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44

The Magic Kingdom

The dark side of the Disney dream

(missing author)

0
terms
7
notes

by Sarah Marshall. great piece of criticism

? (2019). The Magic Kingdom. The Baffler, 45, pp. 44-62

49

[...] You are walking through your own dreams, and realizing they are all copyrighted.

Capitalism, like all abusive relationships, creates a sense of learned helplessness in its victims. We are complicit in what it makes of us: we want so badly for what it tells us to be true. Of course we do. Its logic, if real, would describe a world simple enough for us to comfortably believe in. The good will succeed, and the bad will suffer—justly. It’s a beautiful fairy tale, no more complex, and no less seductive, than any of the stories that animate Disney World. And as with Disney World itself, it is easy for us to accept the story that capitalism, when it is working for us, pressures us to buy: the story where it is an effortlessly self-regulating system, and where all of this simply happens, and happens the way it should, because we asked for it, because we paid for it, and because we earned the right to be here in the castle.

ooof

—p.49 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] You are walking through your own dreams, and realizing they are all copyrighted.

Capitalism, like all abusive relationships, creates a sense of learned helplessness in its victims. We are complicit in what it makes of us: we want so badly for what it tells us to be true. Of course we do. Its logic, if real, would describe a world simple enough for us to comfortably believe in. The good will succeed, and the bad will suffer—justly. It’s a beautiful fairy tale, no more complex, and no less seductive, than any of the stories that animate Disney World. And as with Disney World itself, it is easy for us to accept the story that capitalism, when it is working for us, pressures us to buy: the story where it is an effortlessly self-regulating system, and where all of this simply happens, and happens the way it should, because we asked for it, because we paid for it, and because we earned the right to be here in the castle.

ooof

—p.49 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
52

Is it really much of a scam to lie with transparent childishness to the grown-ups around you? The way Moonee and Scooty and eventually Jancy go about getting their ice creams is by telling fibs that reveal the simple truth of their lives: they don’t have any money. And what is the alternative, exactly? Where are these six-year-olds supposed to get the money for an ice cream cone? By going out, getting a job, and earning it, like good kids would do? Or is the only alternative—the only thing that could make them good kids—to have been born to mothers who can give them the money they need?

—p.52 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Is it really much of a scam to lie with transparent childishness to the grown-ups around you? The way Moonee and Scooty and eventually Jancy go about getting their ice creams is by telling fibs that reveal the simple truth of their lives: they don’t have any money. And what is the alternative, exactly? Where are these six-year-olds supposed to get the money for an ice cream cone? By going out, getting a job, and earning it, like good kids would do? Or is the only alternative—the only thing that could make them good kids—to have been born to mothers who can give them the money they need?

—p.52 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
53

In America, we are raised to believe that there is something intrinsically sick about criminal behavior. It is always wrong to steal, because what we own makes us who we are, because—the logic goes—we have earned it. To steal what belongs to someone else is to steal their virtue, to defraud them of their very identity. But the logic of this belief system begins to fall apart in a world where money makes more money, where how much wealth you amass has very little to do with how hard you work, and where there are few things more expensive than being poor.

And when so much money is all around you—just outside Idlewild, where Henry Hill came of age; just beyond the frayed strip malls and cracked highways that make up the entrance wound surrounding Disney World—you can also see it as passive to the point of insanity to not reach out and take some of the wealth that passes you by. And if just a little of the money that is flowing and surging and leaping its banks all around you is money that could save you and your child from hunger, from homelessness, from danger you cannot imagine and danger you know all too well—it is difficult to see the immorality in reaching out and taking what you need. Respecting ownership and property the way you were taught to, as a good American, may mean allowing your child to suffer. There are millions of Americans who seem to see no contradiction in this. There are millions more who are wondering, now, how we got to be this way, and beginning also to wonder if we were ever anything else.

i love this

—p.53 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

In America, we are raised to believe that there is something intrinsically sick about criminal behavior. It is always wrong to steal, because what we own makes us who we are, because—the logic goes—we have earned it. To steal what belongs to someone else is to steal their virtue, to defraud them of their very identity. But the logic of this belief system begins to fall apart in a world where money makes more money, where how much wealth you amass has very little to do with how hard you work, and where there are few things more expensive than being poor.

And when so much money is all around you—just outside Idlewild, where Henry Hill came of age; just beyond the frayed strip malls and cracked highways that make up the entrance wound surrounding Disney World—you can also see it as passive to the point of insanity to not reach out and take some of the wealth that passes you by. And if just a little of the money that is flowing and surging and leaping its banks all around you is money that could save you and your child from hunger, from homelessness, from danger you cannot imagine and danger you know all too well—it is difficult to see the immorality in reaching out and taking what you need. Respecting ownership and property the way you were taught to, as a good American, may mean allowing your child to suffer. There are millions of Americans who seem to see no contradiction in this. There are millions more who are wondering, now, how we got to be this way, and beginning also to wonder if we were ever anything else.

i love this

—p.53 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
55

Bobby’s moment comes when a man wanders into the motel parking lot and heads straight for the scuffed picnic tables that have become one of the makeshift playgrounds for the children who call the Magic Castle home. Bobby spots the man, identifies him as a threat, and leads him away from the children, scaring him off and sending him running without making a violent scene. What this sequence makes most plain, far beyond the satisfaction that comes from witnessing Bobby’s rare chance to act as an unambiguous protector, is how little stability this world is capable of offering, and how much it is still possible to lose when you have almost nothing.

This is the drama of The Florida Project: not a quest moving forward, but a period of safety falling apart. We start at a moment when things are OK, or as OK as they can be: Moonee roams the grounds around the Futureland Inn and the Magic Castle, shares free ice cream with her friends, and delights in the attraction of Bobby trying to persuade a tenant to put her bathing suit top back on; and Halley and her own friend—Scooty’s mother, Ashley—walk, arms around each other, into the Orlando night. Watching them leave the Magic Castle, you fear for them as much as you fear for their children when they run alongside the highway: they are just as vulnerable, and just as adrift in a world where there is little room for them, a world that was not made with their safety in mind.

—p.55 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Bobby’s moment comes when a man wanders into the motel parking lot and heads straight for the scuffed picnic tables that have become one of the makeshift playgrounds for the children who call the Magic Castle home. Bobby spots the man, identifies him as a threat, and leads him away from the children, scaring him off and sending him running without making a violent scene. What this sequence makes most plain, far beyond the satisfaction that comes from witnessing Bobby’s rare chance to act as an unambiguous protector, is how little stability this world is capable of offering, and how much it is still possible to lose when you have almost nothing.

This is the drama of The Florida Project: not a quest moving forward, but a period of safety falling apart. We start at a moment when things are OK, or as OK as they can be: Moonee roams the grounds around the Futureland Inn and the Magic Castle, shares free ice cream with her friends, and delights in the attraction of Bobby trying to persuade a tenant to put her bathing suit top back on; and Halley and her own friend—Scooty’s mother, Ashley—walk, arms around each other, into the Orlando night. Watching them leave the Magic Castle, you fear for them as much as you fear for their children when they run alongside the highway: they are just as vulnerable, and just as adrift in a world where there is little room for them, a world that was not made with their safety in mind.

—p.55 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
56

Yet there is a stubborn beauty in this place, tough as the unrestrainable Florida flora that is even capable, sometimes, of overtaking the controlled, concrete kingdom of Disney World. At the Magic Castle, a patch of grass and a picnic table can, for a moment, become a scene of harmony, of children alone and safely at play: as long as there are a few resources, a little food, a little stability, a paycheck through next week, this can be enough. That this world suddenly wobbles, falls apart when a little security is lost—a stranger in the parking lot; a friendship broken; a bag of perfume confiscated—is not a matter of weakness in the people doing their best to hold their home together. It is a testament to how little they really need, and just how much is denied them.

damn

—p.56 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Yet there is a stubborn beauty in this place, tough as the unrestrainable Florida flora that is even capable, sometimes, of overtaking the controlled, concrete kingdom of Disney World. At the Magic Castle, a patch of grass and a picnic table can, for a moment, become a scene of harmony, of children alone and safely at play: as long as there are a few resources, a little food, a little stability, a paycheck through next week, this can be enough. That this world suddenly wobbles, falls apart when a little security is lost—a stranger in the parking lot; a friendship broken; a bag of perfume confiscated—is not a matter of weakness in the people doing their best to hold their home together. It is a testament to how little they really need, and just how much is denied them.

damn

—p.56 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
61

Disney World is a perfect realization of one man’s will, and it seems, in this way, to be a perfect distillation of what America has become on the morning I enter its gates—and seems, even more than that, to be the corporate principality on which we have come to model our entire nation. Buy your way into security, into value, into innocence, and don’t ask what happens to the people trapped outside, the people who did not work hard enough, were not deserving enough, to be here. You are here and they are not. And if the price goes up, work harder.

—p.61 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Disney World is a perfect realization of one man’s will, and it seems, in this way, to be a perfect distillation of what America has become on the morning I enter its gates—and seems, even more than that, to be the corporate principality on which we have come to model our entire nation. Buy your way into security, into value, into innocence, and don’t ask what happens to the people trapped outside, the people who did not work hard enough, were not deserving enough, to be here. You are here and they are not. And if the price goes up, work harder.

—p.61 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
62

[...] I read about housing inequality in Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and find that this story is so often a story of mothers and children. These are the people our society claims to love and support above all others, and yet their suffering is endless and untenable, and the reason is simple, really: they are not good workers. Often, they are not workers at all. What good are they? What do they produce? Why should our country take care of them, if they cannot buy their way into safety? Isn’t the inability to purchase safety proof that you deserve whatever harm befalls you?

This is the story Americans have been sold: the one that pardons the powerful and makes us pay for our own numbness. We submit to a story that tells us we will be good—that we will be made good, and therefore safe—as long as we follow the rules, as long as we forget that there are rules. We enter the castle gates because there can be no danger here, no cruelty, and no adulthood, for as long as we believe: we will be saved not just from the harm that comes to those who are of no value here, but from the knowledge that they even exist. The dream still works, and it will work for at least a little longer. Buy a ticket. See if it’s worth the price.

aaaaahh

—p.62 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] I read about housing inequality in Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and find that this story is so often a story of mothers and children. These are the people our society claims to love and support above all others, and yet their suffering is endless and untenable, and the reason is simple, really: they are not good workers. Often, they are not workers at all. What good are they? What do they produce? Why should our country take care of them, if they cannot buy their way into safety? Isn’t the inability to purchase safety proof that you deserve whatever harm befalls you?

This is the story Americans have been sold: the one that pardons the powerful and makes us pay for our own numbness. We submit to a story that tells us we will be good—that we will be made good, and therefore safe—as long as we follow the rules, as long as we forget that there are rules. We enter the castle gates because there can be no danger here, no cruelty, and no adulthood, for as long as we believe: we will be saved not just from the harm that comes to those who are of no value here, but from the knowledge that they even exist. The dream still works, and it will work for at least a little longer. Buy a ticket. See if it’s worth the price.

aaaaahh

—p.62 missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago