The other night, Dana and I watched V for Vendetta. That was a sobering movie. For anyone living under a rock, it’s about a totalitarian conservative Christian fascist future England where people are routinely rounded up for, among other things, being homosexual, being non-Christian, being an immigrant, listening to music or reading books on official censor lists, and the media controls the public through a skillful mix of fear mongering and propaganda. (Sound familiar.) The film rumored to be released right around the time of the London Underground bombings, but they delayed the release a good six months in one of those weird life-meets-art things.
At any rate, there’s a particularly subtle and chilling scene where Stephen Fry, a closeted homosexual, tells Natalie Portman that if he’s caught harboring a known fugitive, he’s got bigger things to worry about: he owns a copy of the Koran. (Needless to say, movies that hit on the suppression of freedom of speech and religion get me.)
The movie hits pretty close to home. A totalitarian state whose populace is kept in line through fear and the media. Conservative Christian pundits and talking heads preaching about the Glory that is England, a good, moral, just, and above all God-fearing nation.
So thinking on that, I was going to write about my old holiday favorite, the trumped up and imaginary War on Christmas. But then I found out that our own talking heads are far more disgruntled by, of all things, penguins:
On the November 20 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck said that Happy Feet, an animated film about a dancing Emperor penguin, is “propaganda” and an “animated version of An Inconvenient Truth.”
Here’s the bottom line: it’s a movie about penguins. That’s right. Penguins. And it’s an animated movie about penguins. Not some feel-good-about-yourself documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman with more obvious meanings. Remember Madagascar? Of course not. It was movie about a bunch of animals who escaped from the Brooklyn Zoo and somehow ended up in Madagascar. It had some pretty weird subliminal “propaganda,” too, but I doubt if America’s children are going to be seriously emotionally scarred by the film. Well, maybe the film, but probably not its message.
Oh, and by the way talking heads and pundits, I’ve got two very important things to say: first, if you’re going to be worried about anything even remotely related to Happy Feet, I suggest being worried about how George Miller went from writing and directing the Mad Max movies, to Babe, to Happy Feet. ’cause that’s just weird. And second, global warming isn’t propaganda. It’s fact. And it’s a fact for the very children you’re worried about because, chances are, the effects of global warming the rising sea levels, the devastating storms, the increase risk of communicable diseases, the famine, and the ensuing riots by displaced peoples will be your children’s problems. They’ll suffer the consequences of your inaction and failure to realize the truth and in turn do something about it. When they think back on their parents who had the chance to change the future, they won’t think to themselves, “thank God dad got that awful penguin movie banned!” They’ll think, “why didn’t my parents, in their position of extreme influence and power, do something to save my future?”
So shut up and get to work. Your children will thank you.