In the Shadow of the Brand

Disneyland is in Anaheim, California. There it manufactures happiness and people come from all over the world to consume it.

Disneyland is a a fantasy land peopled by make believe characters, heavy duty emotional labourers.

But Anaheim is a real place with real people. Increasingly, they are Latinos and two of them were shot dead by the police this summer. The following short film (24:10) made by AlJazeeraAnaheim: A Tale of Two Cities—tells the story of what happened and why. Note the connection to Disneyland.

This tale could be told of many, if not most, cities. There is the branded world in which most of us live, and there is its dark underside. A fault line divides them. You cross this line at your peril. These aren’t like war zones—they are war zones. It’s a war between those who have money and those who don’t.

Consider Washington DC. There the fault line runs just a few blocks from the White House. On the wrong side of that line the level of violence is higher than in the typical war zone. In some US cities (Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, St. Louis and Washington) the level of violence exceeds that in Iraq at the height of the occupation. And it’s getting more violent.

Within the branded world everyone is having fun. That’s obligatory. Money is no object. That’s assumed. Just occasionally, however, something happens to cause the mask to slip and the emotional narrative is revealed for what it is. In the right light, this branded world is as mad as any asylum.

To return to the violence in the shadow of Disneyland, the narrator of this movie asks: ‘Why did it happen and how soon before it happens elsewhere in the United States?’

It’s a good question.

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