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Obama administration wanted Disney to remake Frozen as an AGW agitprop

In 1844, Hans Christian Andersen wrote one of his most famous fairy-tales, The Snow Queen. You may remember it – lots of romantic, touching, supernatural characters and events culminating in a happy end. Dozens of movies, including Czechoslovak and Soviet ones, have been shot over the course of 170 years.

In 2013, the Walt Disney Studios have created another (3D) remake called Frozen. Its budget was $150 million but the movie has earned $1.3 billion. A sister and a snowman are looking for the other sister who has some magic freezing powers.

The musical video above has 410 million views – it is not too far from being competitive with a crazy fat Korean rapper and horses.

I just learned about a political story that is sort of stunning. For quite some time, I thought it was a prank but the Internet sources indicate it was not. A special messenger of the Obama administration for the Arctic, Adm. Robert Papp, ordered Disney to shoot a sequel to Frozen that would be promoting the global warming hysteria.

Thankfully, the company answered with the obvious answer: No, it is a fairy-tale so it has its own optimistic rules that reflect the American spirit and the spirit of our company. And the Obama administration is said to be shocked by this answer! Various extreme left inkspillers are surprised because "Disney has been so active in public awareness campaigns". Wow.

For a democratic country that often sings to be the country of the free, it is simply insane.

I spent my childhood in a totalitarian society, in communism. It did try to distort many things and brainwash people at various points. Mathematics, physics, and chemistry at schools were "clean" but history, geography, and other subjects at school were tainted, and so were the TV news and newspapers, of course. But the regime did have the decency not to touch fairy-tales. An extremely tiny percentage of the fairy-tales that were shot since the 1960s had a hidden political message – and as far as I remember, not a single fairy-tale was spreading the communist ideology explicitly. And Czechoslovakia has shot a hundred or hundreds of them.

Now, in the U.S., it's apparently normal for the White House to expect that the most kitschy piece of contemporary political propaganda will be incorporated to the most profitable 3D fairy-tale – moreover one derived from a classic fairy-tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Someone has completely lost his mind. It is crazy at so many levels.

One of the less important ones is the commercial aspect. Frozen is a major recent source of pride for Disney – and a source of more than one billion dollars. It helps to strengthen the Disney trademark. Why would Disney contaminate this trademark success by linking it to the lamest, most boring, and stupidest piece of propaganda? "Years of Living Dangerously" was a 2014 global warming agitprop with a huge budget and lots of stars who appeared in this 9-part TV series. And the number of Americans who watched all of its episodes was 410. Just the single musical video from Frozen at the top got 410 million views. Can you see the difference? Did Mr Papp at least offer Disney $1 billion stolen from the taxpayers in compensations for the crippled image of the company as a producer of arts? Or were they supposed to do so for free?

Second, these are fairy-tales for children. Children don't have all the skills they need to reach a qualified conclusion about controversial scientific and political questions which is why the completed (possible) answers shouldn't be pumped into them. It is simply deeply immoral. Children are supposed to enjoy their childhood which should be free of problems. They shouldn't be constantly scared by something, especially if this scary thing is completely fabricated. Children may be harmed and this harm may worsen their whole lives.

And they should be allowed to decide about controversial questions when they can and when they want. If there's a reason to be worried about the climate change, the present children will see that it is the case much more clearly when they grow up than we see it today, so there is no need to preemptively brainwash them, right? And the children don't vote or otherwise decide before they grow up so why should they be programmed to think in this skewed way? As Disney said, fairy-tales – films for children – are by definition movies with a happy end and no such happy end has been invented by the chronic climate fearmongers yet.

Third, a decent government should have some respect for some of the old pillars of the Western culture. Andersen's fairy-tales shouldn't be raped and abused for the promotion of a political message for the same reason why the Bible shouldn't be used to sell toilet paper or porn. Whether you believe the message or not and whether you like the Bible, it's just distasteful.

Just to be sure, there are tons of people in Disney who actually do buy the climate hysteria and Disney has already produced at least one documentary promoting the global warming ideology. But at least, even these people have enough taste to see that the combination of the 3 points above – and perhaps others – is vastly more important than their faith in a superstition that demonizes carbon dioxide.

Americans, including the Republicans, love to deny it but the arrogance represented by the current left-wing U.S. government and its soulmates in many corners of the American society is largely unprecedented, at least in countries that are still considered democratic.

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snail feedback (27) :

reader Gordon said...

I agree with you except I do not think that this is a left versus right, democrat/republican problem. The Republicans would likely do the same only about a different topic. Unfortunately, the formerly free, democratic countries have been marching relentlessly towards police-state totalitarianism using scapegoat words like "terrorists", "security" etc to justify the erosion of personal liberty, privacy, even thought. The "thought-crime"
enforcement in the film (and book by Phillip Dick) The Minority Report is already here in the form of ubiquitous surveillance technology. The erosion has reached the point where the populace largely is numb and complacent about the threat.

reader RMB said...

Well, it was a stupid idea for sure, a really stupid idea, but no one "ordered" Disney to do it -- the guy "pitched" a film idea, and Disney responded the same way they do to the hundreds and hundreds of crazy, stupid movie pitches they receive all the time -- they said no. That's about as "totalitarian" as, well . . . a Hollywood movie. :-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gordon, maybe you're right and the GOP would do it, too. But has it actually happened? Has an acting Republican U.S. administration ever ask a major company producing mass culture to incorporate a politically divisive message into a blockbuster?

Can you imagine what would happen if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney asked James Cameron to show the value of waterboarding in Avatar II (or someone else in Matrix IV) so that even the deniers see the light? ;-)

It surely sounds nice to say that problems are politically blind except that they are sometimes not.

reader Luboš Motl said...

OK, I think it is not right if the governments "pitch" ideas in this way because governments are intimidating organizations that could actually succeed - and that was the only goal of the pitching, wasn't it?

Films should express the general public's demand and the cultural front's supply of ideas that enrich and entertain, according to the cultural and entertainment-industry meritocratic standards, not political messages that individual politicians and parties find useful to be promoted.

reader RMB said...

Yeah, it was a crazy, stupid idea and governments are obviously terrible at creative endeavors and the last thing they should be doing is pitching movie ideas -- but all of this is far, far from totalitarian. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the movie guy got a raise for saying no to this. You don't have to worry, the folks in Hollywood don't have any fear of the government. They're interested, of course. They want to get tax breaks and they have personal political preferences they want to see implemented, but they are far from afraid or intimated by the likes of government types like this guy.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Maybe... Unless we hear in a week that the person who killed the idea has been punished in some way by someone linked to the government, and the Hollywood will be reminded that it may be afraid of the government, after all.

reader RMB said...

Well, if that happens I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong :-) However, I think there is a better chance they'll make a movie out of it. ;-)

reader Tom Trevor said...

Hans Christian Andersen wrote another story Called The Little Match Girl which is very sad, because in the end the Little Match girl freezes to death. Global warming might have helped her.
There is a huge difference between the government "suggesting" something and private citizens suggesting something. The private citizen doesn't have the power to tax and regulate.
While in theory Republican might do something like this, I can't think of a case where they have.

reader MikeNov said...

It is not a surprise they would demand this, because Disney has already done this. Cars 2 was a flop because they were pushing left-wing ideas. The villain is an oil magnate who wants to discredit renewable energy. The original Cars has sold billions in merchandising.

Disney wisely has chosen not to repeat this mistake.

reader RMB said...

Well, I just forced myself to listen to that guys speech where he told the Disney story. As it turns out, his approach to Disney wasn't about making a sequel or remake of Frozen, or even making any movie at all. What he wanted (and it sounds like a staffer in his office came up with the idea) was for Disney to allow the use of the two main characters to make "public service announcements" -- you know, the ones most of us shut the sound off for when they come on TV :-) He says the Disney guy did say that stuff about optimism and happy endings -- but it seems that they are still in discussions. Totalitarianism at its worst!! :-)

reader MikeNov said...

The closest you have is they allowed networks to sell more ads by replacing FCC required PSAs with messages built into storylines. I suspect this was why Becker had an anti-smoking message, though the writer never confirmed it(and tellingly didn't deny).

reader Luboš Motl said...

Cars 2 had better box office than Cars!

At any rate, I find comments by Think Progress that Disney is a progressive company very bizarre. For me, this is one of the main symbols of the good old corporate pro-capitalist America.

reader Swine flu said...

"Americans, including the Republicans, love to deny it but the arrogance represented by the current left-wing U.S. government and its soulmates in many corners of the American society is largely unprecedented ..."

Deny? Anyone in the US who thinks about these things at all is painfully aware of the ever increasing arrogance of government bureaucrats and agents, and the worst of it is that bureaucracies cannot be changed as easily as the elected officials, so electing a new president is unlikely to affect the trend. The rot is ultimately with the people who are rapidly losing touch with the idea of personal liberty as a core founding value of the country.

Mark Steyn has been doing a good job of documenting selected instances of government gone insane. His writings can usually get you both angry and depressed in less than 15 minutes. As a test, see if any of the following two randomly selected articles of his will do the trick:

reader RMB said...

I read the links and these types of activities are deplorable and do seem to represent a growing, troubling trend. We all need to focus on the protection of our personal liberties, which have been a hallmark of the best aspects of Western Civilization writ large. However, the original post is about a mid-level bureaucrat who asked a Disney guy if they would let their "Frozen" animated characters do a couple of, you know, 30-second "Public Service Announcements" to air occasionally on TV. They said no, but they are still talking. I suspect not even Mark Steyn (who undoubted would find the political message distasteful) would claim that this is similar in any material respect to things like, for example, the murder and strip searching of blameless US citizens.

reader Swine flu said...

Hollywood spreading progressive agenda is indeed not much of a trend, it is more of a done deal. Yet, generally speaking, culture wars are an important ingredient in the decline in personal liberty, so one must stay engaged on that front too.

reader davideisenstadt said...

your perception lags reality....disney an inveterate antisemite and homophobe would spin in his crypt if he knew that his company was run by the jew eisner...
It is quite surprising that disney refused to buckle under to the fed's requests.

reader MikeNov said...

Flop is too strong a word, however, the expectations were much higher. The gains for Cars 2 are all in the expanded foreign market. Plus if you account for ticket price increases, the overall response was less. BoxOfficeMojo gives the US grosses as substantially higher for Cars than Cars 2. Compare to say Toy Story 3.

reader MikeNov said...

ESPN is owned by Disney and they are always pushing various left wing causes. Surprising that they hired Rush Limbaugh at one point.

reader John F. Hultquist said...

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, owns 7.69 percent of Walt Disney Co. She (+ 4 kids, I think) is the largest shareholder.

Lumo wrote “Third, a decent government . . .”
Prey tell, where might we find one to those?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Well, maybe it lags, maybe it's because my overall historical picture of the Disney Corp is still rooted in the good old times because the SJWs who run it now - and sorry, I won't memorize the name you wrote because I have never heard it and I don't find it important - in recent years haven't beaten those things yet.

reader Smoking Frog said...

for the same reason why the Bible shouldn't be used to sell toilet paper or porn.

I wouldn't be surprised if they could get away with using characters from the Old Testament in toilet paper commercials.

reader davideisenstadt said...

that may the case Lubos...however Imnot alone when I note that the corporate culture at disney has changed in the forty or so years since walt died.
BTW you had some really good thoughts on greece, especially since they came from a supposed physicist.
yeah...your incapable of handling macroeconomic policy analysis...too deep for you.

reader Luboš Motl said...

It doesn't seem like a good analogy. Characters are OK. The analogy would be to sell Bibles with a commercial for a porn magazine inserted between the first verses of Genesis.

reader davideisenstadt said...

Dear lubos:
Im not sure why my prior response was removed. Perhaps the sarcastic tone didn't come through too well?
I've always agreed with your basic premises regarding greece, and fiat currencies, and I find your macro analysis to be insightful and correct, more than I can say about most analysis I come across. This is not surprising, since the field of economics is filled with mediocre minds.
I was referencing a commenter from greece, who was finishing his "thesis" and critiqued your analysis,along the way implying that you weren't a physicist by training.
I thought that was absurd, given your CV, the nature of the two disciplines, and the state of economic thought in greece.
Im sorry if I offended you, that was not my intent.
As i have written above, I think your macro analysis is spot on. Your policy prescriptions for greece are those that are needed, and aren't clouded by a bunch of BS and jargon.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear David, apologies, the previous comment was too linked to unconstructive ad hominem comments by users who are already banned and it's just pushing things in a wrong direction.

reader davideisenstadt said...

No problems...As long as you didn't take my comment.
I suppose mocking our friends in greece isn't a good thing to do.
My apologies.
Its funny, because I see the problems there pretty much as you do.
Sooner or later the greek people will run out of others to borrow from.
Sooner or later the german people will cease to tolerate this abuse, and this time they will be correct.

reader davideisenstadt said...

I would put the porn ads somewhere around the story of sodom and gomorra...when the residents attempt to butt rape the angels visiting earth.