In a true signal that hope and idealism are dead, Disney has used light and trickery to transform Epcot center’s iconic Spaceship Earth ride* in Orlando, Florida, into Star Wars’ Death Star. Yes, this looks cool. And yes, it has a laser, which is also very cool. But there’s something mighty creepy about turning Walt Disney’s monument to progress and belief in the human spirit into the weaponized avatar of imperialism that has destroyed worlds and struck fear into the hearts of galaxies far, far away for generations. The dedication plaque in front of Epcot reads:
“To all who come to this Place of Joy, Hope and Friendship, Welcome. Epcot is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May Epcot Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.”
If you drop that first sentence, putting this message in front of the Death Star offers a rather dystopian twist, an almost too perfect perversion of Epcot’s original intent. But Disney owns Star Wars now so it can do whatever it damn well pleases with the property — messages of love and togetherness be damned! The snake has eaten its tail. Up has become down. The Dark Side has overtaken the light, and 2016 conquered us all. The Emperor will be so pleased.
* This post originally referred to the Spaceship Earth ride in the Epcot theme park as Epcot.