The Culture of Complaint


The Culture of Complaint

I was recently listening to someone rant on NPR about the horrors of Disney World and the ultimate cultural destruction it signifies and I grew progressively more annoyed. I live near the place, many people here hate it for a great variety of reasons. There are a great many reasons to despise the Disney congolmerate, not the least of which is the manner in which they treat some of their lesser-paid employees. However, to rail on about the horrors of Disneyworld strikes me as a setting up a straw man for the world's problems.

I lilke Disney World for a couple of reasons. First, as a Florida resident, it attracts enough people here so that I'm not killed by state income tax. When I moved here from Ohio at the same pay, I got an immediate 7% raise because there was no state income tax.

Second, I enjoy it because children do enjoy it, and they enjoy not because it is Disney but because it is fundamentally enjoyable. You walk around a world that is utterly unreal and encounter utterly unreal folks, and you have a pleasant day. (That is except for a minority of sturm und drang New York or Brazilian tourists who drag their little ones through an exhausting day and spend their time red-faced screaming at some over-tired child who only wants to go back to the hotel room and rest and be cool... but then, that's a different rant)

There is much to dislike about Disneyfication of society. However, to dislike Disneyworld itself seems a waste of time. If you so disike it--don't go. Don't take your family, advise your friends to stay away. But don't waste your time and everyone else's ranting and raving about its horrors--myriad though they may be.

I see this as symptomatic of our society. If I don't like this or that thing, I must assure that no one else enjoys the same by pointing out all of its many faults and problems.

Why not just forego the displeasure of the place? Why try to denigrate and destroy what many are obviously enjoying? What harm is there in enjoying it?

Like the great many quizzes that circulate about St. Blogs--some take them, some don't. But what sense would there be inveighing against them and trying to persuade everyone that pressing a few buttons one way or the other is somehow tearing down society.

Again--I don't care for the novels of Michael Crichton--I could write a dissertation on their errors, their problems, and their many flaws--but why? Rather than do so, I neither read them, nor in large groups tend to comment on them. In a one-on-one conversation I might give an opinion, but I have long got over the need to make a point of dispising vocally everything that is popular. Popularity is not a crime.

So, I've gone on at length to say simply what everyone's mother probably told them at one time, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And this is a good credo for commenting on most things. There are some exceptions--people should be warned about things that are potentially spiritually damaging. They should be warned about things that once seen cannot be unseen. But for the most part, if something is popular and you don't like it, the better part of valor is to share that dislike with close friends who want to hear about it. To shout it from the rooftops seems bad form.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 22, 2003 7:54 AM.

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