<em>Wall•E</em> Required Viewing for All Americans <em>Wall•E</em> Required Viewing for All Americans
Cartoon Culture

Wall•E Required Viewing for All Americans

“Wall-E for President” is an op-ed column written by NY Times political commentator Frank Rich. In it, he implores everybody from John McCain to Barack Obama to see the film:

Mr. McCain should be required to see “Wall-E” to learn just how far adrift he is from an America whose economic fears cannot be remedied by his flip-flop embrace of the Bush tax cuts (for the wealthy) and his sham gas-tax holiday (for everyone else). Mr. Obama should see it to be reminded of just how bold his vision of change had been before he settled into a front-runner’s complacency. Americans should see it to appreciate just how much things are out of joint on an Independence Day when a cartoon robot evokes America’s patriotic ideals with more conviction than either of the men who would be president.

(Thanks, Alex Rannie)

  • Cyber Fox

    That’s the New York Times for ya, being seriously liberal as usual. The only time i agree on them is their opinion on “The Raccoons”

  • amid

    A reminder to potential commenters. The rules of commenting on this blog are here: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/how-to

    and one of them is:

    * It is ok to post with a nickname or alias, but your email address (which we will NEVER share publicly), must be a real, permanent email address. Comments with fake or non-permanent emails will be deleted.

  • Stumblebum

    This column by Frank Rich is truly idiotic; it’s full of strained conclusions based on nonsensical observations.

    In my opinion, WALL-E had some good cinematic moments, but by-and-large it did not do much for me intellectually or emotionally. I found its “message” to be safe and trite — does anyone belive that WALL-E portrays a bold, contrarian view of the Hollywood leftist/ecological mindset? (As opposed to the Capitalist/conspicuous consumption actuality of the Hollywood elites.)

    But at least there was a lot of talent evident in the film. It was very well executed. Rich’s column, on the other hand, is a sad example of tired intellectual hackwork.

    For example, “2001: A Space Odyssey” had absolutely nothing to say about the “more explosive tumult of its (election) year, 1968.” Nothing at all. Whatever conclusion Rich attempts to draw from this “fact” about 2001 is completely bogus.

    And his writing is atrocious…”At the end they clapped their small hands.” — a sentence so precious and saccharine it made Pooh Bear throw up a little honey in his mouth.

    I rarely read any of the Times’ columnists, but I stumbled upon Rich’s column earlier today and was annoyed by it, which is exactly why I don’t read the Times anymore. Finding it later referenced here made me annoyed all over again. It’s a good thing Frank Rich is so forgettable as a writer…I’ll be fine by morning.

  • DanO

    Everything I wanted to say has already been related in Stumblebum’s post. He summed up the article perfectly – except that I didn’t think that Wall-E’s message was trite. I didn’t even think it had one message alone but 3 or 4 sound and long established commentaries on the human condition that haven’t been so skillfully woven into a film in a long time.

    The movie is too good for us to let Frank Rich desperately try to hitch his divisive political screed to Wall-E’s rising star.

  • Old Man Fogey

    So is there a reason everyone keeps focusing on the barely-there political/green aspects of Wall-E?
    Whats the deal? Did everyone miss the point that its a love story set in a satirical future that most likely wont happen? Is it because everyone in the future is getting fatter and lazier because robots do everything? Heck every cartoon iteration of the future has dealt with that somewhat. Even the Jetsons had gags about that. Is it because President Fred Willard said “stay the course”? A term used by many presidents before Bush ever came along but everyone insists is a reference to Bush in general? Is it because of Buy and Large lampooning companies that take over the planet?
    Does noone remembr Acme? Or Cyberdine?
    Is it because the film is rated G and thus is not allowed to have satirical scifi elements without everyone going bathat crazy?
    Whats the deal?
    Is everyone just THAT ANGRY these days?

  • Mela

    So is there a reason everyone keeps focusing on the barely-there political/green aspects of Wall-E? Whats the deal?

    It’s an election year – EVERYTHING, even what you choose for dinner, has to somehow be politicized. It’s stuff like that article that make me wonder why I ever registered to vote. I haven’t seen WALL-E yet (soon, though), so I can’t say anything about the movie itself yet. But I find it head-scratching that people are so hell-bent to politicize a love story just because they have five extra minutes or a half-page on their news roster to fill.

  • Aaron Schneiderman

    Just one more illustration of why the New York Times circulation continues to plummet and is no longer considered the “newspaper of record.”

  • Frank Rich should shut his mouth.

    Although, I do agree that Wall-E should be required viewing.

  • Re: Old Man Fogey

    Yes, people are that angry. Always.

  • Joseph

    Jeez, I didn’t think the article was that bad. Most of his opinions I could agree with or at least see where he was coming from.

  • Steve

    There go the wingnuts…making nothing out of nothing. Butt they’re experts at mis information, lies, and elitism.

  • Steve

    That’s “But,” not “butt.”

  • Altred Ego

    I think so much of the anger comes from the fact that unlike the 60’s when the Jetsons were science-FICTION, now people see these things happening all around them:

    – our garbage is piling up. We’re now shipping it to other cities and countries to get rid of it. Pollution, UV Indexes, poor water and air quality are all realities of our life.

    – we are as North Americans getting both fatter and more sedentary. Our reliance on computers/modern conveniences are creating a kind of dependency.

    – our ability to access the truth about national and international events and policies is becoming more complicated. What we hear is often what we are ‘meant’ to hear and dissenting voices are being silenced.

    – Large corporations (buyNlarge or WalMArt) are having a large impact on local economies and the globalization of capital is eroding democracies. Replacing them with world governments increasingly susceptible to corporate pressure because less are able to withstand capital flight. So the fight for the protection of labour standards and environmental regulations is more challenging.

    I don’t think that I’ve said anything that is ‘leftist’. But these are all things that are touched on in Wall-E and since you readily associate the fictional ideas with modern realities, it tends to offend. That’s why it seems so ‘preachy’, because it’s true. Cyberdyne offended no one because we’re still a long way off from Terminators and a single computer that controls global defense.

    BTW, I would still like to know why our real email addresses are required, even though they will “never” be posted?

  • George O’Hara

    Rich’s article is a mere fluff piece, the sort of thing that fills pages daily in the company town organ Los Angeles Times. It’s a little jarring to witness the venerable Gray Lady stoop to such hackery, kissing the backside of something it routinely loathes – Hollywood, and working very hard to justify it. Wall-E is a great film and deserves better newspaper scribes as gushing fans.

  • amid

    Altered Ego: The reason real email addresses are required are because we often contact commenters for various reasons. For example, somebody posted a long comment a few days ago that had all sorts of weird line breaks in it. We didn’t have time to edit all the errors for him, so we emailed the comment back to the reader, and asked him to resubmit a corrected version. Other times, if we can’t approve a comment because it’s inappropriate, we’ll email readers and let them know why. There’s all types of reasons.

  • For those who couldn’t draw a connection between “2001” and 1968…

    ape man in “2001” uses violence is a tool… political man in 1968 uses violence (asassinations, riots, war) as a tool.

    HAL in “2001” lies to astronauts to mislead and control them while appearing to serve them… Politicians in 1968 lie to voters to mislead and control them while appearing to serve them.

    Man in “2001” has psychedelic journey and becomes one with the universe. Man in 1968 has numerous psychedelic journeys and becomes one with chick he met at rock convert.

    we could go on all day…

    I’m sure Frank Rich just didn’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence by pointing out the obvious parallels.

  • Scott Teresi

    Be happy an American animated movie is generating THIS much attention and discussion… just more evidence of how great this picture is and a giant leap forward for the medium.

    A landmark picture and event, methinks.

  • Kelly Toon


    here is an article from the Mises.org blog. It concerns the economic message portrayed in Wall-E. An interesting read.

  • Artisticulated

    I wonder how Andrew Stanton and the other creatives behind Wall•E feel about their work being hitched to others’ ideological wagons? Andrew has clearly stated his reasons for setting up a “burned-out Earth”, and Al Gore wasn’t in on those story sessions. Wall•E’s premise starts with a character situation and moves on from that point. Conversely, Happy Feet feels like it started with a “Message” premise and worked toward a character to front it. (I kept looking for Mad Max and Aunty Entity to show up with the humans.)

    Did the 70s retreads flog Happy Feet this much when it came out?

  • Dan

    Normally, I’d read Rich’s entire column. But, that excerpt was enough to deter me. Drawing conclusions as he did is lame. I’ve heard the guy commentate on the radio numerous times, and that’s his style. His bias’ are even more evident when he speaks. At least through reading these comments it’s clear that many people are smart enough to be critical of these types of commentaries and that gives me hope. I only wish he would be aware of that and adopt a more neutral journalistic viewpoint next time, in an effort to raise the standards of journalists.

  • Dan

    …I couldn’t help myself. I read his article, and surprisingly I agree with the man. I was thinking to myself that an op-ed column has a different purpose than neutral journalism.

  • Pustoolio

    Bah. Wall*E story wise was fairly boring. I have no idea why people are so geeked out on this movie. The visuals are great but come on, is there anything easier to do in 3D then space, spaceships and robots?

  • ha “potential commenters,” I love it.

    It’s typical of the right wing NY Times (remember Judy Miller lying to lead the country into the Iraq War? I do) that they’ll equate McCain’s crap with Obama’s business. So that the morons I mean “pundits” can go around and say, “Even the liberal NY Times agrees that Obama is the same as McCain.” Which he isn’t. Sort of obviously.

    Then to take a kids picture and use it to justify this evil “Big Lie” nonsense, it makes me want to puke more than the idea of another cutesy robot movie.