Zootopia, a city that inspired so many hours
of children singing, it will surely be remembered as a classic
Disney musical despite having only one song in it! The perfect city, where every kind of people
has their own district, gentrified to their needs! The movie Zootopia has been praised by paid
wanker snobs, YouTube essayists, and general fun seekers
alike, for daring to talk about real issues in an
animated film for children. The movie shows us the divide between rural
farm life and big city apartments, the bureaucracy of police, public discrimination,
microaggressions, and the burden of becoming a volunteer educator. This world never really gives a toss about
the characters’ gender, or their relationships, but the easily witnessed divisions of animal
species reflect how us humans are treated differently
depending on our skin tone and facial structure. Except… Not really. No matter how worthy the topic of racism is
to be the focus of a movie, it’s not actually what Zootopia focuses on. Sure, there’s a joke with parallels here and
there… Judy: “A bunny can call another bunny cute,
but when other animals do it, it’s a little…” But none of those are the main theme. When you get right down to it, Zootopia isn’t
about racism at all. Zootopia is about psychiatry. [atmospheric electronic music]
Title card reads: Acting NT presents Madness In Media
Zootopia Zootopia is a 2016 animated film,
set in the world where humans have either gone extinct or never existed,
where in our place various other animals have developed sapience
and a society with infrastructure very similar to our own. The story follows our bunny protagonist Judy
Hopps- Everyone’s name is a pun. Please start the process of getting over it
now. Judy Hopps, a small town crack farmer
with dreams of moving to the big city to become a tool of the capitalist bourgeoisie
and enemy of the people. Assuming this isn’t the very first video essay
you’ve ever seen, you’re probably expecting a summary of the
plot from start to finish, to get people who didn’t see the movie up
to speed, followed by the essay part of the video essay. Yeah, that isn’t going to work here. Zootopia isn’t a movie that empties its depth
on the first viewing. Its foreshadowing is indirect, and it doesn’t
show its hand until the main twist, and hardly even then. That’s where we have to start for this to
make any sense. This part of Zootopia is a mystery story. A small number of animals are tearing up their
neighbors’ faces, or as the movie calls it, “going savage”,
alluding to the fact that they drop down on all fours
like the regular animals we have in real life. It’s Judy’s job to prove herself as a detective
by finding out why this is happening. The plot twist reveals that it’s happening
because of a conspiracy to intentionally drug people into a violent
state. Not just random people but a specific minority. The target is animal species that are historically
predators. The purpose of this effort is to sow the seeds
of public prejudice against all people in that category,
and leverage that prejudice to establish a political hierarchy
with prey species in charge, and predators under surveillance. Did I mention this is an animated movie for
children? To understand how this reflects the system
of oppression through psychiatry, we first need to define what psychiatry is,
and more specifically, bio-psychiatry. Title card reads: BIOLOGICAL BRAIN DISEASE Not to be confused with psychology, the study
of the mind, the definition of psychiatry is the diagnosis
and treatment of mental disorders. With that definition comes a lot of assumptions,
like the assumption that the things we’re treating are, in fact, disorders,
that we SHOULD treat them, at least in some cases,
and so on and so forth. Bio-psychiatry refers to an assertion used
to justify psychiatry, the assertion that every phenomenon
which the psychiatric system claims as a disorder under its domain
is a “biological brain disease”. Judy: “It may have something to do with…
biology.” This assertion is most commonly made about
depression or hearing voices, but ultimately it extends to every psychiatric
diagnosis, including cultural identities like transgender,
Autistic, and asexual which, as someone who is all three (3) of those things,
I would hope we already agree aren’t “diseases” needing to be “cured”. Proponents of bio-psychiatry assert that all
instances of depression are caused solely by chemical imbalances in
the brain. And this assertion has some serious problems,
which we addressed more in-depth in our video about 13 Reasons Why. For Zootopia’s sake, I’m going to focus on
the assertion that everyone who hears voices
has a “biological brain disease” called schizophrenia, as its one often used as a scapegoat for violence. One problem with bio-psychiatry is that there’s
no evidence for it. There’s no blood test for schizophrenia,
and brain scans can only show correlation with other brain scans
that we don’t understand the implications of either. People who hear voices may have higher rates
of depression, anxiety, etcetera, but that could easily be attributed to the
fact that people who hear voices face higher rates
of violence, and abuse, and a hundred other kinds of discrimination. This is one of the reasons I describe psychiatry
as pseudoscience. Because as soon as we find a specific, testable,
biological cause for a psychiatric issue, as we have, for example, with Alzheimer’s
Disease, the study of that issue is immediately taken
up by neuroscientists and biologists,
and it ceases to be in the domain of psychiatry. Another problem is that there SHOULDN’T be
a blood test for schizophrenia, because in our presence cultural climate,
that would be fuel for eugenics. And in case you’re unclear as to why eugenics
is bad, we shouldn’t try to get rid of voice hearers
because their exist doesn’t actually harm anyone. The Hearing Voices Network has done great
work in Europe, and to a lesser extent, the United States,
spreading the message that people who hear voices
don’t necessarily need a psychiatric intervention. That they can instead learn to work WITH their
voices, in a way that’s benign or even beneficial. You may have a helpful voice in your head
right now, asking why you’re six (6) minutes into a video
about Zootopia, and only half that time has been spent talking
about Zootopia. Well, voice in your head, let me fix that
for you. Title card reads: “PREDATOR” AS MADNESS I’m not a furry though. Title card reads: “PREDATOR” AS MADNESS In the city of Zootopia, all animal species
live together in harmony, regardless of their historic status as predators
and prey, or so it seems in Judy Hopps’s optimistic
idea of the big city. Gone are the days of war, replaced by the
negative peace of segregation. Much like in real life, not many people express
overt prejudice, although some do. Bogo: “You think I’m gonna believe a fox?” But even among those with generally positive,
egalitarian values, there’s a lot of subtle, deep-seated prejudice
that rears its head in the most inopportune moments. The conspiracy to portray mentally ill people
predator animals as violent would not have the desired effect if there
was not already some amount of widespread prejudice
for bio-psychiatry to prey upon. Frankie: “We reserve the right to refuse service
to anyone! so beat it.” Judy Hopps herself is no exception. Nick Wylde’s speech to Judy during his first
encounter with her all but spells it out. Judy has an unrealistic, liberal’s idea of
how the world works, a worldview that blinds her to her own prejudice. Nick: “Tell me if this story sounds familiar. Naive 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. Everyone comes to Zootopia thinkin’ they can
be anything they want. Well, you can’t. You can only be what you are.” Judy admonishes her parents for THEIR bigotry,
refuting the example of her childhood bully by saying that his actions don’t reflect on
all foxes, Judy: “Gideon Grey was a jerk who happened
to be a fox. I know plenty of bunnies who are jerks.” But we see that when push comes to shove,
she does harbor some prejudice on an instinctual, emotional level,
even if she can voice an opinion that everyone is equal. The fox repellent is the first sign we’re
shown of this crack in her perfect liberal facade. She debates with herself whether to carry
around fox repellent, scoffing at it but then ultimately deciding
to take it, just in case, to keep it in her utility belt
on-duty, in plain view of the fox that she wants to
mold into her partner. Nick: “Fox repellent? Yeah, don’t think I didn’t notice
that little item the first time we met.” After being rightly offended by Judy’s
“something in their biology” speech, Nick decides to test her,
by showing to slightest hint of aggression. As he expected, she goes for the repellent. She’s perfectly content to befriend a mentally
ill fox, but as soon as he displays
a fox predator instinct scary mental illness symptom,
her fear reveals her prejudice. A victim of violent crime attributes his trauma
to “night howlers”, and Judy makes a giant leap of logic that
he must be referring to a group of white wolves who all
have Tourrette’s. “Night howler” is actually a term for a toxic
plant, which she would have already known
if she had any foxes as friends growing up. Gideon: “My family always just called them
night howlers.” And she thinks that the job of a meter maid
accomplishes anything beyond wringing the life out of poor people. These are the issues that carve out space
for Judy to grow as a character, though she is still a cop by the end. Can’t win ’em all. Title card: CONFIRMATION BIAS Zootopia makes an effort to emphasize that
bunnies are disabled. Judy gets put through a fitness test designed
for rhinos and bears. She has to prove that she’s the fittest bunny
in the world just to be considered eligible, let alone
equal. And even after that, she was really only hired
as a class traitor because of an “inclusion initiative” for the
public feels. Lionheart: “… mammal inclusion initiative…” She’s the token minority,
and she plays the part exactly as her tokenizers would hope. She disproportionately targets the lower class,
she participates in the ritual indoctrination of youth,
and she repeats the propaganda there’s a category of “violent people”
with an immutable “violent biology”. Zootopia shows how a dominant paradigm can
permeate public consciousness, alter legal and corporate policies,
and be shielded from criticism due to confirmation bias. The paradigm that there are two (2) categories
of people, those who are predisposed to violence,
and those who are incapable of violence, both determined by their immutable neurological
wiring. inevitably leads to prejudicial fear. The violence in Zootopia, like in real life,
isn’t in-born, it’s conditioned. But the public and those in power already
harbor prejudice against certain kinds of people,
so when the most surface-level statistics point a finger at those people,
they’re taken at face value. Predators bad, therefore predators are the
ones chosen to frame in a smear campaign,
therefore predators bad. That’s confirmation bias in a nutshell. Zootopia says okay, so what if there’s a correlation
between mental illness and violent crime? There isn’t, unless you count the fact that
being labeled mentally ill makes you more likely
to be a VICTIM of violent crime, but let’s pretend there is. Even then, prejudice is still just prejudice. A lot of people belonging to a certain neurotype
doesn’t mean the neurotype is inherently bad. It may very well be a case of targeted conspiracy,
or more realistically, biased over-reporting. The characters in Zootopia look at reports
of crime by predators, and decide that predators should be barred
from public-facing jobs, lest they scare the public. Real-life politicians and lobbyists
look at reports of crime by mentally ill people, and argue that mentally ill people should
be barred from voting, and medical care, and self-defense,
lest they become “a danger to themselves or others”. What all of these people are missing
is that the facts were made up by people with an agenda. The conclusions are wrong because the premise
is wrong. Bio-psychiatry is wrong. Credits read:
Zootopia and Why Mental Illness Isn’t In Your Head
Written, voiced, and edited by Alix Ditto Au
Camera by Isobel Mosscliff Music
“Badinerie” by Bach “This World” from Cortex Command
“Second Awakening” by Evil-Dog “SOft” by Patricia Taxxon
“Zizzy” by Patricia Taxxon “Jelly” by Kyle Gabler
“The Goo Filled Hills” by Kyle Gabler Zootopia copyright 2016 Walt Disney Pictures
Used for commentary purposes in accordance with fair use

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