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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Onion on Wall-E

The Onion has an article discussing the various controversies surrounding Wall-E, with its portrayal of a polluting megacorporation and fat infantilized humans. But while the Onion is normally excellent, author Sean O’Neal drops the ball when commenting on the criticism of Disney’s exploitation of the merchandising rights.

But, uh, I thought all of that stuff about factories destroying the environment and the evils of non-biodegradable plastic was just a horror story concocted by liberal Nazis out to scare us into acquiescence? Does the hypocrisy of the film’s promotional campaign somehow mean that we’re not facing an eventual solid waste crisis? Is this the same logic that dictates that, because Al Gore travels by jet, he’s wrong about global warming?


He’s obviously never listened to anyone debate hypocrisy. The same people who believe in open relationships, easy divorce, and loose sxeual mores freely criticize conservative politicians who divorce and remarry trophy wives, or who have affairs or visit call girls.

So let me summarize the argument for global warming. I don’t believe the world is seriously threatened by human CO2 output that contributes to global warming. I don’t believe we’re on a precipice, and that we must take immediate action else the planet is doomed. And apparently, neither does Al Gore, since if he really believed that, he would both reduce his carbon usage (by staying in a house small enough for his family and Secret Service protectors, use one extra room for an office, use existing hotels and conference centers for larger meetings and parties, fly commercial instead of Gulfstream) and contribute to carbon-negative causes.

So I don’t believe Wal-Mart is the doom of mankind, but if Disney does, they are hypocrites by bringing in tons of cheap garbage to promote its intellectual property.

Stick to humor, not political analysis, Onion.

Bonus: From the comments:

I wasn't surprised to see some people over at National Review have concerns with the film but I think WALL-E is kind of a blank slate that you can take lots of different messages from. Buy N Large is obviously a monopoly and free market conservatives would see the movie as showing that bad things happen when there's no competition. Also the Buy N Large President and the Ship Computer could be interpreted as cultural elites that dictate how the rest of humanity should live, a notion that you'll see talked about a lot in conservative circles. The humans in WALL-E have lost their ability for individual thought which is a classically liberal idea that is valued by both sides of the political spectrum. Also, WALL-E never really gets into prescribing solutions so you really can't say that the movie is advocating some sort of vast government program to control consumption. The end credits imply a blissfully happy green planet but there's not enough detail in there for either side of the political spectrum to claim WALL-E for its own purposes.

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