As I am sitting here watching the new Shrek movie with my daughter and husband, I can't help but think about what we are struggling against. I often wondered why people got so up in arms with Disney... I think I am starting to get it. I am thinking about Christmas time. We were talking about going to Disneyworld. As I saw my daughter watching Shrek with wide eyes as they showed the king and queen's castle, I couldn't help but want her to feel that magic in person. I would love for her to see the castle at Disneyworld, have breakfast with Cinderella, and give her a magical experience that she would never forget.
But, what I am teaching her? It is a false reality. Only in America could we create a theme park to teach us about foreign lands. But when we visit, we learn nothing about appreciating other cultures, nothing about accepting differences, nothing except "wow, those Japanese people must have fun at the dinner table!" We see actors. We do not see citizens. We see people who provide nothing more than quaint stores with beer steins and fake "americanized" foreign food. We then go back to the Magic Kingdom and we see what is the preferred, ideal lifestyle. Forget the fjords of Norway, or the dances of Morocco-- go back to the whitebread castle of beautiful people, princesses and princes, and good versus evil. Go back to Celebration, where the streets are picture perfect, the front porches from days of old, and the infrastructure never fails. It is a false reality. One that people deperately want to get back to... one that never really existed.
The perfection of "real" royalty was made up. They were inbred, murderous, selfish, and threw people in dungeons for trying to change the status quo. In that sense, nothing has changed. The perfection of the 1950's in America was made up. Life was simpler, it seemed. But it wasn't. People cheated on their spouses, drank too much, had homosexual affairs, and abortions. People were racist, jingoistic, mysoginistic, and tried to throw people in jail for trying to change the status quo. But like good protestants, we repressed it all.
Life is not tidy. It is not "perfect." But none of our problems are new. All of our problems are the same as ever -- fear of those who are different than we are, fear of who we really are, selfishness, and greed.
Anyone who tries to tell you differently is living on a stage with tunnels running underneath to transport all of the messy stuff. Real life has trash, death, and struggle. I'll cast my vote for reality, truth, and ugly ogres any day -- warts and all.
And maybe this Christmas we will go to an actual country rather than a fake world.