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This image released by Disney shows a teenage Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen." (AP Photo/Disney)
Digging for conspiracy theories in ‘Frozen’ and ‘LEGO’ movies

By Sean P. Means

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Feb 20 2014 08:24 am • Last Updated Feb 20 2014 04:48 pm

There are days when the conspiracy theories run so thick that it’s a shock to see that the grocery stores can keep tinfoil in stock, what with all those people lining their hats with the stuff.

One recent one came from Charles Payne, a host on the Fox Business Network, who commented that "The LEGO Movie" was "anti-business."

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(I was on vacation when "The LEGO Movie" was released, but I’ve seen it twice. It’s a sharply funny takedown of Hollywood’s usual toy-driven formula movies, and it also delivers a heartfelt message about the power of imagination that’s true to the spirit of LEGO building. It is the only four-star movie to have been released in theaters so far in 2014.)

What is Payne’s evidence? That the lead villain’s name is "President Business," or sometimes "Lord Business" — and that he "looks a little bit like Mitt Romney."

This led Payne and another commentator, Monica Crowley, to opine about Hollywood’s "liberal agenda." Movies such as "Wall-E," "The Muppets," "The Lorax" and even "It’s a Wonderful Life" were cited as examples of Hollywood’s long-standing hatred of corporations.

But let’s follow the logic of the argument against "The LEGO Movie": A movie made and distributed by a large corporate entity (Warner Bros., a subsidiary of TimeWarner), in cooperation with an international toy company — a movie that has earned $200 million in ticket sales for these corporations worldwide and is engineered to encourage your children to buy the toy company’s product — is anti-business, because a plastic figure has hair that resembles the sort-of-plastic hair of a real-life executive.

Yup, that’s nutty. But Payne’s a professional nut, paid to come up with "click bait" opinions that will get people seeking out Fox Business Network’s website.

Another recent theory of Hollywood’s so-called "liberal agenda" comes from a "mommy blogger" who seems to mean every word she writes.

Kathryn Skaggs, a Southern California grandma who writes the "Well-Behaved Mormon Woman" blog, got a lot of attention around the Internet this week for a post in which she tears apart Disney’s megapopular musical "Frozen" to find its sinister message.

"I could blatantly see that the homosexual agenda, to normalize the practice, was not simply an underlying message in the movie ‘Frozen,’ but is the actual story," Skaggs begins her long, long screed — in which she claims she is not anti-gay.

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Skaggs’ argument is that Elsa’s magical power of creating ice and snow is a metaphor for "same-sex attraction." It’s proper, Skaggs argues, for Elsa’s parents to hide her away in shame because of these powers and to keep them a secret from her sister, Anna.

After becoming queen, Elsa’s powers are exposed and she goes into hiding — which Skaggs interprets as symbolic of gay victimhood, "enslaved by the judgments of religious pro-heterosexual marriage advocates who keep them from what they want and which they believe demonize the gay lifestyle."

And it’s Elsa’s declaration of freedom — the show-stopper song "Let It Go" — that Skaggs decries as anti-Christian because "it is rebellious" and "it mocks moral absolutes."

Furthermore, Skaggs calls out Hollywood for pitching this pro-gay agenda to children — like her grandchildren, who apparently forced her to see the movie three times.

"The process of normalizing homosexual behavior in society is going to require more than the liberal media saying it is so — which they do all the time — or activist judges legalizing same-sex marriage in one state after another," Skaggs writes. "It’s going to require the indoctrination of our children, in order to lead their generation to the next, necessary, level of mainstream social acceptance."

Now, it’s possible for a movie — or any form of mass entertainment — to carry messages far deeper than even its creators intended. And it’s also possible for individual viewers to interpret those messages differently.

There have been works of fiction that did talk about LGBT issues through metaphorical terms. Marvel’s "X-Men" comic-book franchise long used the way mutants were treated by the rest of society as an allegory for discrimination of all sorts — including discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But trying to stretch the storyline of "Frozen" to cover a so-called "gay agenda" is patently ridiculous and says more about the agenda of the person concocting the theory. Maybe somebody should just let it go.

Sean P. Means writes The Cricket in daily blog form at www.sltrib.com/blogs/moviecricket. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seanpmeans. Email him at spmeans@sltrib.com.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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