It's Your Game

It's Your Game
Architecture and Vice

Dave Thomas | 2 Aug 2005 08:03
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There's Cinderella with her gown up over her face, glass slippers in the air and Prince Charming ... well, hang on a second.

A sad fact I have come to realize is that there are really only two kinds of adult fantasy. One kind is a form of the Disneyland/childlike fantasy. The other always features some form of rubber or another. That's too bad because there is really only one form of healthy adult fantasy that includes both Disney and rubber. And we almost never go there.

I was 14 the first time I hit a Disney park - Disneyworld 1979. I had a great time and don't recall thinking about any form of sex while there. But I did daydream about cuddling with that special girl I would, hopefully, one day meet and bring back to Fantasyland. Cuddling is, of course, the gateway sex drug, so, I suppose you could say that I was actually having the beginnings of thoughts about getting nasty in Cinderella's Castle.

Really, I think that it's perfectly normal to think about sex and about Disneyland and about having sex at Disneyland.

Thinking about making magic in the Kingdom only feels creepy if you think about Walt's paradise as a place exclusively for kids. Yes, kids go there and tend to dominate the park discourse with their demands to high five Mickey or eat some sloppy sweet treat. But really, the park is a place for general fantasy, young and old. There's no long list of adult fantasies that doesn't include getting busy with a girl dressed as Snow White, or a boy dressed like Aladdin or, I suppose, either dressed like Peter Pan.

Fantasy that focuses only on acting like a child, wearing a hat murderously created by scalping a Goofy mid-grin or clapping like an idiot at fireworks, well, that's creepy.

Maybe it's just immature.

It shouldn't surprise you to think of Disneyland as a substrate for grown up fantasy, because the place is, like porn, inherently about fantasy fulfillment. And, also like porn, Disney is ultimately non-configurable and peculiarly non-interactive. You look at it, you reach out, and all you end up holding is yourself. It's designed so that you can't mess it up or get anything on it. Disney is our national mythic memory and, you don't go messing with the collective consciousness, man.

So, what do you do? You look. You imagine. You fantasize. You look up the curving surface of Space Mountain and try to imagine what's inside. Even once you load into the ride's sperm rockets and jettison up its fallopian tube of outer space adventure, you never quite get the intimacy you wanted. You just have to pleasure yourself, or find pleasure in yourself, or imagine you are having pleasure. Or something.

As I said, Disneyland is porn. And I love Disneyland.

I also love the game Second Life. And Second Life is a new kind of porn.

It, rather than naked ladies encoded as JPGs and distributed, well spewed, over the Internet, is the porn for the information age. And it's because this fantasy is configurable. Crazy, organic, hippie-love, make your own reality, crazy fantasy.

Let me try and explain.

I am a homophobe of a particular type. As to whether I think gay people should be able to get married, I do. As for whether or not I think gay sex is immoral or unnatural, I do not. No, my homophobia is of the sort that thinks being gay is funny. Yes, I am a rank and file "Will and Grace" homophobe, the kind that thinks being gay is perfectly normal, but is really funny. It reaches actual comedy when you watch the way straight people squirm around anything they think of as queer. "Will and Grace" is the measure of the same sex zeitgeist. And I'm sure we will live to see the day that gay Jack and gay Will appear to represent all the media sensitivity of that charming tale of "Little Black Sambo."

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