The Lion King Is Politically Problematic!

By Kyle B. Stiff

 

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Uh oh guys, looks like the right-wing fascists at Disney are set to release a remake of The Lion King, a tale of authoritarian goose-stepping that would surely be seen as problematic to the left-wing saints gently guiding us toward utopia. In the interest of guilt-tripping everyone, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the original version of The Lion King from the perspective of the modern culture war.

The Lion King begins with a celebration of the hierarchy. Every animal species has their place in the circle of life, and the animals who are willing to submit to the hierarchy are incredibly happy. The land is fertile and green because everyone is doing what they were born to do. The elephants are stomping around and making that weird wet trumpet sound, the mice are hippety hoppeting and trying not to get squished, the ostriches are being dumb and not even attempting to fly – all is right with the world.

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It feels nice to think about the circle of life, but of course, there’s an animal at the “top” of the circle, so savvy veiwers will note that it’s more of a pyramid than a circle. Mufasa is king and he’s got a rack of ho’s tending to his business. He’s the king because his genes are absolutely incredible. He has the chin, the power, the lush mane, but he’s also a “stable genius” who never has a nervous breakdown, always wakes up early and clocks out late, and doesn’t screw over one animal to make friends with another. He is in charge, and rightly so. He’s not a tyrant, but nature chose him to be on top. This is a tough pill to swallow for the egalitarian mindset, especially since most of Mufasa’s good qualities weren’t really earned, but were given by nature. Can we rationalize why nature chose him to be king? No, that’s just how it is. Sorry, equality enthusiasts!

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The cycle continues with Simba. He’s just a dumb baby at the beginning of the story, but he’s being cheered simply for existing. This public spectacle is the very thing that drives people like Scar nuts… why shouldn’t people be cheering for him instead of Simba?! Hasn’t he suffered enough to earn a little applause?! Dealing with resentment is a big struggle in the life of every living thing. Those who allow the resentment to fester in their heart eventually succumb to a form of possession. Their souls are mutilated (thus the name “Scar”) and they cease to be beautiful. On the other hand, those who submit to the whims of nature, like the animals in our opening scene, get to sing and take part in the grand tapestry of civilization and the big story we are all working together to write and play in. Some of us will have big roles, but most of us will have small roles. If you can accept that, then the birth of Simba and the promise that a good life in a good land will continue will truly be something to celebrate.

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Unfortunately we soon find out that Simba doesn’t really understand what it means to rule. He’s the sort of person who thinks that ancient kings used to sit around and shout orders while being served heaps of food and fine wine; the reality is that leaders shoulder a burden that would crush normal people. Most of us would do anything to wiggle out of accepting responsibility. It’s absolutely terrifying. Simba thinks he’s going to continue to be adored just for existing, and in his very first song, he gets everyone dancing just to have them all pile up on top of each other and fall over like some kind of literal pyramid collapsing under its own weight. The kids in the audience are laughing but it’s ominous as hell.

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Things get even worse when Simba tries to throw his weight around in territory outside of the hierarchy. Note that just because you have a powerful hierarchy with a rigid social structure, does not mean that that structure rules perfectly everywhere. There are always areas for societal dropouts and fuckups to hang out and torment one another with their hard luck stories, an “underworld” of decay filled with the screams of the emotionally unstable.

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This is where Scar hangs out. Even though he’s a lion and occupies a high station, it’s still not enough for him. He wants to be praised for being the best, but since he isn’t the best, he has to buddy up with a bunch of scavengers and promise them the world. Free this, free that, oh, and also… revenge against those assholes who didn’t give you all the free stuff you deserve!

Scar pulls some strings and Mufasa gets trampled by the mainstream media. Simba must live in shame and Scar, being unable to win votes on his own merits, opens the borders and lets in the hyenas, thus creating a reliable voting bloc. Hyenas will always vote for Scar. The hyenas have no place in the hierarchy because they have no long-term stake in the realm. They live on decay and short-term gain. Why not loot the economy? They could have nothin’ right now, or they could have SOMETHIN’ right now. Makes sense!

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Scar gets Simba to forget who he is, or rather, what he’s supposed to be doing with his time. Simba becomes the jungle equivalent of a stoner blasting fools on Xbox with a frozen burrito thawing on a table cluttered with empty Monster cans and a surprisingly well-thought-out collection of vape pens and flavors for his e-cig habit. He’s fallen off the hierarchy and has achieved ultimate freedom. He’s a consumer, the final genetic stop in a long line of ancestors who fought to survive so that Simba, the last of his kind, could ragequit a Soulsborne game and stalk Nala on instagram. He lives in a dark pit of shame but he buries the rage by (quite rationally) pointing out how great the world is; there are plenty of bugs to eat, so why worry? Never mind that he’s a nervous, anxious wreck… that’s probably just some genetic thing, right? Surely it can’t be helped, right???

Simba eats bugs; he’s the very definition of a bugman. And Scar would have gotten away with it, too… if it wasn’t for Rafiki!

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Rafiki is the jungle equivalent of someone who keeps a constant rotation of Alex Jones episodes playing in the background while browsing articles about what the Great Pyramids of Giza were REALLY made for (impossible not to click because there’s a pic of Nikola Tesla looking real smug). Rafiki lives alone; why would he not? He’s intense, he talks to himself, he mixes herbs with his colloidal silver tonic, he has giant plastic jugs full of rice in the basement, and he’s extremely opinionated regarding his conceal carry technique (and if you’re an officer of the law who stops to ask about his open carry, believe me Rafiki KNOWS HIS RIGHTS and THEY WILL NOT BE INFRINGED).

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The thing about Rafiki is, as crazy as he looks, he was actually made to occupy one of those non-corporate public servant positions that calls for unyielding moral rectitude and the ablility to fearlessly give advice to those who typically aren’t open to criticism. His mind can go anywhere; he can talk about military or legal matters one minute and aliens or zero-point energy the next. He will never be uncomfortable no matter the subject, and is invaluable for a real king to have on his side.

That’s also why he’s perfect for radicalizing Simba.

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Simba had to get his ass beat by a girl to realize he’s not a man, and that set him on the path to listening to Rafiki’s twelve-part YouTube series (right before it was taken down) on What REALLY Happened to Mufasa (Unbelievable Disclosure!!). Halfway through the series Simba realized the things he used to think were extreme now make total sense. When the hierarchy breaks down, only force matters. Simba sees his father and all his noble ancestors smiling down on him from the heavens as he repeats that there comes a time when the tree of liberty must be watered with blood (or however the saying goes). He arms himself and goes on the offensive.

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Now that his eyes have been opened, Simba sees the truth about his home. It is an absolute dump, full of foreigners working in black market economies. The female lions either work as prostitutes or cower in their caves, afraid to walk the streets and become a statistic. People don’t like to talk about it, but the once peaceful realm has somehow become the rape capital of the savannah. Honor killings are common. Zazu, once an upright public figure, has been reduced to virtue signaling on Twitter to the applause of a bunch of blue checkmark hyenas.

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In the end, Scar is devoured by his own constituency, and Simba reclaims his dump of a home. There are no cheers for the new king as he ascends to a throne overlooking a wasteland filled with hunger and despair. There may be no applause, but at least there are roars. The people cry out, again and again, roaring like animals, silenced and shadowbanned for so long that all they can do is roar and rage and hope that future generations won’t make the same stupid mistakes.

A VR Sim for Those Who Think that Politics Is Real

Game developers should make a virtual reality simulation for people who enjoy the endorphin rush of outrage.

The simulation would have to be so engaging that it draws everybody deeply entrenched in the cult of politics out of everybody else’s way. Imagine if facebook or twitter were filled with people living unique lives with interesting perspectives! Instead, both forums are a series of endless arguments and troll-wars and preachy moralizing between the two most bottom-of-the-barrel, played out perspectives that ever simplified the unimaginably complex human narrative: the old liberal versus conservative paradigm. What a shame!

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VR Sim: Politics Is Real would be a two-disc set, with one set of games for liberals and another set for conservatives. Pick your poison! There would be many games on each disc. Here are some game ideas, in no particular order.

For liberals, a game called RE-EDUCATION CAMP. The point of this game would be to find people who are not one hundred percent on board with a futuristic utopian society and put them in re-education camps. The guests at the camps must be turned into good human beings through hard labor, food restriction, and challenging indoctrination mini-games.

For conservatives, a war sim called CALL OF JESUS: MODERN WARGOD. This highly popular game would be a perfect way to get ultra-conservatives from the world’s most annoying religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – and stick them in a world where they can kill one another over and over and over again while leaving everybody else free to relax and read a book or take a dog on a walk.

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For liberals, a game called ESCAPE FROM KITCHEN. In this game, a female protagonist has been chained to an oven by an evil husband who guards the exit. The player will have to use their wits to avoid making her captor anything to eat, thus starving him to death while avoiding starvation herself. Once the cell phone item has been found, the player will be able to eat food by downloading it from Pinterest photos. Other bonus power-ups: college diploma, CEO suit, and abortion machine.

For conservatives, a game called DON’T BE GAY. The point of this game would be to navigate a labyrinth full of homoerotic imagery and tantalizingly forbidden sights, but still make the choice to be a straight man. Successfully getting through the labyrinth would require you to move away from monsters that look like physically fit, scantily clad young men, and yet somehow not have sex with them. Occasionally the player would find an “assault rifle” power-up that would allow them to rack up points by shooting homosexuals, sort of like when Pac-Man ate a magical bean or whatever and was able to eat ghosts for a limited time.

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For liberals, a game called FANTASTIC RACIST VOYAGE. In this game, racism has nearly been eradicated, but a few molecules of racism still exist deep inside one single human being. Players are shrunk down and injected into the body of this individual, and they must cooperate to hunt down the last few molecules of racism and blast them before they can grow into racism-cancer and spread from host to host, once again turning humanity into a bunch of shitty, awful racists. The player will only have about five minutes to hunt down this facet of humanity that has slowly formed over hundreds of thousands of years, so it will be a really pulse-pounding race against time.

For conservatives, a game called FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE BROTHERHOOD. In this game you enroll in a fraternity and engage in a series of drinking games while avoiding taking any classes or learning anything about the knowledge your species has accumulated over thousands of years. At the end of the game you become so inebriated that you can barely even see the family business you inherit.

For liberals, a game called LOVE-COP. “Part man, part liberal, all cop,” is the tagline. In this game, the player would be a police officer patrolling a dangerous neighborhood armed only with hugs and good intentions. I’m sort of drawing a blank on this one… other than crawling into a sewer drain and waiting until your shift is over, I’m not sure how the player would survive. Ultimately I think the game would turn into a shooter, but with little hearts rather than bullets taking down violent perpetrators.

For conservatives, a game called ALWAYS A REBEL (SOMETIMES). In this game, every stage begins with a rousing quote from the freedom-loving founding fathers. The player will be filled with a sense that they should fight to pursue happiness based on their individual will. But then the gameplay will juxtapose that with a grueling level-grinding system in places like military bases, corporate offices, and churches. The classic gameplay design “A jumps, B shoots” will be replaced with “A means ‘yes sir!’ and B proudly tows the line.” How much of a rules-obeying lickspittle can you be for your corporate masters? Are you willing to defend freedom and human dignity by shining your military officer’s shoes like a good boy? Gameplay will do another 180 during boss-fights against pacifists, hippies, people from technologically undeveloped nations unlucky enough to be sitting on valuable resources, and women who ruin football season by speaking out against wealthy rapist athletes. In those instances, players will have to ruthlessly smash any opposition by generally being a shitty person.

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For liberals, a game called GENDERFLUX. Since gender isn’t based on biology, but on social conditioning, players will have to give a child the freedom to choose their own gender by indoctrinating them into believing they are a different gender than they appear to be. Keeping toy guns and cars away from boys, and dolls and cooking sets and anything pink away from girls, is a must in this Super Mario-inspired run-and-jump game that shows you how shitty you are for assuming Mario is a man and the Princess is a woman.

For conservatives, a military shooter with the challenge rating turned all the way down. The player is a soldier equipped with modern weapons and dozens of heavily equipped allies, and even tanks and helicopters, in an endless war against outnumbered enemies equipped with Stone Age weapons or a few shoddy firearms cobbled together during the Cold War. If the player ever feels the least bit challenged, he can call in an airstrike from a stealth bomber flying so fast and so far above the playing field that the enemy cannot even target them. All boss fights are merely accidental friendly fire incidents due to some levels being so choked by friendly units. Every stage begins with a briefing given by a military commander who has an extreme right-wing Israeli politician whispering in his ear.

For liberals, a game called EVERY CULTURE IS GREAT EXCEPT YOURS. A game inspired by Civilization in which players don’t manage their own civilization, but everyone else’s. Players will work hard to promote and cultivate computer-controlled opponents who gratefully accept resources and charity workers. Players will have to ignore the advancements of their own civilization with a series of eye-rolling and head-shaking as they accumulate Guilt Points. The player can gain Smug Self-Satisfaction points for ignoring or downplaying the atrocities committed by other civilizations.

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For conservatives, a game called ONLY AMERICA EXISTS. In this Civilization-inspired game, computer controlled opponents do not look like humans, but instead look like the resources they have. The player already begins the game with an incredible array of military units, but the challenge of turning the whole world into one giant red, white, and blue paradise comes from your own limp-wristed, gutless, whiny civilian populace, who have to be carefully managed. Getting resources won’t be easy. Instead of developing Achievements or Great Wonders, the player will have to develop a research tree that includes carefully controlled narratives, media manipulations, and Political Hero units who can say incredibly simple jingoistic phrases that will get people excited about stealing resources from other nations – or, rather, liberating foreign people from tyrants who oppose freedom and democracy.

The trailer for the liberal set of games would show a group of Democratic politicians hugging each other and petting a group of deer peacefully making their way through the senate building. “Let’s pass a bill that will create world peace and end hunger and equalize equality equally everywhere!” one of the peaceful Democrats would say. Then a terrible shadow would fill the room and a Republican with glowing red eyes would say, “I’LL GO ALONG WITH THAT… BUT ONLY IF WE EDIT THE BILL, EVER SO SLIGHTLY, TO INCLUDE DEATH CAMPS FOR ALL POOR PEOPLE AND MINORITIES! HA HA HAAAA!!!”

Well dear reader, the flow of ideas has suddenly ended, so I’ll end this here. If you hated this, please let me know.