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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear family

Disneyland: Maybe More Than Just Dreams Come True

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I apologize for the delay  between this post and the previous one. I have been in a daze from the quick transition from hectic finals week to a vacation in San Diego. And I haven’t found the time to post any pieces. Though, I must say that San Diego has given me a lot to write about!

Piglet is my favorite character from The Hundred Acre Woods. Tiger’s bashfulness never caught my attention. Woody was always more original than Buzz. Rapunzel from Tangled has replaced Cinderella as my favorite princess. And Mickey Mouse; I can take him more seriously than Goofy.

You might ask why an eighteen year old is so opinionated over his Disney characters. Well, the real question is: who isn’t opinionated over their childhood’s influential movie stars? The reason I found myself with my extended family in Disneyland was that it was a monumental return trip that paralleled our earlier adventure from years past. Same family members, same place, a new experience. I must confess that the magic never dies as you grow older.

That being said, an eighteen year old’s vision is more likely to detect the extraordinary activities that are not related to the Disney theme. I cannot recall if I blotted out these events when I was younger or if I just didn’t really detect them. Either way, a person’s action has an effect on his or her neighbor’s experience in the “real world.” In Disneyland, where children hug and take pictures of their favorite characters, one would hope that every effort would be made to create the recreation of what one views on the big screen. And, if I might add, Disneyland goes out of their way to cater to this “magical need” that people are paying for more so than another theme park like Busch Gardens or Six Flags.

We encountered a scenario that included several of these rash, disruptive actions that killed Disney’s magic. As we waited in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we commented on how the lines were constantly moving to give the effect that we were not waiting as long as we thought. Before we knew it, we had pulled down the safety bar and were being transported to Tortuga Island. I really enjoyed looking up and seeing stars on the ceiling and gave into the feeling that I was outside passing shipwrecks.

Pirate booty littered the scenes we floated past until we reached a port that was under siege. “Yo ho ho/ A pirate’s life for me” was continuously yodeled as we went by in the dim light. Fake fire flickered. Other boats were lining behind one another up ahead; the end of the ride must be near! I equated that the ride was worth the wait as we bumped into the boat in front of us, letting my mind wander my mind back to the “real world.”

We had yet to clear the tunnel that would transport us back to Disneyland when we realized that there was a traffic jam. We were still in earshot of “Yo ho ho.” A drunk pirate robot character sat above us pouring out whiskey for his befriended feline. An incline was ahead that would most likely lead us to the final descent before we would make port. I thought this was the reason for our traffic jam; rides need that proper spacing so one car doesn’t slam into the next one.

Our boat drifted in line behind another until we were pushed by another. We finally entered the tunnel to escape the loud “Yo ho hoing” when I realized something was amiss. “Oh well,” I thought. “I’ll let my Patience Skills level up,” as if my life was like the Star Wars Game of Life. Maybe it’s the college student’s ability to take a nap anywhere at any time, which I took full advantage of, but freaking out typically does not help any situation. In this scenario, the moral of the story is yelling-power does not propel the boat forward in situations as such.

Upon waking up after dozing for three minutes, the pirates’ singing ceased. And in retrospection, we concluded that this initiated the panic-syndrome that every human being is equipped with at birth. The background music was soothing (I guess) for those who were more likely to panic; the gracious mothers and fathers that paid the pricey admissions fee for their children to experience that savory Disney magic. No one wants that feeling ruined. Yet, that complete sense of control that panic-prone people desire on days like the trip to Disneyland has to be forfeited. Theme parks, especially those like Disneyland that create a magical feel for their audience, need to have control over more than just the rides and attractions. Consequently, you see “Cast Members Only” signs that allow for the in-between-times to be filled with magic. So even when you’re waiting in line for Space Mountain, you still might catch Buzz Lightyear signing autographs.

Most people unknowingly secede their control on entering theme parks. However, when they look to unnecessarily regain control in instances such as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, they flail as they try to get a grip.

Hell broke loose after eight minutes and forty-two seconds passed by without the boat moving anywhere. The lights came on and cast members appeared to reassure passengers that everything was alright. The loudspeaker announced, “Arms, legs, and heads should remain in the boat.” At that, I think people commenced to flop around like fish looking for the water. With the theme music paused, the combination of silence and lights on brought out the worst in human beings.

Kids started complaining about the wait. The woman sitting directly in front of me turned to a Cast Member who was quite obviously not the technician solving the technical difficulty and said, “We have been for twenty-five minutes and she (referring to her four-year old daughter) needs to go to the restroom. I will not have her fricking pee in her pants!” That’s appropriate for all other kids to hear, I initially thought. But on reflecting, it exemplifies the lack of control parents do not realize they have forfeited when they were locked into their seats.

Soon thereafter erupted a voice from the boat in front of us. A chilling sound that would make the hairs stand on the back of necks of cut throat killers; “Get me off this boat!” It was as if some poor kid didn’t know what a throat lozenge was combined with a roar of a dragon. All I could think was, “How is this helping the situation? What parent would let their children start this mini-riot…” I felt distanced from the issue at hand, as if I was an observer rather than a part of the equation, when the chanting began. “What is it this, Lord of the Flies?” The dim lighting, impatience, and fear from the lack control were the ingredients for chaos.

These bizarre scenarios are amusing if you can remove yourself from the irrational behavior that we are susceptible to fall in under certain circumstances. This isn’t to say that I enjoy people’s struggles and hardships. But small, unpredictable tests of patience really can bring out the darker side of human nature. Many people turn a blind eye to this quality of the person in the hope to raise their esteem. This not only kills the magic in Disneyland but that spark of life in our everyday world.


Written by Jack Viere

December 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Origins? of a Normal? Family

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Where does the modern family come from?

I was reading a ping-pong table of statistics in The Way We Wish We Were by Stephanie Coontz. You couldn’t make heads or tails of the numbers that seemingly bounced both ways. Consequently, the essay portrayed the weakness of statistics: they can be manipulated. Pretty easily, actually.

“For example, the proportion of youngsters receiving psychological assistance rose by 80 percent between 1981 and 1988. Does that mean they are getting more sick or receiving more help, or is it some complex combination of the two?” (Coontz.)

Raising an interesting point, I think Coontz did not look far enough back into history in the earlier part of her report. She used the colonial period as the furthest reference back in time. I found this inadequate. Her argument revolved around the fact that lifestyles in the 1950s and 60s did not exist as popular TV shows from that time period suggested. Another decent point made: TV is an inaccurate portrayal of reality. Yet, the other seventeen centuries of the modern era that Coontz forgot to mention (she only used 18-20!) hold some interesting facts; particularly the first century!

There does in fact exist an irony between shows like Leave it to Beaver and The Andy Griffith and the real world hardships in which they aired like the Korean War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the likes. Entertainment feeds off the high lights of life. They bring out the best of people and try to depict a positive image for society to adopt and follow (religiously.)

Gaius Octavian Caesar. Augustus. That’s going back. Quick Roman history lesson. He tried to reinstate marriage laws for citizens. Previously, within Roman society, it was popular for the periodic divorce and remarry cycle to carry out for the sake of gaining power. During his reign, and leading up to it, there was a shortage of marriages among the highest social circles. The image of the young girl being married off to the old man is what were looking at. Adultery was common. Remarriage to these younger females sometimes was a result.

So, to fix the assortment of problems listed above, he made certain laws such as ius trium liberorum (right of three children) that heavily influenced men and women to marry and procreate. There was the incentive of money and tax breaks (of sorts) for those that gave birth to future prospects for public office.

Basically, my argument is that this one man took up the responsibility of forming the glue that holds together what we dub today as the “nuclear family” of the 50s and 60s.

But like the irony with the Beaver and its debut, so too was Octavian’s family. I mean, we are talking about some cousins marrying cousins, affairs, whoring-the works. But, then again, maybe the 50s and 60s (in reality) wasn’t much different. Who am I to judge?

Stepsons, fathers, etc. The woman is Octavian’s wife believe it or not. The angry man is one of the power hungry children that was born of Octavian’s wife through another marriage. The two children in question in Octavian’s (Augustus’) will are Germanicus and Postemus. Neither of them end up succeeding Augustus due to the convenience of murder!

Written by Jack Viere

November 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm