Monday, May 29, 2023



The 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice referendum will ask voters to approve an alteration to the Australian constitution to provide recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and to create an Indigenous body to advise the Federal Parliament on policies and projects relating to Indigenous people.

The date of the refendum remains to be set and announced but there has already been considerable discussion and feeling, both for and against.

News items:

“The great progress of the 20th century’s civil rights movement was the push to eradicate difference – to judge each other on the content of our character, not the colour of our skin. This Voice, as proposed by the Prime Minister, promotes difference… The Voice will re-racialise our nation. The Voice will embed new, procedural rights in our Constitution – rights which are conferred only on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. It will have an Orwellian effect where All Australians are equal, but some Australians are more equal than others.”

- Peter Dutton, Leader of the Opposition

'”Yes, there are scare campaigns. What those campaigns have in common is that they underestimate Australians so radically. It's only a matter of time before they tell us that the Voice will fade the curtains... claims have been made the Voice... could even have an effect on parking tickets. . . . Australians have a healthy scepticism of doomsayers, a scepticism kept in good health by memories of all the predictions offered by the Chicken Littles of the past.'

- Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

This post does not look at The Voice but at Chicken Little, which I found interesting to look into. Let me know your thoughts on this post.

I believe it still has great relevance today and I can think of numerous examples in politics, gender debate, religion and political correctness where it can be illustrative.

Many of us know that it the name Chiken Little is a reference to a chicken who becomes convinced that the sky is falling and perusades the rest of the henhouse likewise.  Some may know it comes from a European folk tale.

More details:

The European folk tale is called "Henny Penny", more commonly known in the United States as "Chicken Little", and tells of a chicken who believes that the world is coming to an end. The phrase "The sky is falling!" features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common espression indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.

Similar stories go back more than 25 centuries. The story was part of the oral folk tradition and only began to appear in print after the Brothers Grimm had set a European example with their collection of German tales in the early years of the 19th century.

The tale is a cautionary one against paranoia and mass hysteria.

There are several Western versions of the story, of which the best-known concerns a chicken which believes that the sky is falling when an acorn falls on its head. The chicken decides to tell the king and, on its journey, meets other animals which join it in the quest. After this point, there are many endings. In the most familiar, a fox invites them to its lair and then eats them all.

In most tellings, the animals have rhyming names: Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Drakey Lakey, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey, and Foxy Loxy.

First pages of The Remarkable Story of Chicken Little (1840)

Illustration for the story "Chicken Little", 1916

In 1943 during World War II, Walt Disney turned the story into a anti-Nazi film showing the evils of mass hysteria.

Theatrical release poster

Cocky Locky, Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Poosie and Chicken Little (a yo-yo wielding simpleton) safely live at a poultry farm. Outside the yard, hungry fox Foxy Loxy wants to catch himself a chicken dinner but is prevented by the high fences, locked gates and an armed farmer. 

He reads from a psychology book and thinks "Why should I just get one, when I could get 'em all." Having learned from the pyschology text, he works on the principle that the best way to manipulate the whole flock is to begin with "the least intelligent" (identifying Chicken Little after searching the yard).

Loxy drops a piece of wood on Chicken Little’s head and pretends to be "the voice of doom". Loxy tells Chicken Little that the sky is falling, that a piece of it hit him on the head and that he should run for his life. Chicken Little panics, spreading the word to everyone and bringing a crowd to where he believes the sky piece hit him,. However Cocky Locky proves the story to be false and the crowd disperses, leaving Chicken Little humiliated.

Reading further from the psychology book, Foxy Loxy seeks to undermine the faith of the masses in their leaders. He heads over to Henny Penny's, Turkey Lurkey's, and Ducky Lucky's and Goosey Poosie's circles of friends to plant rumours about Locky's intelligence and leadership. This starts another rush of panic among the poultry residents as they spread the rumour.

With Locky's leadership in question, Loxy uses it to flatter Little, convincing him to stand up and challenge Locky's right of leadership, Filled with confidence, Little announces to a crowd that he is their new leader and states that he will save all their lives.

Locky argues against him stating the sky is not falling. The two argue about it until Locky states, "if the sky is falling, why doesn't it hit me on the head?" From his hiding place, Foxy Loxy uses a slingshot to shoot a star shaped piece of wood at him in the head, knocking him out. This shocks everyone and they are convinced that Little was right about the sky all along.

When they ask him what they should do, Foxy Loxy whispers to Little to lead them to "the cave" believing this is the right thing to do. Little leads the panicked masses out of the farm, through the woods and into the cave , which is actually Loxy's den, and they all get eaten. The cartoon closes with a stuffed Loxy picking his teeth and arranging the wishbones of the devoured birds in a row resembling a war cemetery.

The film was produced as a propaganda short during WWII, warning audiences not to believe anti-American propaganda.

Originally the film was to have had more direct references to the war: Foxy Loxy would have read from "Mein Kampf"; and the chicken's graves would have been marked by swastikas, but Walt Disney decided to keep the film generic so that it would not become dated after the war.

How many modern parallels can you think of?

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