ANALSLIME, CALIFORNIA — This week, Disney became the latest corporation to reconcile its problematic past when it comes to racism in its content when it announced that it would be completely redesigning and retrofitting an attraction at both their California and Florida theme park destinations.
In July of 1989, Disneyland opened Splash Mountain to much fanfare. While log flume rides were nothing new — particularly in Southern California, where Knott’s Berry Farm had operated its own log ride for decades prior — it was a momentous occasion as it boasted one of the longest, steepest drops in such a ride, and it quite frequently lived up to the signs that warned boarding guests that they would definitely get drenched while riding it.
However, as much fun as passengers had over the years riding Splash Mountain, the fact remained that much of the theme of the ride featured characters and scenes from Song of the South, a movie based on a novel that heavily romanticized slavery in the south. The film’s producers took out some of the more overtly racist language — such as black character named “Tar Baby” — but much of the context of the film remained as a kiss blown to the racist roots of America’s southern states.
Over the past several weeks, companies have made attempts to bring themselves and their brands up to a more modern standard of acceptability. The parent company behind Aunt Jemima pancake syrup and batter mix announced they’d be changing their corporate logo and name. Celebrated veteran country band The Dixie Chicks dropped the second word in their name and just became “The Chicks.” And just days ago, Disney announced that it would be updating Splash Mountain and would base the ride’s story on their animated hit feature film, The Princess and the Frog.
As with anything that changes after a long period, Disney’s decision to update their log ride wasn’t met with unanimous cheer. Many derided the decision as Disney abdicating to a social justice mob. Some argued that even though Disney was reacting to the desires of the free market, they shouldn’t do so because it hurt their feelings to lose a small reminder of America’s racist past while attending a theme part.
Perhaps to assuage some of their more discriminatory guests’ fears, Disney released a statement today, indicating that while the racist source material for Splash Mountain would change, Disney parks themselves “cannot and will not” stop guests from “creating memories and declaring their racism” in other ways.
“While we be completely re-Imagineering (GET IT?!) our new Splash Mountain experience to completely strip it of any vestiges of tacit racism we may or may not have profited from for decades,” Disney announced, “we cannot and will not stop guests from partaking in personal racism or from creating memories and declaring their racism. To that end, park guests should feel assured they will continue to be able to use racist insults at our park employees.”
While many might presume the attempt to placate racists applied mostly to their Florida property, Disney made it very clear it’s just as much about their Orange County, California resorts as well.
“If you’ve been anywhere near Orange County or Analslime,” Disney wrote, “you know firsthand there are plenty of white nationalists and other racists living there. Florida might have more racists per capita, but Orange County racists boast quite the population density as well.”
One thing guests will not see changing any time soon, Disney insisted, however, is the inherent classism of their parks.
“While we don’t want to even accidentally promote racism (anymore),” Disney’s statement reads, “Disney does in fact want to keep promoting the idea of classism, and that some people really are just too poor to even consider visiting our parks. So we’ll actually be increasing the subtle digs at poor people, as well as raising prices 2% each day until only six of the richest people in the world can visit our parks at the same time.”
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.