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The Oncoming Storm: Losing Norway, Culture, and EPCOT’s Vision

On October 5th 2014, EPCOT’s Maelstrom will close and Disney will begin to revamp the Norwegian pavilion to include the characters, music, and narrative from Frozen, last year’s hit animated film. 

I’ll put this simply, because it’s too soon to think of anything else to say: I’m angry. And I’m sad. 

World Showcase’s original intent was supposed to be so much more than another repository for Disney’s brands and intellectual property. World Showcase and all of EPCOT was created out of Disney’s once unerring ability to be a company that showcased things, and showcased things that mattered. World Showcase was a permanent (if slightly stale) World’s Fair that existed to be an exhibition of the diversity of man, uniting and captivating visitors with the beauty and drama of the human difference. World Showcase was bravely dedicated to cultures that have defined what our world civilization had done throughout time. Does this description sounds grandiose and overzealous? Good. It should. For a very long time, EPCOT Center inspired these thoughts and these feelings with the content that it had on display. Norway and Maelstrom fit this theme like a glove.

While madcap and quirky and often downright puzzling, Maelstrom at least showed off the sinew of Norwegian myths and legends and culture. Brave vikings, mystical trolls, the barren wilderness of the arctic… The idea of Norway was encapsulated in a short ride. It was a romp. It was a short experience in the “genre” of Norwegian culture. 

And now? It’ll be replaced by singing princesses that are “inspired” by the Scandinavian culture. This is a problem. Disney can not showcase culture vis-a-vis something made in their own image. Disney’s Frozen is more a reflection of Disney Animation than it is a reflection of culture. Aesthetic and narrative cues might come from Norway, but they were used to create a place called Arendale… a place that is fictional. A place based in pop culture fantasy. To show off Norway as it really is, Disney needed to extrapolate upon the underlying archetypes that existed within our collective unconscious about the place. Maelstrom already did that. Frozen will not. Frozen is a narrow narrative that uses Norwegian aesthetics and adapts one Norwegian story into a fairly enjoyable film.

Frankly, I like Frozen. I saw it in theaters, twice. But this enjoyment of it doesn’t broker any acceptable vision of EPCOT  that includes shoehorning a modern film into a space that was meant to speak to the greater aspects of culture and mythology that define an entire country. 

EPCOT, which has undergone a tumultuous trajectory over the past decade or so, is now faced with yet another thematic rift. Norway and Maelstrom now join The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Journey into your Imagination and Innoventions and other attractions that do not support a coherent and cogent vision of what EPCOT once was and should be. Some gems in the park will still exist, of course, but this is a large step in misaligning EPCOT’s focus and making the park less unique. Things like the alleyways of Morocco and Impressions of France and Living with the Land can only do so much on their own to support what EPCOT was and is supposed to be. 

EPCOT faces an oncoming storm in removing Maelstrom. I hope it can weather it. I am an optimistic person, but a loss as large as this hurts. And it even hurts to admit that. With the removal of Maelstrom and the inclusion of Norway, there is no stopping what Disney can decide to do with other original and cultural attractions. Disney is now crossing a line into synergizing what was meant to be above and beyond what could be found in a magic kingdom park, or any other Disney park.

It’s a wicked storm, indeed. It’s a maelstrom. 

baby: t… t-t….

mom: aw are you trying to say thank you?

baby: talos the mighty! talos the unerring! talos the unassailable! to you we give praise! we are but maggots, writhing in the filth of our own corruption! while you have ascended from the dung of mortality, and now walk among the stars! but you were once man! aye! and as man, you said, “let me show you the power of talos stormcrown, born of the north, where my breath is long winter. i breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land which is mine. i do this for you, red legions, for i love you.” aye, love. love! even as man, great talos cherished us. for he saw in us, in each of us, the future of skyrim! the future of tamriel! and there it is, friends! the ugly truth! we are the children of man! talos is the true god of man! ascended from flesh, to rule the realm of spirit! the very idea is inconceivable to our elven overlords! sharing the heavens with us? with man? ha! they can barely tolerate our presence on earth! today, they take away your faith. but what of tomorrow? do the elves take your homes? your businesses? your children? your very lives? and what does the Empire do? nothing! nay, worse than nothing! the imperial machine enforces the will of the thalmor! against its own people! so rise up! rise up, children of the empire! rise up, stormcloaks! embrace the word of mighty talos, he who is both man and divine! for we are the children of man! and we shall inherit both the heavens and the earth! and we, not the rlves or their toadies, will rule skyrim! forever! terrible and powerful talos! we, your unworthy servants, give praise! for only through your grace and benevolence may we truly reach enlightenment! and deserve our praise you do, for we are one! ere you ascended and the eight became nine, you walked among us, great talos, not as god, but as man! trust in me, whiterun! trust in the words of heimskr! for i am the chosen of talos! i alone have been anointed by the ninth to spread his holy word!

10

i made another thing

shinydanger said:

erik's casing a new city and charles is his overenthusiastic tour guide

"And here is my room," Charles says in his best professional tour guide voice, all posh accent and unerring charm. Erik raises his eyebrow at him and steps in, pretending to survey the room, nodding to himself after a moment’s consideration. Then he grabs Charles by the front of his sweater vest and kisses him like he’s been wanting to since he caught sight of him windswept and grinning, megaphone in hand and sunshine in his hair like the heavens opened up just to make Erik’s brain explode with a wet dream come true.

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I … firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:

Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.

Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.

Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same explanation.

Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.

I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.


Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.

I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.

I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.

Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.

I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles.

The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God…

—  The Oath Against Modernism

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910
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