Postcard From Dystopialand
I’ve had a very busy day and unfortunately don’t have time to do a proper update. So I thought I’d just publish this marvellous postcard I’ve received from Disneyland Paris. Disneyland has become Dystopialand.
We all need a little normalcy in our lives. And a little fun. Hence, with lockdowns threatening to make a comeback in the winter months, it was quickly determined in our household that it was now or never to get our fill of the Disney themepark experience. It is still not popularly acknowledged, but such attractions are genuinely at risk of permanent closure due to the appalling economics associated with low capacity operations. I had run the numbers on the airline sector. They were bad enough. But theme parks like Disneyland were equally vulnerable. (Do see South Park’s Cartmanland episode to get the basic idea). V-shape or no v-shape recovery, the economic damage is such that in the long run only government bailouts or nationalisation are likely to preserve such assets. A nationalised Disneyland, however, is not something I can realistically stomach. And so it was we decided to set off to Paris and bear the consequences of quarantine.
Unfortunately, what we encountered upon arrival was worse than anything I could ever have anticipated. Disneyland Paris is no more. What used to be a beaming beacon of American enlightenment values, liberty and human potential has been radically shifted and morphed into the exact opposite. Disney is now dystopialand. A corporate conditioning exercise promoting the new normal. Merchandised, to boot. Which means you get to go to dystopia and keep the face mask.
Annoyingly, I’d missed the clues to Disney’s capitulation to this state of affairs. Or the scale of the dystopia they were now peddling.
A few weeks ago Disney had put out some exceptionally creepy mask-ridden propaganda in a bid to present the illusion things were business as usual. I only caught the video once we were already here. (Had I seen it before I might have saved myself the €1000.)
My rationale for going had instead been misguided by an absolutely delightful trip to Peppa Pig World earlier in August where normalcy, common sense and fun had properly prevailed. Plus, I had wrongly assumed that outdoor mask-wearing, while recommended, would somehow be rationally and compassionately enforced.
How wrong I was.
There is nothing quite like the Disneyland experience in France, a country that is now enforcing mask-wearing everywhere, to make you realise the extent to which the rule has absolutely nothing to do with virus suppression and everything to do with social control, population conditioning and the normalisation of a Nazi-like mentality among those entrusted to police the standard. And that, really, is what’s truly frightening.
Control is asserted via a hierarchal top-down formation.
At the top of the pyramid lie the mouse gestapo – intimidating-looking private security guards bearing what appear to be either guns or at a minimum a taser arsenal. They monitor the outdoor areas demanding full compliance with the company’s mask-wearing protocol at all times. The usual exemptions that work in Britain simply do not apply. Don’t bother telling a stormtrooper you have asthma or a visceral fear of masks. You will be escorted out of the park pronto. The only exemption comes by way of a signed off medical release which entitles a visitor to a coloured exemption wristband. No wristband, no exemption.
The active enforcement of this standard on people simply peeking their noses out while walking many metres apart is what’s really gut wrenching. If the stormtroopers don’t get you, it will be the park employees that do – they’re the next down in the structural enforcement order. “EXCUSE ME!” they shout, if they spot a stray nostril. “Please put on your mask properly. It must be worn over your mouth and nose at all times or else it is not effective and you will put other visitors in danger.” The shaming is very loud, clear and self-righteous.
Eating and drinking is a key park revenue generator. So there’s obviously an exemption for that. But here is where even greater madness lies.
Word from staff is that after outdoor mask wearing was first mandated, people were buying bottles of water and carrying them around to avoid the masks. But this is now verboten. A mask must be maintained on your chin – literally, on your chin – at all times even if you are walking and drinking or eating. The only time you can remove it is while sitting down to eat or drink (or in the privacy of the public conveniences).
The walking rule is perhaps the most egregious example of the disingenuous norms at hand. If this was really about virus control nobody would be encouraging people to keep a mask on their chin while scoffing popcorn or ice cream.
Defiance of the system however is hard. I had brought visors with us. But they were also soon deemed verboten and “dangerous”. We then thought a good workaround might be the consumption of lollipops. That worked okay for a while, but eventually the sugar intake began to take its toll. And even then you could feel the watchers – i.e. all the other visitors – judging you all the time. The watchers represent the final rung of the enforcement pyramid. It is they who ultimately give the control system its strength. The system works because even those who don’t believe in masks end up watching everyone else, just to ensure they are not being unfairly disadvantaged by others who are getting away with not wearing them.
All of this leads to a highly dystopic and sinister experience. The reality is that without the feedback of smiles or happy expressions, there is no fun or laughter to be had. The human spirit is highly sensitised to such feedback. Without it, everything becomes miserable. All there is is permanent scrutiny of others and dutiful compliance with orders. It’s a process-oriented experience focused on working your way through the rides. You become an automaton. De-sensitised. Disempowered.
After the sixth or seventh time of being told off for not wearing a mask properly, you begrudgingly begin to conform just for the sake of some peace and quiet. And then you realise this is exactly how liberty dies and how everything we as humans value in life becomes eroded. You also realise this is undoubtedly the same process by which perfectly normal people allowed Nazism to take root in their communities.
When this realisation sinks in all you can do to stay sane is try to identify other potential allies who might rally to your cause in the event you finally lose your shit. Look there, you think to yourself, that chap has his nose out! Quickly, give him a look of knowing support and solidarity. Oh darn it, he thinks you’re scolding him because you can’t effectively express solidarity with the power of eyebrows alone. It is then you realise the dissidents in the park need their own secret way of signalling to each other. Ah ha! The Winnie the Pooh balloon. Surely that’s the most effective show of disdain for authoritarianism at Disneyland? But does anyone else get the Xi Jengping reference? How about hanging around the liberty court on Main Street in quiet protest against authoritarianism bearing said Winnie the Pooh balloon? If only we dissidents could get the message out.
Oh bugger, you then realise, even Winnie’s been repressed. There he is caged off in a character safe-space because a full-on character hazmat suit has been deemed not enough to protect workers from the hazard that are masked-up parents with children. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Pluto – they are all caged or cordoned off.
That’s the sadness of it all. It’s not just that they’ve cancelled all the character meet ups, all the parades and all the fireworks. It’s that even when you are taking a selfie five metres away from Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse you get scolded for the audacity of trying to take a maskless picture. This surely is insanity?
Other mad procedures in play include no housekeeping, no room service and no buffets. Many rides and shows remain closed or not operational, and half of the park’s hotels never opened to begin with. Not that there are any significant discounts!
To sum up: Don’t go to Disneyland Paris. The magic is gone. Disneyland is now a horror show.
- ‘Should we be worried about the uptick in Covid cases? Almost certainly not‘ – My piece in the Telegraph pooh-poohing Matt Hancock’s talk of a second wave
- ‘Covid Dystopia Comes To Melbourne‘ – Great piece by Gideon Rozner in the American Conservative about the hellscape that is Melbourne
- ‘My mission to keep Britain free, by Simon Dolan‘ – Interview with Simon Dolan by Kathy Gyngell in the Conservative Woman
- ‘Our Parliament is a Dead Parrot. Write now and ask your MPs what they are being paid for, since they are not doing their jobs‘ – Peter Hitchens’s column in the Mail on Sunday in case you missed it
- ‘UK BLM leader banned from Twitter‘ – Twitter has taken down a tweet by UK BLM leader Sasha Johnson (no relation) saying: “The white man will not be our equal but our slave.” Shame
- ‘Legal lockdown challenge by the English Democrats‘ – More detail on the Judicial Review against the Lockdown Regulations and the Coronavirus Act being brought by Robin Tilbrook and the English Democrats
- ‘My boy’s own adventures all pass the woke test‘ – When Giles Coren is good, he’s very, very good
- ‘Northeastern University Dismisses 11 Students for Breaking Virus Rules but Keeps Their Tuition‘ – Eleven freshmen at Northeastern were caught having a party in temporary accommodation and they’ve all been expelled, with the University keeping their $36,500 annual tuition payments!
- ‘Northwestern University president apologises and reduces tuition after shifting 1st- and 2nd-year students to remote learning: “I understand that anger”‘ – Imagine signing up to a four year degree, shelling out $36,500 or thereabouts, and then being told that you’ll be learning remotely for the foreseeable future
- ‘Italy’s face mask rules make as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool‘ – Excellent piece by Oliver Smith, the Telegraph‘s Digital Travel Editor
- ‘There’s no good reason why Sweden isn’t on our quarantine-free list‘ – Another great article by Oliver Smith
- ‘Caerphilly county to go under local lockdown‘ – Hopelessly unreliable PCR testing indicated there are 55.4 cases per 100,000 population in Caerphilly so it’s back on the naughty step for the Welsh borough
- ‘Seven Greek islands axed as Government announces new quarantine policy‘ – Just to add to the confusion, Grant Shapps has decided to change the quarantine policy so areas are differentiated by region, not national borders. Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakyntho have now been red-listed
- ‘What does RCGP surveillance tell us about COVID-19 in the community?‘ – The latest post on the Centre For Evidence-Based Medicine blog looks at GP data. Turns out, only 0.48% of patients think they’ve got the virus and of them only 1.7% actually tested positive
- ‘COVID-19 and the end of clinical medicine as we know it‘ – Here’s another from the saintly Carl Heneghan, this time with Tom Jefferson in the Spectator
- ‘We’ll pay a high price for Covid complacency‘ – Bedwetting nonsense from… Melanie Phillips of all people. Et tu, Melanie?
- ‘Evidence Not Fear‘ – Another plug for this well-curated sceptical website
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Love in the Time of Covid
We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We’ve also just introduced a section where people can arrange to meet up for non-romantic purposes. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.
Small Businesses That Have Re-Opened
A few months ago, Lockdown Sceptics launched a searchable directory of open businesses across the UK. The idea is to celebrate those retail and hospitality businesses that have re-opened, as well as help people find out what has opened in their area. But we need your help to build it, so we’ve created a form you can fill out to tell us about those businesses that have opened near you.
Now that non-essential shops have re-opened – or most of them, anyway – we’re focusing on pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as other social venues. As of July 4th, many of them have re-opened too, but not all (and some of them are at risk of having to close again). Please visit the page and let us know about those brave folk who are doing their bit to get our country back on its feet – particularly if they’re not insisting on face masks! If they’ve made that clear to customers with a sign in the window or similar, so much the better. Don’t worry if your entries don’t show up immediately – we need to approve them once you’ve entered the data.
“Mask Exempt” Lanyards
We’ve created a permanent slot down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (now showing it will arrive between Oct 9th to Oct 19th). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £3.99 from Etsy here.
Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face nappies in shops here (now over 31,500).
A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.
And here’s a round-up of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of mask (threadbare at best).
Shameless Begging Bit
Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is a lot of work (although not so much today). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (If you want us to link to something, don’t forget to include a link).
This satirical squib by a YouTuber calling herself WhatsHerFace is brilliant. Not sure who she is, but she’s a committed lockdown sceptic and has a razor-sharp tongue. Not everything she does is intended to be funny. In this video, she lets Kim-Jong Dan have it with both barrels.