America's 'Disneyland Dream' Is Dead

Frank Rich: 'Outrageous gap' between rich and poor makes a joke of it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2010 12:22 PM CST

(Newser) – The death of Robbins Barstow, an American dad whose home movie of his family's vacation to Disneyland in 1956 is in the Library of Congress, has Frank Rich lamenting the loss of the American dream. Or more precisely the Disneyland Dream, as Barstow labeled his film. Watching it now brings back "all the sunny idylls of 1950s pop culture," but something deeper than nostalgia is at play, writes Rich at the New York Times. It recalls an era when "economic equality still seemed within reach" for the "vast middle class."

"The sense that the American promise of social and economic mobility was attainable to anyone who sought it permeates Disneyland Dream from start to finish," writes Rich. Sadly, that's no longer the case. "The Barstows of 1956 could not have fathomed the outrageous gap between this country’s upper class and the rest of us." President Obama wants faith restored in the American dream, but that won't happen "until we once again believe, as they did, that everyone can enter Frontierland if they try hard enough, and that no one will be denied a dream because a private party has rented out Tomorrowland."

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