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While listening to this piece of "investigative journalism", I was constantly dumbfounded by the idiotic attacks on Disney's character. I expect somewhat of a balanced view out of a reporter but he doesn't even try. I've listened to the Walt Disney biography, "Triumph of an Imagination" and , "Disney War" about the Eisner years, both included many many valid criticisms, any of which Heiaasen could've expanded on. He skillfully avoided almost any real substantive crticism and instead blamed Disney for esceped lions from private zoos to greedy reporters. I found that last attack particularly ironic. He attacked the ethics of reporters on junkets to Disney meanwhile showing absolutely no journalistic integrity. The book focuses mainly on the Eisner years and Eisner was a horrible CEO. He could've creamed Eisner for most of his management but somehow attacking Disney for helping to clean up Times Square seemed more important to him.
As other reviewers have written, if you hate Disney and don't care whether criticisms are valid or not, then you'c enjoy this. If you're looking for the real "dirt" on Disney, you won't find it here.
Hiaasen needs to grow up and perhaps stick to fiction. Maybe his next book will focus on blaming Disney for 9/11...
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I read this book as a counterpoint to Neal Gabler's excellent "Disney: Triumph of an American Imagination". While Gabler's work is exhaustively researched and thorough, Hiaasen's venomous jeremiad is almost purely based on emotion. Gabler descibes in great detail exactly how Disney built a brand that has come to be regarded as the gold standard in family entertainment for generations. Hiaasen seems to resent that it even exists.
Hiaassen criticizes Disney for creating an excessively controlled and artificially groomed environment inside their park, he criticized Disney for attracting tacky and uncontrolled sprawl outside the park.
He complains that Disney tries to force a sanitized and standardized narrative style upon the whole world, then accuses Disney of hypocrisy for tailoring its offerings to the tastes of different cultures, or for purveying non-family entertainment through its other brands.
In years past, Disney had (gasp!) a dress code for its employees. Today, Disney offers domestic partner benefits, but, according to Hiaasen, this policy is motivated purely by greed.
The most ironic criticism coming from Hiaasen is that Disney's branded movies are predictable and formulaic. Have you ever read a Hiaasen novel that took place in Wisconsin?
There are a few valid criticisms of Disney - for instance the excessive compensation granted to Eisner & Ovitz by a crony-packed board (hardly unique in American business) - that get lost in the river of bile.
If you already have a chip on your shoulder about Disney, this book will confirm your opinion. If you are looking for a rational critique of the media juggernaut, look elsewhere.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful