Billed as “the world’s first amputee pop singer”, Ukrainian-born Viktoria Modesta made the decision to amputate part of her left leg after suffering through fifteen surgeries on it. Her video for “Prototype” opens on a shot of a threatening minimalist icepick prosthesis and segues into a depiction of Viktoria as a Renaissance queen, permitting the Cardinals to work science and magic on her limb. Transformed, Viktoria is now capable of blinding the unprepared mundanes with the brilliance of her post-human leg. A Betty Boop-like cartoon version of her is portrayed as dangerous and subversive, enticing a young girl to want to pull a leg off her doll to be more like Viktoria.
Also present is a theme of government oppression, in which the prosthetic leg festooned with crystals is used to reflect a laser targeting beam onto the forehead of the Nazi-like official. Viktoria escapes into a minimalist landscape where she is transformed again into the Black Swan.
Despite its reputation for family-friendly fare, Disney just can’t seem to resist identifying their villains with disabilities or disfigurements, as a shorthand to indicate to the audience that the bad guys are bad. In The Lone Ranger; the Native American-oppressing, human flesh-eating outlaw Butch Cavendish, has facial scars and a cleft lip. (Disney even admits this was the rationale on Butch’s character page: “Cavendish is a ruthless outlaw whose terribly scarred face is a perfect reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul.” Cleft lip organization Transforming Faces issued a response.) Butch is portrayed as being unnatural almost to the point of being supernatural, and his superstitious pursuers feel the need to fabricate a silver bullet in anticipation of his capture.
If that wasn’t enough, Disney also added some incongruous cannibalistic bunny rabbits. They’re explained as “nature out of balance”, but the allusion to the “harelip” colloquialism is obvious.
One of Butch’s past meals comes back to haunt him, though; brothel-owning Red Harrington has replaced her missing leg with a beautiful ivory prosthesis, decorated in scrimsaw and concealing a built-in double-barreled shotgun. The male characters are fascinated with her leg and express desire to touch it, but Red refuses permission until letting someone do so aids her revenge.