by Annie Holub
So the ongoing debate over whether the government should raise the fuel-economy standards was in the news again today, and so it seemed like an apt time to posit my new conspiracy theory.
It seems so obvious, I'm sure someone else has said this, but ... this Disney/Pixar film about cars, called Cars, seems awfully suspicious. Could it be possible it's being released now to brainwash small children into loving cars to create a whole new generation of autophiles? I know, I know; I'm reading way too much into this, but have you seen the trailers? I mean, c'mon.
The movie stars a red racecar named Lightning McQueen who goes on some kind of soul-searching journey away from the race track and meets a cute little blue Porsche named Sally and falls in love. It's set in Radiator City, Carburetor County, California, which is located along Route 66 and looks like something out of ... well, a Disney cartoon from the '60s. And the music! The Rascal Flatts' "Life is a Highway," Chuck Berry's "Route 66" and some Sheryl Crow song that likens herself to a Chevrolet. The other "car-ecters" (ha ha) project all kinds of stereotypes: the VW bus is the hippie, the greasy old Ford pickup a redneck, so on and so forth ... even the font of the movie title reeks of 1960s automobile nostalgia.
Is anyone else horribly disturbed by this? The last thing we need is a movie that further glorifies the cult of the automobile and the romance of western expansion ... and the most disgusting part is that it's geared toward CHILDREN. Gross.
Yeah, sure, the plot seems to center around saving a small town that's dying thanks to the creation of the big bad interstate freeway ("Look at that, they're driving right by and they don't even know what they're missing!" says Lightning), but it's still cute little cars with feelings that will only make kids say, "Mommy, Daddy, can we get a racecar like Lightning McQueen?" And love their cars so much that they will refuse to take trains and buses instead.
At least little red racecars get better mileage than a minivan or SUV. But wouldn't a family outing to see An Inconvenient Truth be a bit more educational? Might give the kids nightmares, but anything's better than more car-love.
I'm just sayin'.