Last year, a Fox News panel criticized Sesame Street for introducing a character that taught kids about poverty, and alleged that the film “The Muppets” was teaching your kids about communism. This year, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs thinks two new children’s films, “The Lorax” and “The Secret World of Arrietty,” are indoctrinating kids with an anti-industry message.
“The Secret World of Arrietty” is based on the 1952 series of children’s books, “The Borrowers,” about tiny people who live sight unseen in the homes of their larger human counterparts and borrow things to survive. “The Lorax” is the well-known 1971 fable by Dr. Seuss about the dangers of taking too much from the Earth without giving back.
“Where have we all heard this before?” asked Dobbs. “Occupy Wall Street, forever trying to pit the makers against the takers, and President Obama, repeating that everyone should pay their fair share in dozens of speeches since his State of the Union address last month .. the president’s liberal friends in Hollywood [are] targeting a younger demographic using animated movies to sell their agenda.”
Dobbs isn’t entirely wrong about connections between the film and the administration — the Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with Universal Studios to promote the film’s message of conservation through Energy Star activity books. Dobbs isn’t wrong about Seuss, either — he was well-known to be liberal (Buzzfeed even offers a straightforward re-titling of his books). It is easy to see the parallels between the two stories and that of our current social and environmental movements.
However, some of the Lorax-EPA partnership’s suggestions include eco-friendly suggestions that are actually money-savers for parents of any political affiliation — teaching kids not to leave lights on, and to keep doors and windows closed to conserve expensive heat or air-conditioning. Also, the films are based on popular books on children’s reading lists across America, and have been adapted for the big screen during less liberal administrations. “The Borrowers” was adapted in 1973, 1992, and 1997, and “The Lorax” as a TV special in 1972.
Nevertheless, one of Dobbs’ guests, radio talk show host Matt Patrick, said that the movie’s aim was to create “Occu-toddlers,” and suggested that people buy popcorn and candy and leave their trash on the floor of the theater. Pity the innocent janitors who may suffer the consequences if anyone takes this suggestion seriously.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that calling kids’ films liberal is a familiar song-and-dance for conservative hosts — other films that have recently been criticized include “Cars 2” and “Happy Feet 2.” Never trust a penguin.