Proprietary Communities

Anarchy, State, and Amusement Park

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Friday fun link: Cracked's guide to "the 9 most baffling theme parks from around the world," including attractions devoted to sex, Stalinism, and the Buddha (an eternal golden braid). My favorite might be the Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, identified here as "the copyright infringiest place on Earth!"

China, determined to reinforce stereotypes of producing nothing but cheap knock offs, is the location for a completely bootleg theme park. Shijingshan Amusement Park has a lot of familiar faces, although park officials refer to them in not so familiar ways.

Here, for instance, is "Duck" and "Girl Cat."

Cracked

Those who aren't idiots might notice that the cat has rather large, round ears, or the fact that it's a blatant copy of Minnie Mouse. Other characters can be seen throughout the park including a goofy dog, a peasant girl turned princess in glass slippers and a sleeping beauty. Disney bosses have issued numerous copyright infringement lawsuits and recently park workers destroyed the sleeping beauty statues with sledgehammers, and gave no official reason as to why.

I have a pet theory, part Robert Nozick and part Andre Breton, that every conceivable utopia will eventually be realized in the form of a specialized shopping mall or amusement park. Traditional leftists will dismiss these part-time communities as mere capitalist cooptation, but I say they will actually expand the range of social alternatives, because they will allow entrepreneurs to enact visions that could never attract political support. No one would vote or go to the barricades for a society devoted to "the crassest visual gags possible." But in Denmark, Cracked reports, enough people are curious enough to visit such a place to keep Bon Bon Land afloat.

Bonus link: New Jersey's infamous Action Park, which one writer describes fondly as "a testing site for water rides using humans as their crash dummies." Surely it deserved a place in the Cracked list.

Bonus quote: From the mad urbanist Ivan Chtcheglov:

We know that the more a place is set apart for free play, the more it influences people's behavior and the greater is its force of attraction. This is demonstrated by the immense prestige of Monaco and Las Vegas -- and of Reno, that caricature of free love -- though they are mere gambling places. Our first experimental city would live largely off tolerated and controlled tourism. Future avant-garde activities and productions would naturally tend to gravitate there. In a few years it would become the intellectual capital of the world and would be universally recognized as such.

Sounds like Busch Gardens to me!