2018年4月12日 星期四

RCP Morning Note, 04/12/2018: Ryan Fallout; Cybersecurity, Part 3; Obesity Paradox; Disney Goes to France


Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Ryan Fallout; Cybersecurity, Part 3; Obesity Paradox; Disney Goes to France

By Carl M. Cannon on Apr 12, 2018 08:36 am

Good morning. It's Thursday, April 12, 2018, and this is Tom Kavanagh filling in for Carl, who's on the road. Twenty-six years ago today, French citizens and visitors alike had a new choice to make in deciding which attractions they would take in: Mont Saint-Michel or … Sleeping Beauty's Castle? Jardin des Tuileries or … the Main Street Electrical Parade? The Louvre or … Tom Sawyer's Island?

Yes, Mickey Mouse donned a beret on this date in 1992 with the opening of Euro Disney about 20 miles from Paris. Not everyone found the look becoming. In a moment, I'll revisit the unveiling of what one acerbic French critic famously labeled a "cultural Chernobyl." First, I'd point you to RealClearPolitics' front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Ryan's Retirement Has GOP Grappling With Midterm Impact. James Arkin and Caitlin Huey-Burns have the story.

With Speaker's Exit, GOP May Shift Resources to Senate. Caitlin and James also examine this aspect of yesterday's announcement.

High Tech and Government: A Culture Clash. In Part 3 of our cybersecurity series, I explore the speed and innovation gap that exists between the private sector and government entities, and why it must be bridged.

The Women's March and Backpage.com: A Sordid Story. Ashley McGuire spotlights the liberal organization's support for a sex trafficking website that government officials have shut down.

Arms Control Is Hostage to Skripal and Syria. In RealClearDefense, William Courtney warns that Moscow's commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and other treaties is in doubt.

Is the Opioid Crisis Too Complicated for Our Political Elites? In RealClearPolicy, Jerry Rogers contends that lawmakers refuse to admit that multiple causes, some of them government-driven, are to blame.

Prohibition All Over Again -- This Time, for Cigarettes. In RealClearHealth, Guy Bentley argues that the FDA's plan to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes will backfire.

Muscle Mass May Explain the Obesity Paradox. RealClearScience editor Ross Pomeroy examines a new study shedding light on seemingly contradictory evidence about weight gain and life expectancy.

* * *

Hoping to become yet another "happy place," as Walt Disney dubbed his first theme park, Euro Disney opened its gates to the public on April 12, 1992. It was the fourth iteration of the founder's dream, following on the enormous successes of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland.

It was also the culmination of plans that began to take shape four years earlier with groundbreaking at a 5,500-acre site near Marne-la-Vallée, which was something of a surprise choice. The company had considered locations in Spain and the South of France that offered more tourist-friendly weather, but access won out over climate in the end: Marne-la-Vallée was a few hours' drive for tens of millions of potential park-goers, and a few hours' flight for hundreds of millions more.

When opening day arrived, not only was the park ready, but so were 5,800 rooms in Disney-owned hotels, along with an army of employees fluent in at least two European languages.

In the bigger picture, however, the stars had not quite aligned. A recession, labor strife and poor currency exchange rates had stirred concerns, which proved to be well founded: The park opened to great fanfare but not so many fans. Only 25,000 visitors -- less than half the expected number -- ponied up $48 ($28 for children) to rumble along on the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster or drift along on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

But there was another issue clouding the outlook that day, one that even the brightest "imagineers" couldn't have found a solution to: bad press stemming from the French intelligentsia's disdain for the whole enterprise. The "cultural Chernobyl" slap from Parisian stage director Ariane Mnouchkine was the most caustic, but other insults were piling up. The theme park was:

"a Disney caricature of American culture"
"a horror made of cardboard"
"idiotic folklore straight out of comic books"
"a conservatory of nothingness"

In perhaps the most extreme characterization, film critic Serge Toubiana called the Disney opening "an act on the part of America of … unprecedented violence." It was, he asserted, intended to "drain off millions of visitors to everywhere else in Europe."

Inadvertently, Toubiana's harsh assessment may have hit upon a theme underpinning all this scorn: the politics of displacement, in the words of author and scholar Carolyn A. Durham.

Put another way: It was distaste for the Americanization of French culture. This sentiment stemmed not just from the park's attractions and the messages they embodied. Dress and grooming restrictions on employees (among others: no showy jewelry or eye shadow for the women; no mustaches for the men) had the haute-minded French in high dudgeon.

Over time, those voicing such objections quieted and Euro Disney, later renamed Disneyland Paris, found its footing. In its best years, the park has drawn as many visitors as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower combined. Even so, the finances have not been easy, especially amid heightened terrorism fears since the 2015 attacks in the City of Light. Cash infusions from the parent company -- including a $1.6 billion investment last year -- have been needed, along with a suspension of royalty payments, a Saudi prince's monetary intercession, and debt forgiveness.

Forgiveness of another sort may have been in play too. Or maybe not. Mnouchkine later amended her acidic comparison, saying, "Frankly, I don't give a damn about [Euro Disney]. Television seems to me to be a much more menacing ‘cultural Chernobyl.'" As Durham points out in her 1998 book, "Double Takes," however, Mnouchkine's target was both different and the same: French TV at the time was infused with American programming, and had recently added … the Disney Channel.

It's a small world, after all.

Having trouble viewing this email? | [Unsubscribe] | Update Subscription Preferences 

Copyright © 2018 RealClearHoldings, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email becuase you opted in at our website.

Our mailing address is:
6160 N Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL
Suite #410
Chicago, IL 60646

Add us to your address book