source: https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/movies/coco-review-pixar-disney.amp.html

The cultural vibe of “Coco” is inclusive rather than exoticizing, pre-empting inevitable concerns about authenticity and appropriation with the mixture of charm and sensitivity that has become something of a 21st-century Disney hallmark.

I’m struggling to understand the text in bold. It seems like the author is criticising Disney for being inauthentic and committing cultural appropriation but then you see “charm and sensitivity” which seem to be praising Disney movies.

Could someone help me interpret the sentence? Thanks!!

  • "pre-empt" means "forestall"--look them up for more detail.
    – Xanne
    Dec 1, 2017 at 6:51
  • Pre-emption often includes deflection tactics. Dec 1, 2017 at 19:35
  • It's just pretentious BS. Any relation to the English Language is purely accidental. Ignore it.
    – David
    Dec 20, 2017 at 17:15
  • How can a question seeking to understand the meaning of a passage be closed as a request for proofreading? A request for proofreading is a request to correct (without explanation) the errors in a passage. The present case is practically the opposite of that: a request for someone to explain what the wording of a passage actually means.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 21, 2017 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


The power of language.

Firstly, I feel one should clearly note the context in which this sentence is being made, and the publication.

In recent times, there is extreme concern, usually by the "left" or "progressive" movement, regarding "cultural appropriation" as a form of racism. This philosophy implies that any person (usually white) engaged in a cultural activty (eg. eating Chinese food, making a movie about Mexican festivals) is somehow insensitively exploiting that culture.

What the author is trying to do, is to say that whenever making a movie such as this, one should always be "extra careful" so as to not be racist, or offend anyone who may be closely tied to the subject matter or artwork.

The author reveals this in the phrase "concerns about authenticity and appropriation" - implying that any movie about Mexican festivals must be handled with "utmost care" so as not to offend those of Mexican descent. This could be a legitimate concern, but the author is clearly trying to imply that this is an extra-important concern that's very relevant today.

Now that the author has established this philosophy as being something at the forefront of public consciousness, he then wants to state that Disney has done the right thing, by using "charm and sensitivity" so that they are blameless when the movie is watched by the public.

"Pre-emptively" is cleverly used by the author to suggest that Disney was well aware of the public's concerns prior to and during the making of the movie.

He finalises his praise of Disney by saying that this is how Disney does things, and will do things, in the 21st century.

(How "inclusivity" and "charm and sensitivity" addresses "concerns about authenticity and appropriation" is up to the reader to evaluate.)

  • Thanks for your explanation. It makes much better sense now!
    – 789iok
    Dec 22, 2017 at 7:14

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