I have a friend, a strong environmentalist and all-around lefty of the kind your average conservative talk show host would just love to punch in the face, who has a Lorax tattooed on his shoulder. He got it 10 or 15 years ago, and his ink of Dr. Seuss' exasperated little dude who tries in vain to protect the Truffula trees never fails to win admiration from any and all who see it.
But now Hollywood has come along, and using its impeccable logic—Kids love Dr. Seuss; kids love movies; ergo, kids will love Dr. Seuss movies!—has finally gotten around to making a full-length version of The Lorax. There's a mixed record on Dr. Seuss movies (Horton Hears a Who, not bad; The Cat In the Hat, a soul-sucking crime against nature), but particularly with The Lorax, a rather bleak morality tale with only a couple of characters, they'd have to cram in a whole bunch of humans and events that Dr. Seuss never dreamed of to get it to 90 action-packed minutes. And did they ever; Grist's David Roberts, upon seeing the trailer, called it a "rainbow-barf monstrosity."
But the fact that they've made a movie out of the enviro-rhyming book has made conservatives predictably outraged. Lou Dobbs, always ready to explore new frontiers in bloviating jackassery, sees a conspiracy linking Hollywood, Occupy Wall Street, and the Obama White House, pushing not just the environmental extremism of The Lorax, but also the socialist redistributionism of the children's classic The Borrowers (in its form as a new film called The Secret World of Arrietty) because the tiny little beings steal things like sugar cubes from humans, whom Dobbs believes represent the 1 percent. Seriously.
But as David Haglund says, of course The Lorax is propaganda—that's just how Dr. Seuss intended it, and you couldn't make a Lorax movie that wasn't. Should that bother us? Eh. Lots of what Hollywood does is propaganda of one form or another, and the fact that the town is full of liberals doesn't mean all the propaganda runs in one direction. Half of what the movie industry puts out makes clear that most problems can be solved with the enthusiastic use of firearms. The NRA doesn't seem displeased about that, and I don't hear Lou Dobbs complaining. The upcoming film Battleship (yes, based on the board game, but with aliens) will, I'm fairly sure, portray the U.S. Navy in a heroic light. For every Platoon there are 10 Top Guns. Courtroom dramas send the message that the legal system ultimately produces justice. The propaganda is everywhere.
Anyhow, if you want to get your rainbow barf on, here's the trailer for The Lorax:
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