Alexander Graham Bell, Mary Queen of Scots, Andrew Carnegie, William Wallace--what's the connection?
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Monday's Question (No. 30)--"Faintness, Nausea, Disneyness":
Something in Disney World is irritating both Arabs and Israelis. What? (Question courtesy of Dave Gaffin.)
"The adorable cartoon character Crusader Chipmunk (TM) who sings 'Gee, I'm glad I have a foreskin!' "--Andrew Solovay
"Continuing series of 'land for peace' deals with Sea World trivializes Middle East problems."--Jack Defevers
" 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' is considered to be a totally inappropriate soundtrack for both Mickey's Wailing Wall and Goofy's Dome of the Rock."--Jennifer Miller
"The addition of the words 'and a Christian' to the sign: 'To ride Space Mountain you must be this tall.' "--Tom Williams (Floyd Elliot had a similar answer.)
"The centuries-old conflict over whether Epcot is the vacation capital for Israel or Palestine."--Peter Carlin
Click for more answers.
Two interesting fallacies are debunked by this little contretemps. First is the pseudomoderate's mantra: "If both sides are mad at us, we must be doing something right." I believe that's what the Germans said about the Russians and Americans in 1942. It wasn't persuasive then, and I don't believe the Disney folks will find it rhetorically effective now. When both sides are mad at you, it's seldom because you are a model of fairness. What you probably are is simply wrong. Second is the exciting but all too often disappointing notion that people can unite against a common enemy. At least for very long. Although it would be gratifying if mutual loathing of Disney brought about a Middle East peace. Or mutual loathing of the Martin Short Show brought about a reformed TV season. But don't count on it.
Kickingoff the New Atonement Season Answer
On Oct. 1, at Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla., Disney will open Millennium Village, featuring the company's patented phony-baloney cheerful view of all the little countries of the world.
Among the national displays is a "Journey to Jerusalem," a simulation ride partly financed by the Israeli government, that either does or does not acknowledge that city as the Israeli capital, depending on whom the Disney board has met with most recently. But either way, somebody's going to be mad.
"Their statement ignores all the important issues we put before them" said Hussein Ibish of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
"We understand Disney would like to have it a fun world after all, but it isn't," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.
"We are an entertainment company and we do not take political positions," declared a delightfully disingenuous company statement.
Eager to show concern for the right kind of people and to make it clear that he won't shed a tear (or spend a dime) on the--you know--bad people, Al Gore and his followers have been promiscuous with the phrase "America's Working Families," Gore's version of the Victorians' "deserving poor."
Which of the following are actual displays of this determination to smile at the good and frown at the bad?
- "I want to share some good news for America's working families."--Vice President Gore
- "America's working families often lack the most precious of all commodities: time with their children; time to teach them right from wrong; time to pass on their values."--Vice President Gore
- "We need to support America's working families by providing the afterschool programs they want to give their kids a safe place to learn and enrich their lives with positive values."--Vice President Gore
- Keene, N.H., Sept. 14, Mayor Pat Russell endorsed Vice President Gore for president today. Russell cited Gore's leading role in improving the nation's educational system and addressing the concerns of America's working families. "Al Gore is the only candidate who is talking about real change to improve the lives of working families," said Russell.
- Dover, N.H., Sept. 8, Mayor William Boc today endorsed Vice President Gore for president, citing Gore's leading role in improving the nation's economy and his tireless efforts on behalf of America's working families: "He has been a tireless advocate for the working families of America."
- "Oregon has a great tradition of community and political leadership and I look forward to working with these leaders to further Al Gore's goals of revolutionary improvements in education, livable communities, continued safeguarding of the environment, and bringing positive change for America's working families."--Tipper Gore
- "Al Gore will continue to work for a balanced approach and fight for a clean and healthy environment for America's working families," said Kiki Moore, a spokeswoman for the vice president.
- "With this new enforcement tool, we can better protect America's working families against drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and threats to our ocean environment," the vice president said. "And as far as I'm concerned, the rest of you bastards are on your own," he did not add.
All, of course, are genuine. And pandering. And condescending.
There's still time to submit badly needed campaign slogans to America's working candidates, Al Gore, John McCain, Dan Quayle, and Elizabeth Dole. Answers to run Thursday.
It's a bad, bad song.