Our obsession with death and petroleum

Disneyland. Loved it as a child, love now and will always love it. Call me a sucker for merchandised magic.

After all these years, I finally understood fully two of the park’s most iconic rides: the Haunted Mansion and Autopia. 

The Haunted Mansion is yet another expression of the living’s fascination with death. We fear it yet we are curious about it. We want the sugar coated sunshine, yet we love the horror, the blood and guts. Disney captured all those sickening wants and made a ride out of it – an attraction. We gravitate toward the macabre, moths to a shining sinister light, and relish in the realm of the wicked. Why? Our warm little hearts are full of demons.

Autopia. Not so ghoulish, but still scary. Frightening in fact. Walt and friends have scored Chevron as the ride’s corporate presenter and thus the darling little Autopia cars are fueled for life emitting adorable car exhaust into the Magic Kingdom, Anaheim, Southern California, the US and the planet. As if we didn’t need more car exhaust in the atmosphere. The scariest part of all is that we love those little Autopia cars and always will —  the way we love Disneyland. We’ll keep driving those little cars round and round the same track, the way we drive our real cars around the same streets and highways.

Now if the Mousketeers could figure out a way make the Haunted Mansion not so damn cute and the Autopia cars solar, perhaps our addiction to death and petroleum will wane.

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