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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Seuss fans are grinchy over Lorax commercialization



lorax.jpgDr. Seuss's The Lorax, coming to movie theaters this weekend, is getting under the skin of some Seuss fans who loved the original book's environmental message. The children's book, first published in 1971, is a fable warning of industrialization as told through the plight of the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler.

Our colleague, film critic Steve Persall, panned the movie in his review here. "The Lorax is a green movie — as in the color of money —" Persall writes, "that winds up making Dr. Seuss’ simplicity into a theme park ride blueprint with a preachy message."

But it's not just the movie that has Seuss fans crying foul. It's the many, many (many many) commercial tie-ins flooding the marketplace. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has launched a campaign to "Save the Lorax!" from an onslaught of corporate cross-promotions.

"It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children's story with a prescient environmental message to sell kids on consumption," said CCFC's director Susan Linn. "The Lorax that so many of us know and love would never immerse children in the false corporate narrative that we can consume our way to everything, from happiness to sustainability. Instead, he would join everyone who cares about children and the environment to give kids time and space to grow up free of commercial pressures."

This Friday, Universal Pictures' The Lorax arrives in theaters with dozens of corporate partners promoting everything from SUVs to Pottery Barn to Pancakes.

What really irks the group is some of the products being attached to the Lorax. "The real poke in the eye of this ad campaign is its deceptive message to children and their parents that buying an SUV can save the planet from the environmental destruction that auto manufacturing, auto emissions, and auto sprawl has wrought."

So what do you say, Seuss fans, on the birthday of the beloved author (March 2) would you, could you pass on diapers festooned with Lorax images?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 3:21pm]


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