Copyright ©1998 by Carl Hiassen; Copyright (P)1998 NewStar Media Inc.
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...
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.
This is probably the best business book I've ever read. Its attitude and bias are right out front, and the color and anecdote is the best ever.
The story of business should be told like this, where you can see the method AND the madness. There's community impact, there's scandal, there's conspiracy, there are insane laughs and Insane Clowns.
I couldn't recommend this more highly.
While the content of this book is good, the delivery is terrible. It sounds like the narrator is using a 1960’s microphone or is speaking through a VOIP connection – and this is downloading the book at the best quality level. While the book is cheap with only 2 audio chapters, wait until it’s on sale and then don’t expect much.
First off, this audiobook sounds as if it was recorded in one of the porno booths the author goes on and on about. Terrible audio quality! I also found it creepy that this author attaches sexual lingo and references to almost every other sentence. Just kinda creeped me out!
Oh yeah, I also want to echo another reviewer who said BITTER MUCH?
Save your bucks for something else!
Although it was interesting to hear about the pervasive effect that Disney has on modern society, the overall bitter tone of the book was fairly annoying. This was intensified by the narrator, who tended to read the more bitter passages in a whining voice. This is clearly not an example of objective reporting. Regardless, I found much of the information to be quite intriguing, especially in regards to Disney's many failed ventures and in describing the political structure of the company.
Carl Hiaasen has turned my world upside down! His comments and anecdotes are so wild that I'm sure he's well on his way to achieving his Lifetime Ban from Disneyworld! I'd love to hear more and to delve more deeply. Who knew! It is all very interesting, but in the end, I'll still go to Disney World and enjoy every minute.
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