PDA

View Full Version : Iron Giant and Hoplophobia, or "why Daddy is no fun"


7x57
11-04-2009, 9:30 PM
Given that this is about anti-gun political propaganda and the manipulation of children, I suppose this is an appropriate forum for my little rant.

We seldom watch movies, but we just rented Iron Giant and watched it with our five-year-old. Part way through, my jaw dropped. Yah, it's anti-gun; everyone but me (not movie people, remember?) knows that. Right?

Fine. But I don't think I've ever seen the demonization of inanimate objects, as though they act on their own, made so explicit and precise. Usually, there would be at least a thin disguise, but not here. That makes it interesting. In that sense, it is a rather precise exegesis of one of the memes of American gun control. (And in that sense it is quite interesting that the movie never comments on the boy's owning of a BB gun--unless it's smashing is a symbolic comment.) Though I'm somewhat disappointed in the high reviews--the moralizing is not simply knee-jerk liberalism, but it's so heavy-handed that surely someone should have dinged them points for lack of artistry.

Oh, right, we don't do that for movies. This is why I'm not a movie person. But I digress....

Similar remarks may apply vis-a-vis PETA's brand of anti-hunting, in that the death of the deer is treated as morally equivalent to human death, though unlike the "guns are themselves evil" theme it isn't expanded on at all. But if it were, it would have to conclude along with the animal-rightistas that "meat is murder."

Of course, now I'm going to have to do something about the brain washing. :mad: And that's I guess what makes it really obnoxious--it's aimed at children who likely cannot evaluate what is being done to them.

But as far as gun-rights goes, that's the long-term fight: against the effort to embed anti-gun into the culture. That's how you win the generational struggle--teach children unconscious attitudes that they will therefore accept without examination when old enough to do so.

And that's why we take children shooting.

OK, rant over. But I'm curious how many gunnies saw the movie with their kids without knowing just how anti-gun it really is.

ETA: I forgot to add that the reason daddy is no fun is because he's likely to want a five-year-old to analyze the presuppositions of a movie. :chris: Well, they can tell their therapists all about it when they're grown.

7x57

phish
11-04-2009, 9:33 PM
It's been a long time since I've seen that movie, but it was the one thing that stuck in my mind about it.

locosway
11-04-2009, 9:41 PM
I liked that movie... :(

M. Sage
11-04-2009, 9:45 PM
I didn't really pick up much of an anti-gun message. I did feel it pushed the idea of pacifism a bit much, though.

Overall I liked it as a movie because it pointed out the difference between an individual and an automaton. The difference between doing what's expected and doing what you want - what's right.

7x57
11-04-2009, 10:03 PM
I liked that movie... :(

There are a number of things I liked about it very much, actually. Primarily, I guess, the setting. One reviewer pointed out that it's determined to be set in 1957 without piling on anachronistic culture references like a stand-up comic, even though the presumed audience hasn't the faintest idea what the cold war was like. I *did* like that, a great deal. I suppose that part really does live up to the reviews, because it deliberately breaks certain feature animation conventions. The storm at the very beginning was nicely done, too.

The problem is the gun control is put at the core of the giant's moral struggle, so it's impossible to avoid or ignore. That's what has me rather annoyed. The giant's self-discovery is not so much that he's a moral agent with moral obligations--it's that "he isn't a gun."

Hmm. In fact, in sane language that is actually incorrect in the movie--he's clearly far too well armed to be anything but a battle machine of some sort, that is a weapon. He *is* a gun, and no doubt. Thus, his discovery should be that he's a free agent and can make moral choices.

But according to the movie, he's "not a gun." But since he's a battle robot, this means "gun" has been re-defined. Apparently, in the insane language of the movie, guns are by definition things that kill, and if the giant learns that he need not kill, he is therefore not a gun.

Got it. It is consistent, anyway--the logic is that, being a weapon, if he were non-sentient he'd "be a gun"; he'd do what gun-banners apparently believe guns do, kill stuff autonomously. So his real moral discovery is that he can choose *not* to do what inanimate objects do. It's all backwards. In reasonable language, we would say he discovers that, being self-aware, he is his own wielder--like a human being with fists, just more powerful. Being the wielder, he can control whether the weapon, himself, is to be used for good or evil. But in the backwards logic of the film, he discovers that his freedom of choice can overcome the supernatural tendency of weapons to just start shooting up everything.

It's looking-glass logic.

7x57

7x57
11-04-2009, 10:04 PM
I didn't really pick up much of an anti-gun message.

You're kidding. In a movie that says "killing is always wrong" in the context of deer hunting, and says that being a gun is the horrible thing that the giant must not be? Really? :confused:

7x57

HondaMasterTech
11-04-2009, 10:10 PM
I absolutely agree that if the anti-gun crowd cannot win with the current roster of adults, they will infect our children with their nonsense. Teach our children reality from fantasy, help them gain a good grip on reality and they will be immune to anti-selfprotectionist propaganda.

Sunshine
11-04-2009, 10:29 PM
Yup, same reaction as when I thought I'd settle down and watch Runaway Jury... I couldn't stop laughing at how anti it was.

Iknownot
11-04-2009, 10:39 PM
I liked the Iron Giant.

I understand and agree with what you posted in Post #5 up above, but I really think you are thinking far too hard about what was essentially a pretty good kid's movie. IMO, at least.
The movie clearly did have an anti-weapon message, but I do not think that was the only message or even the main one.

I looked at it differently. I saw it as a commentary about fighting against your ingrained nature if it is not something you agree with or aspire to.

I saw the movie making the point that everyone can try and possibly succeed at being better than they started out as.

I personally think that was the main point of the movie, with the Giant fighting against his war-like nature and instead deciding to sacrifice himself to protect everyone else from the nuke.

rabagley
11-05-2009, 6:41 AM
In fact, in sane language that is actually incorrect in the movie--he's clearly far too well armed to be anything but a battle machine of some sort, that is a weapon. He *is* a gun, and no doubt. Thus, his discovery should be that he's a free agent and can make moral choices.

But according to the movie, he's "not a gun." But since he's a battle robot, this means "gun" has been re-defined. Apparently, in the insane language of the movie, guns are by definition things that kill, and if the giant learns that he need not kill, he is therefore not a gun.

My thought on this particular point is that he found that he could say no to being pointed by someone else. His emerging agency included the ability to deny his nature. Second, the robot's vocabulary was still very limited, and "gun" meant anything destructive (unfortunately).

By design, he is a gun. A very smart gun. So smart, in fact, that he can choose to "malfunction" and fail his mission of destroying the indigenous military of some about-to-emerge-into-space-flight rock in the back-woods of the galaxy.

I do think the discussion you are having (had?) with your kids is a valuable one, especially to clarify terms and let them know that the simplistic view of what happened may not be the best view. The twist I would add when my kids see it will be that the robot is still a gun, but being a gun didn't mean that he had to destroy.

M. D. Van Norman
11-05-2009, 8:05 AM
It’s important to remember that a segment of the anti-gun population does, in fact, believe that firearms can influence behavior. “If I had a gun, I might shoot someone in a fit of anger!” This idea is due partly to psychological projection and partly to objective fetishism.

Iron Giant featured a perfect cinematic example. I don’t know whether it was the honest sentiment of the filmmakers or a calculated bit of propaganda.

The same is true for the movie’s anti-hunting component, but the implications were even less developed. If not humans, who will manage the deer population now that their usual predators have been displaced?

dantodd
11-05-2009, 9:44 AM
“If I had a gun, I might shoot someone in a fit of anger!”

the appropriate response to this is always:

Guns are like abortions; if you don't like them don't have one.

bruss01
11-05-2009, 9:47 AM
I like the Iron Giant. The "gun" issue is not handled as explicitly as I would like, but it is entertainment after all.

A gun is death and destruction, we all know that. It has no mind or will of it's own. In the hands of a man of good will and honorable intentions, it saves lives and prevents tragedies, maybe even provides life and health by putting good food on the table. In the hands of an evil man, no good comes of it... it causes theft, violence and subversion of another's free will. In the hands of the ignorant and careless, it becomes a walking game of Russian roulette and we are all unwitting players.

The moral of the Iron Giant, as I see it, is to act with intention rather than simply react according to one's programming. I see applications of this truth in abused children, who grow up to emulate their abusive parent's child rearing inclinations... a chain of violence that one person, by exercising will instead of falling back on their "programming", can break.

By exercising moral choices, we allow the gun to become an extension of ourselves, fulfilling it's potential for good. In failing to exercise moral choices, we allow ourselves to become extensions of the gun, fulfilling our own potential for evil. The Giant is faced with a choice in the climactic scene of the movie... give in to programming and allow the gun (his weaponry) to define and control him, or exercise his own moral prerogative and subject the gun to his conscious moral choices. His victory in overcoming his basic programming leads him to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect others, the highest use of a "gun" I can think of.

So I do think of it as a very positive movie in terms of helping youngsters (all of us, really) to think about making moral choices concerning the powers we exercise. The whole "gun" issue can be easily misconstrued, and the true meaning of the move lost in the whole "gun control" issue.

Untamed1972
11-05-2009, 9:55 AM
How is a review of a cartoon movie 2A Politics/Law related?

Iknownot
11-05-2009, 10:26 AM
It's in the 2A section?

7x57
11-05-2009, 12:12 PM
Asking what dots I'm connecting is always a dangerous thing, because I'm all too willing to answer and sometimes they're far apart indeed. But you asked for it....

It has to do with a theory of education that the far Left has been working for a long time, but everyone else has forgotten. The Western tradition at least since Plato is that the fundamental task of education is the transmission of value, and that one must begin teaching those values to a child long before the child is aware that values are being taught. Values taught that early become instinctive, unconscious beliefs. Plato taught that the Philosopher would eventually come to learn them consciously, but he would not believe them deeply enough to act on them unless his heart knew what was Good and Right before his head did.

Ever wonder why the overwhelming majority of professors, school teachers, and so on are liberal? Because the left values that kind of education and works hard to implement it. It is possible to transform the beliefs of any population with enough control of education. Ever wonder why Bill Ayers gave up murder to become an English professor? He realized he could do more damage with words in the ears of the young than with bombs. He was absolutely right on that, too. :chris:

The connection with Iron Giant is that it implements Plato's system in the service of a particular liberal value, gun control, in an exceptionally clear and explicit way. If you understand the kind of propaganda Iron Giant is and how it operates, you understand an awful lot of how you lost your country.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be watched, however. A child old enough to understand when it's pointed out to him is likely much better off for the lesson in critical thinking. But a child who watches it without understanding has to that degree had a portion of his ability to be a citizen taken away from him.

To a degree that too is Platonic--while the hoi polloi were to simply obey the Philosophers, the Philosophers themselves were to learn critical thinking. What we once undertook was to allow everyone as much of the philosopher's education as they were able and willing to learn.

To a degree, by creating a system where the people retained ultimate sovereignty, we bet the entire system that we could teach to many the critical thinking that Plato only imagined teaching to a few. We may have already lost the bet, but if we do lose it we lose the country so there is no choice but to do what we can to make good on it.

Quite a few people seem to think that is advocating brain-washing. That I think misses the point--if that is how men are constructed, then one must work with it. The question is who is doing the educating and what their values are. If enough people believe otherwise, the Republic falls one way or the other. It could fall left or right, but it falls for lack of citizens who not only know the harder duties of citizenship but have the level of belief required to really do it.

That is one reason I think school vouchers are an issue of freedom--the only real option that doesn't destroy freedom is for parents to choose what values are built in at the beginning, which ones the heart knows before the head understands (to paraphrase Plato). One can never expect the government to teach children that their duty is to stand in judgement of their government--it's interest is always to teach obedience and subjugation.

And for those who think that is placing too great a burden on a children's movie like Iron Giant, I can only say that this sort of belief is how so many in the last few generations lost their children. I seem to recall a saying about the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that moves the world, or something to that effect. That appears to be basically true, on a generational timescale.

7x57

jrr
11-05-2009, 2:39 PM
well, I have not seen it but since this is the internet and opinions need not be based on facts (joke!), I'll chime in. If the movie robot discovers that he is not a gun and does not have to kill, that could be taken two ways.

One is that guns are bad and automatically kill things.

The other is simply that he is not a gun in that he is not merely a machine. He has free will, and will not simply do what he is told. He cannot be aimed at something and let loose with no say in the matter. Not necessarily anti-gun.

And not to thread jack, but I agree with the poster above. If you want to see an Uber-Anti movie, rent runaway jury. WOW. I literally could not watch that pile o crap. My wife watched it on cable, and I would wander into the room, make fun of the movie and grouse about it, then leave again. lol. Aside form being an absolutely absurd plot, the heavy handed anti moralizing was sickening.

demnogis
11-05-2009, 6:18 PM
7x57... Next family movie night, rent Army of Darkness.

Good comedy, excellent (crappy) storyline, and you get to see how a firearm helps the hero of the story.

Iknownot
11-05-2009, 6:33 PM
Or the Incredibles. (At least I think that one would be okay for 7x57)

Mulay El Raisuli
11-06-2009, 5:44 AM
OK, I have added "The Iron Giant" and "Army of Darkness" to my queue at Netflix. Will watch "Giant" first. Partly because it was mentioned first, but also because "Darkness" is said to the third of three in a trilogy. demnogis, could you enlighten me on what the first two are & if they're worth watching?

The Raisuli

P.S. Yes, I agree that this is a suitable topic for the forum.

demnogis
11-06-2009, 6:44 AM
The other two in the series, Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, aren't nearly as well done as Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3). If they're worth watching... Well, Yes and no.

locosway
11-06-2009, 8:15 AM
This is my BOOM STICK!

It won't disappoint.

Steyr_223
11-06-2009, 10:07 AM
I loved that movie. M.Sage is 100% correct on this comments on it. My son, 5 loves this movie, we have the DVD..

Think we'll watch it tonight..My 2 year old girl has not seen it yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Giant

This is the "anti gun' scene..

ITnyyYfULQA

Best Scene IMHO..

wBlweHRITsA

7x57
11-06-2009, 10:12 AM
7x57... Next family movie night, rent Army of Darkness.


Already seen it. Funny, but not quite the thing for a five-year-old. :chris:

Or the Incredibles. (At least I think that one would be okay for 7x57)

Most anything is "OK" for me--if I'm not an adult by now I never will be. And IJ was "OK" for my boy, because we discussed it while on the way to go deer hunting. (He's too young for real hunting, but he got a tiny taste.) In fact, I just came back to bring him, then I'm out again for the weekend.

It's funny, because once I was no fun at movies because I'd critique the horrible misunderstanding of science and technology. I got over it eventually. But it appears that in my second childhood I have acquired an entirely new kind of unfun, critiquing hidden philosophical presuppositions. It's probably even worse. :chris:

Maybe I should go back to my original annoying habit and complain that the SSN Nautilus, while the world's first submarine with nuclear propulsion, was not a boomer sub? :D

7x57

Mulay El Raisuli
11-06-2009, 2:01 PM
I loved that movie. M.Sage is 100% correct on this comments on it. My son, 5 loves this movie, we have the DVD..

Think we'll watch it tonight..My 2 year old girl has not seen it yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Giant

This is the "anti gun' scene..

ITnyyYfULQA

Best Scene IMHO..

wBlweHRITsA


Well, now that you've spoiled it by giving away the ending, I guess I can take it off my Netflix list.

The Raisuli

P.S. "Rosebud" is a sled!