Kermit and the communist plots

The headline in The Hollywood Reporter read “Fox Business Network Calls Muppets Communist”, followed by the dispiriting words “Debate Goes Viral”, which we may take to mean: “Gains Perverse Legitimacy Because Lots of People Clicked on It”. It was just the latest in a series of claims about children’s films having a left-wing agenda.

In December, a New York Post writer described Happy Feet 2 as “Kiddie Karl Marx”. Sorry, I forgot to say SPOILER ALERT.

If you haven’t heard the story, let me take you back to when Fox Business Network anchor Eric Bolling announced that the new Muppet movie featured a character named Tex Richman, a greedy oil executive who wants to drill under the Muppets’ theatre. The discussion that followed typified the Fox News mission to recast the outside world as left-wing propaganda.

Brainwashing kids
“Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as evil — that’s not new,” said Bolling. He asked his guest, media-bias alarmist Dan Gainor, whether Hollywood was deliberately trying to brainwash kids.

“Absolutely,” said Gainor. “And they’ve been doing it for decades.” He pointed out that oil could be used to “light a hospital” or “fuel an ambulance. They don’t want to tell that story.” Bolling’s Fox News colleague Andrea Tantaros chimed in, saying: “I just wish liberals could leave little kids alone.” Am I brainwashed, or could it be that under this new rubric of idiocy the whole thing suddenly makes perfect sense? After all, even a brief examination of the Muppet canon reveals a definite and longstanding liberal bias.

  • The Muppet Movie (1979): The Muppets head for liberal Hollywood, and a businessperson, a fast-food magnate, is again the antagonist. The notion of slaughtering a pig (in this case, Miss Piggy) is treated as though it was murder. Thank you, veggie-nazis.

  • The Great Muppet Caper (1981): The Muppets travel to London, home of socialised medicine. Features some squatting.

  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984): I didn’t see this one, but it’s clearly about the Muppets joining a terrorist network, which may sound funny to certain left-wing intellectual freedom-haters, but I think it’s just sick.

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): On the plus side, the film promotes private charity over state intervention, but the message is still that poor people got that way through no fault of their own.

  • Muppet Treasure Island (1996): Treats entrepreneurial treasure-hunting as “piracy”. Why, for once, can’t the bad guy be an overzealous environmental regulator?

  • Muppets from Space (1999): Posits a godless universe; as anti-Christian as any Harry Potter film.­–

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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Tim Dowling
Tim Dowling works from London. Guardian columnist, sad sack. Author of Dad You Suck (4th Estate). Police Dog Hogan's banjo player. Tim Dowling has over 31680 followers on Twitter.
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