Zootopia Might Not Take The Political Stance That You Think It Does.

  • In this movie the police heroes abuse their power routinely, bunny threatens to falsely testify against fox, and this is hunky dory.  And even together with the mafia, our “heroes” threaten someone with death to get the answers they want (or is it just Waterboarding, not lethal? Whatever).  No way that could go wrong!  What is this, 24 with Jack Bauer?
  • Two opposing government conspiracies in the same story?  Yet, somehow, both conspiracies seem to point in the same direction:  in our real world, both of them are the kinds of conspiracy theories that paranoid anti-social-justice people would believe in:
    • 1) people hide evidence of biological differences, even when they are dangerous
    • 2) people falsely create evidence of oppression by using False Flag Operations, to gain power!

      Hmm.

Though that doesn’t mean we should cheer for the villain.  Using False Flag Operations is still villainy that we should despise.  And, as the main character does, we should strive for some kind of harmony (something like Meta-Utopia is one way to do that) even if there were extreme biological differences, and even if there are a few dangerous people in a group.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag.  Some of those issues are only troubling because of the real world context we find ourselves in.

A few personal notes:

  • disappointed it was all mammals!  I wanted reptiles and such!
  • The different climates in Zootopia reminded me of a Meta-Utopia!  🙂
  • The movie suffers from Convoluted Blockbuster Syndrome.

Other points to maybe consider:

  • “kid fox wants to be an elephant” seems very pointed at transness.  Though (somewhat realistically) it turns out to be a “troll”, not sincere.
  • The main theme is bunny’s dreams/aspiorations I guess.  For a while, that was captivating me a bit, since that tension between hope for dreams and despair is where I find myself a lot.  But the movie just seems to say “Lean In!” I think?
  • And those damn cell phone apps these days!  Making the police front desk person distracted, har har.
  • And I was even put a bit off by how extremely they portrayed the hippie guy at the nudist place.  Gotta put LOTS AND LOTS of flies around his hair!  Make sure everyone feels that CRINGE!
  • a plant-based chemical turns normal people into savages.  Reefer Madness!  We also see them growing it in a secret drug lab.
  • The pro-tolerance protests started by the celebrity singer seem to run counter to reason, because aren’t the facts clear that there is a SUDDEN EPIDEMIC that is hurting prey?  I guess you could argue that the epidemic is still statistically very small, maybe not worthy of such concern?
  • the fox gets flashbacks to his childhood trauma (of being treated like a dangerous savage when he wasn’t) while looking at images of an animal that actually was dangerous and savage
  • does it make sense that both meanings of the clue “night howlers” turn out to be “correct”?  What are the odds?
  • When “biology” is used as an explanation, it’s set up as a plausible explanation that the audience should at least consider (and the one who seems incredulous at first is a huge lion authority figure who is at that moment using his physical intimidation to silence the biology hypothesis, clearly the audience is supposed to be against him).  Remember, inner biological instincts were mentioned in the opening exposition of the movie.*  If they wanted us to think that Judy was jumping to conclusions based on prejudice, not science, they should have made it clear before she said it.

*It almost seems like this facet of the story is crafted precisely as a thought experiment.  It’s like the writers are using the method that the main character from “The Illusionist” uses when getting the authority guy to try to lift the sword.  They hold it just long enough to get people watching the movie uncomfortable, then let it go.  I don’t think I have fully grasped the meaning produced by this in relation to everything else yet.

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Epic Humanism For Calgary

My mind is starting to frequently wander into dreamer territory again.  So I might as well write it all down!

Keep in mind these are daydreams that aren’t yet totally well informed (especially the more extravagant parts).  As such they are filed into a subset of my “Art” category.

So I’ve been thinking that I really want to focus on improving my local city.  There’s a lot of reasons for that.  It’s an important city in the world, it’s where I live and thus have the most access to and influence over, I suspect it would be easier and more effective than focusing on a wider area, and if my efforts are successful, people should be able to copy them into a different city, like a sort of movement.

I’m really annoyed that the people who should already be doing this are not doing it.  The University of Calgary Freethinkers and CFI Calgary don’t seem to care much about issues in Calgary or Alberta.  Why the hell isn’t the local Freethinkers club dedicated to thinking through local problems?  I scroll through their twitter and don’t see anything that identifies them as Albertan or Calgarian or Canadian except for the name.  It’s all a bunch of talk about Trump and ISIS and Gamergate, all this really far away stuff.  They are totally generic.  What is the point of their existence?  Everyone can follow Pharyngula and get all of that stuff already.

While trying to find more like-minded people, I recently found Resolve, which is a thing in Calgary that aims to eliminate homelessness completely.  It takes donations from rich people and makes affordable housing for poorer people, and I’m sure that helps a lot but I don’t think it’s complete enough.  I think completely eliminating homelessness would require an economically self-sustaining system (which means requiring basically no charity at all once it gets started.  This could involve worker owned businesses,  an organized community, and might require lots of other stuff).  Still, I’d like to learn more about them and get involved with them.

Also Calgary as a whole needs an infusion of critical thinking skills, Humanist values, and stuff like that (this is another bare-minimum thing you’d think the local Humanist groups should be doing.  The U of C freethinkers twitter could maybe be categorized as a small dose of this, but I don’t see any effort directed to change Calgarians, they’re lucky if any locals outside their bubble even know they exist).  Instead of just trying to be the “most affordable” city in the world or the “nicest place to live” in the world, how about we try to be the wisest place in the world?  And the most well organized, socially connected, and civically engaged?