From Divine Brown to Ursula from The Little Marmaide”: a case study for cultural mediation.

In my view it is really interesting to see how sub culture can be metabolised into mainstream and in a way loose its contingent political implications while serving the capitalistic logic of movies mass consumption.

he perfect example is Ursula from The Little Mermaid. The character is a transposition of the legendary gay icon Divine Brown. She embodied the most confrontational and anarchic spirit of gay underground North American culture in between the 70s and the 80s.

It is interesting to see how the character of Ursula somehow retained the spirit of Divine but in a subliminal way. I believe that even if she seems just like all the others Disney villains, there is something more to her. To me she always felt like a drag queen even if in the movie she is a woman; I should say half woman, half octopus.

This says something about the politics of subcultural migration into main-stream cartoons. Even if it is spoiled by the political implications that they originated from, subcultures find their ways into mass culture, and in doing so they reshape them from within.

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