The concept of utopian communities is a hot new commodity among major enterprises. The Walt Disney Corporation is currently marketing its own community called Celebration. Disney, known for creating worlds of fantasy through theme parks and movies tackles reality. According to architect Robert A.M. Stern, the idea behind Celebration is to “recapture the idea of a traditional American town, traditional in spirit, but modern in terms of what we know about how people live”(Oilande 1). Also, the town is “structured around the five cornerstones of life in Celebration: community, education, health, technology, and place”(Oilande 2). Celebration uses this concept to create a special utopian vision. Despite contradictions of artificiality, regulation, and price, Celebration is a good utopian vision because it has a sense of community, an outstanding educational system, and a credible health care system.
The notion of a artificial or theme park feel has come up as a possible concern. “The town resembles a movie set with the neat-and-pretty homes like facades”(Oilande 5). Disney is taking a community and making it a fantasy of the lost traditional suburb one would see on “Leave it to Beaver” or “Pleasantville”. As one visitor of the new community stated, “the minute you drive into Celebration’s property, Disney’s visual magic takes hold. White fences reminiscent of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Country, surround the property. Upon a closer inspection they prove to be plastic. And from a distance, the preview center looks like a classical mansion. It’s not. It’s a façade. Behind the mansion door is a pre-fab”(Wilson3). This ideal is created in a conference room at a corporate office somewhere and it i…
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Cottrell, Kenny. Celebration: Frequently Asked Questions. Tuldp. Avaliable: http://www.tudlp.org/celebfaq.html.
Disney. General Celebrations Facts and Figures. Available: http://www.primenet.com/~dbrady/oliande/celebfacts.html. February 1997.
Hoffman, Derek. Review of Disney’s Celebration. Avaliable: http://mason.gmu.edu/~dhoffman/week4.htm. 12 February1997.
Lease, Daryl. Village theme for Disney: Wonderful World of Wal-Mart. The Free Lance-Star. Avaliable: http://.starweb.infi.net/columns/lease/dl032396.htm. 23 March1996.
Oliande, Sylvia. A Visit to Celebration. Avaliable: http://www.primenet.com/~dbrady/oliande/celebration.html. 9
Essay on Utopia – Constitution of the United States as a Utopian Proposal
The Constitution of the United States as a Utopian Proposal
Few people would take issue with the statement that America faces monumental challenges both to its own well-being as well as to its self-imposed duty to become “a more perfect union”. Over the years, many speakers, authors, and dreamers have used the dirty facts of this nation’s (and its predecessors’) seemingly unrepentant capitalism, paternalism, belligerence, and tendency toward cultural assimilation to declare the entire enterprise bankrupt and to focus, not on where, exactly, the USA went wrong, but instead on what the truly ideal civilization would look like. They have created, in speech or on paper, entire realms of happiness and harmony, free of injustice, crime, and any other negative social vice. They have failed, however, in most cases, to free themselves from the trap of the nature of the human animal and his uncanny ability to absolutely avoid accurate prediction or even adequate description. It is my suggestion that, out of the bulk of utopian proposals the world has seen, the Constitution of the United States does, in fact, come the closest to creating “no place” for the greatest number of people through its pragmatism, its admission to not knowing the nature of every man, and, most importantly, its allowal of alternate visions of Utopia.
Of course, all one needs to do to get a glimpse of the monumental challenges the USA faces is open the closest almanac. Nearly half (49%) of all American marriages end in divorce. Some 700,000 high school students end up dropping out of school each year. There are nearly one million cases of child neglect and/or abuse per year and 2,700,000 cases of violent crime. Around 8.5 million individuals…
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…ough a total change in the accepted social order. The framers of the Constitution were looking in the right direction; it is our legacy and responsibility to see that the essence of their vision is amended to accommodate the changes this nation has experienced since its founding and to provide the opportunity for every citizen to express, and possibly achieve, his or her own utopia.
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward: 2000 to 1887. Internet text version copyright 1996 by Geoffrey
Brunner, Borgna, ed. 1997 Information Please Almanac. Boston: Information Please, LLC.
Constitution of the United States of America.
Democratic Socialists of America. (1998). http://www.dsausa.org/dsa.html