News The great Happy Feet conspiracy

Ivan Seeking

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The great "Happy Feet" conspiracy

On the November 20 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck said that Happy Feet, an animated film about a dancing Emperor penguin, is "propaganda" and an "animated version of An Inconvenient Truth." Beck then discussed the film with Bob Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, who told Beck that "[o]f the 50,000 things affecting America's youth in negative ways today, I don't think the penguin movie is probably on that 50,000." Thompson then told Beck: "I don't think this story is going to get you a Peabody [Award]." [continued]
http://mediamatters.org/items/200611210008?offset=20&show=1

What role should Hollywood play in helping to educate the public about important issues? When is Hollywood educating, and when are they spreading propaganda?
 
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devil-fire

What role should Hollywood play in helping to educate the public about important issues? When is Hollywood educating, and when are they spreading propaganda?
the difference between "education" and "propaganda" depends mostly on if the viewer disagrees with the political correctness of the views shown in the material. the film "lord of war" can be seen as educational to americans and as propaganda to russians, regardless of its factual content. as for the educational role hollywood should play, i think thats impartial. hollywood movies aren't funded by government and no one is forced to watch them, so i don't think hollywood "should" or "should not" be responsible for any sort of education.

if happy feet has a lot of political points being put forward and is turning young children into mindless penguin activists, i think its up to the parents to explain the context of the movie to their children, or just not take their children to see the movie. basically if parents are worried about the content of the movies they bring their kids to see, they should take the time to read some reviews or plot summaries about the movie first.
 
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All penguins are meat-eaters and hunt krill, a tiny shrimplike animal, and fish.

But commercial overfishing of the seas around Antarctica, in particular, is putting increasing pressure on fish stocks and thereby reducing food for penguins. Scientists warn that increased harvesting of Antarctic krill and fish could trigger a catastrophic collapse in the entire marine ecosystem.
I have seen both "March of the Penguins" and "Happy Feet" with my grandson.

"Happy Feet" tells it like it as far as the food situation. Since the movie was for younger kids, I would imagine it led the producers to save the penquins in the end. In the real world this isn't going to happen.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/11/061116-happy-feet_2.html

Beck is the one spouting propaganda
 
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if happy feet has a lot of political points being put forward and is turning young children into mindless penguin activists, i think its up to the parents to explain the context of the movie to their children, or just not take their children to see the movie. basically if parents are worried about the content of the movies they bring their kids to see, they should take the time to read some reviews or plot summaries about the movie first.
I doubt the movie about dancing and singing penquins will start an activist movement among our 5 to 10 year olds. In the movie there was a problem with food supply for the penguins. That problem ,as I stated above, was resolved.

If anything the movie will make the parents and grandparents more aware of the fact that we are overfishing the oceans.
Edit: BTW global warming was not even mentioned in the movie.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/11/061128-fishing-video.html
 
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russ_watters

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the difference between "education" and "propaganda" depends mostly on if the viewer disagrees with the political correctness of the views shown in the material.
Those two words have objective definitions and your statement next on "factual content" is one key to differentiating them. It cannot be educational if the content is not factual and what makes something propaganda is mosly the tone/argument style (use of logical fallacies). This is the same fallacy we see over and over in the politics forum: facts and definitions do not have a point of view. They are what they are.

Anyway, as to the OP, I would have to say that movies are movies and even those presented as documentaries should not be viewed as though they are educational. Even movies such as "An Inconvenient Truth" - I'm sure Gore believes in his purpose, but his movie has a goal of persuasion, not dispassionate education. Whether he uses propaganda techniques or not, I don't know (I haven't seen it), but you cannot trust a person to educate you who has a personal adjenda and is not an expert in the subject matter he is presenting.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Those two words have objective definitions and your statement next on "factual content" is one key to differentiating them. It cannot be educational if the content is not factual and what makes something propaganda is mosly the tone/argument style (use of logical fallacies). This is the same fallacy we see over and over in the politics forum: facts and definitions do not have a point of view. They are what they are.
The facts according to whom? There are many controversials issues where, being that they are controversial, the facts are not clear. And what level of agreement is needed among scientists before opinions can be stated as the agreed upon facts; such as the with debate over AGW. And who says what level of agreement exists?
 
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http://mediamatters.org/items/200611210008?offset=20&show=1

What role should Hollywood play in helping to educate the public about important issues? When is Hollywood educating, and when are they spreading propaganda?
Well since we are living in a free speech society that is entirely up to Hollywood.

Making movies with anthropomorphic animals will give children a completely false impresison of animal life.

In the times we are living we can be already happy that they did not decide to include things like "happy gay penguin families with babies" as part of their agenda in this movie. :smile:
 
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Ivan Seeking

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And what about those in Hollywood who are trying to be socially responsible?

For years I have listened to people [including me] complain about distortions of the truth in movies and on television. So now is your chance to say how things should be in an ideal world. Of course we value freedom of speech, but what of those who wish to speak correctly? To whom do they turn?

Entertainment is a powerful tool for education.
 
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And what about those in Hollywood who are trying to be socially responsible?
Perhaps those should look for a different job, become priests or rabbis. And often "socially responsible" is simply an euphemism for telling others that your morals and views are the right ones.

So now is your chance to say how things should be in an ideal world.
Well to me the real world is the ideal world.
But I have to admit that I do get the feeling sometimes that the world would be a better place without those social engineers and other individuals who think they have the source to the ultimate moral code.

Of course we value freedom of speech, but what of those who wish to speak correctly? To whom do they turn?
If they want to do that in a movie why not make a documentary? I have not seen "Happy Feet" but I did see the "March of the Penguins" which I thought to be an excellent documentary.

Entertainment is a powerful tool for education.
Schools are the place where education takes place. "Hollywood" is the place for entertainment.
 

LURCH

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We vote with our dollars. I saw March of the Penguins, and recomended it to all my friends. I also saw Happy Feet, and regretted it, and said so to anyone who was considering going to it. To me, it did seem like propoganda.

I wanted to see Red Planet, but it was only showing in IMAX and the nearest one is 50 miles away. I'm hoping the success of films like these will bring back the old-fashioned documentary to the theaters. But in the end, they are only movies.

However, I would strongly caution any parent against taking their child to see both Finding Nemo and then Happy Feet, in which Nemo and all his friends get eaten alive by the heroes of the film! I mean, how confusing is that; in one film, humans are killing fish, and it's hideous villainy, in the other film, the main characters are killing fish, and that's the happy ending!
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Perhaps those should look for a different job, become priests or rabbis. And often "socially responsible" is simply an euphemism for telling others that your morals and views are the right ones.
I'm talking about science, not morality. Get off your high horse.
 

DaveC426913

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Making movies with anthropomorphic animals will give children a completely false impresison of animal life.
Gwan... Next you'll be telling us that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy warp our children.

Children assimilate and understand the concepts of reality vs. fantasy as their minds become more sophisticated.
 

Gokul43201

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I mean, how confusing is that; in one film, humans are killing fish, and it's hideous villainy, in the other film, the main characters are killing fish, and that's the happy ending!
I'm confused! Which film describes humans killing fish as the hideous villainy?
 

russ_watters

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Forgot about this thread....

The facts according to whom? There are many controversials issues where, being that they are controversial, the facts are not clear. And what level of agreement is needed among scientists before opinions can be stated as the agreed upon facts; such as the with debate over AGW. And who says what level of agreement exists?
Well that's jut it - if there is no clear consensus about the facts, then that needs to be made clear. Pushing a position as if there is a firm consensus on the issue is just as unethical as pushing a fact that is generally accepted to be wrong.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Forgot about this thread....

Well that's jut it - if there is no clear consensus about the facts, then that needs to be made clear. Pushing a position as if there is a firm consensus on the issue is just as unethical as pushing a fact that is generally accepted to be wrong.
Who says when there is a concesus, and when there's not?
 

russ_watters

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And what about those in Hollywood who are trying to be socially responsible?

For years I have listened to people [including me] complain about distortions of the truth in movies and on television. So now is your chance to say how things should be in an ideal world. Of course we value freedom of speech, but what of those who wish to speak correctly? To whom do they turn?
It really, seriously, boggles my mind to hear such things from a liberal. Free speech isn't just free for those who say what you want to hear. You can't have free speech both ways (unless you attend or live in http://www.thefire.org/index.php/case/12.html" [Broken] :rolleyes: ). I would like people to be more responsible too, but you certanly can't just enforce standards for content of speech. That is as straightforward a violation of the 1st Amendment as there can possibly be - the main point is the protection of the content of speech against interference by other people or the government! That's why we have it!
Entertainment is a powerful tool for education.
That seems like a strange choice of words to me. I could see 'could be', 'should be', 'can be', or 'would like it to be', but "is"? Is it? Could you expand on exacly what you mean by that?

I mean, perhaps someone who is deficient in history would watch "Pearl Harbor" and add that movie to their knowledge of history, but I don't think that can really be considered an education.
 
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russ_watters

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I'm talking about science, not morality.
And how does one decide where to draw the line? Should "Passion of the Christ" be banned because creationism is an abomination of science?

Even setting that aside, what is the whole point of movies like "An Inconvenient Truth" or "Roger and Me"? These movies exist to persuade people into changing their thoughts or actions primarily on moral grounds.
 

Ivan Seeking

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It really, seriously, boggles my mind to hear such things from a liberal.
I have probably said fifty times that I'm not a liberal, and you should quit assigning people to little boxes. Do you actually read the responses? And for the record, conservatives by definition support free speech.

Free speech isn't just free for those who say what you want to hear. You can't have free speech both ways (unless you attend Berkeley :rolleyes: ). I would like people to be more responsible too, but you certanly can't just enforce standards for content of speech.
Who said anything about enforcement?

That is as straightforward a violation of the 1st Amendment as there can possibly be - the main point is the protection of the content of speech against interference by other people or the government! That's why we have it! That seems like a strange choice of words to me. I could see 'could be', 'should be', 'can be', or 'would like it to be', but "is"? Is it? Could you expand on exacly what you mean by that?
I did say should be, actually. Did you read the responses? I said in an ideal world, what role would hollywood play? Given that there are people who wish to provide thoughtful, educational material for entertainment, to whom do they turn? You are off topic.
 

russ_watters

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Who says when there is a concesus, and when there's not?
That depends on the issue. If you want to debate whether Pluto is a planet or not, for example, you must at least acknowledge the consensus of the International Astronomical Union, for example.

Just to be clear, here, on what I mean, I'm not talking about setting up laws to decide this stuff (near as I can tell, you are). The guidelines I use are unofficial (and would never be made official) standards of ethics, but are essentially the basis for how the public and the field experts would receive a piece of media. Ie, you can make a movie saying whatever you want about Pluto, but if you call it a planet without mentioning the IAU, you likely won't get their endorsement. And perhaps that would be a good litmus test: if you think you should have the endorsement of a certain group and you don't get it, that should probaby tell you you didn't accurately present the consensus opinion (whether you agreed with it or not).
 

Ivan Seeking

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And how does one decide where to draw the line? Should "Passion of the Christ" be banned because creationism is an abomination of science?

Even setting that aside, what is the whole point of movies like "An Inconvenient Truth" or "Roger and Me"? These movies exist to persuade people into changing their thoughts or actions primarily on moral grounds.
We are talking about science. You stated that the facts are clear. Who specifically provides the facts to be used by the public?
 

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