May I Have Your Attention Please? We live in an attention economy. As a company in the media space, we understand this, and we understand how important it is to be thoughtful of how attention is used: May I Have Your Attention, Please?: Forget everything you know about time management.(NYT, $) And 5 Cheap(ish) Things to Help Get Rid of Distractions: You and your phone need a break. (NYT, $) And a great essay on Different Kinds of Information (Collaborative Fund)
Disney Dumbo Review: Please bear with me as I consider myself only a student of serious cinema. I saw the movie earlier this week with my family as we lucked into pre screening tickets. The movie is pure spectacle and entertainment much like all Disney productions. The movie was of a movie and it had a scene of a movie within the movie. All of this got me thinking just how much we as humans desire to be entertained and distracted. We actually want to deliberately lose our attention. And we pay lots of money to have others distract us. Fascinating.
The scene that both my boys (6 and 8) really enjoyed was the bubble scene. This scene is an incredible visual and audio experience. The closest the movie got to simulate what it is like to be at a Disney theme park. The six year old smiled and laughed with sheer delight. It was as if Walt Disney possessed a magical device that could simulate the awe-entertainment-happiness area of our young boy’s brain. I personally derived absolutely no enjoyment from watching the movie or the scene. I’m a Scrooge when it comes to entertainment spectacles (Ain’t nobody got time for this…is how I think, or Bah humbug). I was there simply to spend time with my family and it was worth it to endure the Disney flood of orgiastic lights just to watch the joy on my son’s face. Much of life is simply about showing up on time and being present (which isn’t easy).
My wife essentially has a graduate student degree in Disney theme parks. For her the park is a study in optimization of time and space. She explained to me that the new Dumbo movie had many theme park references: a seemingly random train song, Fantasia references, the actual Dumbo ride itself, and many other references that only the initiated could understand.
She was able to answer the only question I cared: why did Disney make another Dumbo movie? Her explanation which I think is absolutely correct is that no one knows anything about Dumbo anymore. The original film was released in 1941 a few months before Pearl Harbor. Dumbo hasn’t been relevant for a couple decades if not more. My kids had no idea when they went to the theme park last year who is this Dumbo and quite possibly wondered why is this ride at Disney? This movie is a capitalist and cunning tactic to make the theme park and Disney more relevant. And hence more money (I gotcha Disney). Everyone wants to be relevant. Achieve relevance by being present. Not just for stories, movies, and theme parks. But also for parenting and relationships.