Friday, August 15, 2008

The Little Trash Compactor That Could

or: Why I love being Liberal

I never thought I'd write in defense of a Disney movie. I'm not vehemently anti-Disney, like some people I know(Big Business is Big Business, even if it has big doe eyes and a cute little tail). I just, well, you know, it's just cartoons to me. Anyhoo, our little one finally discovered the Pixar movieography. Her Daddy, in a fit of fatigue, let her watch Finding Nemo on the TV and since then she's pondered the cinematic stylings of Cars, Toy Story 1 & 2, and most recently, Wall-E.

Wall-E was a big occasion in our house. It was the first REAL movie, by which I mean we got dressed and went out TO THE MOVIES with (mostly) real popcorn and snacks and a big screen and big, comfy chairs. We weren't sure if she'd even sit through it, but we figured we were willing to take a chance with the matinee prices. To say it was a big hit is an understatement. The other night she gave her new Wall-E robot a bottle and laid it to bed on her pillow. It's a plastic robot. Not a cuddly, orange stuffed fish or even a red-haired Jesse doll. It's a plastic, yellow box with eyes. They sit in the rocking chair together and rock.

Now, I figured I'd like it. I laughed at Toy Story. I thought it'd be cute. I just never imagined it to be so affirming of my liberal, family values. Naturally, the conservatives hate it.

Sean O'Neill's, Your Guide to the Wall-E Controversy, breaks it down for you. Don't think for a minute that this is the same as the Southern Baptist's boycotting Disney for it's thinly-veiled gay characters and gay friendly employees benefits. According to some on the right, this movie represents the downfall of Moral America as we know it. I didn't think people still called other people pinko, radical commies anymore. I was wrong. In a nutshell, the criticism falls into three categories: 1) If you're an environmentalist, or even if you just recycle, you're anti-modernism and want the human race to go back to living in caves. 2) It's anti-fat people, because all the humans left in space are fat and lazy and 3) it's hypocritical, because Disney is marketing lots of Wall-E stuff, cheaply made in China and destined to fill landfills forever.

Possibly #3 is true, although in my experience, I've seen far more Cars merchandise recently than I have for Wall-E, even though Cars is two years old, already. Certainly, Disney/Pixar is far from dominating the market on "Cheap Crap from China". As for #1 and #2, well, humans are, overwhelmingly, destroying the planet and we are becoming more and more fat and lazy. Childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate. There's a scene in Wall-E that shows the spaceship's nursery and all of the babies are suspended in walkers, watching TV. If you consider today's baby carriers, that go from home to car to store to home again, without the baby ever being touched and 90 percent of toddlers watching TV "regularly", it's not so farfetched.

Some on the other end of the spectrum say, "It's just a simple love story," but I don't buy that either. Even without the Otto the Autopilot's obvious line of "stay the course," it's a movie with a message. A message that what we're doing to our planet is awful and very, very sad. A message that love is stronger than ignorance. But most of all, the message that you should never, ever underestimate the power of one person to change the course of history. As Margaret Meade said,

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Summer smorgesbord

I just cooked up some butter sage pasta, a recipe that I got from this blog-The Inadvertent Gardner. It was amazingly simple and good. Then I fried yellow squash rings from this huge squash we got at the organic farm coop we belong to. I just dipped them in egg and then flour with salt and pepper mixed in. I fried them up in crisco with a little bit of olive oil. Then, because I was inspired by her squash blossom story, I went and "harvested" 2 pumpkin blossoms from the front yard.

The pumpkin is a mystery. Yesterday, we just suddenly noticed it was growing in the corner of the front yard, behind a box shrub. Possibly, it's from last year's pumpkin which was in an advanced state of decay when we finally threw it out.

Anyway, the blossoms were delicious. I hope the farmer's market has some. I can't wait to try stuffing them.