I've worked for Disney Direct Marketing since September 1999. Prior to that, I was a social worker for twenty years. I was gradually pushed out of my profession because of downsizing due to managed care and management's ability to obtain younger social workers less expensively. I came to Disney disillusioned and fearful for my economic security.
Although I took a cut in pay as an inexperienced telemarketer, I am actually paid almost as much as a state-paid social worker with experience. I have very good health, vision and dental benefits (something I didn't have as a social worker), a 401(k) and a pension fund. Besides that, I have several T-shirts, sweatshirts and a dress that were given to me via "paw" dollars earned for perfect attendance and other promotions. We are fed pizza or have a catered dinner from Hy-Vee when we work weekend evenings. Michael Eisner sends us Christmas cards with free tickets to Walt Disney World. We also are allowed to purchase merchandise from our catalog or online with a 35 percent discount. We get a 20 percent discount at the "brick and mortar" Disney store.
I was surprised at how little worth is given to a social worker, who works very hard in sometimes very dangerous conditions, in comparison to the empowerment given to a Disney employee. "Cindy Rella" discussed the importance of "pixie dust." Can you imagine a career that affords an individual the chance to bid namaste daily to close to one hundred strangers from all over the world, simply by beginning a telephone conversation with "Welcome to DisneyStore.com! My name is Dorothy. How may I help you?"
God willing, I'm going to work for Disney Direct Marketing for several years to come.
I won't enter into a theological or philosophical discussion here, but I would like to ask one question. If freedom of speech or religion or expression means that only those whom the ruling body (51 percent in a democracy) approve of, how then does this differ from the rights enjoyed under the Taliban? Do they not recognize the rights of people they approve of to express themselves? Doesn't Saddam Hussein extend that privilege to his obedient citizens? Didn't Hitler? What meaning could any kind of freedom of expression have if it doesn't protect the rights of those whom the ruling body finds objectionable?
I know safety is the lame excuse the City of Olathe uses to justify its actions. I mean, don't people have a right to be safe at any cost? The answer is no. My European ancestors came to America in the 1600s, and they didn't come to be safe. They came to be free. Ben Franklin said, "Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither." He was a man of character.
Kansas City, Missouri
Critical pass: First of all I would like to commend Andrew Miller on his Critic's Choice highlighting the Harum Scarum show (March 29). Great job. Now I must comment on how disappointing it is that a whole page has not been dedicated to the bands that frequent the Pirate House.
Right now in Kansas City and Lawrence, we have a developing music scene that is all at once critically important and almost completely ignored. It includes bands such as the Syndicate, J.B.K., Short Bus Kids, Esoteric, Element, Olsen Terror, Sobriety Check, New Morning Changing Weather, etc. The kids in these bands write lyrics that read like everything from political manifestos to humorous editorials of American life and everything in between, as well as being actively involved in community (not to mention national) activism. If it weren't for some of these kids, Kansas City/Lawrence would never have seen the likes of Food Not Bombs, Critical Mass, rallies for worker solidarity (anti-exploitation/ homogenization protests -- e.g., Starbucks, The Gap, etc.), the People's Rally or the anti-FTAA rally.
What these people are doing is important. It just makes me wonder why it is not uncommon to see a whole page dedicated to vapid, vacuous pop vomit like Destiny's Child (Shawn Edwards' "Child Star," March 22) who already have our attention via Pepsi commercials, MTV, Spin, Rolling Stone and every other publication that rests the nuts of major labels on its chin, when bands that are actually worth something are walking around in your own backyard, receiving nearly no coverage.
Kansas City, Missouri
When New Times took over, I think everyone was sure that any local coverage would be completely lost. It seems the Pitch has a die-hard crew in its music department that is making damn sure that won't happen.
Congrats also on the success of the pre-Klammies pub crawl. That night, I had more fun walking around Westport, checking out the other bands/clubs/fans, than I think I have had in ages. Incredible turnout. Again, thanks for the support.
Kansas City, Missouri