Monday, December 01, 2008

On the pilgrimage to Disneyland

Disney accused by Catholic cleric of corrupting children's minds

" 'The message behind every movie and book, behind every theme park and T-shirt is that our children's world needs Disney,' [Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex] says. So they absolutely must go to see the next Disney movie, which we'll also want to give them on DVD as a birthday present. They will be happier if they live the full Disney experience; and thousands of families around the world buy into this deeper message as they flock to Disneyland. He continues: 'This is the new pilgrimage that children desire, a rite of passage into the meaning of life according to Disney. Where once morality and meaning were available as part of our free cultural inheritance, now corporations sell them to us as products.' " (Telegraph)

He makes a good case. It's worth reading the article. If I was going to be hard hearted I could say that the church's Disneyland probably has more revenue and employs more people. It's certainly a lot more sophisticated. Instead of people dressed up as cartoon characters, it has people dressed up as bishops, priests and nuns. Instead of "tall tales and true from the legendary west" etc, it has its own magic show and its own kingdom. On the other hand, he's right about Disney, I think. Does he suffer a twinge of professional jealousy over crowds staying away from his circus and streaming to the other? [I feel a bit mean for thinking like this, after all we do go to the churches "in our hour of need". Perhaps it's as one of John McGahern's characters says in "That they may face the rising sun", sometimes you can be just too precise.]


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