Tuesday, 12 July 2011

St. Basil's Cathedral and Disneyland: Celebrating Kitsch

Google this morning brings us an image of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow (right). Seems it was consecrated on July 12, 1561, or 550 years ago today.

It's quite an impressive construction, but I must admit my first thought was that Google was directing us to Disneyland (left).

I remembered that it opened in July back in the 1950s, and thought Google might be giving the nod to the only theme park that Walt designed and supervised directly. My family visited there a couple of years after the opening (which actually was July 18, 1951) and I remember being absolutely enchanted. All fake, of course, with lots of borrowing from elsewhere.

Certainly there's a huge irony in the resemblance with the old cathedral in Moscow, since Disneyland was conceived at the beginning of the Cold War, during a time when anything Russian was suspect. Maybe Disney thought nobody would notice resemblance, given the black out on information crossing the Iron Curtain. Maybe kitsch is bigger than borders.

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