Disney’s Newest Cult

Disney’s Newest Cult

The Walt Disney company has always been a very cult friendly outfit. 

And by that I do mean always, it started with Walt Disney himself. He wanted Walt Disney entertainment to be more than just a studio. It was his conceit that Disney Films was more like a family than a business. That can work if your company is (a) lead by an Alpha Male and (b) the company gets no larger than 200 people.  That number seems to be a rough upward limit that is hardwired.  Your average human can only establish personal relationships with about 200 people and no more.

That creates a fundamental problem with this business model in that the head of the company becomes a lot more than just your Dad when your company goes over a thousand employees. The president becomes your Pater Familias, in the old Roman sense of the word. The man who is the remote, godlike, absolute head of your household with the power of life and death over every member of that household.   

Walt Disney ended up creating tremendous dissatisfaction within his company in the early 1940s.  Yes, there was Communist agitation, but it had to be built on something.  At 1,500 employees there were just too many people for Walt to be their Dad.   The Animator’s Strike was ended by government intervention due to the start of World War II.  This allowed Walt to fire about half of his company and reestablish absolute control.

This desire for complete control was hardly a one-off with Walt Disney.

If you ever look at Walt Disney’s original plans for EPCOT, you will see that it was going to be a cross between a company town and a Habitrail.  If you lived in those houses that were supposed to be built in EPCOT, you would very little in the way of property rights for your own property.  Disney could enter your home for random inspections, replace appliances whenever they felt like it, and wouldn’t let you own your own private car. 

If you look at how the Disney Parks are run, the employment screening process isn’t too different from joining a cult.  

1. Invitation to a non-threatening event.

2. Love Bombing.

3. Dangling “the Prize” in front of you.

4. Extracting an Agreement that you want “the Prize”.

5. Shutting down dissent by threatening to remove the prize.

6. Establishment of Guilt.

7. Carrot/Stick.

8. Control of Identity.

9. Shutdown all thought process, keep the cult members regurgitating talking points rather than engaging in conversations.

There is a subset of people who desperately want to work at Disney Parks.   Their way in is The Program.  The Program is really just an internship.  Just attending the park as a guest is the “non-threatening event”.  The “LoveBombing” starts when a cast member begins his/her internship.  The prize is permanent employment and that is not going to happen for a lot of the interns.  Getting the Agreement that you want the prize isn’t a challenge, it’s part of the interview process.  Steps 5 through 7 are simply part and parcel of working at a Disney theme park. But it is step 8 that really ties it all together.  You are NOT an employee of Disney Parks; you are a cast member. You are something better for working at Disney, it is your identity. 

This cult of the Cast Member had one redeeming feature; it was a cult of excellence.  The Cast Members were self-reinforcing to pursue perfection of service for the Parkgoers.

Of course, most organizations that are recruiting do something similar to one degree or another. But most aren’t trying to create a delusion bubble and keep people locked inside of it.  A big part of what makes a cult work is the recruit himself…

Unfallen Darklings:  Excuse me, oh Herald of the Dark.  But what makes you the big expert on cults?

I used to be in one.

 I shudder to think how vulnerable I was in my Omega days. However, I didn’t end up in the Moonies or Hari Krishna. 

Nope, I got sucked into a McDojo.

The evil sensei from Karate Kid is a reasonably accurate portrayal of the cult McDojo Sensei with one or two exceptions. First of all, a McDojo Sensei isn’t a buff, blonde beach god showing off his guns in a sleeveless gi. He has a biker’s gut, a huge Ron Jeremy style pornstache, and probably a ponytail. If he is bald, he absolutely has a ponytail. 

I got recruited into my McDojo cult by attending a demonstration. It was the usual silly bullshit of breaking thin boards by kicking them along the grain. Followed by a few gymnastics and a charismatic speech by Sensei Wachowski, whose competition record was 100 wins and zero losses. I was young enough that the even (and idiotic) number of matches didn’t set off a warning bell in my head. At that event, I was given a free pass for one month of lessons, (clever that). 

Turns out the lessons weren’t quite free. I was required to buy a gi but I wasn’t allowed to wear the white belt that came with it. I was also told quite emphatically that I was only a Candidate Student and at the end of the month I would be assessed and told if I could continue my path.

I was showered with attention and praise for my minimal efforts during the trial period.

It will come as a surprise to none of you that at the end of that month I was told by Sensei Bikergut that I indeed had the “spirit of a tiger.” And that he would indeed accept me as a student, but I had to state emphatically at that point how hard I was going to try and win the Blackbelt from him. Which, I did as naturally as a duckling follows its mother into the pond.

Isolation is very important for a cult, so another thing that identifies a McDojo Sensei, is that he won’t let his students go to any kind of competition.   One minute in a real tournament would have demolished the illusion he had built up around his unique form of martial arts.  We would start the class by bowing to a gigantic picture of our thirty-year-old 9th degree Grand Master (and badass Green Beret), who never taught classes and looked like a fat, bald version of Robert Z’Dar with (yes) a ponytail.  He lectured us a LOT more than he sparred. And when he “sparred” it was only with his instructors, in-class “demonstrations.” If there were questions that the Sensei found uncomfortable during class the senior students would ridicule it and encourage the rest of the class to do so as well.  In truth, we were required to do so to prove we had a good attitude. 

And yes, his martial art style had a stupid name but no, I don’t remember what it was.

About a year into this cult, my grandfather saved my life. 

This seventy-two-year-old man did it by punching me in the face.

I had been bragging about my Sensei and how super powerful he was. Grandpa had heard me go on about this before and was bored by my antics but nodded occasionally during commercials while he was watching the Cubs lose. Then I told Grandpa about Sensei’s elite, secret technique. The one-touch KO. Sensei only practiced it on the senior instructors, never the students because it was just too powerful.

At that point, Grandpa wanted to spar with me. 

After telling me to, “try not to hurt me, I’m an old man.”  My grandfather got into a creaky, boxer’s stance. After I made a few gentle jabs, he spotted my mile-wide opening and delivered a feet-planted-on-the-floor-whole-hip-behind-it-turn-of-the-heel full power punch to my face.

I’ve been socked plenty of times since then and a hell of a lot harder than Grandpa could at that point in his life.  But I still remember the absolute shock washing over me when I felt when grandpa hit me.  To this day, I can still feel how my paradigm shifted without a clutch when Grandpa pasted thirteen-year-old me. This wasn’t a schoolyard haymaker and it sure as hell wasn’t the bullshit “sparing” we did at the Super-Elite-Tiger-Ninja-Ameri-Jeet-Kun-do Dojo. This was the real thing.

Cognitive dissonance instantly set in.  While I was wobbling in shock, Grandpa got some ice for his knuckles and handed me a few cubes for my eye.  After we watched the Cubs lose for a bit, he remarked that he knew of a boxing gym nearby and could take me on Saturdays.

A pity leaving a cult is not as easy for everyone else.

Back to Disney Parks.  As you can see they were fundamentally vulnerable to the Critical Race Training cult.

A cult that is a cult of excellence is easily retooled to be a cult of for anything else.

When the George Floyd riots ripped through American cities last summer, something snapped in liberal Boomers.  They suddenly felt they had to take great pains to show that they and their companies were on the right side of history.  Which made them exceptionally vulnerable to Critical Race trainers.  Disney launched a new diversity and inclusivity program called, Reimagining Tomorrow.  This was mentioned by name in their quarterly earnings report.

Diversity and inclusion training used to have the understandable if unattainable goal of “learn to treat everyone equally, and with respect.”  Today’s D&I Training begins with if you are White, then you are racist.  There is nothing you can do about this. You can never be forgiven for the sin of being white. You need to try to purge yourself of this evil but you will never succeed.  Ever.  Regardless of your inevitable failure, you must continually struggle to achieve this unachievable goal.  It doesn’t matter if you marry a black woman and have mixed-race kids.  You are even more of a racist then because you probably feel you don’t have to try and not be White anymore.  Taking the colorblind stance is absolutely unacceptable. Being colorblind is worse than any other kind of racism to include marrying a black woman. 

Any complaint from a black colleague MUST be validated without question no matter what it is.  It must be assumed that all such complaints are completely true.  Tyrone is not just having a bad day, where things just aren’t going right, like everyone else on the planet has, ALL of his problems are the results of systemic racism.  You must admit to this.

In the Reimaging Tomorrow slide packet, there is a list of things that you are absolutely NOT allowed to say to a black coworker as these might result in a conversation where you try to engage with him as another human being.

Things such as:

“I’m scared to say the wrong thing to you.” 

“I hope and pray things will change soon.” 

“I can’t wait for things to calm down and get back to normal.” 

Let’s be clear, treating a black man as if he is a human that is capable of reason is not in the least permissible.  He must be protected from your Whiteness at all times.  According to Critical Race Theory, black people have no agency whatsoever.

Starting a conversation with any of these statements might lead to thought, (if rarely to intelligent thought) and independent conclusions.  Thinking is definitely not permitted in a cult.  Every part of Critical Race Training is geared towards shutting down the thought process.

Don’t worry, there are things that you are allowed to say to a black coworker such as: 

“I’m having conversations about racism with my non-black family and friends even though I’m afraid. “

Note; there is nothing anyone can say to something this freaking awkward, so the black guy will just mutter an embarrassed word or two, and wander away.  No thought processes have been engaged on either side which was the intended purpose

“I’m taking these steps to become a better ally. I’m shutting down racist comments on my team. I’m supporting the fight against racism by calling my representatives backing black businesses, (or black lives matter or defunding the police). “

Meaning I self-flagellate because of my whiteness and constantly virtue signal to prove I’m struggling with my whiteness.

“I realized my discomfort is a fraction of what you’re feeling.”

This last is reasonably accurate because who on Earth could be comfortable watching someone self-flagellate? Also, the person in question isn’t being treated like a human because Critical Race Theory never treats blacks like people.  They are objects that are used to drain white liberals of guilt and nothing more.  Treat all black people like victims and deny them any agency of their own.

Equality of opportunity is absolutely NOT the goal of Critical Race Theory.  The goal now is Equity, which is to say equality of result and that objective is quite attainable, all you have to do is lower standards for everyone far enough.

There are several other cult touches in the training material such as cut yourself off from any outside viewpoints, “Decolonize your bookshelf.”  Read only reinforcing literature like the 1619 Project and god’s sake avoid real history books or you might find out that the first black people arrived in America in the mid-1500s and they weren’t slaves.  But that is follow-through stuff.

Let’s take a look at the results of this training program.  

There isn’t a single division of Disney that isn’t on track to fail, including Marvel.

More on that later this week.  

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