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Who will speak for the SUVs?
February 24, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax [previously] has been licensed to advertise an SUV.
posted by finite (139 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
No, this is good. We're solving the energy crisis by turning Dr. Seuss into a turbine in his grave.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2012 [75 favorites]


I prefer the phrase delicious horrifying juxtaposition to irony.
posted by poe at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Cynical. But the SUV is a "crossover", and since it's a long road from here to there, anything that moves in the right direction is good.
posted by stbalbach at 11:06 AM on February 24, 2012


I knew when I saw the trailer for the new movie that someone new and stupid had gotten control over the material. My only real concern is for kids, who will grow up thinking that this motherfucker is the Lorax.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:07 AM on February 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


We at Universal Pictures want a Lorax with attitude. He's edgy, he's in your face. You've heard the expression "Let's get busy"? Well, this is a Lorax who gets "bizz-zzay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:10 AM on February 24, 2012 [50 favorites]


I've only seen one or two commercials for the film but I think, based on that, I'm qualified to say: Fuck everyone involved in that abomination.

Really is a shame that all those classic books are being turned into shitty films.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on February 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


I believe someone just shot and killed my inner-child.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:10 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


.
posted by epersonae at 11:12 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Finally, I thought that sixth seal would never break.
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on February 24, 2012 [24 favorites]


Hang on guys, it could be good, depending if they have enough celebrity voice talent*!

*known as the Seth Rogen quotient
posted by Think_Long at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2012


anything that moves in the right direction is good.

From "I Heart Huckabees":

Brad Stand: We saved the marsh...

Albert Markovski: So you sold out the woods?

Brad Stand: This new mall is going to be very eco-friendly. I saved half the trees. Did I sell out the woods? I don't know. I tried to do some good. You know, I saved half of'em!
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


And you probably thought Ron Howard's Grinch was an insult to your childhood memories.
posted by tommasz at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel icky inside.
posted by DU at 11:14 AM on February 24, 2012


FUCK YOU MAZDA. JUST FUCK YOU.
posted by Scientist at 11:15 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


.

&


.
posted by edgeways at 11:16 AM on February 24, 2012




I blame the widow Seuss.
posted by Trurl at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Once again enough money can can buy a steamroller that plows right over any concept of Irony and never looks back.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]




hahahahahaha
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:18 AM on February 24, 2012


Yeah, it's an SUV, but (from Wikipedia): "The EPA rated the CX-5's gas mileage as the best in its class, averaging 26mpg city and 35mpg highway, which Mazda claims is the best mileage of any non-hybrid SUV."

Those are figures that aren't that far off what a lot of small econoboxes are getting.
posted by yoink at 11:20 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


All Existing Copies of "The Lorax" Printed on Mashed-Up Tree Corpses
posted by theodolite at 11:20 AM on February 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


Coming soon: The Butter Battle Bunker Buster; The Sanctity of Star-Bellied Sneetch Marriage Amendment
posted by nicepersonality at 11:21 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's next?

Green Eggs and Oscar Mayer processed meat products?

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Bluetooth?

The Cat in the Hat branded Ritalin?

Oh the Places You'll Go (with the help of Kaplan Test Preparation Services)?

Arbeit macht [einen Sneech] frei?
posted by R. Schlock at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


What does "Skyactive Technology" mean? Do we finally have flying cars? (At long last?)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2012


Seventh Generation used to be one of the last diaper brands without a cartoon printed right on the diaper, but that changed recently when they accepted money to put THE LORAX on all their diaper products. I don't care what their "cause" is, it's a dumb move.
posted by mattbucher at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, for the past several months, I've been expecting that I'm just going to snap and go on a blood- and violence-soaked rampage against the fantastic idiots who seem to be in charge of our society these days.

Today...is not that day. But it just got closer.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Lou Dobbs] compared the movie to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which he said "forever tried to pit the makers against the takers,"

Wow. Just wow.

I bet he thinks the 99% are the "takers", huh?
posted by ook at 11:24 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Those are figures that aren't that far off what a lot of small econoboxes are getting.

Which, you know, what the fuck. I was reading about the Le Car the other day, just because, and the second generation Renault 5 got 57.4mpg highway, apparently. That was more than 25 years ago!
posted by adamdschneider at 11:24 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A little more Googling yields this. In its most fuel efficient form, the CX-5 will get a "combined" fuel economy rating of 33mpg. That's the same as, for example, the Toyota Yaris, the new Fiat 500, the Kia Rio, the Honda Civic, the Ford Fiesta etc. etc.
posted by yoink at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2012


Trees are renewable, theodolite. Wasting wood and paper is fairly deplorable. Using it to print The Lorax? Personally I think that's just fine.
posted by Songdog at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's next? Green Eggs and Oscar Mayer processed meat products?

Too late.
posted by stopgap at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I blame the widow Seuss.

I coulda sworn reading at some point that widow Seuss was so (rightly) disgusted by the live version of Cat in the Hat, that she said she would not allow any more titles to be filmed. I wonder what happened.
posted by Melismata at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Too late.

Fuck me.

No...

Fuck us.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you feel that? Just right? Coulda swore I felt someone rolling over in their grave. There it is again!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what happened.

They backed a truckload of money up to her house?
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which, you know, what the fuck. I was reading about the Le Car the other day, just because, and the second generation Renault 5 got 57.4mpg highway, apparently. That was more than 25 years ago!

Part of the reason being that cars have gotten a great deal heavier with all the extra safety stuff we put into them nowadays. And people demand ridonkulously overpowered cars, too. But, yeah, a long period of absurdly low gas prices and a govt. hostile to meaningful CAFE standards put us decades behind where we ought to be on fuel efficiency.
posted by yoink at 11:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope BP names their next gulf drilling platform LORAX. Why not go for the fucking gold?
posted by elizardbits at 11:29 AM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Those are figures that aren't that far off what a lot of small econoboxes are getting.
Which, you know, what the fuck. I was reading about the Le Car the other day, just because, and the second generation Renault 5 got 57.4mpg highway, apparently. That was more than 25 years ago!
Yeah, there really isn't such at thing as an "econobox" in the US. Go anywhere else in the world, and you can find vehicles that get in the neighborhood of 50 MPG on gasoline or diesel, and perform very adequately.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:30 AM on February 24, 2012


WHORAX.
posted by hermitosis at 11:31 AM on February 24, 2012 [24 favorites]


My Civic from 10 years ago gets slightly better gas mileage, but I still don't pretend that my (or any)automobile is anything pretending to be environmentally beneficial, and I don't give a rat's ass if the SUV in question got 50 mpg, it is still a damaging product. The only way The Lorax should be endorsing an automobile would be to say "This one is easier to set fire to than all those others".
posted by edgeways at 11:31 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]




Part of the reason being that cars have gotten a great deal heavier with all the extra safety stuff we put into them nowadays.
Maybe, maybe not. Anywhere else in the world, cars like the Smart or Fiat 500 are closer to the norm, not considered freakishly tiny microcars. Certainly they wouldn't hold up well against an SUV. But then the magic of an SUV is that they don't have to measure up to passenger vehicle crash test standards either. Thanks, Detroit lobbyists!
posted by b1tr0t at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2012


Could be worse...he could be shilling for chainsaws.
posted by briank at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I read this book to my daughter about 38,000 times and I used the final section of it as an epigraph in one of my own books. And I have been trying to figure out a way I could possibly make an argument on a seven-year-old's terms that would make sense for not being allowed to see it. She's seen the posters, the trailer. She knows I admire its message. I'm in a bind here.

Worse, she knows my tricks. She's heard my varied explanations for three years now as to why Empire Strikes Back is ten times the movie any of the prequels are and yet remains a fan of young Anakin. We've explained at length why we don't eat at McDonald's, and she mostly buys that (for now). But something she's already excited about, something I repeatedly told her was pure good?

I'm probably going to have to see this goddamn movie. But now won't be buying any Mazdas.
posted by gompa at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Audrey GeiSel is listed as executive producer on The Lorax. I honestly can't think of a single thing she's done since his death that would be in line with his world view as expressed in his books and illustrations.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think we should cruise on over to IHOP in our SUVs* and discuss this over a Rooty-Tooty-Bar-Ba-Looty Blueberry Cone Cake. Which, even though it is a cake, inside an ice-cream cone, under blueberry syrup, people actually feed their children for breakfast.

*Yeah, I'd love to carpool, but you know, I gotta be somewhere after...
posted by headnsouth at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2012


I don't give a rat's ass if the SUV in question got 50 mpg, it is still a damaging product. The only way The Lorax should be endorsing an automobile would be to say "This one is easier to set fire to than all those others".

I don't get this. Would the world be a lot better off today if the SUVs of the 80s/90s/00s had doubled their mileage? Of course it would--and even doubling their mileage, they wouldn't be as good as this new Mazda.

There are plenty of people in the US who just are not going to buy a small car unless and until hell freezes over and the government actually outlaws large cars. But they might be persuaded to choose the one with the combined mpg of 33 rather than the one with the combined mpg of 14. That would be a win for the environment.

I agree that using the Lorax to shill for any product at all is pretty crappy, but I think the framing of this FPP is rather deliberately misleading (OMG! an SUV!!!) and I also think that Mazda deserve praise for really raising the bar on SUV/crossover mileage.
posted by yoink at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somehow, we managed to get copyright in perpetuity combined with the ability to circumvent the author's intent a moment after death.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2012 [26 favorites]


a cake, inside an ice-cream cone, under blueberry syrup

I want to go to an IHOP corporate budget meeting just so I can have proof that most of the R&D pie chart is allocated toward particularly good weed.
posted by griphus at 11:45 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


In related news: Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs Blasts 'The Lorax': Hollywood Is 'Trying To Indoctrinate Our Children'.

And this is a bad thing how?
posted by Big_B at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2012


I think the framing of this FPP is rather deliberately misleading (OMG! an SUV!!!)

I totally disagree. I don't care how good the mileage is, what other product is more emblematic of America's conspicuous consumption addiction?
posted by hermitosis at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


2004 interview with Audrey Geisel. She's definitely business-savvy.
posted by Melismata at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2012


While I am quite disgusted with this revolting development, I also recall that the good Dr. drew many advertisements for consumer products, including insecticide spray. In fact he spent 15 years doing ads for Standard Oil.
posted by gyusan at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was reading the Lorax to my 7 year old for the zillionth time, when I looked at the picture and saw the Lorax staring right at me with a very accusatory look after he's laughed at by the Onceler and told "you never can tell what some people will buy."

This is the look
http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/250/draft_lens10665191module97111391photo_1274871829lorax4.jpg

Dr. Seuss was calling me out! Never looked at the book quite the same after that, and I told myself I was going to stop buying Thneeds immediately.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gotta love those waterproof Bar-ba-hyde seat covers...
posted by hermitosis at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree. I don't care how good the mileage is, what other product is more emblematic of America's conspicuous consumption addiction?

But it's emblematic of that conspicuous consumption because of the absurdly low mileage. If you remove the absurdly low mileage (as Mazda have done) then it doesn't make any sense to consider it as still emblematic of the US conspicuous consumption, does it?
posted by yoink at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gotta love those waterproof Bar-ba-hyde seat covers...

I prefer Corinthian leather.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't get this. Would the world be a lot better off today if the SUVs of the 80s/90s/00s had doubled their mileage?

The Lorax is a symbol of environmentalism, perhaps radical environmentalism. Automobiles may be beneficial for some reasons, but they are environmentally damaging, full stop. It is not a "Lorax product" no matter what gas mileage it gets, because.... even if it ran on air the product would still need massive damaging infrastructure support. Which is the world we live in and to a certain degree have to accept.

Mazda may deserve some credit in producing a less damaging product, but a lot of the credit is wasted on the market it is targeting because of bad feeling for seriously misappropriating an icon.
posted by edgeways at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


That would be a win for the environment.

No. You know what would be a win for the environment? If people would get off their fat asses and start biking more. And when they had to drive, if they'd pick vehicles on the basis of their practical needs rather than their desire to be perceived as important, intimidating, sporty or rich.

Using the Lorax (the fucking Lorax!) to shill cars helps buttress the false impression that driving a slightly less environment-raping vehicle is an ecological choice.

It isn't.

More fundamentally, I don't think there's any real malice here. Just your usual tone-deaf advertising douchebaggery. But the Marxist read of this works pretty well despite that. This is ideological reframing of a cultural form that actively objects to capitalism's operation.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:54 AM on February 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


Part of the reason being that cars have gotten a great deal heavier with all the extra safety stuff we put into them nowadays.
Maybe, maybe not.


How do you figure? Have a look at this chart of Honda's curb weights from the 60s to the present day. The Civic has almost doubled in weight since it first appeared. Cars today come loaded with a lot more "stuff" than they used to, and that all adds to weight and decreases mileage. ABS and ESC and side airbags etc. etc. are all great things, but they do pork the car up--unavoidably.
posted by yoink at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I blame the widow Seuss.

I am halfway seriously considering getting this tattoo.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm really annoyed by the commercial, but unless there are other versions, the Lorax himself doesn't actually appear in the commercials.
posted by drezdn at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2012


If you remove the absurdly low mileage (as Mazda have done) then it doesn't make any sense to consider it as still emblematic of the US conspicuous consumption, does it?

Of course it still is. That's not how emblems work. The notion that you can go from "No Blood For Oil" to "Truffula-friendly" over the course of a handful of years is just ridiculous, and the marketing people here should have realized that.

Anyhow, the mileage was only one aspect of it. See also: buying bigger and more expensive vehicles than you actually need, turning vehicles with a specific utility into "one size fits all" luxury item for out-of-touch urbanites, etc. Do we really believe that people who will buy this give a shit about the environment? They are interested in saving gas money, that's it. Any extra glow they get from the Lorax's approval is just icing on the cake.
posted by hermitosis at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2012


No. You know what would be a win for the environment? If people would get off their fat asses and start biking more.

No, what you're describing is "an even bigger win." It's also not one that can realistically be attained in a small timeframe and on a large enough scale to make a difference. Persuading someone to buy a crossover SUV with a combined mileage of 33 rather than a great hulking piece of crap with a combined mileage of 14 is, however, a realistic change.

Look, if the only improvements you're willing to accept and celebrate are the most extreme imaginable (everyone just gives up cars altogether, everyone lives in zero-impact housing, composts their own waste etc. etc.) then you might as well give up the game altogether. If anything other than perfection is "losing" then no one will bother trying to play--we've obviously lost before we even begin.
posted by yoink at 11:59 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


a cultural form that actively objects to capitalism's operation

Must be an odd feeling agreeing with Lou Dobbs.
posted by yoink at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2012


if the only improvements you're willing to accept and celebrate are the most extreme imaginable (everyone just gives up cars altogether, everyone lives in zero-impact housing, composts their own waste etc. etc.) then you might as well give up the game altogether.

The problem is, that's sort of what the entire book "The Lorax" is about. That's what makes this marriage a particularly crude fit.
posted by hermitosis at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2012


My Name is The Lorax,
I drive SUVs.
I'll do as I like;
F*ck off all you trees.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


Welcome to the 13th annual GATHERING OF THE TRUFFULOS

Brought to you by
MAZDA
and
THE LORAX

posted by hermitosis at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


What's next? Dirty Dancing with Sneetches?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2012


Let's not get all carried away bitching about cars and forget to be outraged about these diapers.

Capitalism is just delightful some days. But let's keep it in context. Very few of the people who loved that book exist ewithout an ecological footprint. Putting diapers on your kid or driving to work doesn't necessarily make you evil.

Expropriating the image is still super scuzzy, but let's not get too carried away blaming everyone around us, the self-righteousness gets a bit thick.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:13 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I coulda sworn reading at some point that widow Seuss was so (rightly) disgusted by the live version of Cat in the Hat, that she said she would not allow any more titles to be filmed. I wonder what happened.

My guess, along with the reasons for most other classic properties that get betrayed at some point by an heir to the original creator, is expensive medical procedures.
posted by JHarris at 12:18 PM on February 24, 2012


The Butter Battle Book: The Movie. Sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's what makes this marriage a particularly crude fit.

I can only assume that the people who okayed the campaign were well aware it would cause a kerfuffle. They are probably happy at the buzzing. Whether the branding is accurate is probably very secondary.

It's not even the re-purposed Lorax specifically that saddest; it's that the Lorax exists in an environment that rewards that re-purposing.
posted by postcommunism at 12:21 PM on February 24, 2012


This sort of thing strikes me the same way Conservative t-shirts with the founding fathers on it saying "Right Wing Extremists" or forgetting what Reagan or Eisenhower actually said and did; It's such a bizarre bit of cognitive dissonance to "fix" an ideological inconsistency by just stamping the message you want on something you WISH fit that label. At best it feels tonedeaf, at worst it feels malicious.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:21 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I am quite disgusted with this revolting development, I also recall that the good Dr. drew many advertisements for consumer products, including insecticide spray. In fact he spent 15 years doing ads for Standard Oil.

YES because he should be held accountable for SOMETHING HE DID IN HIS LIFE AT SOME TIME TO KEEP HIMSELF FED AND SHELTERED. Because PEOPLE NEVER CHANGE THEIR MINDS AND TRY TO ATONE FOR SOMETHING BAD THEY ONCE HAD TO DO.
posted by JHarris at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2012


YES because he should be held accountable for SOMETHING HE DID IN HIS LIFE AT SOME TIME TO KEEP HIMSELF FED AND SHELTERED.

agreed

Because PEOPLE NEVER CHANGE THEIR MINDS AND TRY TO ATONE FOR SOMETHING BAD THEY ONCE HAD TO DO.

disagreed p.s. what does that have to do with anything
posted by LogicalDash at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2012


I'm just disappointed that it was Mazda that realized it could claim to be harmless to fictional trees. Hopefully the buzz for that won't have worn off when I release my special line of Ent free paper.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:25 PM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Very few of the people who loved that book exist ewithout an ecological footprint. Putting diapers on your kid or driving to work doesn't necessarily make you evil.

Actually it does. That's the whole point. The nature of our culture is that everyone is forced to be at least a tiny bit evil just to participate. Tiny evils multiplied by millions and billions and that last for decades become huge intractable problems that don't go away.

Part of the point to The Lorax is that in it, Seuss doesn't let us off the hook for that.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on February 24, 2012 [31 favorites]


That's not an SUV, it's a Station Wagon. And they did save the (fake) trees, by leaving off the 'wood' panels.
posted by Chuckles at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


LogicalDash, I think I didn't communicate the sarcasm in that comment effectively enough. My point is, when you have mouths to feed or some other important expense, to some extent you don't get to choose your employment. That absolves employees somewhat from their actions. Not entirely, but then, it could be his working for Standard Oil earlier in his career is a reason why Seuss thought he had to make The Lorax.

Or, he might not have been as ecologically aware earlier in his life, came around later, and made Lorax to try to make up for it. People are allowed to change their minds as they get older.
posted by JHarris at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2012


My uncle lost his sense of smell in a car accident.

Maybe the same thing can happen with your sense of irony.
posted by gurple at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2012


The Lorax is on rotation in my 3-year-old's bedtime stories. I actually read it to him last night, and even though I've read it a hundred times before there's one word toward the end of the story that always puts me in a real quiet mood for the rest of the night:

UNLESS

And UNLESS the movie can capture that, UNLESS the movie can somehow manage to get to the heart of why The Lorax is such an important story, it will just be another bullshit hollywood cash-grab. Not so surprising, but still sad.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


hermitosis: "I totally disagree. I don't care how good the mileage is, what other product is more emblematic of America's conspicuous consumption addiction?"

I don't know, a goddamned Escalade or an Expedition or one of the Hummers?

Calling a CX5 an SUV is a misnomer anyway. SUVs are built on truck frames. The CX5 is not.

What I find most ridiculous about the SUV-hate (other than the rage I feel when some enormous hulking vehicle makes it impossible for me to see the next stoplight even though I'm several car lengths behind at low speed) is that it doesn't matter. SUVs are not the problem. A culture that finds it acceptable to live 30 miles from work is the problem. It wouldn't matter if everyone was driving Priuses, the environmental damage from that would still be enormous. Even if everyone started driving Fiat 500s or whatever the fuck it is that you people want them to drive the problem would hardly be closer to being solved.

That's the real tragedy here, that people would rather rail against some fucking symbol than think about where the problem originates.

R. Schlock: "No. You know what would be a win for the environment? If people would get off their fat asses and start biking more."

Our food supply is by no means environmentally friendly.
posted by wierdo at 12:35 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have you seen the horrendous Cat in the Hat Children's TV show? Abominations like that, and this commercial make me very skeptical about the argument that extended copyrights "ensure that licensing, and distribution remained under the the control of the creative artists". In 20 years no-one will remember Giesel's inspired surrealist books, just the defamatory knock-offs that followed his death. (similar to what happened to JM Barry and AA Milne)
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:41 PM on February 24, 2012


I get the feeling that the idea of putting The Lorax on the SUV might be because of the ecological message and the massive message dissonance. It's the same kind of thinking that led to Karl Rove's big brainstorm: you don't attack people on their weak points, you attack them on their strong points, to try to blunt their positives. Here they're trying to deflect the serious problems many people have with SUVs by branding them with a symbol strongly associated with ecological arguments.
posted by JHarris at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


a govt. hostile to meaningful CAFE standards

I agree with most of what you're posting here, but it's CAFE standards themselves that lead to subpar gas mileage. What happens now is that the government sets a target, and auto manufacturers have absolutely zero incentive to do anything but meet the target, which may or may not have any basis in the realities of gas prices or supply and demand.

In other words, we could discover a massive new oil supply tomorrow and CAFE standards might be too high at 35mpg (or whatever they are now) for an automaker's fleet; the Saudi supply could go offline tomorrow, leading to a price spike, and the same standard would be too low. It would take Congress years to adjust to the new reality, in which time some other events might happen to change the price again.

We know how to solve this - a variable gas tax. But that would require a functioning government to implement, and we definitely don't have that.
posted by downing street memo at 12:53 PM on February 24, 2012


I read this book to my daughter about 38,000 times and I used the final section of it as an epigraph in one of my own books. And I have been trying to figure out a way I could possibly make an argument on a seven-year-old's terms that would make sense for not being allowed to see it. She's seen the posters, the trailer. She knows I admire its message. I'm in a bind here.

Could you pirate it? You could precede screening your bootleg copy by enumerating the ways in which capitalism's drive for growth is currently set against ecologism's drive to conserve nature, and talk about the times that immoral acts like thievery are sometimes justified within a terrible system which positions itself as the Only Reasonable Moral Framework. THEN, right before you watch the The Lorax, you watch Robin Hood!

This also means that you can get into a big tizzy about 2-D cel animation versus 3-D CGI, which ties into your previous Star Wars conversation!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:56 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs Blasts 'The Lorax': Hollywood Is 'Trying To Indoctrinate Our Children'.

As regards 'indoctrination' ...
Santorum: Obama wants to 'indoctrinate' students by boosting college enrollment.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


rt if you have weird ressentiment problems with nerds
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:01 PM on February 24, 2012


20 years no-one will remember Giesel's inspired surrealist books, just the defamatory knock-offs that followed his death. (similar to what happened to JM Barry and AA Milne)

Your truths make me sad.
posted by saturday_morning at 1:04 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


And to think some worried that porno Star Wars might ruin cherished childhood memories...
posted by chavenet at 1:06 PM on February 24, 2012


(similar to what happened to JM Barry and AA Milne)

And H.A. Ray, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and pretty much every single money-making author who is now dead.
posted by Melismata at 1:15 PM on February 24, 2012


Someone should create a YouTube Hall of Fame with the grossest ecowashing car commercials. This one, the Nissan ad where a polar bear hugs a dude, the one from a few years back where somebody parks their vehicle and plants spontaneously sprout up around it...
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:29 PM on February 24, 2012


I was reading about the Le Car the other day

Tangent, but I totally want one of these. If I could find a brown, orange or blue LeCar with the "canvas" roof and a stickshift, I'd be all over it. MeMail me.
posted by davejay at 1:31 PM on February 24, 2012


Amazingly, it took a classroom of kids using a petition website to get the studio to include any sort of environmental message.

But it's not just the SUV irony (though that is terrible). It's the tacked-on boy-gets-girl plot, the stripping away of the mournful, melancholy tone, and the turning of the Lorax from a noble Laocoon into a vulgar buffoon who spouts ugly and misogynistic jokes ("that's a woman?!?"). Disgusting.

You can read the original story here (sans illustration) if you want to revisit.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:39 PM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


SUVs are not the problem. A culture that finds it acceptable to live 30 miles from work is the problem. It wouldn't matter if everyone was driving Priuses, the environmental damage from that would still be enormous.
I live just about exactly 30 miles from where I work. Every morning I get up and ride my bike about four miles to a train station, and ride that train to my workplace.

Ironically, I do this because I don't drive, and it's nearly impossible to get by without a car in any of the areas closer to my workplace.

There are many ways I wreck the environment (I eat meat, for example, and I take more plane trips than is strictly rational). But let me tell you, I am living proof that a 30 mile commute isn't the problem — provided you live in an area with halfway decent transit. The problem is that almost all of the US is lacking even the most rudimentary transit infrastructure.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "I am living proof that a 30 mile commute isn't the problem — provided you live in an area with halfway decent transit. The problem is that almost all of the US is lacking even the most rudimentary transit infrastructure."

OK. Let me rephrase. The problem is that society finds it acceptable to live 30 miles from work when there is no mass transit available to get you there.
posted by wierdo at 3:09 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to derail this thread here, but I don't understand this concept of eating meat being bad for the environment. I get that methane traps 4 times as much heat as CO2 does, but, I mean, once we stop emitting tons and tons of CO2 into the air by driving and flying airplanes every hour of every day, then let's worry about the relatively small things like eating meat.
posted by MattMangels at 3:41 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Air pollution isn't the only way livestock farming damages the environment. The human mind cannot imagine the shit generated by big cattle, pig and chicken farms, and I mean that literally.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:57 PM on February 24, 2012


I don't understand this concept of eating meat being bad for the environment.

:| <--- my surprised face
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:03 PM on February 24, 2012


Cows and pigs eat a lot. I can't remember the exact statistics, but to get a pound of pig or cow takes many, many, many pounds of feed. Growing grain/corn/soybeans/whatever is an extremely fossil fuel intensive process, and feeding all of that to a damn pig just because you like one pound of bacon more than twenty (or whatever) pounds of soybeans is as such extremely destructive to the environment. Environmentally, the ethical thing to do is to eat a vegetarian diet. It's a no-brainer.

... he says, as he takes another bite into the delicious, delicious BLT he just bought.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:25 PM on February 24, 2012


There's also the issue of biomagnification. The amount of food required to feed the animals that people eat is way more than the amount of food required just to give directly to people. If everyone on earth ate as much meat as Americans, we'd need a second planet the size of Earth just to grow the crops to feed the livestock.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:27 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I saw that trailer, my first thought was "Woody Harrelson would have been a better Lorax and done it for free."
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:34 PM on February 24, 2012


Oh, hey. I qualify for a nice discount on the CX5 as a loyalty customer. I wonder if I can get some Lorax mudflaps.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2012


Livestock alone around the world contributes about 18% of the world's greenhouse gasses - more than all the cars and trucks in the world put together.

And over a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production.

Source.

(And that's forgetting about things like the destruction of the rainforest to make way for cattle grazing...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:58 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I live 70 miles from my job. I was laid off in September, and when $CURRENT EMPLOYER offered me a good job at a great salary, I sucked it up and accepted. There's no public transport between here and there, and shortly after starting, I bought a new... Mazda.

I was actually hoping to buy the CX-5 (had a CX-7 for a while and loved it, but was really excited about having something smaller), but my beater was not doing well on the long commute and I had to get something in November. So I'm driving 2.5 hours a day in a Mazda 3, with the skyactiv. My commute is mostly freeway, and I average 43 MPG (EPA highway rating is 40). In a car with a lot of creature comforts (heated seats! nav! Bluetooth synch with my phone!) and no hybrid, that's pretty good.

I would much rather be biking or taking public transportation to work (and when I lived in a real city, I did!). I tried to find a job closer to home, but that didn't happen. So for me, this is a suboptimal compromise, but better than many of the alternatives.

I don't like this particular bit of marketing, but Mazda makes good cars. And I'm out here trying to be environmentally friendly, but I need a job, you know. I did give up eating meat/poultry during the day, so maybe that helps. I'd go totally vegetarian, but my husband gets grouchy without teh meatz.
posted by jeoc at 6:19 PM on February 24, 2012


He's edgy, he's in your face. You've heard the expression "Let's get busy"? Well, this is a Lorax who gets "bizz-zzay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Hmmm, I don't know. Can we rastify him by 10%?
posted by Aquaman at 7:54 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently read Green Metropolis by David Owen and this quote gets to the heart of the problem with the greenwashing that goes on with these more fuel-efficient and lower-emission cars:

"“Making automobiles more fuel-efficient isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it won’t solve the world’s energy and environmental dilemmas. The real problem with cars is not that they don’t get enough miles to the gallon; it’s that they make it too easy for people to spread out, encouraging forms of development that are inherently wasteful and damaging. Most so-called environmental initiatives concerning automobiles are actually counterproductive, because their effect is to make driving less expensive (by reducing the need for fuel) and to make car travel more agreeable (by eliminating congestion). In terms of both energy conservation and environmental protection, we need to make driving costlier and less pleasant. This is true for cars powered by recycled cooking oil and those powered by gasoline. In terms of the automobile’s true environmental impact, fuel gauges are less important than odometers. In the long run, miles matter more than miles per gallon.”

People should also consider the environmental effect of buying a new car as manufacturing cars creates an incredible amount of pollutants (over half the lifetime emissions air pollutants related to a car are expelled in the manufacturing process). Then there's your old car. If you sell it to someone else, well then your less-efficient/more-pollutant car is still out there polluting as well as your new car. If it's junk it becomes part of a landfill where it leaks pollutants into the soil and water and as it slowly decomposes it off-gases more air pollution.

So all-in-all, the CX-5 crossover SUV is really just another thing the Once-ler thinks that everyone needs.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 8:59 PM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


And here I thought they were trashing the movie by casting Taylor Swift in it and making it look darned perky in the trailer.

Way to miss the point, y'all. Now I really want to kick everyone involved with it, down to the widow Geisel.

gompa: This is where you explain to your child that sometimes they make movies of beloved books that have little or nothing to do with the actual book, just for the advertising. And that she will be deeply saddened if she sees the movie, but not for the usual reasons The Lorax used to make anyone sad. It's a lesson we all learn sometime.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:06 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


BlackLeotardFront: My only real concern is for kids, who will grow up thinking that this motherfucker is the Lorax.

MAAKIES, on the related topic of Winnie the Pooh
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:07 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This does not speak for the trees.
It speaks for ones who do as they please.
Since it's money they care for, and a whole, awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:18 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rarebit Fiend: "over half the lifetime emissions air pollutants related to a car are expelled in the manufacturing process"

So rather than fixing that problem we should..throw out personal transportation? Good plan.

I suspect that if you had more realistic goals you would be disappointed less often, although you would miss out with the smug sense of self-satisfaction that comes with believing that the only way to fix a problem is the most radical solution.
posted by wierdo at 12:11 PM on February 25, 2012


what.

So I think it's odd that you're saying that Rarebit Fiend has unrealistic goals, since he was pointing out a fact, not a goal. Manufacturing cars generates a huge amount of pollution. We'll have to deal with that fact somehow — frankly, the side that's being unrealistic is the side that's assuming that we can, for an indefinite amount of time, continue running our manufacturing and transportation infrastructures the way we've been running them.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:56 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh, you do realize that it is possible to reduce the amount of pollution associated with manufacturing? Yes, there will still be some damage from mining of ores, but surely it is possible to reduce the impacts to a level that is sustainable.

But yes, I was responding partly to something that wasn't explicitly stated. I shouldn't do that.
posted by wierdo at 2:15 PM on February 25, 2012


But if cows and pigs eat a lot, that means we have to grow a lot of food to feed them. They eat plants. Plants consume CO2 and emit oxygen.
posted by MattMangels at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2012


From the slate article:
“several timber industry groups underwrote a book called The Truax with a pro-tree-cutting hero.” Truax is a logger, and his antagonist in the book (which you can read online) is Guardbark, an ugly woodland monster and rabid, unreasonable environmentalist.
*blink*.
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2012


Which, you know, what the fuck. I was reading about the Le Car the other day, just because, and the second generation Renault 5 got 57.4mpg highway, apparently. That was more than 25 years ago!

They actually changed the way they did ratings a few years ago. The prius went from like 60mpg to something like 45
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2012


I think the idea that we can just fix things by doing the same sorts of thing more efficiently is dodgy at best — internal-combustion (or fancy-battery, for that matter) personal vehicles may just be, and likely are, inherently dirty things to make.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:33 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Lorax is a symbol of environmentalism, perhaps radical environmentalism. Automobiles may be beneficial for some reasons, but they are environmentally damaging, full stop. It is not a "Lorax product" no matter what gas mileage it gets, because.... even if it ran on air the product would still need massive damaging infrastructure support. Which is the world we live in and to a certain degree have to accept.
Ugh, really? The "we all have to give up everything" message that some people like to spout on environmentalism is really obnoxious. It's problematic in three different ways: 1) It simply turns people off. If they don't want to give up driving (or whatever) they'll simply decide to oppose environmentalism and 2) Since it's obviously practically impossible then even people who might otherwise support the environment are just going to assume that nothing can be done to fix it.

And most importantly, it's just wrong. Halving the amount of fuel being burnt by SUVs and other cars would undoubtedly be a good thing.

It seems like some people are more interested in personal purety and feeling better then others then actually solving environmental problems.
I think the idea that we can just fix things by doing the same sorts of thing more efficiently is dodgy at best —
Who cares if you think it's "Dodgy at best"? It's actually true.
How do you figure? Have a look at this chart of Honda's curb weights from the 60s to the present day. The Civic has almost doubled in weight since it first appeared. Cars today come loaded with a lot more "stuff" than they used to, and that all adds to weight and decreases mileage. ABS and ESC and side airbags etc. etc. are all great things, but they do pork the car up--unavoidably.
No, what actually happened is that Honda gradually grew the Civic from being an 'Econobox' to being a pretty large car, comparable to a mid-sized cars from the old days. The first generation of the civic was 3.5m, while the 7th generation is 4.4 meters. Almost a whole meter longer. The 9th generation will be 4.3. Compare that to the Original Camary at 4.44m In fact the Mazda CX-5 is only 4.48 meters. So the civic is now as large as the original Camary, and only a little shorter then the CX-5.

It's a decent sized car.
I agree with most of what you're posting here, but it's CAFE standards themselves that lead to subpar gas mileage. What happens now is that the government sets a target, and auto manufacturers have absolutely zero incentive to do anything but meet the target, which may or may not have any basis in the realities of gas prices or supply and demand.

In other words, we could discover a massive new oil supply tomorrow and CAFE standards might be too high at 35mpg (or whatever they are now) for an automaker's fleet; the Saudi supply could go offline tomorrow, leading to a price spike, and the same standard would be too low. It would take Congress years to adjust to the new reality, in which time some other events might happen to change the price again.
Uh, you understand the purpose of CAFE standards has to do with emissions, right? Not the price of oil? Discovering a new oil supply would not make global warming not a problem, it would make it worse. Why on earth would we want to lower standards if oil got cheaper?
posted by delmoi at 12:13 AM on February 26, 2012


You Can't Tip a Buick: "internal-combustion (or fancy-battery, for that matter) personal vehicles may just be, and likely are, inherently dirty things to make."

By that standard, everything we make is inherently dirty. And it's true, everything we make is dirty, in the sense that it disrupts the existing order, whether it be picking fruits or building skyscrapers. No matter how "clean" we get, we'll always (for values within my lifetime, anyway) be dependent on harvesting resources already extant on the earth or in space.

It is true that even with recycling, we have to dig big holes in the ground to get much of the shit needed to make cars, or almost anything else for that matter. So yes, in that sense cars will, no matter what technology we may come up with to make their operation cleaner, always be dirty.

The thing is, that is an inherent part of having a large human population. Even if we decide to get rid of cars, we'll still be digging shit up for our cell phones, trains, skyscrapers, or whatever else we decide we need.

Perhaps I'm deluding myself, but I have to believe that it's possible to keep modernity and still live sustainably.
posted by wierdo at 1:47 AM on February 26, 2012


It's true, private vehicles are a necessary part of modernity, not like those nasty stinky buses and trains. I'd go so far as to say that cars are fine somethings that all people need.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:58 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


UNLESS

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.
posted by JHarris at 10:45 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "It's true, private vehicles are a necessary part of modernity, not like those nasty stinky buses and trains."

If you actually think that I said that private vehicles are a necessary part of modernity, may I suggest reading more carefully next time?
posted by wierdo at 3:35 PM on February 26, 2012


I have to believe that it's possible to keep modernity and still live sustainably

Possibly some of the political, institutional, ideological or epistemic parts of modernity.

The parts that hinge on industrial material culture and unlimited free energy, not as likely.
posted by ead at 5:06 PM on February 26, 2012


edgeways: "My Civic from 10 years ago gets slightly better gas mileage..."

My eleven year old civic that I replaced a couple of years ago got about the same gas mileage as my brand new civic I replace it with, and did a whole lot better when it was new. I do not know what happened.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:38 AM on February 27, 2012


Seventh Generation used to be one of the last diaper brands without a cartoon printed right on the diaper

I saw that as well. There are other more generic disposable diapers now that don't bleach or use chemicals, fwiw, and usually a few bucks cheaper.

Very few of the people who loved that book exist ewithout an ecological footprint. Putting diapers on your kid or driving to work doesn't necessarily make you evil.

Argh. No one exists without an "ecological footprint."

That doesn't mean you should GIVE UP.

Driving your car is bad. Using disposable diapers is bad. Do I do both? Yes. Do I try as hard as I can to do both less? Why shouldn't I?

Take public transit or bicycle; don't use disposable diapers. I'm saying this as much a reminder to myself as to anyone.

I never really liked the Lorax. There was always something too simplified and pessimistic about it. I didn't mind seeing the Cat in the Hat trashed (I read it to my daughter the first time this weekend); can't care too much here. Just don't look, etc.

In retrospect: The Lorax (PDF) by Emma Maris. Short but with a point: perhaps better to get kids to love the natural world first before burdening them with the seemingly impossible (and already too late in the world of the Lorax) task of saving it. (Not that you can't do both.)

If you really want a hippie kid, go for Everybody Needs a Rock
posted by mrgrimm at 8:46 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


once we stop emitting tons and tons of CO2 into the air by driving and flying airplanes every hour of every day, then let's worry about the relatively small things like eating meat.

unintentional HAMBURGER?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:46 AM on February 27, 2012


Putting diapers on your kid or driving to work doesn't necessarily make you evil.

Sure it does.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, what actually happened is that Honda gradually grew the Civic from being an 'Econobox' to being a pretty large car, comparable to a mid-sized cars from the old days. The first generation of the civic was 3.5m, while the 7th generation is 4.4 meters. Almost a whole meter longer. The 9th generation will be 4.3. Compare that to the Original Camary at 4.44m In fact the Mazda CX-5 is only 4.48 meters. So the civic is now as large as the original Camary, and only a little shorter then the CX-5.

Well, to be precise, both things happened. That is, they made it bigger, but they also added more stuff to it. It seems a bit odd having to defend what is a well-known fact in the industry, but what the hey. Take a look at, say, the new Fiat 500--it's a two-door car that's basically the same length as the 70's Honda Civic (139 inches). Its curb weight is about 30% higher than the curb weight of the old Civic. And it's almost double the curb weight of the old Fiat 500 (and quite a bit larger as well).

We certainly could make cars a great deal more fuel efficient currently than we do. But the easiest way to do so would be to make cars smaller, lighter and less powerful than they are now. The reason that some small cars in the 70s got such great mileage is not because of some lost hypermiling technology--it's because they were smaller, lighter (because of having a lot fewer accessories) and much less powerful than their modern counterparts.
posted by yoink at 1:02 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The AV Club's take:
This is a dark story with a heavy message, and it’s been transformed into a harmless, pretty confection. In defanging it for comic effect, the filmmakers have done Seuss as much of a disrespectful disservice as if they’d laid on the fart gags. 
posted by Rhaomi at 11:21 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, for the best take on the old story, see this evocative audiobook reading (with illustrations!) full of garrulous narration by English comedian Rik Mayall.

(Now I kinda wish I had made a post on this when I first heard about the Mazda fiasco; there's so much good authentic Seuss stuff on the web!)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:58 PM on February 29, 2012


R. Schlock: "The Cat in the Hat branded Ritalin?"

WANT.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:02 AM on March 1, 2012


If that wasn't bad enough, now The Lorax is being used to hawk Mazda SUV's to captive audiences of school children. Wrong on so many levels.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:32 AM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh good lord, I couldn't think it could get worse.

Some reached out to touch the cars. A few kneeled to have their photographs taken. Others erupted into a spontaneous chant. “Lorax car, Lorax car, Lorax car!” they said.

One of their classmates quietly objected.

“The Lorax doesn’t drive a car,” he said.

posted by mrgrimm at 3:02 PM on March 2, 2012


Oh, The Jobs That Get Killed
posted by homunculus at 9:43 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those were great, and the Seuss v. Penguin case referenced is fascinating.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2012


Oh, for chrissakes:

Could it be true? On Thursday, it was reported that Universal is kicking around the idea of filming a sequel to the box office hit Dr. Seuss film ‘The Lorax,’ which stars Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. While this may or may not simply be a rumor, it seems Universal would have to be crazy not to at least consider the idea with as well as the first movie is doing.

‘The Lorax,’ which premiered March 2 in theaters everywhere, has already grossed $175 million worldwide, earning its spot as the highest grossing film so far in 2012. Though Dr. Seuss never wrote a follow-up book to the story of the Lorax, perhaps it could be written and filmed just for entertainment’s sake.

HollywoodLife quotes an inside source as saying the following: “Even though they don’t have a book to base the sequel off, Universal is trying to figure out a way to make another one, since it’s been such a monster box office hit. And they’d love to have Taylor back.”

posted by Rhaomi at 12:30 PM on March 23, 2012


brb hitting studio execs with trees
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:51 PM on March 23, 2012


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