The Lorax

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The Lorax

Post by RoboBlue » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:09

I've spent the last six hours trying to digest The Lorax (as can be seen here: http://videosift.com/video/The-Lorax-Dr-Seuss-2449), and I honestly don't understand the message Doctor Seuss is trying to get across. It involves environmentalism in some way, but what does George Washington have to do with the destruction of our country at the hands of corporations, who then abandon us?
I've done some googling, but nobody seems to be able to answer my questions.
Please watch the tv special (it's about 25 minutes) and then tell me what you think it's supposed to mean.
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Post by VikingBoyBilly » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:57

I've had the book since I was a kid, and I always saw it as the Lorax representing indigenous people, and those other guys are invading imperialists exploiting the land for commerce until it's been bled dry. It's telling the story of American colonization and then shows where we'll end up if we keep ignoring these problems: that nature isn't a device for instant gratification and it comes with limits.

Then in a post-apocalyptic world at the end, theres some small hope when a young boy is given a seed to plant. This is after hearing the long story of how the place turned into a fucled up wasteland. And who is telling him this story? Not the Lorax, he is long gone. It's the antagonist, after he finally realized the error of his ways and wants to do something to undo what he's done.

Dr. Suess had an amazing way of telling stories that have deep significance to the world we live in, yet he puts them in a bizarre fantasy setting that comes off as childish until you read them and see how important they are.

George Washington? How is he referenced? :confused
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Post by tulip » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:22

George Washington might here just serve as the father of the modern, economically free system of the US, and its captalism is the subject accused here mainly.
I find it interesting how positive the film stays throughout, the trees, the animals and everything is gone, but there's still hope. Also the evil Onceler is never quite evil, and sees all his errors in the end (a notion you will search in vain among real managers of global companys).
The main aim here is to promote sustainability, against the short-sightedness of overly-expansive and recource-exploing industry. The Lorax is trying to point you growth-durations of the trees at some point, and the tenor is the fast development of the factory outruns regrowth.
There is also the notion of pollution, both of water and air, which the Onceler in the end also points out to the child, are two needed elements for the tree-recource to grow.
I'm not sure what purpose the animals serve here, appart from looking cute and invoking pity for their loss of habitat, but the film remains very careful not to shock anyone, by stating that they move elsewhere (as opposed to plainly dying).
The name "Onceler" might reference two things: As the story is put in some fairytale framework, which we all know starts with "once upon a time", and the Onceler indeed tells here what 'once' has been, but it might also, again, point into the direction of sustainability, or rather the lack of it. (as in 'you can do that only once').
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Post by RoboBlue » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:27

VikingBoyBilly wrote:George Washington? How is he referenced? :confused
The Onceler is named George E Washington, and he's given the title of "Onceler in Chief" during a scene where all of the other Oncelers place their hands on their hearts and recite a pledge of allegiance.
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Post by StupidBunny » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:50

You must all be referring to something that isn't the book...
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Post by RoboBlue » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:52

It's in the TV special: http://videosift.com/video/The-Lorax-Dr-Seuss-2449
I've never read the book, but I should now.
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Post by Deltamatic » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:06

Environmentalism is no longer practical. We have no need to shackle ourselves to our surroundings when we can change them to be more agreeable. There are technological solutions to any environmental problem you could name. You may begin flaming now.

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Post by DHeadshot » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:36

Deltamatic wrote:Environmentalism is no longer practical. We have no need to shackle ourselves to our surroundings when we can change them to be more agreeable. There are technological solutions to any environmental problem you could name.
Life isn't really practical itself, but we still do it. Whether something is practical or not is irrelevant, it's whether it's necessary or useful, both descriptions of environmentalism.
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Post by VikingBoyBilly » Thu Oct 21, 2010 21:21

Deltamatic wrote:Environmentalism is no longer practical. We have no need to shackle ourselves to our surroundings when we can change them to be more agreeable. There are technological solutions to any environmental problem you could name. You may begin flaming now.
And I'm having a hard time following what you're saying. Your statement seems to come with an assumption that technology is an anti-environmentalism. But from what you described here, if you can use technology to make a stable, sustainable environment, I'd say that's a form of environmentalism :)

The problem here is a lot of people with the power to do this aren't doing it. Among the reasons why include that it would change the world's economy in a way that doesn't give them 'enough' profit. And because *gasp!* we really haven't developed some of these technologies to a point that we can use them safely (exploding hydrogen car batteries)
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Post by tulip » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:56

Good speech VBB, altough I don't think savety was ever an issue. We're using big time nuclear reactors, and remember Chernobyl? (um given that it was '86, so most of you probably don't). Price and with it net gain is the only thing that matters, and that's what I called short-sighted.
And Delta, you're 'others will handle all my problems'-attitude is a bit dangerous. If you just wanted to throw in a little controversy, okay, but if you really believe in what you posted, you should inform yourself better, and think about it.
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Post by Deltamatic » Fri Oct 22, 2010 16:04

Environmentalism is there since a) the environment is sometimes pretty and b) we currently can't live without it. The biosphere is inefficient, its mass and energy would be better used serving us. Once we can live without it, it wouldn't be that bad to rid ourselves of it and if we want to enjoy it there's always VR.

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Post by DHeadshot » Fri Oct 22, 2010 16:30

Deltamatic wrote:Environmentalism is there since a) the environment is sometimes pretty and b) we currently can't live without it. The biosphere is inefficient, its mass and energy would be better used serving us. Once we can live without it, it wouldn't be that bad to rid ourselves of it and if we want to enjoy it there's always VR.
I can't tell whether you're insane or just trolling...
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Post by StupidBunny » Fri Oct 22, 2010 17:07

Deltamatic wrote:Environmentalism is there since a) the environment is sometimes pretty and b) we currently can't live without it. The biosphere is inefficient, its mass and energy would be better used serving us. Once we can live without it, it wouldn't be that bad to rid ourselves of it and if we want to enjoy it there's always VR.
I'm actually laughing at this. It's just so nutty and blatantly unethical. I'm sorry if I come off as...a sentimentalist, or whatever, but saying "we should get rid of the biosphere because it's inefficient" is just too much. And besides all that, anything that's been able to exist for 3 billion years through all kinds of catastrophe can't be all that inefficient. The marvel of the natural world is not the efficiency with which it sustains itself, but the tenacity with which it continues to exist and adapt to changes both foreign and self-imposed. If we were to try living in a world where atmospheric oxygen, weather patterns and numerous other phenomena were dictated by our own technology rather than the organic system, our system would not so readily adapt itself should any sudden unexpected disaster occur. We can definitely use technology to better our lives and our surroundings, but relying on it to keep Earth sustaining our existence is incredibly dangerous and unnecessary.
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Post by RoboBlue » Fri Oct 22, 2010 19:16

Deltamatic wrote:Environmentalism is no longer practical. We have no need to shackle ourselves to our surroundings when we can change them to be more agreeable. There are technological solutions to any environmental problem you could name. You may begin flaming now.
And Hitler was a swell guy who only killed the Jews so he could use their corpses to power ovens and bake chocolate chip cookies for the girl scouts.

Stop trolling and let us have a reasonable discussion. :P
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Post by DHeadshot » Fri Oct 22, 2010 21:03

Godwin's Law ;)
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