The dark side of Disney
BY SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
BY LISA MOSKOWITZ
My children (ages 8 and 11) have been exposed to Disney products
throughout their lives. They know about Disney World: Their friends
have been and one of their cousins has been at least once a year since
she was 6 weeks old. We have never given the idea of going any
serious thought, though. Disney World sounds like an alcove in the great hall
of eternal damnation: hour-long wait for rides, cranky kids and parents,
exorbitant prices and a total waste of money and time.
Our children have been to Yellowstone National Park, Niagara Falls, Great
Britain (twice), the Rocky Mountains. They have seen and experienced unmanufactured
natural beauty and historical places. If they want to go to Disney
World, they can take themselves when they are adults.
-- Fran Davies
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Samuel G. Freedman's desperate attempt to sound "cultured" and
intellectually superior by pointing out the commercial excesses of
Disney is dated at best. I feel sorry for him -- even more sorry for his
children. I'm glad my parents valued my happiness above their own whims
and selfish ideologies. As someone who has wonderful childhood memories
of Disney, I'm happy to say that I didn't miss the magic of "what being
young is really all about."
-- Allan Rotgers
Lisa Moskowitz asks us to "Forget the long lines, the
schlocky toys and the canned music." You mean there's
more to Disneyland than that? I was no child genius,
but even at the age of 10 I could recognize that the
place was a boring, sterile wasteland that couldn't
hold a candle to a good campground in terms of being a
place where I could explore to my heart's content, let
my imagination run wild and just plain ol' be a kid.
Hell, even the rides were much lamer than the ones at
other parks. Disneyland has to
be the worst, most overpriced and stress-inducing (in
both kids and adults, albeit for completely different
reasons) holiday destination I can think of. The place
is just creepy. Stay far, far away.
-- Beau Levitt
Where Samuel G. Freedman felt the commercialism of Disney's
manipulation of the Magic Kingdom environment, I felt the
acoustical energy. I made the pilgrimage with older kids. We didn't adjourn for
afternoon naps, we just had to pace ourselves to last all
day in the Magic Kingdom. My attempt to escape was blocked
by the nightly parade and I remember something about
watching fireworks from a steamboat.
Once we walked away from Disney's transport system, into a
sparse parking lot (where I could finally take a full
stride,) I noticed the silence. I realized that all day I
had been exposed to untold numbers of themes and tunes,
never once having a silent moment. That was when I finally felt like I had been manipulated.
The ride back to the hotel was mercifully silent, and that
was one of the advantages of staying "off the property."
The next day we immersed ourselves in reality with a day at
the beach. Real waves and real sounds. We enjoyed it without anyone trying to
manipulate our experience.
-- Denny Appleman
BY JILL REYNA
I'm sick of hearing the term "reverse racism." I see this as an implication
that the word "racism" refers only to whites discriminating against others.
This implication rests on the belief that a minority cannot be racist at
all, a belief that Jill Reyna gladly no longer seems to subscribe to.
There is no such thing as reverse racism. I find the term insulting.
-- Joshua Belsky
The devolving of evolution
BY CHRIS COLIN
I have heard fundamentalists say that the prohibitively low probability
that the universe would evolve just the way it has is a proof against
evolution. Does this mean that God is incapable of creating such a universe?
-- Pat Langdon
In an otherwise interesting article, Chris
Colin writes: "Like earlier discoveries -- that the Earth is not flat, that the
Earth is not at the center of the universe -- evolution made word-for-word readings of the Bible problematic."
I personally would be very interested in knowing where the Bible,
interpreted word for word, says (or even implies) that the Earth is flat
or that it is at the center of the universe. Because as far as I know, it
doesn't. In contrast, the Bible is pretty specific in its description of
how the world was made.
The fall of the Aristotelian (earth-centered) worldview was a minor blow to
Christianity because it cast doubt on a piece of easily jettisoned
theological nonsense that had attached itself somehow to Catholic
doctrine over the centuries. But the creationist worldview is going to be
much more difficult for science to eradicate, because it goes to the very
scriptural core of both Christianity and Judaism, the first sentence of
the first chapter of the first book of the Bible.
-- Sean Luke
Jesus Christ, personal friend of surfing
BY CINTRA WILSON
Cintra Wilson's piece on the Lacanau Pro surf contest was one of the most
refreshing and funny pieces I've read in the last few years. As an
individual who has built a lifestyle around surfing, I found her insights
into the sport uncomfortably accurate. As an individual who has built a
business career around surfing, I am reminded once again of how individuals
like Cory Lopez are the key connection to a subculture we call the surfing lifestyle.
-- Mark Tinkess
Vice president of marketing, O'Neill Inc.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
The blame game
BY SUSAN CRABTREE
George W. Bush has no one but himself to blame for the controversy surrounding him today.
It seems he is still in denial about some things in his past -- and his loyal campaign staffers and colleagues are not serving him by
blaming everyone else for his behavior. Isn't this the party of
"taking responsibility for oneself?" Well, when is he going to start?
Bush hasn't taken responsibility for much of anything during most
of his adult life. After all, according to his own comments, he just
grew up about eight years ago. And it appears he may need another eight before
he is there.
The presidency demands a high degree of emotional maturity or
intellectual capability. Bush doesn't seem to have either. The
presidency is not something for him to teethe on for four years!
Bush says he's going to be a change from Bill Clinton -- but in many
ways, he's starting to sound and look like the same thing.
-- M.A. McGee
Crabtree writes, "the real question, of course,
remains not who is spreading these rumors about Bush, but
whether they are true." In this day and age of intense media scrutiny of the personal
conduct of public officials, this question may --
unfortunately -- weigh in the public opinion. But the real question,
of course, is the political agenda of the candidates, and their
legislative track record. Would some journalists please start to
get back to these ostensibly forgotten issues? Or should we just
take the rumors about the private lives of the candidates as a basis
for guessing the "gestalt" of their political agendas?
-- H. Lechner
The rumors and "suggestions" to investigate
Bush's possible drug use did indeed originate from the Forbes camp.
My brother received a "polling query" from the Forbes camp in which he was
asked directly about his opinion toward "the front-runner's" use of drugs
in his past.
-- Letty Bromenschenkel