Mickey Mouse

Robin Maisel robinmaisel at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 18 19:05:46 MST 2003


    In the mid 1990's when I worked as a staff attorney and clients'
rights advocate at the Orange County (California) Regional Center,
protecting the civil, legal and service rights of people with
Developmental Disabilities, we had a great deal of trouble getting our
clients jobs at Disneyland.  The few we could get employment were all in
offices away from the park.  We tried again and again to get the Magic
Kingdom to hire people who had mild to moderate mental retardation jobs
out in the main park itself among the crowds of happy people spending
more in a day (approximately $300.00 for a family of four) than they
received in a week on SSI.  Every time we found a good candidate we were
given the same old story:  "Disneyland is like a theater and the
characters are roles in a play.  We need people who fit the characters
of Disneyland."
    What were the characteristics of Disney characters and the "script"
they were to follow?
    First, Disneyland is a "kingdom" extolling the virtues of the "free
enterprise" system and "democracy."  It is about humble beginnings and
pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, like Davie Crocket whose
spelling was worse even than mine due to the lack of decent schools
where he lived, who nonetheless went to Congress and died with his cap
on fighting to extend slavery into that part of Mexico now called
Texas.  {Yes, I know that Marx and Engels supported the 1846 war with
Mexico as progressive. I am talking about the previous rebellion, ten
years earlier, the so-called "Texas Revolution."}
    It is run by a rodent and his companion (Mickey is still not married
after 75 years--could it be he is living in sin with that other rodent)
who oversees the place, with a few hundred private cops as well as the
Anaheim Police and assorted other low lifes who belong to a club
extolling the cult of personality of the head rat, that leader of the
club spelled M I C K E Y M O U S E..
    There is a narcoleptic princess looking for all the world like a
female version of Lenin in a glass coffin, guarded by little people.
Those little people include "Dopey", so identified because he is mute
and had a sweet disposition, "Grumpy" who is, in fact, grumpy, "Bashful"
who is in fact agoraphobic and some more dwarfs who work in a mine not
organized by the UMWA or any other union, each with some kind of
personality "disorder" which made it impossible for them to live
anywhere but in the forest in the back, shunned by the rest of society
because of their "disabilities" including short stature.  The princess
is awakened by a necropheliac, a prince, who seems to like to kiss and
fondle apparently dead bodies of the opposite "sex" (of which there is
very little, although in 1980 the Magic Kingdom was sued for not
permitting persons of the same sex to dance together because of the
sexual suggestion and innuendo that dancing aroused.  It is now
permitted and the place is rented out to to Gay, Lesbian and Transgender
organizations from time to time. Well that's progress.  It took a big
fight, including litigation.).
    There is a flying elephant, defying the rules set forth by Newton.
There is a mendacious marionette causing a world of trouble not only for
himself but also for his "father."  There is a colony of "lost boys"
without any visible means of support living not exactly on the street,
but perhaps in a cave somewhat  like by clients who lived in boxes and
shelters and clearly without education or health care, in constant
danger of being murdered by Pirates, and a crocodile with pica (the
eating of inappropriate things, in this case alarm clocks and, perhaps
not inappropriately, the hand of the chief pirate who is the embodiment
of evil as can be plainly seen because he has a  prothesis in the shape
of a "hook").
    There is a large dog, who appears to be mildly or moderately
mentally retarded.  That is why he is called "Goofy" (just like my
clients who were subjected to taunts and teasing by those with only a
smidgen more points in IQ and a lot less humanity).   There is a bipolar
duck with Turret's syndrome and a speech impediment, who sputters
angrily (possibly psychotic?) at the slightest provocation.  And to cap
it off, the poor souls portraying these "characters" are all paid just
above minimum wage and no benefits (just like my clients) baking under
the sweltering sun in costumes which look like a person could suffocate,
and few bathroom breaks (it takes at least one additional person to get
into and out of those getups).  Ah, such is life in the theater.
    I could detail many other characters in this play with a variety of
"disorders" including socialization problems, hallucinations of pumpkins
and mice turning into horses and a carriage, hearing voices commanding
them to do things ("get out of the castle by midnight or else..."),
dressing like hippies, whistling and singing to themselves like they had
not a single problem in the world as their corporate conservator will
take care of everything.
    And Disneyland had the nerve to say my clients didn't fit the
characters or the script!!!  Hell, these were my clients, stripped of
their dignity, while the uncle duck rolls in piles of cash. (but gives
his nephews dimes from time to time).
Robin Maisel
11/18/03



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