Saturday, July 17, 2010

The politics of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

So my wife is asleep, and I have some serious work to do, so.. even though the American Academy of Pediatrics says "no TV before 2 years old", my son is watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Sue me. Or better yet, teleport me to an alternate universe where my parents aren't old and sick and handicapped, so that way instead of having to tell my mom "no" over and over and over again when she begs to babysit, I could just drop him off at grandpa and grandma's house for a few hours. Anyway, rant over.

The plot of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is that this guy who lives in a town where people don't have any food to eat except sardines, invents this thing that makes it rain food. It's a kid movie, so who cares if it's preposterous. But...

The first food he has fall is cheeseburgers. So... were the skies filled with spontaneously generated cows who then got spontaneously slaughtered?

I suppose ground dead animal being generated sui generis from "mutated hydrogen" (that's the brief pseudoscience excuse they give in the movie) is no more preposterous than vegetables being created the same way... But the problem I have with it is that kids in this country are already really divorced from any understanding of where their food comes from, especially the factory farmed meat. This just seems to perpetuate that unfortunate trend.

I guess it would have ruined the movie if it only created vegetarian (or even vegan) food. And it would be way too dark in a kid's movie to have some subplot where they find out it's actually not cool to use the invention to make meat, because there are chickens and cows forming in the clouds and then croaking... But it bugs me anyway.

When my son is old enough to understand, I intend on taking him to a farm as soon as possible and helping him to understand where the food comes from. When he's old enough to cook with me, I'd like him to help me, or at least watch me, break down a chicken. (Even though I'm very slow at it, I love breaking down chickens... it makes you mindful of where the food came from, and at the same time you get to participate in this magical transformation... I dunno, I just like it) Maybe sooner rather than later I can even have him participate in killing and plucking some chickens...

Anyway, the reason I'm letting my son watch this crap in the first place is because I'm ridiculously busy, so back to work... I just had to say something before I forgot.


  1. funny how western cultures like to hide the head of the animals for it to be presentable as food. Why not make a delicious cows head for dinner after this trip sometime in the future? such things turn many children into vegetarians because it made them realise that they are eating a dead animal.

  2. dude! You missed the part with the womb of roasted chickens?!!! That was the most important part!

    At least it's not as bad as that horrible remake of Horton Hears a Who. That one was obviously put together by some California Christianists, eliminating the professor, replacing him with a politician with 99 children, sexist subplots, anti-intellectualism, that was truly awful....

  3. Yeah, I admit, I didn't watch the whole thing. Had to work, got distracted, etcetera :)

    Re: Andy -- yep. That's one reason I want my son to know where his meat is coming from as soon as he is old enough to grasp it. I don't want any nasty surprises later in life.

  4. I went to watch this with my 24 year old daughter. Don't ask me why, I don't know. She asked, it was an opportunity to spend some time with her, she works in day care, I figured she was doing research. Something like that.


    Odd movie. I shut my brain down, tried not to think about it, let the escapist aspect simply wash over me. But now that you mention it, I remember thinking "Those hamburgers should crush that house, not just land, splat, on top. Why aren't people being killed?"

    But like you said, it was a kid's movie.

    I too enjoy breaking down a chicken, usually cooked, while I pop the chicken parts in my mouth.