Saturday, September 10, 2005

Simply spectacular

Bad press on HK Disneyland plastered over every newspaper and weekly magazine last week. Associated news features include the potential losses to be faced by those who snapped up ridiculously expensive retail spaces in anticipation of the influx of mainland tourists drawn by the magic of Disneyland. Potential losses to be faced by retailers of Disney themed junk. Losses to Hong Kong tourism. The Disney bubble is already bursting.

What do Mainlanders know about Disney, anyway? What do they know about that mouse, in particular? I have vague memories of watching Mickey Mouse cartoons on TV as a child; vague, because they struck me as grotesque, macabre, and not at all funny. I can't imagine people of my generation would want to go to HK Disneyland, other than out of a sense of patriotic obligation or dragged by their children.

I can just about put together an educated guess as to why some HK people love Mickey. Happening right here in my living room, my kids are being brainwashed by the Disney Channel on a daily basis. They could spot a goddam hidden mickey even in the bushes or in the bog. They watch all the Disney movies and read all the Disney books. Hong Kong youth who worship all things Japanese (apart from the Nanjing massacre, obviously; that wasn't trendy nor cute now was it) have some of that insanity rubbed off on them. If it's what the Japanese like* hey it must be worth buying!

But mainlanders?

What kind of Disney magic have they been exposed to? They certainly take the Nanjing massacre way more seriously than our average four-eyed spotty teenager. Why would they want to go?

* Japan's infactuation with American pop culture has produced more academic books, journal articles and professorships than we need. There is certainly no need for me to spew out even more of that, you know, analysis here.

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