlie Brown's self-esteem, Linus waxes philosophical: "Well, I can understand how you feel. You worked hard studying for the spelling bee, and I suppose you feel you let everyone down and you made a fool out of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown?...The world didn't come to an end."
After mulling over this comment, Charlie Brown gets out of bed and ventures outside. None of his companions pay much attention to him as he strolls by. In the distance, he spots Lucy playing with a football. Just when it seems that Charlie Brown might be able to redeem himself with a small punt, Lucy pulls the football away from him, and the movie concludes with Charlie Brown flat on his back, grimacing at the camera.
Just now I saw this on Reddit: http://thischarmingcharlie.tumblr.com/
If you're not sure what it's all about, here's a clue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGnjrTkv1gs