Asia Times considers the creation of artificial worlds:
The world of Disney is the closest thing to totalitarianism that the entertainment-industrial complex has ever produced. The founder, Walt Disney, created a saccharine, air-brushed utopia that has been a dystopic reality for so many who have worked in the many enterprises of the Disney universe. The affinity between Disneyworld and the world of North Korea goes beyond any taste for Western-style entertainment that Kim Jong-eun might have picked up during his Swiss education.
The world of Walt Disney is the kind of social engineering that the North Korean regime has aspired to create. North Korea, too, has a founder who serves as a substitute father for all children, who established a governing template that his successors religiously maintain, and whose wisdom continues to be celebrated through word and image. North Korea projects a utopian vision of smiling, hard-working people that turns out to be very different in reality. The government attempts to maintain strict social control, particularly in Pyongyang, the showcase capital.
Some years ago, we took the kids to Disney World for a week, staying in a hotel on the property, immersed in Disney’s land.
It was eerie, life in an artificial bubble disconnected from anything not Disney. By the time we caught the train home, we had lost touch with the world.
Big Brother American style–not imposed, but wrapped in a bow, marketed, and eagerly purchased.
Some years later, while I still worked for the railroad, I was walking from our office adjoining the train station to the station itself.
I met a fellow who was staring intently at the work of architect Frank Furness. After a few pleasantries, he mentioned that he was studying the building because he designed buildings for Disney theme parks.
He pointed out a detail of the decorative brick work.
“It’s marvelous,” he said, “except where Furness has five decorative bricks, Disney would have three.”
Whenever I see one of Disney’s ads touting its antiseptic, sterile, and ultimately lifeless biospheres for the whole family, I remember that encounter.