So theres this new movie out in which Dr. Seuss diminutive mustached environmentalist known as the Lorax is tricked into being a shill for Thneeds, a product that proves disastrous for both the books and the films fictional ecosystems.
Elsewhere in the Amusmosphere, theres this new TV commercial in which the Lorax ardently extols the virtues of owning an SUV, a product that many people believe is bad for the planets actual ecosystems.
Taken together, the film and the commercial might strike a pose commonly referred to as an ironic juxtaposition. Then again, maybe not.
Perhaps your ability to detect irony was irreparably damaged the day President Bush put a lawyer for polluters in charge of regulating pollution.
And perhaps there is no irony to be detected here at all.
The Mazda CX-5 SUV that the Lorax stamps with the Truffula Tree Seal of Approval in the commercial is smaller and more fuel-efficient than its gas-guzzling forebears.
However, gasoline is still its only form of nourishment.
The Mazda CX-5 SUV is not an electric car and it is not a hybrid.
In fact, when Mazdas SkyActiv technology was introduced at the New York Auto Show in 2011, the car company made its vast corporate feelings about electric cars and hybrids crystal clear.
Now, before anyone gets too confused, let me state unequivocally that SkyActiv is not a vodka-based acne treatment.
What SkyActiv refers to is a state-of-the-art internal combustion engine, which is nothing whatsoever like a state-of-the-art 35mm camera or a state-or-the-art pager, so stop saying that.
Mazdas tag line for SkyActiv a year ago, according to AutoblogGreen writer Sebastian Blanco, was Not Electric. Not Hybrid. Not a Drag To Drive.
The message in that would be hard to misinterpret: electrics and hybrids are pokey.
The Mazda CX-5 is part of our sustainable zoom-zoom long-term vision, according to Mazda spokesman Eric Booth, who evidently uses zoom-zoom the same way that Henrietta Pussycat used meow-meow on Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Apparently, the Lorax is the sort of environmentalist who does not want to sacrifice speed for the sake of fuel economy.
I dont recall that part of the book. But maybe this brouhaha over only one of the movies 70 product tie-ins is beside the point.
A more fuel efficient SUV is certainly not a bad thing and most people are sophisticated enough to take ad campaigns with a grain of salt or a truckload of salt depending on the circumstances.
No, the worst offense committed by the movie version of The Lorax is not against the environment, it is against Dr. Seuss.
The Lorax, like every other cinematic adaptation of Seuss work to date, is a terrible film.
It substitutes a happy ending for an ambiguous one, a romance for a pilgrimage and bad songs for timeless poetry.
Nobody in Hollywood has a clue, apparently, what to do with Seuss verse so they generally jettison it in favor of the same sitcom tactics and instantaneously stale topicality that infest most other animated films.
To compare Universals version of The Lorax with Seuss original is to understand that eagerness-to-please is no substitute for genius.
I have no doubt that there are kids out there whose first exposure to Seuss comes courtesy of these discourteous films.
That may not be as noxious as automobile exhaust, but its still a form of pollution.