Two news stories running independently of each other inadvertently point directly at each other.

Philosophic failure

Chris Daly, a professor of philosophy at the University of Manchester, UK declares in an essay for Aeon that questions about the meaning of life posed by philosophers for the last 2,500 years, came up empty. These big thinkers should have checked out the kids’ movie “Bambi,” Disney’s 1942 animated film about a little white-tailed deer facing forest fires and the death of his mother. The tale is knee-deep in the philosophy of life and how to live it.

Beyond Bambi

The Disney movie made the news with an exhibit at the Wien Museum in Vienna called “Beyond Bambi” about Felix Salten. He's the author of “Bambi, a Life in the Woods,” the book upon which the movie was based. Salten knew about life’s challenges as an Austrian Jew enduring anti-Semitism under fascist rule.

How well did Salten get across the little deer’s challenges? Stephen King, master of horror stories, told The Sun in 2017 that the death of Bambi’s mother frightened him so much as a child that it gave rise to his writing horror stories. He also told Rolling Stone magazine that he considers “Bambi” a true horror film: “When that little deer gets caught in the forest fire, I was terrified.”

Lessons learned

Many of life’s lessons can be drawn from “Bambi.” The little deer’s struggle to walk speaks of never giving up.

His learning to cope with the loss of his mother taught him that life goes on. And given that the movie was released during WWII, the lessons of war were reflected in the movie’s urgings against violence.

Such urgings can be seen in Bambi running from the rifles of big game hunters intent on trophies to hang in their hunting lodges.

The fact that the fire-devastated forest and the fatal shooting of the little deer’s mother were caused by humankind made the movie a cautionary tale about man’s will to save the planet and life itself.

Bambi is no animal-cartoon fantasy about a prince’s kiss that wakes a princess from death. It’s a serious movie written by a man who knew there were no magic wands to make bad things go away.

Adult entertainment

The Wien Museum show tells Salten’s story with his letters, photographs, and manuscripts. It’s a story worth telling if for no other reason than to inform the public that Disney didn’t write the movie is generally believed. It was Salten who made a stock animated movie serious.

Maxim Rovere, a philosopher who wrote the preface to the new French edition of Salten’s book, said he sees it as more than a children’s story about the loss of one’s mother. Yahoo quotes him saying he sees it as "deeply anchored in its time.”

Yahoo News also quotes Ursula Storch, curator of the museum exhibit, saying that while Salten never spoke of the meaning of his book, “it is a powerful evocation of the dark side of human nature and the relationship between humans and the environment.”

Both the movie and his book were banned in Germany and in Austria because he was Jewish. Yahoo reports that he sold the rights to the book to Disney for $1,000.