'Happy Feet': Penguin Propaganda From Hollywood

More Politics Masking as Entertainment

By Pat Cleary Posted in Comments (63) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

It seems that Hollywood just can't make a kids' movie -- or any movie -- these days without some political angle worked into it. The trailers for "Happy Feet," would lead you to believe that it's just another animated film about a bunch of cute little penguins who sing and dance. However, if you believed this, you would be wrong.

Read on...

It all started when someone sent along this page from a Warner Brothers' story board. When we looked at it closely, we realized that the lead penguin (voiced in the movie by Robin Williams) has a six-pack ring around his neck. "Uh-oh," we thought, "Where are they going with this?" Where they were going, of course, is to the place they always go in kids movies -- to propaganda-town. Here's a comment from someone who saw it:

"The Robin Williams character, Lovelace, is shown wearing a littered six pack ring around its neck. Early in the movie, the device is presented as a talisman bestowed upon him. Later, he is shown near death because he has grown into the rings, choking off his air and rendering him unable to eat. Then, the rings become caught on a buoy and later a whale nearly drags him to his death by clamping on to the rings. Does Hollywood send a message that people should care more for the planet and not litter? No! Instead, the movie suggests the rings should be banned."

Of course it does. But what are the facts? From the people who make the rings, we know this:

  • All of these rings sold worldwide are made from a special non-toxic plastic which is 100% photodegradable.

  • Rings exposed to sun, wind and rain will break apart.

  • The risk of wildlife endangerment of any kind is virtually non-existent because these photodegradable rings lose their strength and become brittle and disintegrate.
  • Of course, the film doesn't stop at six-pack rings. One preachy -- and wildly inaccurate -- message just ain't enough. From James Lileks we find out that preachy message number two is about fishing. Crikey. Now we gotta stop fishing, too.

    In any event, we just want to set the record straight. Hollywood isn't really known for its rigorous fact checking. And, this film is a cartoon, after all. We just wanted to make sure that everyone's clear on the facts: Penguins don't really sing, they don't dance, -- at least in the same way that humans do -- they don't talk, and six-pack rings don't choke 'em. What's next, global warming?

    Maybe in "Happy Feet Two."

    « So tell me, Al, what caused all those *other* storms in Earth's history?Comments (17) | Flippers Down for "Happy Feet"Comments (37) »
    'Happy Feet': Penguin Propaganda From Hollywood 63 Comments (0 topical, 63 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

    Of course, the real challenge will be to get the penguins to quit eating fish...

    That new Charlotte's Web movie is coming out, isn't it? After my mom read the book to us when I was about five, I stopped eating pork for a good two days.

    Or was it spiders I stopped eating?

    or hearing word of mouth.

    2/3 of the way through I knew there would be a U.N. symbol at the end.

    You say: Rings exposed to sun, wind and rain will break apart.

    But in how much time, I wondered. Your link actually says:

    When exposed to summer sunlight, a photodegradable plastic ring carrier will begin to lose its strength in a short period of time and become totally brittle in about three weeks. This process takes longer in cloudy, cold winter weather.

    Gee, you think that might be enough time to asphyxiate an animal?

    But most don't grow that fast. Furthermore, in the kind of extreme cold weather such as is prevalent in Antarctica, plastics of All kinds become brittle in matter of hours, not weeks...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    'This process takes longer in cloudy, cold winter weather."

    Temps below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, let alone temperatures as low as Antarctica is known for (-80 anybody?), that rule gets thrown out the window. Simple thermodynamics and chemistry should be enough to tell you that. Experience with such temps is even better, but it's hard to gt in the Lower 48...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    I think just about anybody doesn't want to see garbage in the water when they go to the beach. I'm not sure if these plastic rings actually kill birds, but I think we can all agree that we shouldn't be putting them in the ocean.

    It's a cute movie and a lot of fun. Supposedly we are all intelligent, moderately educated people. The OP says there are problems with this movie. I suggest that there are Opportnities...

    Opportunity 1: Use the 6-pack ring to reinforce anti-littering behaviour with your kids. So what if it's inaccurate? Kids react well to cute critters being hurt.

    Opportunity 2: Use it to teach your kids about proper conservation. Intelligent, Reasonable conservation, not Greenpeace conservation.

    Opportunity 3: When your kids ask about extreme measures like getting rid of 6-pack rings or eliminating the fishiing industry, use it to educate them about those things. Perform an experiment with a 6-pack ring (though most of them now have the easy break strip things, if you know what I'm talking about). Hey, a lesson on the scientific method!

    Every problem is merely an opportunity that has yet to be taken advantage of. Try it sometime.

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    O no!
    A children's movie is trying to tell our kids global warming is real!!! How dare they put a message into movies. Movies are never suppose to be about a moral message but only about destruction and jackass style antics...

    O wait movies are suppose to have to do with morals. I wonder if any of you have seen Its a Wonderful Life??? What a propaganda filled movie there dont you think

    When's the last time you saw any of these things touted as a positive in a movie from Hollywood?

    Free trade
    Tax cuts
    Domestic oil & gas exploration
    Small businesses (not in conflict with big business)
    2-parent families with a mom and a dad, not 2 moms or 2 dads
    Adoption instead of abortion
    Gun ownership
    Big business
    American military might overall, as opposed to the individual soldier
    Republicans

    And how many times have you seen those things portrayed as a negative?

    Many of us are bl**dy sick and tired of seeing the stuff we believe in routinely p*ssed on by Hollywood, where the only good moral is a hardcore liberal one.

    ---
    Internet member since 1987
    Member of the Surreality-Based Community

    Again I will point to Its a Wonderful Life
    You have a person that runs a business who instead of trying to gain money he thinks it is more important to sell cheap homes to people who cant normally afford them.

    How is that Conservative? It is very "liberal"

    The big banker is upset because the small banker is undercutting his business. It promotes competition before monopolization.

    That said this is not a major developed theme in this morality play, which is more about having hope and faith in the face of despair.

    Hey, Hollywood is mostly liberal - of course they are going to make movies that support their point of view. The best thing is to go see movies that support yours - they are out there. I don't remember the name of the rich guy who began financing good family movies that he liked - I know the Narnia movie was one as well as 'Because of Winn Dixie' but there were several others.

    Lilo and Stich - a Disney movie no less - is a fairly obvious case of adoption vs abortion and throws in and evil government agent as the baddy who wants to break up a family.

    This is going back a bit, but the original Battlestar Galactica show was a clear advertisement for 'Peace through strenght' and suggested that the Jimmy Carter types would get us all killed.

    Evil prevails only when good men do nothing.

    but it's also clear that the writers and actors all think they are making points for liberals.

    Are you kidding?

    teaching that lies are true, like the current Goering-would-be-so-proud meme that Global warming is scientifically proven and only fools question it's reality, is quite another thing.

    The idiots propogandizing that crap don't even know what the cyclical variation in the luminosity output of the sun is*, let alone factor it into their equations. Their models don't work forward from past data without "massaging the data" and other tricks that would make a Ptolemist proud.

    *They can't, because we don't have a long enough time line on the nuclear reactions occuring in the sun to provide us with a reliable cycle.

    They were, after all, doing their best with what tools they had. It's not their fault that it took forever to invent telescopes, calculus, the scientific method and the numerical concept of zero.

    The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

    ---
    Internet member since 1987
    Member of the Surreality-Based Community

    http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-scglobal.artnov26,0,4929310.stor...

    I found this article on the front page of the Hartford Courant, whereby some New England states and some Senators (including Joementum) are suing the EPA to have carbon dioxide (CO2) regulated as a pollutant. Their petition was first denied by the EPA itself, then they lost twice in the Court of Appeals, and now the case is going before the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Even Joel Lang, the "staff writer" for the liberal rag, admits that

    "The notion that CO{-2} is hazardous once would have seemed nonsensical; the gas is as vital to plant life as oxygen is to animals. But both cases arrive at a time when the debate about global warming has shifted from whether it is actually happening to whether it is nearing a "tipping point," guaranteeing future havoc."

    Connecticut State Attorney General writes in his notes with a meeting with New York State AG Eliot Spitzer that

    "We were talking about global warming - terrible problem - we need stronger statutory protection in Congress - difficult to achieve in the political climate"

    Both the Courant staff writer and Blumenthal admit that winning this case would have little practical effect:

    "But victory in either one would have little immediate practical effect, because changing the nation's fossil fuel energy habits is such an enormous task.

    "It's not like if the Supreme Court rules in our favor, the next day CO{-2} will be outlawed in our country. Far from it," Blumenthal said. "It just means the EPA has to begin its rule-making procedure."

    Hopefully, SCOTUS (including new Justices Roberts and Alito) will have the wisdom to realize that "changing the nation's fossil fuel habits" requires an enormous investment in alternative energy sources, and would be devastating to the national economy if it was imposed by judicial fiat, while the cost of adapting to an Earth a few tenths of a degree warmer would be far lower (if needed).

    Previous Supreme Courts have been long on opinion and short on science, rejecting the argument that an unborn child was a "person" needing protection while seeking "emanations" and "penumbrae" (in plain English, stink and shadows) in the Constitution allowing women to abort their babies.

    The problem with the Supreme Court is that Justices base their decisions on legal, not scientific grounds. There is no evidence whatsoever that carbon dioxide is toxic--if it was, it would have to be banned from soda pop, and the 18th Amendment would have to be reinstated against beer. But if five Justices could be misled into believing that Earth would experience a catastrophic meltdown from CO2 emissions based on twisted statistics of hockey sticks, and climate models that have failed to predict PAST climates, we could all be forced to live like the Amish by SCOTUS, including breathing all those "emanations" from horse-patties in city streets. By the way, methane (from animal dung) has a much stronger heat-trapping effect per unit mass than carbon dioxide, but it's not PC to mention that.

    Does anyone here have any ideas whether this case stands a chance (it was defeated by one-vote margins in the Court of Appeals), and what needs to be done to persuade the Justices to rule on the side of scientific and economic sanity?

    The bad news: Conservatism is hard to sell. The good news is that it works.

    The Connecticut State Attorney General is Richard Blumenthal, which I forgot to mention in the previous post. He is one of the leading lawyers for the petitioners.

    The bad news: Conservatism is hard to sell. The good news is that it works.

    I didn't know anything about it. I'm not what you would call an environmentalist but I try not to litter.

    I started feeling acutely uncomfortable and even a little guilty once Lovelace was introduced. And say what you want about biodegradable this and that but the message of the movie was not about these six pack rings. It was about littering and over-fishing (which effects humans as much as animals) and trying to educate people on something serious.

    I didn't see any global warming references in the movie, btw.

    Seriously, there has to be something better to complain about than a dancing penguin movie with an environmentalist message. There are much bigger things to be worrying about.

    Would people be complaining if the movie was about break dancing camels and terrorist were drinking all their water?

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
    John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

    in just about any movie if you look hard enough. Read the reviews and if you don't like it don't see it. No one is forcing anyone to go see this or any other movie.

    .. that led to people complaining about supposed racism in the Lord of the Rings movies.

    People will see what they want to see, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily right.

    And your 'equivalence' rationale is how people try to justify slant in the news. "But Fox News is biased too!" Never mind that unbiased studies show that Fox is a good bit less slanted than the rest of the MSM, as anyone with eyes that can see could tell you simply by the fact that there are more liberals on Fox News than there are conservatives in the entire rest of the MSM combined.

    Personally, I'm glad people are posting articles like this. Until I saw reviews, I had no idea what kind of a hard-left-peddling story this movie was, and now I know to avoid it like the plague. What positive contributions are you providing here, dropkickjohnny?

    ---
    Internet member since 1987
    Member of the Surreality-Based Community

    that turn people off from conservatism or conservative thinking. To me complaining about Happy Feet is almost the same as when libs complain about people saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays."

    In the six person office I work at we listen to Glenn Beck almost every morning. He may have his quirks (Teri Schivao mess) but for the most part we all like him. He went on a rant much like the above article, and we shut him off. These rants just don't help the cause and in my opinion take away from it.

    .. that make me cheer the editors here for punting trolls and mobies ASAP.

    Are we just supposed to smile and take it when Hollywood slanders everything we believe in? When the statements they make about the world are blatantly false on their face? When pretty much everything they say that has any political content at all is indistinguishable from the paranoid rantings of Michael Moore and Ward Churchill?

    Maybe you don't give a d*mn about what Hollywood is telling your kids, but some of us do. And if you think it's so sad that people are complaining about _Happy Feet_, how sad are you then for complaining about the people complaining about _Happy Feet_?

    ---
    Internet member since 1987
    Member of the Surreality-Based Community

    Or does everybody involved still think that another couple of twists will get some more water out? :)

    The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

    So you think just because I disagree with you I'm a troll? If that's the case then give me the boot. But last time I checked people could disagree with others and not get thrown out of here.

    Unless you're referring to the royal "we" I think it might be a bit of a stretch to say Hollywood slanders everything we believe in. If that was the case then they would be out of business and you wouldn't have to worry about all the shocking slandering going on.

    Again, at the end of the day if you have a problem with something Hollywood does then don't watch it.

    It spends a LOT of time addressing that topic. See Legolas's and Gimli's relationship, among other things. Look at how the Hobbits are the perpetual victims and kept being told to shuffle on back home and let daddy human take care of the world.

    Now, it's not a Racist movie, but it Does address the topic.

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    Perhaps I am a little gun-shy when it comes to Robin Williams and those who take the same stands he does. It always seems (with him) there has to some kind pol. statement. So, unfortunatly I do look deeper than I should. I do need to lighten up and do what Raven suggested and take it as an oppertunity. I loved the movie "CARS"

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
    John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

    yes by SpL

    "Would people be complaining if the movie was about break dancing camels and terrorist were drinking all their water?"

    OF COURSE.

    Were people complaining about a movie that showed what has been written in the Bible and available to the public for years? Because they were concerned that ADULTS would get ginned up by the message and go out hurting or maligning Jews.*

    People complain about such things: movies, documentaries, WalMart, the weather, the politics of weather, and so on. Scold them if you want but it's possible there may be a better way to use that time as well.

    *(And without the movie having even been released)

    the girls have no interest in this movie, and oldest wants to see Eragon (although she insists that the lead character should not be blond).

    Can't even bring myself to read it.

    Everything I've heard or seen about it says it's some kind of cross between Pern and Dragonlance and I hate retellings of the same old story.

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    then it probably wasn't a "retelling" for them. I don't know that I will read it, because in general fantasy is not my genre (this is where I confess that after multiple attempts I still can't read the whole LOTR trilogy).

    But in general this seems to be the movie the kids would rather see at the moment.

    LotR is a Hard read. Harder than Dune...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    It's a wholesale ripoff of Star Wars, with a Lord of the Rings setting. And looks like the movie will use Harry Potter-ish cinematography.

    Have you read the book or it's followup, "Eldest"? If not I'd suggest you do so before drawing and posting conclusions. I see no manner of linkage to Star Wars at all, except for the age old Good vs. Evil.

    "The government's view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." ~ Ronald Reagan

    I decided to give the trilogy a chance, and I bought and read Eragon about a year ago. I forced myself through Pandolini's awful prose, hoping for a good storyline, and at the end was disappointed when I figured out I could form a 1:1 correspondence between Eragon characters and Star Wars characters.

    I didn't read Eldest. As a good capitalist, I refuse to throw good money after bad.

    I thought so too- particularly after reading Eldest.

    The only difference is that the "Luke" character is given a brother instead of a sister- and this unknown brother joins the dark side- allowing "Luke" a opponent his own age.

    It basically rips off Star Wars with a few changes made to make it "different"- and those few changes cheapens most of the traditional mythology that drives Star Wars as such a great story.

    I was very disappointed. Eragon was digestible, but Eldest was terrible.

    and at first I thought that the fuzzy penguin was gay. Then I relized it was U.N. propaganda.

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
    John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

    At least they left that error out. And the polar bears. I noted a Distinct lack of bears in Happy Feet. Quite the step forward for Hollywood...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    A cluster-something of messages, everything from tradition = error to environmentalism, combined with a mediocre story and an array of ethnically stereotyped if occasionally endearing characters. I asked my eight year old nephew, a very smart kid, if he liked it and he just looked at me and said, "I didn't get it." The only qualm I have with the comments so far is that of all the messages you could throw into a movie anti-littering would seem the least problematic. There is an unfortunate tendency among conservatives to look upon conservation with the same scorn they reserve for environmentalism merely because it is associated with leftism.

    ...and also wondered about the stereotyping from the religious aspects to the ethnic ones. A friend asked me about it and I reported there was lots of good music, cute children penguins, catchy dance numbers, and not much else. Message or no message my kids are too old (4th grade & high school) to have this movie be even a lingering thought.

    My eldest watched Titanic on tv the other night and that was a source of a lot of thinking and discussion about everything from life/death to the arrogance in believing a ship unsinkable and much in between.

    Are cute and lots of fun and...
    well, that's pretty much all they are. Great to watch once. Good for littl kids who just need a little, low energy entertainment occasionally. And not worth the money otherwise...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    His analysis was that it was 5 minutes of funny and 2 hours of putting you into a zombie like trance. I trust his judgement in the matter and will not make an effort to see it.

    Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
    Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

    What troubled me most about this movie when I saw it with my kids, wasn’t so much the environmentalist message, but the anti-religion message it expressed. Mumble’s initial claim that aliens were causing the loss of fish was no more credible than the Elder’s claim that the cause of the problem was due to the the Great Penguin in the sky, but they were written off as being foolishly superstitious, and their beliefs as being ridiculously absurd. Then there was the whole anti-conformity/community message which would be okay (individuality, freedom, and no blind obedience to a leader) if it wasn’t for the fact that this message is shoved down our throats with almost every piece of art being produced since WWII. What about the value of sticking together in the face of a crisis, and working together as a team to triumph over impossible odds; United we stand divided we fall and all that. To be honest I felt like the whole message that we accept Mumbles “Happy Feet’ was an analogy for the liberal crowd’s insistence that we all accept certain ‘Happy/Gay’ tendencies of some people. I couldn’t help thinking that they should have just made Mumble a gay penguin in which he used his ‘gayness’ to save the community of penguins. But the image of Mumble sodomizing another penguin at the zoo, or the inevitable orgy in the final scene back in Antarctica probably wouldn’t play very well in today’s market. Who knows though, maybe in ten years values will change enough so that Kid’s movies with more openly Gay themes will sell better. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind insisting that warning be placed on kid’s movies to warn parents about the anti-religious, pro-gay, and pro-environmentalist themes they portray, so I can at least keep the Hollywood-left from brain washing my kids at such a young age.

    and -- the religion was actually disproven in front of everyone, truly a dream come true.

    Hard to find in movies outside of military ones. Though Star Wars and LotR and Narnia were really heavy on that...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    His presence in any movie is a very strong negative indicator.
    ---
    Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

    And he seems to keep his nose clean where making political statements are concerned...
    At least, I haven't heard him come out and say anything...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    One Hour Photo and the murder mystery shot in Alaska with Al Pacino (Insomnia, I think) were both great.
    _______________________________
    If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

    Can't say I cared too much for them, though. At least he wasn't trying to be funny in either one. That's where he really fails, IMO. His stand up routine from the 70s was unbelievably bad. I'm guessing that's how he got his start.
    ---
    Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

    _______________________________
    If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

    That his Stand-up "comedy" sucks, but he makes funny movies...

    "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    --John Stuart Mill

    I'll never figure out what topics drive the lefty lurkers to start throwing their goop onto the walls. I'd never have guessed that the SECOND post about some kids' movie would be one of them.
    --
    It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

    In the comments on the same post. I tried to figure out the reasoning:

  • He wants to reshape the world penguin community through military force.
  • Once a Troskyite opponent of fishing, he now rejects the continuous anti-piscine revolution.
  • Manufacturers own the means of production, and since, you know, they oppress the workers, but he changed his position, cold, cold, so cold.....
  • Hey, one of the NAM's blogs guys is blogging from Antarctica. Yeah, from the safety the Antarctic Green Zone, I bet.
  • Lovelace? Lovelace? Who else had that name? Well, we KNOW neo-cons hate sex. Right?
  • Lousy neo-cons.

     
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