The Jan. 4 article “Disneyland in the ‘90s: A PC Life for Me” is a perfect illustration of the Walt Disney Co.'s uneven, hypocritical policies toward dealing with groups who voice their concerns about offensive material.
Arab American groups have repeatedly complained about Disney’s pattern of depicting Arabs as offensive, hateful stereotypes in its movies “Aladdin” and “Father of the Bride II.”
After “Aladdin,” Disney promised Arab Americans it would consult with them on future projects to avoid use of negative characterizations. They blatantly broke this promise and continue to disregard the concerns of Arab Americans.
The article quotes a Disneyland spokesman as saying “We take our guests’ concerns, complaints and compliments very seriously.” I guess Disney thinks it’s more important to protect the reputation of its mechanical pirates than that of millions of hard-working Americans.
* I was outraged after reading your article regarding the politically correct changes that are being made to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
I think the changes are ridiculous. What do you think pirates did for a living? Steal other peoples’ food? Let’s get real here. What’s wrong with male pirates chasing after members of the opposite sex? Don’t men still chase after women today? Furthermore, aren’t men chasing after men and women chasing after women today?
Every day we see real news stories about drive-by shootings by gang members, carjackings, bank robberies, etc. Since this is the ‘90s, are we supposed to think that the gang members didn’t know where the local shooting range is or the carjacker lost his keys to his own car and is “borrowing” someone else’s or that the bank robber needed a little extra pocket change?
Does being “politically correct” mean we have to distort the truth that is being shoved down our throats 365 days a year? I’m waiting for the day when Disney announces that Mickey Mouse is really gay. That would explain to the whole world why Mickey hasn’t married Minnie. Talk about Walt Disney turning over in his grave. Heaven help us! When that day comes, that’s when I sell all my Disney stock, let my annual passport expire (after more than 13 years), and sell off all my Disneyland collectibles.
By the way, will the Pirates ride now be considered to be a Fantasyland ride?
HELEN K. NEES
* I do not understand the logic of “Pirates” critics nor do I applaud Disneyland in their efforts to achieve perfect political correctness . . . if such a thing is even possible.
As I understand it, they are removing the “appearance” of an unwilling, victimized woman. Yet they are not changing the auction scene, which depicts a woman who is primping in the hopes of becoming a willing slave.
I am not a historian but am fairly certain that the victimized woman is historically more accurate than the one of a woman who goes willingly into slavery. The latter is more offensive than the portrayal of a victim attempting to protect herself.
Quite frankly, I have never thought of the pirate ride as anything more than a comical look at pirate lore. This entire controversy is rather petty but if Disneyland makes changes, let them be meaningful ones or leave it as is.
* The aura is peaceful as I enter the tranquil surroundings of the newly refurbished Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at the happiest place on earth.
Upon entry to the building, one immediately notices that the sexist, macho trappings of the prehistoric and unenlightened version have vanished. Instead of being greeted by the images of golden doubloons and jewels, symbolic of the greed and excesses of the ancient past, guest are now engaged by new treasures of far more lasting value: volumes of poetry, beautiful crystal vases bearing potpourri and fanciful multicolored soaps, and portraits of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt (the shackles of historical place, time, and accuracy having finally been shattered).
As we board our vessel, a reassuring voice informs us in standard English, Spanish and Ebonics that no trees from the rain forests were used in the refurbishment of the attraction, that no child or prison labor went into the production of clothing for the cast members, and that all of the water that surrounds us is constantly being recycled.
Rounding the first bend we observe that the usual skull and crossbones have been replaced by a holographic image of the head of Joycelyn Elders, who reminds everyone to “keep your arms and hands to yourself at all times,” and to avoid making “potentially unwanted advances on your companions” under the cover of darkness.
Proceeding through the ride we encounter a jail cell where several pirates are being treated to a gender sensitivity training seminar, taught by Gloria Allred. Before long we enter the fray of an ocean battle which began when two rival pirate leaders showed up to a poetry reading wearing the same outfit with matching sword.
Just when we have begun to feel happy and secure, we are overwhelmed by a most horrifying scene: Pirates are chasing women around in circles!
Bowing to pressure from unenlightened whiners, Disney management chose not to make any changes to this unconscionable and insensitive part of the attraction. Catching our breath, we fortunately soon see that the offending pirates have been apprehended and are constrained to attend a gender sensitivity training seminar.
This is truly a soul-satisfying experience that will provide endless joy and fulfillment for the next several generations of Disney guests.
I can’t wait until we can redo “It’s a Small World After All!”