Released by Chipotle on September 11, 2013, “The Scarecrow” is a brilliant animated short set to the hauntingly beautiful musical piece “Pure Imagination”, sung by Fiona Apple. In just over three minutes, it encapsulates the story of the food industry in the United States, as told by those in the Slow Food movement–of which Duba & Company is most certainly a part. If you’ve not already seen it, you’re in for a “reel” treat:
In the above animated short, the scarecrow is the personification of rural agrarian life. With the near-complete shift from small farms to one, large factory farm (Crow Foods, Inc.), the scarecrow’s traditional role of spooking crows from pillaging the farm has been completely reversed. The scarecrow is now used as another cog in the machine of Crow Foods, under the intimidating supervision of the company’s robotic crows. As the story progresses the propaganda of Crow Foods, Inc. is exposed and the film’s protagonist (a scarecrow) begins a movement to make a better world.
The film has left me asking questions about the nature of propaganda and marketing. Clearly, Crow Foods is engaged in false marketing. But “The Scarecrow” itself is a brilliant piece of propaganda. Is all propaganda bad? If “The Scarecrow” is not propaganda, what is it?