Sunday, October 12, 2003

Scary evil Magic Kingdom

On the evils of Disney...

I knew about the Disneyland CIA...'Cause my uncle Speedy worked at Disneyland...They have hidden cameras everywhere and their own holding cell.

I try to think about what I loved it for--Not Disneyland, but Disney. The animated movies are beautiful--well, the old ones. Most of the old ones.

I associated Disneyland with food also. Most of my childhood I remember I spent thinking about food. I outgrew this. I was a very thin child, I should say. Now I pay little attention to food but am a bit plump. I gained weight about the same time my appetite declined.

Was that normal? Does every kid grow up and think about every experience in terms of the food he/she might acquire during it?

Anyway, I associated Disneyland with many kinds of food. In great abundance. And this gave it an extra-magic sheen.

Mainly, it was that there was this very charismatic girl in my school named Cindy and she constantly obsessed about Disney and made the rest of us obsessed. She was this strange multi-talented girl who was over 6 feet by the age of 13. She could draw, play Mozart on the piano. She was also very smart. She might have grown up to be famous but she got married when she was 19. She was a born again Christian so there's a strong likelihood she stayed a housewife. Last I heard, that's what she was.

Other Disney in my life: I had an encyclopedia called the 'Wonderful World of Knowledge' which I read every volume of at least 5 times. They had one Disney propaganda volume about the life and greatness of Walt and Roy. (Reminds me of the pirated Encyclopedia Britannica I got as a child. Made in Taiwan. No mention of the People's Republic in the 'China' section. China was Taiwan and what happened to the mainland will remain a mystery to anyone dependent on that particular set of encyclopedias.)

Finally, I tripped on acid at 19 and went to--where else? Disneyland! Not an original choice I'm sure. I doubt a day goes by where some teenager doesn't get the brilliant idea to dose and do Disney. However, I did see the extraordinary beauty of fake smoke arising over the giant fake castle ride warehouse at sunset. While the comforting smell of old chlorinated water wafted up while we rode the Skyway.

A few amusing highlights of this experience: My friend Janine made us matching 'Hammer and Sickle' t-shirts to wear. We offended many parkgoers however several employees gave us the thumbs up. Turns out they had just been on strike...or at least tried to unionize.

I was in 'Frontierland' and the fakeness of each detail was...unsurprisingly...tripping me out. They even had fake bug noises in the bushes. So when I saw an employee whose name was 'Becky' I simply could not believe that this was her real name. It seemed far too thematic. However, she did not welcome my 'insider' attempt to find out her real name.

Well, it was all about capitalism then--The sign at the end of the 'Small World' saying: "Wherever you go there's a Bank of America" near you.

How could others not see the irony?!? The celebration of imperialism that was "Jungleland"! The whitewash of American genocidal history that was "Frontierland!"

No matter how cool "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" is (or how classist!)

I thought I was above it all. Disney's cultural products nevertheless infiltrated my consciousness in a permanent way, though. I still know all the words to about 75 Disney songs.


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