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COLUMN

Happytown

The gurgle and pop of Democratic balls, the rattle and wheeze of a Disney challenge and the distant sound of justice dying in Florida

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Still, it does mark a welcome move for the seemingly mooted Democratic Party and its circular-firing-squad dance; also, caucuses are fun?

“We are designing a system that will very much help motivate our voters [to] participate in the process like never before,” an eager Jotkoff jacked off to the Times. “This allows us to organize and energize Democrats across Florida.”

Do you smell barbecue? We do.

If you plan on seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean flick this week, keep this in mind: Somewhere in Orlando, one man is fuming. And no, it’s not the über-jealous jock stealing glances at his girlfriend when Johnny Depp appears onscreen, but rather, Royce Mathew, a former Hollywood B-film producer who now lives in Altamonte Springs and has dedicated the last eight years of his life to proving that Disney stole the guiding idea for Pirates of the Caribbean from a short film that he produced nearly 20 years ago. “It was the best damn work I’ve ever done,” Mathew says.

The logical retort is that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland predates Mathew’s claim. But Mathew says the core concept of the movie franchise (cursed pirates who turn into skeletal ghouls by moonlight), as well as the characters themselves were pirated 
from his work, which he had first pitched to Disney executives in 1993. The recognizable elements from Disneyland’s attraction, he says, are merely ornamental.

We last wrote about Mathew in 2004, not long after the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released. Since then, he has sued Disney twice, writing more than 400 pages about the saga, most of which he has dumped onto the website disneylawsuit.com, along with shot-by-shot comparisons of the two movies. Predictably, Disney outfoxed him in court – after all, it employed Sandy Litvack, former antitrust chief of the Department of Justice, as legal counsel. (Disney did not respond to Happytown™ for comment.) In mid-lawsuit in 2005, Disney released a book titled Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, which, according to Mathew, alters history in Orwellian fashion by imposing the movie’s “supernatural pirate” theme onto the rides, which he says were originally intended as just a collection of pirate-themed vignettes.

Mathew says he is now working on a documentary to “expose” Disney for what they did to him. “They were fucking with [my] mind,” he says. Obviously.

While the Florida legislature has done some radical things this session – outlawing bestiality, offering a hefty chunk of the prison system to private companies and so on – it was unable to make perhaps the most radical change of all: splitting the Florida Supreme Court into separate divisions for civil and criminal appeals. The move would have also dismantled existing judicial nominating commissions and given Gov. Rick Scott the ability to appoint not only the entirety of the new commissions, but also three new justices. In other words, court packing.

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