Americans in Fantasy Land
I lived in central Florida for 40 years or so. Outside of Orlando and not far from Disney World and it’s assorted attractions.
I only ever went to the part itself once, right after Micheal Eisner took over. It was in kind of bad shape at that point with many rides and attractions needing a lot of work. Other than some work related conventions at the hotels there, never went or had any desire to go to the place again.
From the first Disney struck me as the epitome of how Americans see themselves. Far more grandiose and impressive than the reality, with the reality carefully hidden from view. Never to be seen and never, ever talked about.
American families were wholesome, moral, fair and righteous. Our schools and churches bastions of up right progress and our governments above reproach. American corporations produced the best products at fair prices and were innovative and treated their employees fairly. American youth were wholesome and clean and moral.
All pictured this way by Hollywood and TV like Leave it to Beaver, the Donna Reed show, Father Knows Best and on and on. And all the aliens pictured in the movies were bad and evil.
The reality of course was much different. Sure you could get a TV or a Car or a shinny new Bicycle for 10% down and the rest in monthly payments, as long as you were not Back or Latino or Native American or Asian or Jewish. Teens drank and smoked and got pregnant. Those nice middle class families had spouse abuse and child abuse and substance abuse. But it was all done out of sight and no one talked about it.
The country supported dictators and despots in Asia and South and Central America and the Middle East that were as bad as or even worse than those of the Soviet Block countries. All they had to do was to support us and provide us with cheap (free) oil and other products. Our food picked by immigrants in slave labor conditions and Blacks and Asians and others could only get menial jobs regardless of the intellect and education. And women had to subservient to men always.
We had show trials that were as rigged as anything the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany could have come up with. That after the end of WWII we began to employ former Nazis as operatives and scientists. Our propaganda operations would have made Joseph Goebbels envious. Spreading lies and disinformation concerning communism and the Soviet Union and anyone who supported them. Those “innovations” that were attributed to American business were payed for by tax dollars and defense appropriations. These same corporations also were responsible for DDT and Thalidomide and cars that exploded into flames. That blowing the whistle on the nuclear industry could get you fired, black listed and killed.
America has this narrative of the mobs of Chicago of the 1920s, as if that was the only place this was happening. But the gangs were just as prevalent in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland and on and on. And the city governments just as corrupt. That once prohibition ended and Al Capone was put away, this came to an end. It did not.
We wanted to believe that after Pecora Commission everything would be rosy on Wall Street and that after the crisis of 2008 the same would be true. And after Watergate and Nixon politics would be cleaned up as well. None of this happened, if just got hidden much better and more people got payed off to keep it so.
Now we have other fantasies. That if only we could have a free market like after WWII. That only we would live moral and righteous like we did in the past. That if only everyone would eat and drink and live a clean healthy life. That if only we would control Wall Street and make everything here again. That families would be clean and wholesome again.
We would live happily ever after and and the pass away quietly and peacefully. The reality is that we would simply hide all the unpleasantness away like we always did. Because none of this is reality and never was. It’s simply another facade like the outside of a Disney theme park .
Like a substance abuser in treatment, we first have to accept the reality before we can ever hope of changing it.