December 4, 2006

Corrupting mumble

By: Jason D. Fodeman

Exhausted by the seemingly never ending political season, frustrated by Republican repudiation of the brand of conservatism that led to victory and a brief stint as the majority party, seeking refuge from the shoot ’em up, slash ’em up world of Hollywood entertainment, I decided to get away from it all, relax, clear my head and enjoy the innocuous cartoon flick, Happy Feet. Alas, it was not to be! Within thirty minutes it became clear that the cute leading character portrayed in the commercials was little more than a front penguin for the left wing environmental agenda.

Meet the newest spokesperson for the politically correct crowd. He is the type one can appreciate regardless of personal biases: warm, affable, loveable, and cuddly. He has a smile that would elicit the trust of even the most cynical in the audience. His charm is so disarming there is no necessity for subtlety. Unsuspecting moviegoers have reason to be suspicious this holiday season.

His name is Mumble, a dancing penguin who doesn’t fit in a world of singing contemporaries. Mumble cannot cut it at singing school and quickly finds himself isolated and alone. Out of nowhere, the plot takes a sharp verge to the left. The movie goes off on a rant about how the penguins are starving because man comes with his machines, takes away their fish, abuses the birds, and imprisons the malcontents in glass cages. Mumble ultimately is transformed from loner to advocate for prohibiting fishing and preservation of the habitat. Pardon the pun, but there is something fishy about Happy Feet.

Nothing in the movie’s marketing blitz that propelled it to the number one grossing film in the country in its initial week of release, gives a hint to its true agenda. The movie does raise legitimate debatable issues. The problem is there is no debate. It is presented as black and white, a fait accompli: fish good, fishing bad, pristine wild life good, machines bad, penguins with food good, people seeking penguins’ food bad.

Whether the issue is global warming, drilling for oil, or pruning the forests, the drumbeat is constant, deafening, unrelenting, overwhelming, ubiquitous, and primarily one sided. Hollywood elites, the mainstream media, and academics spin their leftist ideology as gospel, failing to even acknowledge that there is another side. In a world where many are starving, people need food to eat. People fish to earn a living, to support their families, pay medical expenses for a sick child, and to provide housing. Of course, that argument is never mentioned, not even in passing. People don’t watch a cartoon with a critical eye, so even a subliminal lesson has no trouble being absorbed. Impressionable youth and many adults take it at face value. People grow up brainwashed thinking this or that is bad, unless, of course, they are the ones that lose their job because of the spotted owl or have to move because of the suckerfish.

I don’t know if humans cause global warming or not, but I do know that no one can predict with any degree of certainty tomorrow’s weather let alone the temperature fifty years hence. Fifty years ago experts were predicting a new ice age.

I feel sorry for the penguin, but the truth is there are other issues. You can’t fault environmentalists and their sympathizers for continuing to use the indoctrination strategy to support their position, even though using a fluffy friend to appeal to still younger disciples is absolutely shameless. It is the obligation of those with a contrary opinion to be more vocal in pointing out its cost in jobs and inordinate gas prices. Now is a good time for concern, before Carrie the Caribou strolls down the red carpet to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy.

The point is there are real issues here deserving of objective discussion and analysis. But until that debate occurs, what is presented is the usual left-leaning politically correct rhetoric, which is not merely preaching to the choir, but regrettably stacking the pews.

As one of the lead characters in Happy Feet observes, “It’s just not penguin!”

Jason D. Fodeman is author of How to Destroy a Village: What the Clintons Taught a Seventeen Year Old, and a medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.