Friday, September 25, 2015

City of Tomorrow

 I tune in to the three or four PBS channels we get automatically. There’s nothing on any other channels I’m generally interested in, so the last couple of nights I watched the 2-parter on Walt Disney. Such a sad/happy man who loved children/money/legacy. Yet certainly a visionary. It’s hard to imagine another country at the time who could have produced a Disney except a post-war America.

That being said, I’m not sure Disney had it right with his City of Tomorrow.

How does one go from flying teacups to Epcot, Ford and GE headquartered next to each other. It’s not surprising that corporations didn’t share his vision of utopia. The only place you might see clusters of corporate headquarters might be some offshore island. Remember when Walgreens threatened to leave Illinois and relocate overseas because they were done paying taxes? Epcot: concentric circles of progress, connected by a mono-rail. Not if the Republicans have anything to say about it, they’re constantly threatening to defund highspeed rail.

In this polarized nation of today is there room for a City of Tomorrow? Or would we all just turn on each other with ray-guns or legalized handguns or the Bushmaster .223 with a 30-round magazine.

The City of Tomorrow has to be able to tackle global warming, the disappearing middleclass, and lack of manufacturing jobs. Why does the City of Tomorrow seem so yesterday? Because Disney was in fact looking backwards as he designed his city. It was after a visit to his hometown of Marceline, Missouri (before the family lost their farm) that he began to form ideas for a futuristic “modern” city.

Modern based upon . . . what?

But Walt was slowly dying by this time, unable to catch a deep breath. Eventually “EPCOT: A SHOWCASE TO THE WORLD OF AMERICAN FREE ENTERPRISE” was scaled back. Now it’s just a corporate theme park.

Which is a little scary.

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