Why “Tomorrowland” made me facepalm

tomorrowland_poster

Tommorowland” is a movie produced by the Disney corporation. The premise is that in the 1950’s a group of scientists create a portal to another dimension where they create a Utopian society with futuristic technology called, Tomorrowland. The greatest invention this new society produces is a machine that can see into the future, and it reveals that humanity back on Earth will destroy itself along with the rest of the planet very soon. The leaders of Tomorrowland decide not to intervene because they believe Earthlings aren’t worth saving. More about that later.

Just like “The Pirates o the Caribbean,” the movie, “Tomorrowland” is based on a theme park attraction at Disney World in Florida. Walt Disney originally intended the Tommorowland attraction to be a planned community where people could live, work and grow in a city that takes full advantage of all the technological advancements of the 20th century. In fact, Disney’s famous Epcot Center stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” However, Walt Disney died before his dream could be realized, and his would-be city of the future simply became an overpriced resort that embodies the worst aspects of consumerism.

The working conditions in Disney Land Paris are so dystopian that the workers there famously came to nickname the resort, “Mousewitz.” When management discovered what their workers had nicknamed “the happiest place on earth” they threatened to fire any employee caught using the term, “Mousewitz.” So eveyrone started calling it “Duckau.” Apparently, Disney World in Florida isn’t any better.

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Keep that in mind when you watch the movie, “Tomorrowland,” particularly at the climax of the plot, when the villain and leader of Tomorrowland (played by Hugh Laurie), gives the following speech:

“Let’s imagine, if you glimpsed the future and were frightened by what you saw, what would you do with that information? You would go to politicians, captains of industry? And how would you convince them? With data, facts? Good luck. The only facts they won’t challenge are the ones that keep the wheels greased and the dollars rolling in. But what if there was a way of skipping the middle man and putting the critical news directly into everyone’s head?

The probability of widespread annihilation kept going up. The only way to stop it was to show it, to scare people straight, because what reasonable human being wouldn’t be galvanized by the potential destruction of everything they’ve ever known or loved? To save civilization I would show its collapse, but how do you think this information was received? How do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom?

They gobbled it up like a chocolate éclair. They didn’t fear their demise. They repackaged it to be enjoyed as video games, as TV shows, books, movies. The entire world wholeheartedly embraced the apocalypse and sprinted towards it with gleeful abandon. Meanwhile your Earth was crumbling all around you. You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation. Explain that one. Bees and butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, algae blooms.

All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead, and you won’t take the hint. In every moment there is the possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it, and because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality. So you dwell on this terrible future, and you resign yourselves to it for one reason, because that future does not ask anything of you today. So yes, I saw the iceberg and warned the Titanic, but you steered towards it anyway, because you want to sink. You gave up. That’s nobody’s fault but your own.”

Double_facepalm

I literally double facepalmed when I heard this speech, because the dystopian working conditions at Disney ‘s theme parks is a microcosm of the United States. America claims to be the greatest country in the world, the happiest place on Earth. It claims that everyone has the power to make their dreams come true, but nearly half of all Americans have less than $500 in savings, and that’s not because they’re all irresponsible. The way the economy is designed, everything is as expensive as possible, and jobs pay as little as possible. You can’t afford rent on a minimum wage salary in any state in America. American workers get the least time off of any first world country, and healthcare in America is more expensive than anywhere else. At least America has cheap food, but that’s only because the food is unhealthy processed crap, and the agriculture industry is built on slave labor from third world countries (which is why there are simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation). Life in America may be dire, but people in third world countries have been living in the apocalypse their entire lives.

The world didn’t get this way on accident. Corporations, like Disney, made the world this way so that workers wouldn’t have any leverage or freedom to stand up for themselves or demand higher wages. And that’s why people love apocalypse stories, because they hate the system they live under. They can’t wait to see the gates of Mouswitz fall. They’d rather spend the rest of their lives fighting zombies than running the rat race to nowhere in corporate hell.

When Hugh Laurie gives that speech in Tomorrowland, he’s speaking to a global audience of powerless wage slaves who are living in fear and struggling just to survive. Most people can’t afford their own home or education much less to build a Utopian city. Telling the average person that it’s their fault the world is burning is blaming the victim.

What makes the speech even more absurd is the fact that Hugh Laurie is a millionaire, and in the movie he’s talking to George Clooney, who is also a millionaire. Granted, George Clooney has done some humanitarian things with some of his money, but he’s still sitting on enough money to build a small sustainable city where people can live and work free from fear and indignity.

It cost $190 million to make the movie, Tomorrowland. That’s more than enough to build an experimental prototype community of tomorrow. Much like the fictional leaders of Tomorrowland, Disney has the resources to begin saving the world, but it won’t use it for the public good. Instead, it uses that money to mass produce cheap junk destined to pollute the earth and idiotic media that is dumbing down the population and placating them while they sit in their suburban prisons waiting for the rich to stop running the world like a consumer concentration camp and devote their resources to building sustainable infrastructure.

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3 responses to “Why “Tomorrowland” made me facepalm

  • Kaiser

    When I was a kid, the Apollo program and the Moon landings were something that existed only in old documentaries. I had a somewhat cynical disposition, and I wonder how it might have affected me if I had looked up at the Moon and known there were people living there. I think it would have helped me have more faith in the future and myself, and millions of other kids too. I really do.

    In other words, the message of this movie resonated with me.

    (And the acting and dialogue were far from bad, IMO🙂

    Like

  • Linda Gerstmann

    Travis; That was most eloquently said. I haven’t seen the movie, but I think I’ll skip it because the reality is bad enough. And I think I’ll skip visiting any of those Disney places. I went to Disneyland in Anaheim a couple of times and it scared me to death. Probably Pope Francis will say something similar some day if he’s still around.

    Like

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