30 years ago, bronca on the American cultural invasion


THE FIGARO ARCHIVES – During the opening of the amusement park in France on April 12, 1992, intellectuals denounce a “cultural Chernobyl”.

A “Cultural Chernobyl“. The accusation was strong, it remained in the memories. When it was established that France was going to host an amusement park from the American firm Walt Disney on its territory, intellectuals, artists and politicians cried out loud. If Ariane Mnouchkine compared the project to the greatest nuclear disaster in the world, others competed in spirit to qualify the arrival of Mickey on the lands of Molière. In return, the boss of Euro Disney denounced the “moral shrinkage of France“. Back to the controversy.

On April 12, 1992, the Euro Disney park, renamed since Disneyland Paris, is about to open its doors. The visitors are impatient, the shareholders still happy before the long stock market debacle and the actors of the colossal construction site of Marne-la-Vallée relieved after five years of work. “At the dawn of the year 2000 we will see our old dream come true for Ile-de-France: a tertiary megalopolis“, had promised Michel Giraud, the president of the region during the signing of the agreement between the French State and Walt Disney in 1987.

Haro on the infantilization of culture

Some, however, look gloomy. Few days ago, Literary Figarodevotes no less than two pages to the affair which agitates the intelligentsia: Euro Disneyland, a threat of cultural invasion?»

I call with all my wishes for a May 92 which would set fire to Disneyland.

Jacques Julliard

The writer Jean Cau is sounding the charge, denouncing this “cancerous graft, on millions of young guinea pigs, of a non-memory, of an imaginary of consumption, carrying along a cynically fabricated infantilism.“An infantilization just as vilified by the philosopher André Comte Sponville while Jacques Julliard wishes the failure of all these leisure parks, regretting that”leisure, imagination be today parkedpriced, programmed“. “I call with all my wishes for a May 92 that would set fire to Disneyland“, adds the essayist, columnist today at Figaro .

Excerpt from Le Figaro littéraire of April 6, 1992 Le Figaro

Others are more nuanced. Philippe Labro chooses to trust the children and Michel Tournier does not see Euro Disney as a “invasion“American, but rather like”a return to the European roots of the American soul“.

The controversy also focused on labor law when the unions and the Labor Inspectorate denounced the prohibitions imposed by society on new hires: mustaches and beards for men. And for women, dark or pearly lipstick, leather pants, short skirts, fancy tights or stockings, false eyelashes, eyeshadow or even eyeliner.

In the PC as in the National Front, a language of hatred is developing which can only confuse the friends of France and its culture.

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO of Euro Disney.

And what does the accused respond to these attacks? The president of Euro Disney, Robert Fitzpatrick, does not allow himself to be dismantled. “I’m perverse: I love France!“, he confides to the Figaro April 9. Sweeping away the accusations of discrimination, the American has fun with French elitism: “According to you, if we like this, we must not like that. It’s ridiculous ! My children go to the Opéra Bastille or to shows by Ariane Mnouchkine, at the Cartoucherie. But they also go to rock concerts and love Disney parks for fun. I don’t see the contradiction.» More seriously, he points to the «moral shrinkage of France“:”In the PC as in the National Front, a language of hatred is developing which can only confuse the friends of France and its culture.“As for the intellectuals who are up in arms against Mickey, they are friends who do not deprive themselves”to ask him for places on the slylaughs the future president of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.



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