Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hail to mankind!

With the release of Pixar's sci-fi fantasy WALL-E comes the latest public flogging of mankind as wasteful, stupid, evil monsters aimed squarely at children. Setting aside the logical fallacy intrinsic to its Malthusian theme, there is the vastly more troubling Bambi redux that is Pixar's ninth film.

Humans in WALL-E are either fat, consumeristic, wasteful boobs or amoral, short-sighted plutocrats. At least we've grown more complex since our days as callous hunters in Bambi.

Bambi convinced generations of children of the ultra-rousseauean idea that primitivism equates to virtue (setting aside the obvious fact that mother nature is a murdering, rape-mongering sociopath) and that animals, in their simplicity, are more sensitive, heroic, and loving than we could ever be.

It's the "all you need is love" philosophy of the world. Complexity be damned!

What WALL-E attempts to do isn't just to take that a step further and condemn humans outright, it also diminishes our greatest achievment... the business and the businessman. This is the theme that I find most troubling and it isn't unique to Disney or Pixar. 

Corporations are often potrayed as greedy, recklessly tyrannical, abusive, malevolent pushers of soul-crushing conformity. While I don't dispute that many corporations have acted immorally, is that unique to them? Are businessmen more prone to evil and destruction than they average person? 

I propose that this line of thinking is not only appallingly wrong but also destructive and evil. Movies like WALL-E teach millions of children that not only are humans bad, but that their most ubiquitous socio-political creation, the corporate world of capitalism, will inevitably lead to a nightmarish end of ecological disaster and meaningless consumption. 

*UPDATE: I was incredibly tired when I wrote this but I'm going to leave it in this mangled form because it amuses me to read it like this. I hope you enjoy it as well.

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