The following column was originally printed in the Seguin Gazette as "Animated film remains relevant today" on June 11, 2017. The column has been updated since its original publication.
When we look at the current times, everything has gotten pretty political, and issues have prominently come up due to the times of social justice warriors. Even before Trump got into office, we started seeing the real nasty side of these groups, and we are now seeing it become worst due to the insurgency of ANTIFA groups across the country. Due to this, it reminded me a lot of my favorite animated film of all time: Fritz the Cat.
Fritz the Cat was a 1972 independent animated film, and it is the first X-rated animated feature made. Written and directed by Ralph Bakshi and based on the underground comics by Robert Crumb, Fritz the Cat is centered around a college aged cat who tries to spread his message of hedonism while being chased by law-enforcement after evading arrest for attending a drug party and starting a riot. Even though the film itself was X-rated at the time of its release, it is a non-pornographic satire on the political and social times of the 1960s. With the film being a difficult satire, the anthropomorphic characters in the film are portrayed in heavy stereotyping to tackle the controversial view of different groups (like some of the films of Mel Brooks) like having African-Americans portrayed as crows and police officers portrayed as pigs.
Getting to the film itself, after the film’s title credits (which occurs when several construction workers are discussing the topic of youths and college), Fritz sees three girls talking to a crow with really snobbish remarks about African-Americans before they get rebuked by the crow with an unpleasant remark. A little further in the film when Fritz is in a Harlem bar, he talks to an older crow named Duke, and when Fritz try to comment about his knowledge about the race issues going on, Duke instantly tells him that he knows nothing about it because he “has to be a crow to know about the race problem.” After starting a riot against two police officers which results in the deaths of several police officers and civilians and ditching his girlfriend in the middle of nowhere, Fritz meet up with a small group of terrorists, who claim to be revolutionaries, who plan on blowing up a power plant.
Looking at the scenes in the film, how the three girls and Fritz discuss race problems in snobbish ways with crows seems close to the attitude of college-aged social justice warriors who try to say we understand the situation of issues seen in certain groups (either it be based on gender, race, religion, etc). But, like Duke told Fritz about the issue of the race relations in the film, they’ll never understand such issues unless they have actually experienced it. With the terrorist group, some can compare these examples to extremist political groups like that of ANTIFA, who are well know to start fights or have members lead in riots against police or counter protestors like Fritz did in the film. The film may be seen as obscene or offensive due to some of the content, but in a way, the political and social aspects within it are still relevant to this day.
If anyone would want to give the film a watch to understand the points I made out, the original DVD release is currently out of print, but it is available from third-party sellers on Amazon. The film is currently available to stream through both Amazon Prime and YouTube Movies. However, since the film is aimed for adults, it does contain scenes of sex and graphic violence, so I do caution that no minors watch it due to the content.