Pirates and the PC Controversy: Guest Post

I am thrilled to present my first guest post, written by my good friend Heather! Read the article, and then show her some love on her blog! All photos in this post were taken by, and should be credited, to her. 

Chasing PC vs. Removing Authenticity- Where do we draw the Line?

Hello to all the readers of Arielle’s blog out in the digital world! I was so excited when Arielle asked me to be a guest writer on her blog! Arielle is such a wonderful writer, so for her to appreciate my own writing enough to want me to post on her blog meant a lot.

For those of you that don’t know me that have read Arielle’s books, I am that roommate (and now Disney bestie) Heather she happens to talk about in her books every now and then. For those of you that don’t know me and haven’t read Arielle’s books, my name is Heather. Former cast member at Animal Kingdom, world traveler, life contemplator who likes to write about random things that happen in her life.

And oh yeah… you should definitely check out Arielle’s books if you haven’t. I’m in awe that she’s written one, never mind two. They are great memoirs of all of her fun (and not so fun – sometimes due to me – lol!) adventures at Disney.  But it’s okay! Despite my faults Arielle still loves me and I know she knows I love her too!

So anyway… Arielle asked me to share my voice about my opinions concerning a pretty big change happening at our beloved Walt Disney World.

pirates of the caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean first made its debut at Disneyland on March 18, 1967. Fun fact… did you guys know it was originally supposed to be a walk-through museum???? (I know right?!?!) And for those of you that are very big fans of Walt himself, it’s also the last ride Walt oversaw and worked on before he passed away in December of 1966, even though he never got to experience the final project.

In 1997 it underwent refurbishment, which changed the “Pooped Pirate”, a man exhausted from chasing women around, to now holding a treasure map. You can hear him say “This map says X marks the spot, but I be seein’ no X’s afore me” as you ride by. And the woman who was hiding from the man in the barrel now has a small treasure chest with her. (If you ever want to see the original scene, it’s still unchanged at both Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.)

However the major change to the ride at that time, which I’m sure some of you remember, was the chase scene between the pirates and the wenches. The wenches now chase the pirates, as we all know.

pirates of the caribbean jail scene

Now in 2006, Pirates of the Caribbean underwent a HUGE change inspired by the movies. Many changes were made to the ride at the time and many have been made since to include some movie elements.

I’m personally a huge fan of the “essence” of the mermaids being present with their tails flipping in the water and them humming their song at the beginning. I think it makes it extra dark and twisty, which I love.

I’m not sure the changes were or have since been received well by all die-hard Disney fans, but most people have become accustomed to the modifications and realize they aren’t going anywhere at this point in time. While I haven’t loved all the changes to the ride since the movies have been released (I think they are beginning to take the Jack Sparrow thing a bit too far), they still haven’t changed the essence of the ride. So for the most part, I can live with it.

pirates of the caribbean

This brings me to the overall point of my post. Disney has made a very BIG announcement surrounding one of my all time favorite rides and I’m not sure I can get behind the change.

We all know the iconic scene in Pirates where you float by and see the pirates participating in an auction for women. As you slowly ride by on your boat you hear one of your favorite lines from the ride in the distance. “We wants the red-head!” and my personal favorite quote from the auctioneer: “Weigh anchor now, ya swabbies. What be I offered for this winsome wench? Stout ‘arted and corn-fed she be…”, and the best one, “Shift yer cargo, dearie, show ‘em your larboard side.” – Man am I going to be sad to see those go.

pirates controversy

Now I get it. We live in an age where most people are shouting feminism and equality from the rooftops, so having a ride where men auction off women would probably in this day and age wouldn’t be well received, but this ride has some authenticity to it as well.

It’s definitely an over-exaggerated version of the life of a pirate, but again, there is still some history there and it seems like we, as a society, are trying to go above and beyond trying to erase the things we’ve done throughout history, rather than teach the next generation that we have made mistakes, as will they, and are working hard to not continue making them, (hopefully), as will they.

Now we all know about how Walt was for progress and change. Captured very well in one of the most underrated Disney movies ever, Meet the Robinson’s, in the most famous quote from the movie, “Keep Moving Forward”. For those of you unfamiliar with the quote it stems from a longer quote by Walt.

   “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keep leading us down new paths.”

How much do you guys love Walt? Just reading that quote and thinking about everything Disney does chokes me up a little bit. He was such a visionary. I swear I would give up anything just to pick that man’s brain for 10 minutes.

Anyway… back to the point at hand. Like I said, I get it. We are a society that is moving forward as a whole and Disney is usually leading the way with a lot of progress we make in society because they are such a prominent business within it, but isn’t there also something to be said about preserving our history? Not just the exaggerated history that the ride portrays, but also Disney history.

That scene is something we all remember from our childhood. It’s one of the very few places in the ride where I actually have the dialogue memorized. That’s how near and dear it is to my heart.

I wonder where the line is drawn; where we need to cave into the demands of the masses of our society to be politically correct and relinquish a piece of our history for it. Many things throughout history were not politically correct. We don’t teach the next generation that it didn’t happen. We teach the next generation that what we did was wrong.

Not to mention, this change also alters some of the authenticity of the ride. Pirates were dirty. They chased wenches. They auctioned off women. It allows us to experience something we might not have been exposed to in the past (in a fun way), while not over-exposing us to the dirty details, and I truly feel like if we continue as a society to continue to please the masses, we will sacrifice a lot of why we enjoy Disney so much. Because it allows us to escape to other worlds in a safe and fun way, and I feel like this change is going to take away from some of our authentic experiences.

As I said before… the ride has undergone some heavy changes in the past (most predominately with the addition of movie characters), but those changes, until this point, haven’t altered the experience… and I think this time it finally might.

I’m sure this wasn’t a tough choice for Disney to make. I mean, with today’s society I completely envision why they are doing it and understand, but I also don’t think it’s a change that needs to happen, and Disney might be jumping the gun a bit.

Who knows? Maybe it will be great for the ride. Only time will tell.

 

What are your thoughts on the recent announcement of the change? Let me know in the comments!

-Heather

About the Author

Thanks everyone for reading. I hope you enjoyed! I know you’re used to listening to Arielle, who is a much better writer than I am, but I appreciate Arielle having me here for the post!

If you’d like to follow my blog come check me out at https://downtherabbitholewithbbg.wordpress.com.

Be aware if you do that it is not Disney related most of the time, although occasionally it can be. The “Down the Rabbit Hole” refers to my mind (LOL!) and I do not filter my language on there. It’s not always present, but a foul word or two can pop up every now and then.

4 thoughts on “Pirates and the PC Controversy: Guest Post

  1. Thank YOU for writing! We got 64 views yesterday, which is a record high for a small blogger like me! Any other articles you may have in mind, just let me know!

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