Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Real Life Scripted

In the chapter "Learning from Celebration," Andrew Ross wrote, "[A] common observation among visitors was that while Celebration may be Disney's first genuinely unscripted product, there was still an unwritten script that its residents would feel some pressure to follow, as if they were unwittingly playing the role of cast members" (300).


Disneyland or Disney World does nothing half-hearted and everything has a purpose. Employees are dressed to impressed, whether they are dressed in a well-known character costume or they are cleaning up the sidewalks. Each person knows how to act and how to interact with visitors and each other, as if they are given a script.

Disney, otherwise known as "The Happiest Place on Earth," emanates this concept of happiness in everything Disney associated. And so, it doesn't seem odd that the citizens of Disney's Celebration find the need to act under this "script." What seems odd about this, is the people of Celebration are "real" people. Real people are not happy all the time, but these people feel they must put on an act for the sake of Disney.

Ross later says, "A too-perfect community runs the risk of suppressing what it is that makes us human" (300). This suggests, and I think that many would agree, perfection is not real. The statement helps us to realize the statements of the previous paragraph, that the real people of Celebration may struggle to live in a "perfect" community built by Disney. Ross says, "It was not always easy to separate this awareness of being typecast from normal habits of self-presentation" (301). In other words, he said it was difficult to be oneself in a community that was typecast by the world through the media. Others had an opinion of what the people of Celebration were like and they were expected to be it.


So is Celebration, Florida "real?" It is real in that, as mentioned before, that real people live in Celebration. As I read through Ross's conclusion I found myself in awe at the amount of media time that this new community was receiving. Just down the road from my house a new housing development was built, but there was no mention of it. There was no speculation as to what type of people would eventually live there or what kinds of happenings would occur. Although, outside of these discussions I would never think to describe the housing development in such a way, it was real. However, does this make Celebration, Florida more or less real than the new housing development. 

Similar to Main Street, Disney, maybe it is hyperreal. Celebration has become more real than the new housing development down the road. It surpassed what a "real" community is by creating a more perfect community. If Celebration is hyperreal and the people of Celebration feel that they must act on that, then are they themselves a simulation of themselves? They are not acting as themselves, but rather a character in a movie setting.  

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