Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boycott The Lorax

Is there anyone else out there who is bothered by the commercialization of the Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax, into the new movie, The Lorax? I try to be a good consumer and not think about things; just do what I am told. The economy needs to grow, so I must buy things. I need to go to a new movie because it is there for me to see. But the more I think about what The Lorax has become, the more wrong it seems because it is in direct opposition to the original message The Lorax was trying to get across to children.

This is a book that I love. Not just because it is a great tool to introduce children to big ideas like reducing, reusing and recycling. Not because I read it to many students when I was a kindergarten teacher. And it is not because Dr. Seuss plays with words in such an effortless and meaningful way.

I love The Lorax because this book has a heart and tries to get the reader to find theirs as well. I l love it because it helps you to understand that what you do effects the others around you and your negative impact can become much bigger than just you and your wants. This is a book that I have always believed was good for more than just being a kid’s book.

I have to admit that I was excited that this movie was coming out. I was looking forward to taking the family to see it, but then I saw my first
IHOP commercial featuring The Lorax. That gave me something to think about, but I figured that was pretty much the normal for a new movie release for kids. Not popular with me, but I could live with it.

Then I saw the
Mazda CX-5 commercial. Sure it is a 40 MPG vehicle, but The Lorax promoting a car? I thought cars, not just factories belched out "smogulous smoke." Would the character the Lorax have agreed with promoting cars? Greed is what leads to the Oncler’s downfall (and the Earth’s), but the commercialization of this product (The Lorax) is driven by unrestricted greed.

What is funny to me is that I am bashing a movie that Lou Dobbs is bashing, but for the opposite reason! He is upset because he says the movie is liberal and is trying to indoctrinate children into fighting rampant industrialism. I would say the movie supports what he likes, but the book doesn’t. I am thinking he is accidentally on the wrong side of the argument and he is helping the ideals that he opposes. But it could be that the inverse is true as well, that I am actually hurting what is a essentially a good message. Why do things need to be so complicated? Couldn't Universal just make a good family movie with a positive message that doesn't support products that could hurt the environment and promote an endless cycle of greed?

I usually try to withhold criticism for anything until I see what it is all about for myself, but I don’t think this movie is in any way aligned to the book’s original message.

The book points out what is wrong with human wants, but in the end it gives you hope and fills you with a feeling that you can make a difference. Yes, there are environmental issues involved, and human weakness, but the beauty of the book is its simple delivery to children in the form of a book. All of that has changed with this movie into a promotional tool for more products.

I believe in capitalism. If you own a product, or idea, you should be allowed to make money off of it. But I don’t have to buy it, and I am not going to see this movie or purchase any related products that have sprung from the original work because I think it is not what the book is about. I believe that is a boycott. I will also make sure my family doesn’t support this movie or any or the products that
The Lorax represents. It will be a tough fight, and one I might not win, but it just doesn’t seem right.

I think the Lorax would understand.