Monday, August 7

Nation Building in America's Age of Instant Gratification

...despite [California Disneyland] park's success, Disney remained unsettled about the one element he could not control. Drawn by the millions of Disney customers, non-Disney hotels, hamburger stands and -- worst of all -- tawdry nightclubs and strip-joints sprang up on the park's border. The outside development, Disney thought, choked the magic illusion and threatened the artistic and commercial essence of the park. He would not make the same mistake again. From the start, the project in central Florida dwarfed its predecessor in scale.

...What makes the Walt Disney World theme park so interesting is not so much the park itself ... but all the amazing aspects of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the government set up by Disney (which continues to this day) that was originally intended to govern EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) and give it the ability to live out Disney's dream of a perfect society. ...

Of course, Disney's charm ... is the feel of the place, its cleanliness, efficiency, and safety. Undesirables are kept outside the gates and, if they slip through, are monitored by security guards camouflaged as ordinary cast members or as tourists. For many visitors, this controlled community offers a freedom from the fear and distrust they feel outside. ...*
Hello? Am I speaking with a Disney World Customer Care Consultant? It's nice to make your acquaintance, too, Muffy. My name is General John Abizaid -- no, I'm active duty. Thank you, I appreciate the prayers.

No, I am not interested in renting conference facilities. I am the commander of the US Central Command, which includes Iraq. I am calling on behalf of Iraq's Prime Minister, who is acting on the instruction -- advice -- of a group of US senators. I am trying to contact Disney's Office of Imagineers.

Basically, the senators are requesting that Disney's Imagineers do the same for Iraq that they did for 27,000 acres in Orlando only in less time. Yes, basically, we're offering to cut a deal with Disney to turn Iraq into a theme park in exchange for Disney getting the country on its feet before October 2007.

I can't speak that, Muffy; I think they'd have to work out film rights with Iraq's government.

* Walt Disney World as a government

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