Last changed 07:57am 11 October 2000 by
Copyright Sunir Shah. All rights reserved.

A Mickey Mouse Utopia

Recently, Disney Corp., our favourite merchant of excessive happiness, decided to realize Walt's version of paradise. On the back lot of Walt Disney World, overly enthusiastic executives sectioned off 4900 acres to form the new proto-information age community, Celebration.

Big surprise, Celebration hasn't fallen far from the Disney apple tree. The entire town has a sickly sweet odour, the smell of reality burning, of surreal bliss. A walk through the town would suggest conceptions of an imagined pre-Depression "Golden Age." Blithely unaware of this century's worst tragedies, the town design slips into something that should only belong on The Twilight Zone: constantly smiling suburbanites ignore all but what the equally smiling media dole out to them like a drug dealer handing out brain candy.

And Disney is the perfect company to provide that candy. After all, when its board members look out their high office windows they see superbuff, blond football heroes constantly saving helpless, anemicly white women who seem constantly in the way of their evil step-mothers' plans. Who else would twist the dark, jagged folk story of a prince raping a drugged maiden into the unmenacing, manicured film, Sleeping Beauty? No one, because no one else has Disney's unique vision obscured by their own special astigmatism.

Sadly, this disorder is contagious. People want to see, want to know, want to believe the world through Disney's clouded eyes. They want to live in a giant theme park eating cotton candy all day, their own personal fantasyland where people aren't raped or robbed or murdered. There people have only safely pre- fabricated problems, focus grouped to idyllic inconsequence.

That is just fine for some people. Those people fear the unending changes of chaotic existence. They're afraid of the ashes they see falling around them, on them. They fear the outside world.

But no fear exists in Celebration. No fear of death and tragedy boasted about every day on the evening news. No fear of the bad men who come for their children in the dark innocence of full daylight. No fear that their paper pillars of security could collapse under the slightest breeze if not watched carefully. The greased Disney reps expertly prey on these very hidden fears, reciting, "No gates, no gates, no gates!" behind a practiced smile as some sort of camouflaging mantra. Beneath the war pain nd between the lines, they really scream, "Gates, gates, gates!" attracting the disillusioned like flies to shit. The residents hide behind the tall iron bars of high-tech home security and personal police--anything to keep the not them out. Instead, they bury *themselves* in their TV room bunkers and live vicariously through the Family Channel cartoon world.

When the crushing imperfections of reality finally infect that cartoon utopia, Disney will be there, ready and waiting. Or so they think. A living town is no amusement ride where everything lies static under Mickey's thumb. No mere mouse paw could sustain the dream of Celebration forever.

But you have to wake up eventually. And then maybe Disney will finally learn what the world looks like outside the Magic Kingdom. Maybe they'll learn every smile balances a frown. Maybe they'll learn that too much candy makes you sick.

[written c1996]