Title: Dr. Disney
Summary: My job requires me to be distant from my patients, but these are just kids. They’re trapped by the monarchy of what we call, the House of Mouse.
Disclaimer: I am in no way, The Mouse and I do not own the heart, soul, bodies, or minds of any of the Disney family.
Lesson Four: Bureaucracy
Bureaucracy: a formal organization that is designed to accomplish a goal or task by large numbers of people in the most efficient and rational way possible. Bureaucracies are characterized by a high degree of division of labor, specialization, hierarchy of authority, and explicit written rules and regulations. Bureaucracies usually lead to separation of work and ownership, impersonal relations, and alienation.
Primary group: a relatively small group of people who engage in intimate face-to-face interaction over an extended period of time. Primary groups are our “emotional glue.” We call members of our primary group to share good news or to vent. Primary group members are typically understanding, supportive, and tolerant when we’re in a bad mood or selfish.
Secondary group: a large, usually formal, impersonal, and temporary collection of people who pursue a specific goal or activity. For example, employees of a company. In this case, puppets of the House of Mouse. Secondary groups are highly structured, there are many rules and regulations, people know (or care) little about each other personally, relationships are formal, and members are expected to fulfill particular functions.
Sanctions: punishments or rewards for obeying or violating a norm or rule.
Patient: Brenda Song
Bet you never thought I would be writing about her. Why? Because admit it, she's not important. Everybody overlooks her. Even the Mouse.
Honestly, I’m surprised that she’s still here. There’s not really a reason for her to be in my office though. She’s been with The Mouse for so long that she’s been completely brainwashed. Her heart is gone. She has no soul. The Mouse says “jump” she says “how high?” Stuck in the Suburbs? Try Stuck in the Mousetrap. Or maybe Wendy Wu: Homecoming Prisoner. Excuse my bittersweet human, but I just can’t explain how badly I feel for these kids.
Thankfully, Brenda’s one of the better patients. Her story isn’t twisted. She’s just been underappreciated. Out of all my clients, she’s been here the longest, worked the hardest, and for what? She doesn’t even have her own TV show. Personally, I don’t see the point in her staying. The sooner she gets out of here, the better. She’s been stuck here working for the head honcho for years. Her future is slowly slipping away. The sad thing is, she’s completely aware of it. But she’s rather stay with Disney than not be a part of it at all.
A few years ago, she came to me crying, saying that she wanted to go to college. She felt uneducated, like the Mouse was controlling her every move. I handed her a tissue and told her that wasn’t true, that the Mouse wanted the best for her. It was the biggest lie I’ve ever told. She said that she went to The Mouse and asked them for time off to go to college for a bit. The Mouse, which values educating the youth oh so much, told Brenda that she could go, but would not be welcome back. She “chose” to stay, and just took courses online to graduate from college. But ever since, The Mouse has held a grudge against her and she’s been the “background co-star” for almost every project she’s been assigned to.
Now she’s become a robot. She’s told who to date, what to say, what jobs to accept, what offers to reject, which interviewers to talk to, when to smile, when the frown, when to keep her mouth shut, and more.
“What are you going to do today, Brenda?” I ask.
“I’m supposed to do an interview today and get a wardrobe fitting.” She replies.
“No, I mean, what do you want to do?” I urge.
“My job” She says plainly, as if I asked the dumbest question the world. This is what bureaucracy wanted. This is what the Mouse wanted.
“No, no, Brenda, dear, I mean, for fun.”
“My job is fun.” She lies. The corner of her mouth twitches for a second.
“It’s just me and you, Brenda. You can talk to me. Remember, we used to go get ice cream sometimes and you would tell me all your stories.”
“I’m not a child anymore. I’ve grown up. I’ve changed.” She states simply. It’s all so scripted.
“I know you have.” I sigh. And for the worse…
“But… if I could do what I wanted today, I would visit my family. I haven’t seen them in so long.” She whispers.
Brenda’s brothers still live at home while she works in LA. The past year has been quite a tough one, what, with the lawsuit and everything. For those of you who don’t know, some creeper used Brenda’s picture to advertise for a sex site. The Mouse was not amused and filed for a lawsuit. Of course, The Mouse won over the little company, since the rules of bureaucracy state that a hierarchy of authority is in place. And near the top of that ladder, is Disney.
“I know your family misses you too.” I assure her.
“Maybe…” She shrugs. “I haven’t seen them in so long, they could have forgotten I even exist.”
“Now you know that is absolutely not true.” The thing about Brenda’s situation is that because of the lawsuit, The Mouse and the Song family agreed that to prevent any further publicity or conflict, that family and work be kept completely separated. Thus, Brenda was given no primary group interaction for over a year, and was only exposed to secondary group interaction among her managers and the head Mouse directors. The closest thing to a primary group member was me. But I wasn’t even allowed to interact with her, because the doctor/patient relationship has to be so God damn professional. Sometimes I really hate my job. I really… really… do. At times I don’t even know what I hate more, the dictatorship of the Mouse, or the fact that I work for it.