As you may have guessed from previous posts such as my tongue-in-cheek imaginary dialogue between two Japanese “Imagineers” working on Disney mind control (apologies for any grammatical errors in the Japanese, particularly with the pronouns, which I didn’t proofread thoroughly in the machine translation), I’m fascinated with the evils of corporate entertainment’s technological manipulation of mass psychology.
While I’m convinced that the inside of a casino’s machine gaming room is the closest that humanity has built to a never-ending Hell on Earth, at least for those who’ve become ensnared in the trap of machine gambling addiction, Disney amusement parks and properties are the pinnacle of addicting people to paying for experiences that are completely controlled so as to eliminate the anxiety of having to exercise one’s free will very much. So they share the same death-seeking impulse, for lack of a better term. The abnegation of the soul.
The self-proclaimed “happiest place on Earth”. While social media is the free tier of Hell, going to an amusement park or a casino requires the acquisition of real-world money to enter and remain in a world of the imaginary. Working outside the simulation to “play” inside the simulation. Except this is the watered-down version of play, where chance, choice, and accomplishment fade into the background and only the pure sensations of the spectacle are focused on.
Disney uses every aspect of “mind control” known to man, or at least every aspect that’s legal to use on the public. They control the scents (hidden fans wafting calculated scents to evoke calculated feelings at calculated times and locations, and even the smell of the bromine to sterilize the water in the water rides becomes part of the addictive sensory package). They control the sights and sounds and the guests’ positions and motion on the rides themselves.
There’s also the addictiveness of the Disney fantasy universe, which is now much larger after the acquisitions of the Marvel, Lucasfilm, etc. IP catalogs. People have worried about children, and adults, losing the ability to actually exercise our own imaginations and creative impulses because of having had so much spoon-fed to us, first by television, and now by social media. At least TikTok has the novelty of being user-generated content. You may actually learn something new from social media. Not so with the Disney “magic” experiences.
Several years ago, my mom and sister and my sister’s kids and I all went on a vacation to Waikiki, Oʻahu, Hawaii, which wasn’t a trip that I particularly cared about either way, but I had a wonderful time and it was great to have spent some quality time with my closest family members. We all received truly the sorts of memories that Disney wants people to be having in their “experiences”.
One of the excursions my sister and mom planned that worked out really well was a snorkeling tour off the coast of Ko Olina, which happens to be where Disney’s Aulani spa and resort is located. I’m a weak swimmer, but wearing a life vest, I had no trouble losing any anxieties about being in the ocean, and we all saw the most beautiful underwater vistas that one can imagine. You can watch 360º videos on YouTube of scuba divers in VR and get the same sense visually, but not the other senses.
Ever since that trip, I’ve had an antipathy towards Disney for building a resort that looks so false and touristy and disrespectful towards the native Hawaiians, who are mostly trapped in low-paying jobs serving tourists like my family, but we actually got some interesting insight into their lives just by listening to the tour bus drivers to and from Ko Olina, or to the luau that we attended (I didn’t get involved in the adventure to buy the luau tickets, but it involved paying some small amount of money to not have to get roped into a timeshare sales pitch), and by talking to the Uber drivers. Simple human connection.
So there’s something extremely sinister to me when I imagine the sort of people who are self-proclaimed “Disney addicts” who return to the curated Disney experiences, including the Disney cruise ship to the Disney Caribbean island, or the Disney resort in Hawaii that hijacks what is already a tropical paradise in order to brand it and maximize their corporate profits from it. The Menehune would not approve.
My nephew kept talking about the Menehune and whether or not they were actually real. We were all being very skeptical and saying, “I don’t know, what do you think?” It was very cute. Something much more enlightening for a child to think about rather than being spoon-fed a pre-programmed corporate storyline.
Update: I nearly forgot to link to the Tokyo Disney Resort – History of Anniversary – (東京ディズニーリゾート ヒストリー・オブ・アニバーサリー) background sound loop, which is one of the most impressive technological feats I’ve ever heard in terms of psychoacoustic engineering to make a maximally-catchy and maximally emotionally manipulative soundtrack to get kids psyched up to spend all day running around a preprogrammed “fantasy” of consumption.
From an audio mixing standpoint, you have to be very careful to EQ gate different tracks so they stand apart from each other and don’t dissolve into one big noisy sludge that’s tiring to the brain. From a psychological manipulation standpoint, it’s all the usual Disney mind control buzzwords, but in Japanese. The tempo and all the bar chime sounds function as “isochronic tones” to entrain the brain and keep it in a hypnotic, passive state. People have complained of pop music being “overly produced” for decades, but Disney’s audio production is on par with the rest of their manipulation, and better than anything the CIA ever came up with.
Leave a Reply