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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Meatrix

Air Date: Week of November 14, 2003

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As Neo and Morpheus do battle with the virtual world on the big screen, a spin-off of “The Matrix” is making it big on the Internet. Guest host Bruce Gellerman talks with Jonah Sachs, creator of “The Meatrix,” an email campaign against factory farming, that takes its cue from Hollywood.

Transcript

MORPHEUS: You wanted to know what the Matrix is, didn’t you?

[METAL CLICK]

MORPHEUS: Try and relax. This will feel a little bit weird.

[SOUND OF JACK INSERTED, HIGH PITCHED MUSIC]

GELLERMAN: Oh, it feels weird. Neo and Morpheus have come a long way since their first appearance in the original “Matrix” movie. And while the final showdown is now being played out in theatres across the country, a parody of “The Matrix” is circulating on the internet. It’s called: “The Meatrix.”

[DRUMS BEATING; COW MOOING; CHICKENS SQUAWKING]

MALE: Here you go, Leo.

GELLERMAN: Jonah Sachs is a founder and creative director for Free Range Graphics, in Washington, D.C. His firm worked with GRACE, the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, to create this web spin-off of the action fantasy flick. Hi, Jonah.

SACHS: Hi, how are you doing?

GELLERMAN: So, “The Meatrix”?

SACHS: Well, we wanted to make something fun from a film that was catching on all over the world. We knew “The Matrix” was a big deal out there. So we piggybacked off of something, so to speak, that was already getting a lot of attention, and wanted to turn it to something that was getting no attention, which is the problem of factory farming.

GELLERMAN: Piggyback, literally. I mean, the flash movie on the internet features a pig at a trough, and it’s got this idyllic farmscape. Well, what happens next?

SACHS: Well, the idyllic farmscape, what we’re trying to say, is actually an illusion. The pig, Leo, is a young pig on a happy farm, and one day while he’s rooting around in his slop trough a mysterious character appears around from the back of the barn. Moopheus. And Moopheus is a cow in a trench coat and sunglasses who asks Leo if he’s heard of the Meatrix.

LEO: The Meatrix?

MOOPHEUS: Do you want to know what it is?

LEO: Okay.

MOOPHEUS: The Meatrix is all round you, Leo. It is the story we tell ourselves about where meat and animal products come from. This family farm is a fantasy, Leo. Take the blue pill and stay here in the fantasy. Take the red pill and I’ll show you the truth.

GELLERMAN: And he takes the red pill.

SACHS: He does take the red pill. And the next thing he knows he’s in a cage among thousands of other pigs, miserably staring at the floor, excrement everywhere, the place stinks. And he says, what is this? And Moopheus says, “welcome to the real world. This is a factory farm.”

LEO: How did this happen?

MOOPHEUS: I’ll show you. In the mid-20th century, greedy agricultural corporations began modifying sustainable family farming to maximize their profits at great cost to both humans and animals. Factory farming was born.

SACHS: And so it all kind of makes a bleak picture of where our food really comes from.

GELLERMAN: In your parody you use the bullet cam technique, you know, that’s the one that’s in “The Matrix” where they freeze the frame and they move around the action figure.

SACHS: Right. We didn’t know if we could actually do that with flash. It’s a 2-D drawing program, really. And Louis Fox, the guy who did all t he animation and collaborated with me on this, he said he could do it. I didn’t believe him, but he figured out a way to give the illusion of the pig frozen in mid-air, spinning around, as the chosen one, as Keanu does in the first Matrix.

LEO: Count me in! Yeahhhh!

[TECHNO MUSIC]

GELLERMAN: Have you had a lot of hits on the internet?

SACHS: Actually, we’ve gotten our millionth visitor today. So this is way beyond any expectations that we’ve ever had for it. And because our success, I wouldn’t be surprised if we follow it up with a take-off on the second movie.

GELLERMAN: Jonah Sachs is a founder and a creative director with Free Range Graphics in Washington, D.C. Jonah, it was good talking with you.

SACHS: Thanks, Bruce.

[MUSIC: Juno Reactor Vs. Don Davis “Navras” MATRIX REVOLUTIONS: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE [SOUNDTRACK] (Maverick – 2003)]

GELLERMAN: To see “The Matrix,” go to your local theatre. To see “The Meatrix”, check out our web site, living on earth dot org. That’s living on earth dot org.

[MUSIC: Juno Reactor Vs. Don Davis “Navras” MATRIX REVOLUTIONS: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE [SOUNDTRACK] (Maverick – 2003)]

 

Links

The Meatrix

GRACE

 

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