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News Commentary from August 28 - September 3
Disney Thinks About the Guests - Fans Outraged
Earlier this week, The Los Angles Times published an article that chronicled the PC-ification of Disneyland.
I wouldn't have considered this much of a story outside of the more rabid element of Disneyland fans. After all, none of the updates discussed could be considered major changes in any way. However, I was brought up short walking back to work on Tuesday, when I saw a version of this article gracing the front page of the San Francisco Examiner.
Now, while that story is likely just another panel in the exhibit on how the Examiner has gone downhill since its sale last year it does show just how extensive the interest in Disneyland is (don't even get me started on the death cries of one of America's historic newspapers).
What strikes me as the weirdest though is that these changes are reported with a tone a tone of disapproval, as if somehow Disney is caving in to some unseemly pressure. Personally, it seems to me that one of the best reasons Disney could have for changing individual show elements is a desire to improve the experience. It isn't like they decided to remove the hippo shooting bit from Jungle Cruise because Michael Eisner decided that caps are too expensive.
Instead it was recognized that a show element was offensive to a certain portion of the audience and that it could be corrected without diminishing the show for the rest of the audience. Now, honestly, is your enjoyment of the Jungle Cruise really going to decrease simply because the skipper doesn't shoot at a hippopotamus? Personally, I think it is time to completely "re-imagine" (a popular word in the entertainment industry lately) the Jungle Cruise and give it some new jokes and lose some of the tasteless parts (I've always been uncomfortable with the presentation of the natives).
Similarly, I don't think anybody has refused to ride Pirates of the Caribbean simply because a pirate is now chasing a woman with a plate of food, rather than just chasing a woman. Or how about the Starcade? Has the lack of "gun games" prevented you from dropping a few quarters?
Regardless, the case that Disney is "PC-ifying" the park is weak in the extreme. Savage natives still grace the Jungle Cruise, a woman is still being auctioned in Pirates, Dixie is still played by the band. Cinderella still supports the patriarchal status quo that a woman is only defined through her man. Splash Mountain is a ride based on a movie considered to racist to feasibly distribute within the United States. There's a wooden cigar Indian in two locations. If Disney were really concerned with making the park protest proof, there are certainly bigger fish to fry (sorry PETA) than those cited in the story.
To me the scariest part of the Times story is this paragraph:
If it is true that the Shooting Exposition is one of the favorite's of guests, then is it any wonder that Eisner and Company imagined that DCA would keep people happy?
Notebook Readers Respond
We don't normally print reader mail here, but we received a couple of passionate comments on last week's piece on Hayao Miyazaki and Disney's handling of his movies.
We appreciate their sharing their thoughts with us, and wanted to print their comments as soon as possible (though edited for length):
One of the lesser-known features of MousePlanet is our News headlines in our MousePad discussion forum, where we try to direct you to any important news stories about the entire Disney company.
One thing we can't provide in that resource is an idea as to how those stories, generally about very specific portions of the company, may fit into the larger Disney picture. Towards that end, the Reporter's Notebook provides brief comments on those recent stories that are of interest.
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