January 28, 2005

Glorious People's Republic of Toontown

It's 2005. Do you know where your children are? Perhaps they're enjoying a little kid-friendly entertainment courtesy of one of the most trusted names in kid-friendly entertainment, Disney. Perhaps they're having fun playing with other kids. Perhaps their impressionable young minds are being indoctrinated... into Communism.

I refer to Disney's massively multiplayer online game, Toontown. This seemingly innocent pastime is in reality a sinister glorification of Stalinism, designed to lead children down the Marxist path until they are red, red, red.

Big Mickey is watching! For starters, Toontown itself is quite obviously a totalitarian state. Every street and commons has as its centerpiece the "Headquarters", in which agents of the government assign life-threatening tasks for picayune rewards to the Toonish proletarians. Most significantly, a gigantic telescope protrudes from the roof of each and every one of these headquarters, through which the spies of the state can keep a close eye on the populace.

Everything is painted a garish pastel hue, to soothe the downtrodden and fool themYou will say only what we want you to say  into believing that living under Mickey's iron boot is in fact paradise. Freedom is strictly limited. There is no freedom of speech; instead the denizens of Toontown must choose their words from a government-approved list. Any attempt to give voice to opposition to the state, or indeed say anything not officially sanctioned by the government, is met with immediate and automatic censorship, rendering the language into incomprehensible animal noises.

Toontown's economy is, of course, quite communist. The currency is the "jellybean", and virtually everything in the ubiquitous state-run shops costs exactly one bean. A grand piano costs the same as a glass of water. Toontown strictly regulates the amount of money a citizen may possess, with the elite who have proven themselves through service to the state permitted to carry slighly more than the most worthless members of society. An exchange rate between the jellybean and the dollar is difficult to calculate, since both a dollar bill and a sawbuck can be purchased for a single bean.

But every totalitarian state needs its Emmanuel Goldstein, its Trotsky, its Snowball, its enemy to be demonized and blamed for all of the ills brought upon by the oppressive state. Toontown's enemies are -- who else? -- the capitalists. The evil counterrevolutionaries in this case are represented by the Cogs, sentient robots belonging to four different races. They are:

  • Bossbots, symbolizing the bourgeoise and upper-class management
  • Sellbots, symbolizing the productive entrepreneurs who are so essential to the operation of free markets
  • Lawbots, symbolizing those who protect the legal rights of the capitalists
  • Cashbots, symbolizing Capital itself. That the mere existence of money is portrayed as evil speaks volumes.

A factory, as Disney sees it Cogs have no rights. Indeed, they are subject to summary execution on sight, and the denizens of Toontown are in fact encouraged to hate and destroy Cogs, with the most prolific killers rewarded with money, education, status, and health care. Cogs may be attacked when peacefully walking down the street, or for even greater rewards a Toon may invade a Cog's home and slaughter him and his entire family. Cogs can be attacked, among other ways, by shattering their sensitive eardrums with loud noises, by striking them with heavy objects such as pianos and safes, or by using hypnosis to induce them into walking into a bundle of dynamite. When attacked, a Cog cowers in pain, then shudders and explodes... a fitting end to the enemies of the glorious state.

Say what we want you to say, do what we tell you to do, and fight the capitalists wherever you find them. That is the message that Disney is giving our kids.

NOTE: It pains me that this disclaimer is even necessary, but this post is intended to be satirical and should not be taken seriously.

January 28, 2005 in Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack