We’ve all heard some crazy conspiracy theories in our time, however, some are more outlandish than others. I personally don’t believe that the Queen is a lizard, or that Barack Obama was actually Osama Bin Laden, but some people do, and that’s fine (as long as they don’t physically act upon it).
I do have an interest in other theories though, of which I won’t bore you with. But on the whole, I tend to think a lot of conspiracy theories are a load of BS.
But when I was at university, I did a presentation where I analysed Toy Story 3 from a Marxist perspective, and everyone looked at me like I was a freak. However, prepare to have egg on your face fellow students, because it turns out I’m not the only person who has noticed this side to the movie.
Pixar have a long-running feud with western society. They often critique the way we go about our business and look at the state we are leaving our planet in, for example; Wall-E and Finding Nemo feature clear criticisms of our wastefulness and lack of compassion for our planet. But, Toy Story 3 critiques humanity in a more discreet manner, with certain characters in the movie representing the flaws in the western world.
My reason for exploring the relationship between Marxism and the film is simple: Toy Story is my favourite film series of all time, the movies represent a large part of my childhood, and Marxism is a socioeconomic analysis that I find immensely interesting.
Amazingly, it turns out I was the only person who saw Marxist connotations running through the film. Another person has also noticed this political theme, and unlike me, has found the whole thing massively infuriating. Chris Bogue, an improv performer who has taken a clear disliking to Toy Story’s political undertones, took to his improv group’s website to write a long post about how disgraceful the whole thing is.
Bogue begins his tirade against Pixar in an angry manner, saying they have previously challenged America’s “proud corporate institutions” by “suggesting cronyism and greed are corrupting our values and destroying the planet”, and is dumbfounded by their audacity to attack the free market:
“The Pixarxists have done it again. Toy Story 3 is full of the same anti-American propaganda disguised as an adorable child’s adventure that we have come to expect from virtually every Pixar movie. Movies like Monsters Inc and Wall-E dared to insult our proud corporate institutions by suggesting that cronyism and greed are corrupting our values and destroying the planet. Now they have the audacity to attack the free market!”
Bogue then begins his attack on Toy Story in particular, branding Woody and the gang as “bleeding heart liberal suckers” and calling Andy their “benevolent master”. He then introduces Lotso into play, saying that the day camp Lotso has set up is essentially the free market, or as Bogue calls it: The American Dream.
“For years, Woody and his cohorts have served as bleeding heart liberal suckers to their benevolent master Andy. Instead of focusing on why they are individually the best, the toys want nothing more than to serve their government. Naturally, big government Andy doesn’t give a damn about them and the toys wind up at a Day Care Center. There they meet a kindly villain bear named Lotso.
“Lotso describes the Day Camp as a free market where the toys have unlimited potential and are their own bosses. Of course they start in the bottom of the social hierarchy, serving as the playthings of vicious barbarian toddlers, but the invisible toy hand of the day care market is assured to provide room for upward mobility. This is the American dream.”
However, Bogue feels like Pixar go out of their way to s**t all over the American dream, he specifically mentions the scene whereby the toys who run the day camp meet up and laugh at their new editions, as well as re-programme Buzz to become a Spanish-speaking soldier who turns on his comrades.
“The Marxists at Pixar included a scene where the council of evil private business-owning toys gamble and explain how their free market system is fixed. They even had the nerve to reprogram Buzz as a military soldier fighting against his own interests and friends.”
“The whole film is infuriating for REAL Americans who love this country. Buzz is speaking Spanish (sorry Spaceman, we speak 1 language in this country), a Ken doll is obviously trying to spoof Republican law makers as closeted homosexuals (which is an unfair stereotype except for all those Republicans with gay sex scandals), the toys never go to church once, and nothing is done to repair Joe McCarthy’s heroic legacy.”
Not sure if I wholeheartedly agree with Bogue’s criticism here. While there is definitely some Marxist undertones running throughout the whole of Toy Story as a series (lack of social mobility, society dominated by a few people etc) I definitely didn’t pick up on labelling republicans as homosexuals, or find Spanish Buzz to be offensive (I actually thought it was hilarious). Personally, I think we should take the whole film series at face value – it is a cartoon after all.