The most interesting statement was "We hate tourists when they're here, but we hate them even more when they aren't." But after writing that, Elizabeth Randall drops the subject, and goes off on a rehash of the Sentinel's series.
I would have loved to see her really explore that point instead.
The idea that the billboards are reflecting (or creating) a culture of tourism-hate is MUCH more interesting. What a fascinating observation! I have always viewed those billboards as reflective of society's increasing interest in "high wire" rides. If one was to adopt a more Freudian view, one would assume that these visions are latent symbols of aggression towards tourists. Freud would probably say that even thrill rides themselves are deep-seeded manifestations of death instincts. I wish the author had explored the idea further. I am not sure I agree with the article but interesting nevertheless.
(Schadenfreude is a great German word for 'enjoyment at the troubles of others.' It's the type of word that writers for publications like Salon typically delight in using, so I'm surprised the author didn't use it here. After all, it's pretty much the topic of the piece.)
My question is, who enjoys the greater schadenfreude? Those who live up in Lake Mary and Altamonte, who rarely make their way down to Lake Buena Vista and I-Drive, or the folks who live amongst the tourists and make their living off them?
My opinion: Let's just say that a true sadist ain't gonna miss the opportunity to spend as much time as possible among the suffering.
Homer Simpson: No, I do not know what Schadenfreude is. Please tell me, because I'm dying to know.
Lisa: It's a German term for "shameful joy," taking pleasure in the suffering of others.
Homer: Oh, come on, Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt!
Homer: What's the opposite of that "shameful joy" thing of yours?
Lisa: Sour grapes.
Homer: Boy, those Germans have a word for everything.
(Yes, I know I am a dork. Thanks for asking!)
I thought the article was a bit moronic. First she insults tourists in a horribly unfunny manner, then she whines about them staying away. Then she goes on and gives an example of how little money Orange County receives from the state. Ummm, then the problem isn't with the tourists, but with your government, lamebrain! Later she admits the tourists are coming back, which started happening a whopping two months after the attacks. She doesn't mention, just like Disney doesn't ever mention, that the problems started BEFORE the summer of 2001. Disney hotels were below 50% capacity throughout summer. Then to top it all off, she tries to end the whole thing the way it began by showcasing the differences in advertising methods both before and after the attacks. "Before" are those "thrilling" billboards that line I-4. "After" are those cutesy-poo Park Hopper commercials on television. Problem is, those commercials have been around for about two years. Nothing like a lie, or poor research, to make you not trust a word of the rest of it.
This woman clearly has Schadenfreude out the ying-yang. She hates the tourists when they are there. Hates them when they are gone. Hates her government. Hates DOING anything about her government. Hates the town where she lives. Hates the theme parks that made the town where she lives. Yet, she DID use the phrase "To be fair."
I've got to get off my butt and go pitch something to Salon about theme parks.
My impression of the article is that it is a cheap shot at the locals as well as the tourists. Central Florida has a lot more going for it than the author lets on although to hear her tell it, the place is full of angry, frustrated people. The author should confine her therapy sessions to the psychologist's office and get some Prozac.
As a native Orlando resident, I was embarrassed to read the article. Not only does it contain gross exaggerations, but it presents an extremely one-sided view. Most Orlando residents complain about tourists at one time or another, but comments are generally confined to their driving and/or tipping habits. Furthermore, most of us realize the economic benefit provided by the tourists and choose to take the good with the bad. That is, after all, why we choose to remain living here.
I was on holiday in Orlando during the terrible events of september and within three days of the Attacks and the subsequent ban on flights, I-Drive started to resemble a ghost town, with no new arrivals many of the Restaurants and other attractions seemed virtually empty. One restaurant owner told me he was working at 25% of normal business level!
All I can say to the whining Journalists who wish the tourists were not there is:
Be very carefull what you wish for as one day you just might get it! What then?
Personally, I think the people of Orlando should be very proud of what they have created, they are some of the friendliest and most genuine people I have ever met.
I look forward to visiting again when finances allow.
I know what you are saying regarding the influence tourism has to the success of the Orlando area and I agree with you but 11/09 also kept the locals and US nationals away.
We were out there with my fiancee's family who are from Georgia and they, like many, were in no mood for fun.