COLUMN: Conservatives at the movies: Sylvester Stallone versus animated, dancing penguins

By Eric Naing

Since the elections, conservatives seem to have nobody to hate on (could it be post-election stress disorder?). Fortunately, Hollywood has provided conservatives an outlet for their rage in the form of animated, dancing penguins.

If you listen to conservative pundits, the most dangerous entity facing this country today is the movie “Happy Feet.” Right-wing Web site calls the film “anti-human” and says it is “an extended diatribe in favor of a U.N. ban on fishing in the Antarctic.” CNN talk show host Glenn Beck (who just recently called the first Muslim elected to Congress a terrorist to his face) ups the ante by declaring “Happy Feet” to be “an animated version of ‘An Inconvenient Truth.'” Others criticize the movie for its pro-tolerance and pro-dancing message saying that it promotes homosexuality.

In a demonstration of how in-touch right wing pundits are with the United States, Americans elected to stay away from this liberal propaganda in droves . or maybe not. “Happy Feet” has been the number one movie for three weeks and has so far earned more than $136 million worldwide.

Of course, if the filmmakers really wanted to brainwash kids into voting Democrat, they could have done a lot worse. For instance, they could have included polar bears drowning from all the melting glaciers or a guest worker program for all the Mexican penguins. The fact that there is such a rage over this says more about the sorry state of conservatism than it does about the movie. Children’s movies have always been about the evil of man. I don’t see the National Rifle Association complaining about the death of Bambi’s mother.

So what is a right-wing moviegoer to do? Never fear because a washed-up, mumbling old pugilist has returned to save us all. That’s right, later this month Sylvester Stallone will return as Rocky in the movie “Rocky Balboa” (a.k.a. Rocky VI, a.k.a. Stallone needs work).

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    But what makes the Rocky movies so conservative you ask? To answer that we have to travel back to March 24, 1975 when boxing legend Muhammad Ali fought white dude Chuck Wepner. Wepner, thought to be a pushover, managed to hold his own for fifteen rounds, but ultimately lost to Ali. Stallone, inspired by Wepner, created the concept of Rocky wherein his Wepner-inspired Rocky would fight the Ali-inspired Apollo Creed. But this time, the white man wins. If you want further proof of Rocky’s conservative leanings, just look at his blatantly symbolic fight with Russian cold warrior Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

    The conservative wish fulfillment of Stallone doesn’t end there though. Slated to be released in 2008, Rambo will return in “Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra.” According to interviews with Stallone, the movie is about John Rambo saving Christian missionaries kidnapped by the military dictatorship that rules the South Asian nation of Burma (also called Myanmar). This movie is nothing more than a neoconservative wet dream about toppling foreign evildoers and bringing violent, American-style freedom to a savage people.

    My family and I are Burmese and I’ve been to the country several times so I can attest to the brutal and often inhuman nature of the government there. Still, I doubt that Rambo will have to face the terror caused by the forced sterilization of 30,000 Burmese women by American Baptist missionary Paul Lewis or the Christian terrorist group God’s Army. The Rambo series has always been about neoconservative foreign policy fantasy. The original movies were an obvious parable about how we could have won the Vietnam War if Americans weren’t weak-minded hippies who only wanted to surrender.

    In the end though, it’s pretty silly to project your political beliefs on mindless movies. If you don’t like a movie’s message, don’t watch it. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting for Stallone’s sequel to “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” wherein Stallone must prevent liberal judges from removing a feeding tube from his mother who is in a Terri Schiavo-like vegetative state.