Let’s start with a confession: the first book I have ever read was in a Mickey Mouse Comic book that my grandmother had just given me. „Aua“ I read and I was mighty proud, because I had only just started with school and only new the „a“ the rest of the word I guessed more than I read. Still I was proud and I kept on reading Disney comics for many more years in my life. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck had an important role in my childhood, because whenever I was sick and had to stay in bed, my mother would go shopping and promised me to bring me a surprise – which almost always turned out to be a comic book. I read these things until I was a teenager, when I slowly grew out of it. When Disney opened their Disneyland Paris in 2005 I was maybe already too old to care. Since today I have never imagined to visit one of the theme parks and I hope I will never have to go there, even with a child, since I have become quite critical of the Disney ideology.
The Brazilian Obsession with Disney
But since I lived in Brazil I have talked about Disney World or short “Disney” in Orlando/Florida more often that I would’ve ever imagined. And I find this fascinating. I remember coming to Brazil after having spent some months in Central America a decade a ago and thinking: “wow, Brazil seems almost as European as Central America seems to be influenced by the US”. And not only because of the US involvement in Brazil during the military dictatorship, I know that many Brazilians see the US quite critical. But this seems to stop, when it comes to Disney. When Brazilian adults tell me, they have been to the US, chances are very high, that they visited Disney World in Orlando/Florida. And when Brazilians have children, chances are very high again, that they want to take them there. And they speak of this not with a single bit of embarrassment or apology, it seems to be the most normal thing of the world, to leave a giant country, filled with amazing nature and crazily beautiful beaches only to spend their time in an artificial and kitschy dream land for children. I find this very strange, but I have come to accept it as one more curiosity, Brazilians are full of.