Disneyworld Company – Jean Baudrillard
Posted by Tom | Filed under 06. Critical Perspectives
From Jean Baudrillard’s 1996, Disneyworld Company
In the early 80s, when the metallurgical industry in the Lorraine region entered its final crisis, the public powers had the idea to make up for this collapse by creating a European leisure zone, an “intelligent” theme park which could jumpstart the economy of the region. This park was called Smurfland. The managing director of the dead metallurgy naturally became the manager of the theme park, and the unemployed workers were rehired as “smurfmen” in the context of this new Smurfland. Unfortunately, the park itself, for several reasons, had to be closed, and the former factory workers turned “smurfmen” once again found themselves on the dole. It is a somber destiny which, after making them the real victims of the job market, transformed them into the ghostly workers of leisure time, and finally turned them into the unemployed of both.
But Smurfland was only a miniature universe. The Disney enterprise is much bigger. To illustrate, it should be known that Disney “Unlimited,” having taken over one of the major US television networks, is about to purchase 42nd Street in New York, the “hot” section of 42nd Street, to transform it into an erotic theme park, with the intention of changing hardly anything of the street itself. The idea would be simply to transform, in situ, one of the high centers of pornography into a branch of Disney World. Transforming the pornographers and the prostitutes, like the factory workers in Smurfland, into extras [figurants] in their own world, metamorphosed into identical figures, museumified, disneyfied.
At Disney World in Orlando, they are even building an identical replica of the Los Angeles Disneyland, as a sort of historical attraction to the second degree, a simulacrum to the second power. It is the same thing that CNN did with the Gulf War: a prototypical event which did not take place, because it took place in real time, in CNN’s instantaneous mode. Today, Disney could easily revisit the Gulf War as a worldwide show.
Copyright © 1997–2010. European Graduate School EGS.
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