Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the happiest town on earth?

tonight i was writing a take-home quiz for my contemporary mass media class, debunking an argument of the anti-FOX news documentary "outfoxed." to create my argument that the documentary never talked about the other big media companies and how they present news, i was looking up information about newscorp (the big parent company of FOX and about 100 other media outlets) and the rest of the "big five" (for those who aren't communication students, the "big five" are the five largest media companies in the world and basically own and control everything we watch, read, hear and see - aol/time warner, GE-nbc universal, viacom-MTV anyone?, newscorp - FOX, and everyone's favorite, disney).

so, i find this great site that outlines all the ownership of these companies (p.s. it is a little outdated - i.e. ge/nbc recently merged with universal). at the bottom of disney's entry it says "celebration, florida, a 4,900-acre town." i'm thinking, another resort area set up like a town or a place where disney world "cast members" live. but, of course i have to know for sure so, like everything else, i google it. what do i find? this.

it's a real town! but it's not like it's real. it's like stepford real. it's like pleasantville real. you can buy a house there or an aparment or a condo. it's all on the site. plus there's a hospital and public schools with subjects like horticulture and a community intranet that keeps you updated on town events. Oh, and my favorite part is in the town press release area - "snow returns to celebration". and just in case you can't link there for some reason i'll copy my favorite part right here:

"The day after Thanksgiving is known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year. But in Celebration, the day marks another tradition – the beginning of Celebration’s Nightly Snowfall down MARKET STREET. The snow begins Friday, November 28 at 6, 7, 8, and 9 p.m. for ten minutes and repeats every night until New Year’s Eve."

WHAT?!?! are you kidding me!? the town even has fake snow! i don't know whether to call the FBI to look into this place or start saving up for one of its $1,000,000 houses.

but really, i don't know about a major corporation owning my town. just think about that. think of your home town and now imagine mcdonalds owns it or warner brothers or, hey, disney. there has to be some sort of a catch. does the hamburglar show up for dinner unexpectedly? do they use your main street as a giant movie set whenever they feel like it? is your swimming pool not suitable for laps with all the rounded edges that make up the mouse ears?

maybe i'm just old fashioned, but i think i like my towns synergy/product integration/media congolmerate free, at least for the time-being.

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