Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I love how these thinkers put subliminal messages in harmless children's films. We went to see Wall-E, so excited that it had finally released, and left entertained and enlightened.

Now I'm the type of girl who is borderline apathetic when it comes to politics. Okay, that sounds bad, and it's not necessarily true. I like to be a little deeper-than-surface-informed so I can appear versed in conversation and aware of any pending global disasters, but other than that, my life doesn't revolve around NPR and CNN.

And I'm certainly not the type of person who likes to get involved in political and social debates, unless they are nonspecific social issues. As I've said before, I love the who, the what, the where, the when, but I'm not a big fan of analysis or philosophy of issues that are out of my control.

However, this animated feature got me thinking. Perhaps my mind is so simple that that's what it takes to get the cogs turning in there.

Without giving too much away, the movie is centered around a robot of sorts designed to collect trash and deposit it into compact squares. He is alone on the earth as giant, world-wide, intergalactic cruise took the world's population on what was supposed to be a seven-year tour of the galaxy, but ended up lasting 1000s of years. This cruise is sponsored by a global monopoly brand that controls banks, supermarkets, clothing stores, and you get the idea. It controls pretty much every aspect of commerce. (I get the drift that this brand symbolizes Wal-Mart, or at least what it has the potential to become.)

On this cruise, humans are strapped to these hover machines that, according to the pre-cruise infomercial, were originally intended for the elderly and disabled, but are now taken advantage of by every human too lazy for walking even the shortest distances. A multitude of robots cater to their every whim--even toothbrushing! Perhaps the real kicker, they are equipped with screens mere inches from their faces that pretty much make them oblivious to their surroundings and send subliminal messages to dictate the latest trends and ideas.

Oh, and did I mention? Everyone appears morbidly obese.

I believe the writers intended this film to highlight the lazy unoriginalists Americans are becoming. Influenced by American capitalism and the increasing consumer monopoly, convenience and pleasure trump physical well-being and intellectual growth at an alarming escalation. A case I am currently working on has opened my eyes to the media's slant on things and their ability to influence an entire country to place their trust blindly on a screen plastered with faces they know better than their next-door neighbors' and ideas that are textbook examples of the power of suggestion.

In all actuality, people are so self-absorbed that I wouldn't be surprised if soon we are all equipped with computers that feed us the same knowledge set and ideology and deprive us of human interaction, independent interests, and creative expression.

The question is this: Is it truly deprivation if Americans don't seek those things to begin with? I propose it's time for humankind to buckle their bootstraps and live. Watch sunsets, not chick flicks. Play sports, not Lost reruns. Trust genuity and innovation over people you don't even know. Technology is good for keeping people informed, connected, and entertained, but it's easy to confuse media assertions with truth and lend more credence to electronics than human intellect and essential good. They know the power and credence they have over the masses, so it's crucial to remain unbiased and not develop the pessimistic slant they seem to place on most issues.

Ultimately, it's important for people to be mindful of their dependence on talking screens and talking boxes, or at least be mindful of how much time and opportunity pass them by as the rest of the world remains in motion.


Allison said...

I liked this post. It was very insightful and got me thinking about how technology and the media have affected my outlook and what kind of influence the power of suggestion has had on my own mind.

I'm with you though; if a Disney/Pixar movie causes me to question and think independently, without getting too deep into esoteric philosophical discussions that go around in circles, I'm thrilled. If NPR could do the same for me while adding songs, cute characters, witty dialogue, and the occassional musical number, that would be even better, but I won't keep my fingers crossed!

Thanks for posting!

Dr. G said...

The greatest disservice I see is an increasing reliance on media to live for us, rather than living ourselves.

Computers allow for interaction with the outside world in amazing ways. We shop on the net, read news, interact through opinion forums, watch movies and play games....all the while missing that opportunity to interact live and in real life with others.

We lose countless opportunities to do things of a "higher" or better use of our time and talents because we are dwelling in the world of the screen. Yes, with all its influences in play.

OK Chick said...

I've heard good things about this movie. The Cousin went to see it last weekend. She said it made her want to recycle more! I hope to see the movie soon.

How is the running coming along? I'm running a race tomorrow. It's an 8K

Emmeline said...

I'm not sure if you saw my reply to your comment or not, but it said that I bet you know The Runner, or at least who he is. I'll have to facebook you to let you know who it is!