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Trouble in paradise

December 3, 2010

Layout view of Celebration

The town of Celebration in Florida, which is both famous and notorious (depending on your ethical and political persuasions) as the Disney Corporation’s ideology made material, has seen both its first murder and a fatal police shoot-out in the last few days.

First, a 58-year-old man, Matteo Patrick Giovanditto, was found dead in his apartment, apparently murdered, and just days later, one Craig Foushee, a man 52 who had had marital problems, barricaded himself inside his home and fired several shots at police before turning the gun on himself.

Some reports mention that Celebration is the utopian epitome of ‘new urbanism’, except that it has always seemed to me more like a parody of the new urbanism, a version taken to ridiculous and paranoid extremes with its enforced neighbourliness and codes of conduct and property maintenance.

And the apparently unconnected events read like the start of late J.G. Ballard novel – Cocaine Nights or Super-Cannes – with all kinds of poison bubbling under the perfect postmodern surface of this nostalgic, branded ‘retroscape’ (Brown and Sherry, 2003).

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