Monday, July 18, 2005

This is Your Brain on Disney

[will revise this one and clean it up, promise]

Bush's Secret Plan to Corrupt the Iraqi Election.

Rove as the Wizard.

And Disneyland Turns 50.

We connect the dots.

Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Disneyland's opening day in Anaheim. Now there are 12 Disney theme parks around the globe. Who would have thought a bunch of cartoon characters could change the face (and scramble the brains) of America?

Yes, the dogma of Disney, so saccharine it takes sentiment to the Nth degree, just about perfecting the personification of wildlife and making demi-gods of goody two shoe teenagers. All in living color. Or is it Memorex?

Disney matters. Does that seem silly? The Disneyfication of this culture has been a revelation and maybe even a revolution for the planet, most of all for Americans, who over the last 50 years have truly morphed into entertainment pods, expecting that our pursuit of happiness should be animated, dumbed down, made predictable and consumable, corporate and above all, Barbie-fied and profitable.

Now our brains on Disney lead us away from objectivity, away from complexity, away from reality, yep, away from nature. More than anything that had ever come before, Disney transported our silly minds and sentimental wishes into the realm of the virtual and the shallow. Disney said that what we can create that is fake is worth more, sells better and is more captivating and even more lovable than the grittier real life we seem to so dearly wish to leave behind.

Wish upon a star. Hope Lassie will rescue your house of cards and turn your elected pirates into princes. Grow up to be American Idols and rich basketball players. Or such up to and consume those who do grow up to be Peter Pans and busty beauty queens.

Seen "Wag the Dog"? Well, it's Wag the Mouse time. Disney played upon our innocence and then - get this - helped cause a backlash against that very innocence, in the same way we get tummy aches from eating all that sugar and shelling out for all that fluff.

So now, after 50 years, we're seemingly more eager than ever to snap up frothy FOX hounds instead of real newscasters. It's as if we were chomping at the bit to accept the fake reasons for a real war, to get all flustered over celebrities who behave worse than fake friends, to want games and distractions and "reality TV" more than anything real. In this maelstrom of Puritanical prudishness playing itself against lusty licentiousness, we're perverts, giving power to cranks and corporations, wearing their logos as if we're not really free citizens as much as we're corporate spores. It seems we want the Blue Velvet illusions of a good life with a bad transmission, at once Instant Messaging and at the same time grabbing slow-motion footage of ourselves as stand ins for our own lives, sucking down bottled water and batteries and fashion accessories and letting others in power gut us like fish.

We want a wizard in the castle, as in some light and dark Star Wars play, them and us, clearly labeled black and white, episodes that solve themselves in an hour, rides that are carefully engineered to go on just about as long as we want them to with our shortened attention spans and then stop and let us off for a $4 beverage.

It's OK for our government to pull the puppet strings of the rest of the world - but not them us. Oh, no, we're free and worthy. We have Mickey. We have Law and Order. We have CNN to keep us safe. But the mouse has been wagged, and the mouse is us. We've been slipped a Mickey alright. We've acquired a national taste for the covert over the overt, for wizards behind curtains, like God and Rove and the naked emperor and the Beauty and the Beast. Don't give us history. Give us Disney history. Don't give us news. Give us a little sound bite or film clip that seems like news with frosting and a cherry on top.

... ... ... ... ...

What's on your brain these days?


At 7/19/2005 10:26 AM, Anonymous rq said...

You're singing to the choir! I have never been to Disneyland or any Disney establishment. I want the real thing--sitting under a tree by a rushing stream listening to a Downy Woodpecker about his search for insects. I never plan to take a grandchild to AnyDisney! It's camping and riding bikes for them, with me, of course!

At 7/19/2005 10:04 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

Ah RQ, but even some in "the choir" here at ABN (?) may be so innocent as to not see how pervasively Disney's boob tube bubble gum has insinuated into the culture and even the world at large. As goes Disney, so goes America and those abroad who fall it and spend billions on life as game pods lived out on little color screens, thinking with their thumbs. Who'll save us from ourselves? Donald Duck? Dumbo? The daffy mavericks over at Warner Bros.? Ahhhnold? The Huckabees? Wag the Scoobie Doo indeed.

At 10/13/2005 4:43 PM, Blogger Admin said...

Great blog, keep up the good work. Glad to see sites like this.

Here is another good site I said I would pass along.
Disney Tickets


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