The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Friday Nerd Blogging: Textual Analysis Edition

March 7, 2014

Everything is awesome!  But I do wonder if the song from the Lego movie (see below) is not just a secret appeal to irredentism:

“Everything is cool when we are part of a team!” 

So, everything is better when folks are united, and what is more united than a mother country with its lost territory?

“Everything is better when we stick together!”

Better when we ethnic kin are unified?

“Side by side you and I are gonna win forever!”

Seems like an irredentist appeal to me.

“We’re the same. I’m like you. You’re like me”

Homogeneity for the win?

“Everything is awesome when we are living our dream!”    

Dreaming of what?  Greater Russia?  I guess it depends on the dream, but I do wonder if the building blocks, the Legos, are really a metaphor for annexing like units together to make a bigger country inhabited by those who are like each other.

“Awesome to lose?”

For Milosevic, it was for a while….  For nationalists, losing a battle is not so bad because you can remember it for 600 years or so.

So, yeah, we have to keep in mind that sometimes a movie and a song might have some subtext that legitimate the darker sides of nationalism.  Perhaps all the bricks in the Lego movie should be black and gray?


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Steve Saideman is Professor and the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); and NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald), and elsewhere on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, and civil-military relations.