It seems as though an amusement park’s critical acclaim is related to the quality of their themed areas. Busch Gardens Tampa has designed their different sections to resemble the jungle, Disneyland has worlds like Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Have-Your-Wallet-Raped-By-Donald-Duck-Land, Six Flags Magic Mountain is themed like a place where you can be robbed by gangs of 13-year-olds. With all the investment in original landscape architecture and designing rides to suit the surrounding area, how come there isn’t a Jewish-themed area at any amusement parks?
I don’t think Jew World, Shtetl-Land or Schmuck Jerusalem would be too out of place at one of America’s fine summer attractions. Busch Gardens Europe, which is near Virginia Beach, Virginia, a place that would prefer to bomb Europe, has themes for Native American Canada, Italy and a decidedly not Jew-friendly Germanic village. I was personally very impressed by the authenticity that came with the german shepherds barking me on to the Alpengeist roller coaster. Why not add a little section of the park for the chosen people? Or, rather, let me ask like more of a Jewish mother: Would it kill ya to make it a little more Jewy?
Holiday World in Indiana has themed areas for different holidays. Christmas, Halloween and the Fourth of July are all represented with rides like The Voyage and The Raven. Why not tack on a little bit of Yom Kippur World? Ride the Starving Scream Machine and Raging Rabbi where your train has to outrun a vengeful God because you snuck a sandwich into temple. Then you get lunch at the Screw-It-It’s-Close-Enough-To-Sunset and risk Jew Hell for some brisket.
I understand that there are two main issues with implementing this kind of theming. One is that people who love amusement parks tend to not like Jews very much. Every time I go to Six Flags Great Adventure, I nearly get stabbed to death by New Jersey’s and Philadelphia’s roving gangs of 13-year-olds who decide to settle their turf wars while waiting in line for Kingda Ka. They are seldom doing so because they’re fighting over prime Bar Mitzvah dates on the Jewish calendar. Second, people want to associate thrill rides with fear and adrenaline and it’s rare that these emotions can be elicited by a mention of the Hebrew people.
Any Jew who has ever brought a shiksa home to meet their grandma can attest to the fear that the children of Israel can instill. Maybe if we start influencing the teenage visitors of amusement parks, we can make a long-lasting change to the perception of the fear factor of Judaism. Thirteen-year-old American teenagers tend to be the most vocal, racist, offensive, self-involved idiots in the world. The reason that stereotyping and bigotry exists is mostly thanks to this future generation of America’s leaders. These morons also happen to be the prime demographic for Six Flags attractions. If we can somehow start getting these half-brained 13-year-olds to say stuff like, “That roller coaster is scarier than a Jew on Easter,” then maybe we can affect Judaism’s perception in society.
I am not trying to get more people to hate Jews, trust me, that side of the public relations effort is well-saturated. But what I want is to have a more fearful reputation. Something that would instill a bit of intimidation. Imagine how you would react if you heard, “Our star quarterback can’t practice on Saturday because he has to go to temple.” I still want you to feel afraid but for the exact opposite reasons. What I want is for a young, single, white girl to be walking down the street alone at night, see a guy with a yarmulke walking in her direction and have her cringe with fear while clutching her pepper spray and not just because it’s a delicious varnish to matzoh.
Theme parks are one of the places we could start to implement this reputation of fear. We have rides like El Toro in Spanish-themed areas of Six Flags, Runaway Train in the Old West and Ninja in sections inspired by the Orient. It shouldn’t be that much of a stretch to add The Kvetcher in Little Israel, The Stomach Ache in Schmaltzy Tel Aviv or Why Haven’t You Called Your Mother? in The Shtetl.
The trains could have a cool theme to them. Everyone could bring down their shoulder straps, which also doubles as a tallit. The long curly payot sideburns could be flying along the edges of the roller coaster. The massive first drop could be designed to shape a hook nose. The long line could show clips on screens of people complaining about long lines (“Oy, we’re waiting in line for this?”). Then at the end of your heartburn-inducing thrill ride and want to buy your picture at the end of the ride, you have to haggle with the salesman behind the counter who judges your entire personal finance.
As things stand right now, Judaism doesn’t instill the kind of intimidation in sports, crime, and pop culture that other races and ethnicities seem to have monopolized. The people that set these sorts of trends are the same 13-year-old racist and homophobic idiots that fill America’s greatest theme parks and water parks every summer. If we can start theming our scariest rides, areas and attractions after the Chosen People, maybe we can make a difference.