You know why nobody likes liberal activists? Because you get the impression there’s literally nothing in life that brings them any joy. There isn’t a damn thing funny, or beautiful, or entertaining, or personally or culturally sacrosanct that they’re not willing to disrupt or betray in the name of reminding us that we shouldn’t be laughing or enjoying ourselves when there are so many issues that demand our immediate attention. Nobody knows how to turn off the public by shitting all over its beloved institutions or something it’s merely chosen to collectively embrace like a liberal warrior. This is why so few left-wing protest groups accomplish anything worthwhile: because they completely misjudge the people they’re trying to get through to by assuming that, for example, interrupting their families’ Thanksgiving dinners with commercials about turkeys being tortured is an effective persuasion strategy. When it comes to trying to get people to take up their cause, most liberal activists are all vinegar and no honey.
Which brings us to Greenpeace, an organization that’s done some good in the past but which tends to employ the time-tested tactics of disruption and direct action in its activism, regardless of the fact that they more often than not just piss people off. The group’s latest target is, of all things, Legos. In 2011, Lego reentered a partnership with the Shell Oil company that brands certain Lego playsets with Shell figures and the Shell logo. A little tawdry, sure, but Shell is one of several corporations Lego has forged deals with in an effort to ensure that the toy company continues to stay afloat. Greenpeace of course has a major problem with this particular collaboration, though, given that Shell is a big, bad oil conglomerate and is therefore guilty of raping the environment. The last thing Shell should be associated with, according to Greenpeace, is children’s toys; the group sees the deal as an attempt by Shell to give itself a friendly face via an association with a venerated brand.
Yesterday, Greenpeace released a clip on YouTube aimed at calling attention to this unholy alliance — and while the video is clever, it’s also exactly what you’d expect from a group like Greenpeace in that it’s a total downer that takes a giant, warm piss all over a recent pop culture phenomenon. If you saw The Lego Movie, which a hell of a lot of kids and adults did as it was a spectacular movie and a massive critical and box office hit, then you’re probably a pretty big fan of the Tegan and Sara song from the film, Everything Is Awesome. It’s a blast of a song: relentlessly upbeat, cute without being cloying, and totally catchy. My five-year-old daughter loves the thing almost as much as she loves Let It Go, and that’s really saying something.
Well, if you liked how great Everything Is Awesome made you feel, you’re just gonna love what Greenpeace has done with it for this video. The people who produced the clip have turned the song into a down-tempo piano ballad and set to it images of little Lego Shell people plundering the Arctic until all the Lego polar bears — and eventually the Lego people themselves, including a Lego Santa Claus — drown slowly and tearfully in oil. The whole thing has the feel of one of those Sarah McLachlan commercials with the dying shelter animals looking forlornly into the camera, expect for the fact that Angel was never meant to be the kind of song that made you happy and Everything Is Awesome most certainly is. The clip is called, creatively, “Everything Is NOT Awesome,” and as it comes to a close and you contemplate trying to open up a vein with a spork you got at lunch, Greenpeace tells you to demand that Lego “end its partnership with Shell.”
Subtle it’s not. But hey, your kids are gonna love it. And we’re here writing about it, as are a lot of other people, so make no mistake that the ad accomplished exactly what it was supposed to. It was never intended to be effective in the traditional sense — it was only intended to disrupt. The thing is, that may be a fine way to get media attention and viral transmission but whether it earns Greenpeace any fans or converts to this cause, rather than simply ruining a popular song and movie and depressing the hell out of everybody, is dubious at best.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.