Brett Carlyle and Simon Melville
Persecution and the Art of Screenwriting
Leo Strauss, in his 1952 book, Persecution and the Art of Writing, argues that great writers tend to write with multiple levels of meaning. Often writers have an exoteric message to avoid displeasing the king, censors, or fashion of the times. At the same time, they maintain an esoteric message concealed within irony, paradoxes, and even deliberate self-contradiction.
Could it be that Zootopia, contra its widely-acclaimed “live and let live” exoteric message, was a deeply subversive satire of political correctness, multiculturalism, and racial egalitarianism? Much like Mikhail Bulgakov writing under the watchful eyes of Soviet censors, maybe Zootopia maintains just enough deniability with respect to the esoteric message to get through the censors inside of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the film (((critics))) of the mass media.
We thought another look at Zootopia was timely given last week’s release of Zootopia on Blu-Ray and DVD, which will attract millions of new viewers. However, given Disney’s reputation for pushing cultural Marxism, is Zootopia worth your time? Should you show the movie to your kids? The answer to both questions is yes. Zootopia is more than a great popcorn movie, it has the potential of being a landmark cultural watershed—an esoteric, but nevertheless clear, sign that we are winning.
Already, Zootopia is the 25th highest grossing film of all time, ranked between The Hobbit and The Dark Knight. That fact alone merits the attention of any keen observer of culture. This film is a sign of the times, and resonates from Stockholm to Hong Kong. Whatever this film has to say, it has global appeal. But what does it have to say?
Judging from the whopping 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Zootopia is a slam dunk hit with film critics. Why is that so? On the surface, the movie applies the “They Fight Crime” film trope, this time pairing a cute bunny with a wise-cracking fox. Looked at one level deep, the movie coats the story-line with heavy pro-diversity message. The story is so familiar, it hits basically every point of what we on the alt-right call “The Narrative.” One alt-right reviewer who takes the movie at face value even says that “the subtitle might as well be This is What Our Elites Actually Believe.”
The movie opens showing the horrors of nature, predators brutally maiming prey. Shortly it is revealed that the violence was merely play-acting in an elementary school production, and that animals had “evolved beyond their savage ways.” The children then reveal their life aspirations, a sheep wishes to be an astronaut, a tiger wishes to be an actuary, and finally, our protagonist, Judy Hopps, a cute bunny, dreams of being the first bunny cop in the big city of Zootopia.
Like a zoo, Zootopia is home to every species of animal, but there are no cages to separate predator and prey in this utopia. Instead, all animals, from the vicious lion to the plodding yak live together under a harmonious regime of political veganism. Through the triumph of goodthink, the lion may now lie down with the lamb. No where is it explained where carnivores get their nutrition, but just ignore that for now.
Despite such enlightenment, thought reform is not yet complete in Zootopia, and the audience of the school play laughs and mocks Judy’s career ambitions. Predation may be gone from Zootopia, but “speciesism” is not. See, Judy is a rabbit—an especially disadvantaged racial minority—small and weak compared to the lions and tigers and bears that make up the rest of the police force. Through the magical power of “believing in herself” Judy leans-in against the prejudices of a prejudiced society, teaming with other women and minorities, to prove that that all animals are equal. Disrupting this paradise is a string of unexplained attacks that cause many of the city’s residents to question their egalitarian utopia, however, in the film’s climax, it is revealed that the attacks were the result of an evil conspiracy, problem solved, diversity and multiculturalism for everyone!
Most viewers would not question this message. Simply viewed exoterically, Zootopia toes the line of political correctness perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that some reviewers were annoyed by the “ham-fisted” propagandizing. We believe that such feelings are not an accident. Crafting a contemporary blockbuster at an “A-list” studio like Disney requires a script to pass through the hands of hundreds of marketers, screenwriters, producers and other petty censors to weed out any crimethink.
For the first eighty minutes of Zootopia, the viewer sees two contradictory stories at the same time. Judy plays the role of the the modern, politically correct egalitarian, thoroughly blue-pilled on all issues. She fights for justice! She stands up for the little guy! She corrects the other character’s for their supposed insensitivity in calling bunnies “cute”!
At the same time, however, she is surrounded by reality. In the opening scene of the movie, her desire to become a police officer is mocked, and the point is driven home when she tries to intervene on behalf of some animals being bullied by Gideon Grey, a nasty fox. Gideon savagely attacks her, however, setting up a conflict in her mind with respect to foxes.
Cut to years later, she’s enrolled in Police Academy. She is the smallest, weakest, and most fragile recruit. Judy passes her tests by literally jumping on the heads of her fellow recruits. Much like the first women to graduate from US Army Ranger school, Judy’s passage was preordained from above. In the graduation ceremony, Mayor Leodore Lionheart clearly states that Judy was the first product of his “Mammal Inclusion Initiative,” a thinly-veiled jab at affirmative action.
Following the award ceremony, Judy heads to the train station to begin the journey to the city of Zootopia. There, her “country bumpkin” father, Stu, attempts to give her “The Talk.” Although not as eloquent as Jared Taylor or as statistics-based as Sean Last, he warns her about bears, lions, wolves, weasels, foxes, and other predators. Quite humorously, Judy’s liberal mom, Bonnie, tries to temper his “speciesism” except when it comes to foxes, then she chimes in that “yeah, actually your Father does have a point there, it’s in their biology, remember what happened with Gideon Grey,” a reference to Judy’s own assault at the hands of a fox when she was nine. Judy responds with the traditional liberal NAXALT: “Gideon Grey was a jerk, who happens to be a fox, I know plenty of bunnies who are jerks.” Her parents offer her an array of anti-fox self-defense tools.
Judy’s train ride to Zootopia is an audiovisual spectacle featuring aerial views of the beautiful metropolis. Along the way, Gazelle (voiced by Shakira) sings a catchy Disney tune, “Try Everything,” which is essentially a paean to Judy’s utopian view of the world in which “anyone can be anything,” if they simply try hard enough. On arrival, she sees hundreds of different species, predator, and prey, apparently living in harmony. Soon, however, she gets her first real taste of Zootopia: her studio is clearly a shithole with an obnoxious interracial (one is a kudu and the other a gemsbok) gay couple as neighbors and an armadillo (voiced with a foreign-sounding accent) landlord. Despite these facts that are obvious to the viewer, Judy claims that she “loves it,” testament her delusional view of the world.
Before delving further into the plot, we wanted to make some observations about both the idea and the construction of the city of Zootopia itself. Even to the common mind, both the terms “zoo” and “utopia” have negative connotations. Anyone who has visited London, Jakarta, Hong Kong, or New York City understands this concept of the city as a zoo, millions of people living on top of each other, their petty differences constantly rubbing. In Confessions of a Reluctant Hater, Greg Johnson points out that this forced proximity makes racial tensions almost unavoidable. In contrast to the zoo, a utopia is a perfect society, one that is obviously impossible to obtain. Zootopia is the synthesis, a city with millions of diverse strangers, thrust together, somehow producing perfection, an impossibility. Architecturally, the city is divided into four main climate zones separated by walls: Savannah, Sahara, Tundra, and Rainforest. Zootopia’s very layout plants the seed that segregation may be necessary to allow different communities of people to flourish. Sure animals from Tundratown can visit Sahara Square, however, most animals prefer to live in a habitat to which their biology is adapted. Another clear rebuttal to the notion that “anyone can be anything.” As a quick aside regarding Tundratown, the movie never shows a single fish, yet in bright neon letters is “Fishtown Market,” interesting . . .
Judy’s first day on the job is a treasure trove of red-pills. First she meets Clawhauser, a fat, effeminate leopard who refers to Judy as “cute.” Judy sees this as a teachable moment for her brand of politically correct claptrappery: “You probably didn’t know this but a bunny can call another bunny cute but when other animals do it it’s a little . . .” This is a clear parody of the discourse of “reappropriation,” whereby “insensitive” terms magically become acceptable when the target of such word is the speaker.
Next, she goes to the Police Officers’ bullpen, where she is clearly perceived by her peers as “the affirmative action hire.”
The Police Chief (voiced by Idris Elba), is introduced as the stereotypical, no-nonsense, tough as nails, big-city cop. At the first opportunity, he takes the piss out of Judy because Mayor Lionheart dumped her on the department without his permission. Judy is assigned parking duty, a reflection of her inability to do “real cop work.” Meanwhile, the real cops are assigned 14 missing persons cases, all involving predators that have disappeared.
While out issuing tickets, contrary to her liberal platitudes, but true to her own experiences, Judy racially profiles a fox, Nick B. Wylde (voiced by Jason Bateman), who appears to be casing Jumbeaux’s Café, an elephant-owned ice cream joint. Nick pretends to be a customer with the help of Finnick, a baby fox dressed in an elephant costume. In, yet another, of the movies tells, Nick says to Finnick, “you want the red or the blue, pal?” Pal and Pill being obvious near homonyms.
Judy, who still wants the blue-pill, is immediately disarmed by the charming tiny fox. The owner, Jerry Jumbeaux Jr. (voiced by John DiMaggio), tells Nick, in a deep Jersey accent, “Look, fox, you probably can’t read, but the sign says, ‘We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.’” Clearly, the first outright “racist” in the movie. Judy, sensing an affront to her racial egalitarian beliefs, leaps into action, threatening the owner with ridiculous health code violations unless he serves the obviously shifty fox. Given the culture wars of the last thirty years, this scene should ring true for anyone who has seen left-wing lawyers and bureaucrats in action. When it comes time to pay (of course!) Nick has forgotten his wallet, and so, Judy, feeling pangs of guilt for profiling Nick in the first place, offers to pay. Judy then walks off, literally high on her own sense of self-righteousness.
Almost immediately, she learns that it was all con-artistry and she was the mark. Nick took the enormous $15 elephant-sized popsicle, melted it down into dozens of “pawsicles” and resold them at $2 each. The Fox, a clear stand-in for a member of a parasite tribe, had gotten the better of her. Looking carefully at his cooler, the sticker says “Niceberg.” Was that a subtle allusion to his (((ethnicity))) or just a random word that rhymes with Iceberg. We think the former is more likely, yet the latter offers plausible deniability.
Even funnier, she sees that Finnick, rather than being a cute baby fox is in fact a full-grown fennec fox. To drive home the point, Finnick is voiced by none other than “Tiny” Lister, an OG nigga out straight outta Compton. Judy, furious that she’s been taken advantage of, threatens to arrest Nick on a laundry list of technical, bureaucratic charges. Nick, like a good parasite tribesman, knows the laws better than Judy and is in technical compliance with every code and ordinance. When it comes to dishonesty, however, the Halakhic dialog was great:
Nick: “. . . and I didn’t falsely advertise anything.”
Judy: “You told that mouse that the popsicle sticks were redwood!”
Nick: “That’s right, red wood, with a space in the middle, wood that is red.”
Nick: “You can’t touch me, carrots, I’ve been doing this since I was born.”
Next, Nick, the street smart fox, gives Judy a thoroughly accurate rundown of her life story:
“Naïve little hick with good grades and big ideas decides, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m gonna move to Zootopia, where predators and prey live in harmony and sing “Kumbaya”!’ Only to find— whoopsie, we don’t all get along. And that dream of being a big-city cop? Double whoopsie! She’s a meter maid. And whoopsie number threesie, no one cares about her or her dreams. Soon enough those dreams die and our bunny sinks into emotional and literal squalor, living in a box under a bridge. Until, finally, she has no choice but to go back home with that cute fuzzy wuzzy tail between her legs to become — You’re from Bunnyburrow? — So let’s say a carrot farmer? Sound about right?”
Finally he gives a short Spiel explaining that “you can only be what you are,” a biological determinist view of human nature. Judy, returns home, thoroughly deflated, concerned that perhaps the Nick is right and people do have biological limitations.
During her second day on the job, she sees her first real crime . . . shoplifting. She manages to apprehend the bad guy, but the Chief does not care and reiterates the fact that she was an affirmative action hire and tries to use her insubordination is a pretense to fire her. Unfortunately for The Chief, Assistant Mayor Bellwether intervenes, reminding the viewer that Judy owes her job to the “Mammal Inclusion Initiative.” Bellwether drops the subtle line in favor of ethnic solidarity: “Us little guys, need to stick together, right?” Bogo gives her an ultimatum, forty-eight hours to crack the case of the missing otter.
Her first lead brings her back to Nick, so she blackmails him (on charges of tax evasion!) into providing assistance. The assistance eventually leads to the DMV, which is a hilarious send up of the real DMV. In America, DMV employees are generally overweight blacks, in Zootopia, “Wait, they’re all sloths!” Judy, is taken aback that all the employees operate on C. P. Time. Nick chides her without missing a beat, “Are you saying that because he’s a sloth he can’t be fast? I thought that in Zootopia anyone could be anything.” The joke is funny because it’s obvious to anyone, even a naïve leftist utopian, that sloths are slow. The analogy to racial average differences in IQ is too obvious.
Judy and Nick, continue to doggedly pursue the case, interacting with Mr. Big, an arctic shrew crime lord. After they are almost killed, Mr. Big says, “”We may be evolved, but deep down we are still animals,” another breadcrumb. More detective work and we learn that something is causing predators to revert to their “primal nature.” Predators become “savage” and “feral” and begin attacking everyone “for no reason.” After another near miss, Nick opens up and we learn more about his backstory. Although, in every scene up until this point, he points out the importance of being true to one’s own nature, when he was eight, he wished to join the Junior Ranger Scouts, an organization of exclusively prey species. Despite his best efforts to fit in, he is ostracized by the other children.
The exoteric message is that speciesism is bad, because it made young Nick feel bad. At a deeper level, however, it reinforces the notion that races do indeed do better when they associate with others like them.
Following this flashback, Judy and Nick go back to the City Hall, to call in a favor from the Assistant Mayor. Here we also learn that the Assistant Mayor, far from being an important functionary, is instead a glorified secretary who was only put on the ballot because Mayor Lionheart “wanted the sheep vote.” The connection to American democratic politics and token candidates is obvious, even the species in question, i.e. “sheep.”
Using the surveillance camera system from City Hall, Judy and Nick go to the Rainforest District and Cliffside Asylum, an abandoned hospital protected by wolves. When Nick’s life is suddenly in danger, Judy, rather than clinging to the hogwash that “anyone can be anything,” uses a stereotypical racial characteristic, the wolven tendency to chorus howl to distract them and break into the Asylum. There we see the fourteen missing predators, every single one, feral and dangerous. The Mayor and his scientist Dr. Madge Honey Badger converse, suggesting that “it may be time to consider their biology . . . the only animals going savage are predators.” Judy and Nick take evidence that the Mayor was conspiring to keep the missing predators under wraps resulting in the Mayor’s arrest and the Assistant Mayor’s rise to power.
Judy then gives an important press conference on the feral predators. Despite being incredibly nervous, she truthfully and accurately states basic evolutionary psychology: “They were predators . . . it’s possible that there was a biological component . . . thousands of years ago, predators survived through their aggressive hunting instincts, for whatever reason, they seem to be reverting back to their primitive savage ways.” Judy’s words begin to incite panic in the city, especially as more predators “go savage” and attack prey species. Much like after every major terrorist attack or mass shooting, residents of Zootopia, mostly predators, host a “Peace Rally,” but the attacks keep coming. For her success in cracking the case, The Chief and Mayor Bellwether offer Judy a promotion.
Judy, disappointed that her press conference marked the end of her egalitarian, multicultural illusions, swallows the black pill, resigns from the police, returns to Bunnyburrow and accepts her station in life as the daughter of a carrot farmer. Essentially exactly what Nick predicted in his earlier monologue.
The End. Roll Credits. Egalitarianism revealed as a farce. The diversity myth shattered. The first draft of the Zootopia script sits on a Burbank shelf, never to see the light of day.
Wait just a moment! That’s not how the movie ended at all! In fact, the movie uses the most contrived Deus Ex Machina to completely handwave away the prior eighty minutes. In the final twenty minutes, everything we’ve learned about biodiversity, biological determinism, evolutionary psychology, anti-egalitarianism, and ethnic identity, all goes up in smoke. Gideon Grey is no longer the dangerous bully and is now a friendly pastry chef.
See, some people aren’t predisposed to becoming criminals, instead mean sheep are distilling midnicampum holicithias (just call them MacGuffin) flowers into a potent psychotropic poison that causes animals to go savage.
Sheep, including Mayor Bellwether were using this poison to cause predators to go berzerk. The conspiracy is unmasked, the Mayor is arrested, an antidote is found, predators and prey return to living next to each other side-by-side in harmony, Gazelle sings another catchy Disney song, KUMBAYA! As if to reinforce the apparent insanity, Nick and Judy become police partners and fall in love. Yes, the viewers likely know that foxes and rabbits obviously cannot produce viable offspring.
When Zootopia was in theaters, it provoked a torrent of positive reviews from critics, which, in a children’s movie, is an almost certain red-flag signalling degeneracy. Zootopia features an exoteric message that is sure to please Disney CEO Bob (((Iger))): multi-culturalism and diversity are good, racism is bad, people can transcend their biology to become anything they want. When you peel back the moldy onion, what you find is a deeply subversive film.
Angry Birds, as so ably reviewed by Greg Hood, proved that you can get a children’s movie overflowing with red-pills. That said, the movie’s straightforward allegory for the dangers of Muslim immigration was too obvious and critics savaged it, giving it only 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. Zootopia crushes up the red-pills and dissolves them in a strawberry smoothie of diversity and “feel good” messaging, resulting in the 98% Fresh Rating and “blockbuster” status. Will the message go “over the heads” of blue-billed viewers? Judging by commentary on Facebook, for many, the answer is “yes.” For viewers who have already begun to reject the egalitarian consensus, the breadcrumbs are there. Hopefully, they will stumble onto this review, and eventually join us on the authentic Right.