The Axis Powers of Disney, the oil industry, and pop music have joined forces to launch a campaign to brainwash the children of Ohio's public school system into supporting the practices of the oil and gas industry of Ohio. Because you can do anything if you have a dream, a shit ton of oil money, and an excess of Disney-branded novelty toys that kids eat up like it was their own boogers.
The program, Rocking In Ohio, is the brainchild of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) meant to get kids in the know about the importance of STEM jobs in the oil industry. Oh yay! Educating kids about the importance of science and tech jobs is a good thing, right? Well, the 26-stop tour included some talking points about drilling and refining without using the word 'fracking,' but more importantly, some fun interactive activities like building a colorful pipeline out of plastic tubes to demonstrate how oil and gas (represented by ping pong balls) is transported into homes.
Dumbing down complicated and hazardous processes and making it into a fun game for kids? Of course this is going to work. By definition kids are impressionable, so pair anything with fun and a new toy and they're on board. If a firearm industry rep came to my elementary school, gave 8-year-old me a Skip-It, and told me that every time I made a 'round' with the Skip-It, it was sort of like firing a 'round' of munitions, I'd be like "FUCK YEAH, 999 ROUNDS LET'S DO THIS, GUNZ R AWESUM!" I'd 8-year-old Olivia Pope the SHIT out of the gun rights campaign because I got to have fun at school.
We've seen this exploitation of students as energetic billboards time and time again with corporations like McDonalds to the tobacco industry, and schools can always benefit from the funding the oil industry has to offer. At least OOGEEP, who boasts a presence in over 2500 Ohio schools, owns it. In an interview with a local Ohio paper The Daily Record, OOGEEP member Ron Grosjean stated:
"Our country cannot survive without oil and gas. (They're) a natural resource…Kids are the best way (to spread the message). They retain (the information); they remember it."
Wow. Clearly, OOGEEP (whose Environmental Benefits education material tell kids that the final environmental footprint of an average Ohio well "is about the size of a dining room or smaller, and the actual well diameter is about the size of a soccer ball") has little shame about letting kids inadvertently do the shady propagandeering for them. And neither does Disney, not that Disney's a stranger to shady profiteering.
Effective propaganda is a self-sustaining beast, a force so ubiquitous it cements individuals into an ideology, and there's no better time to start than childhood! The sooner we can get the children fluent in Newspeak, the sooner they clock in OOGEEP's Ministry of Truth and work away while the Disney version of Lou Bega's 'Mambo No. 5' wails from the siren speakers.
Okay, maybe that was a bit dark, but so is insidiously manipulating children into associating unsustainable and dangerous practices that have links to serious health risks with FUN! (Also, why are we entrusting children to an organization whose name, if repeated three times, literally sounds like the call of the boogeyman? For real, repeat "OOGEEP" thrice aloud.)
On the plus side, there's a nearly 80,000-strong petition going to get Radio Disney to quit that shit. So there's hope for us, yet!
PS. If there are any Skip-It haters out there, I got words for you: Come N' Take It.
Update: Success! Radio Disney will no longer be participating in the remaining Rocking in Ohio events. Yesterday, Al Jazeera updated their report, having received an e-mail from Disney:
"The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids' interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program," the statement read.