Chicken Little

When Chicken Little (or Henny Penny for my English friends, or Kylling Kluk if you’re old and Danish) would do his thing, he believed the sky was falling. Why did he believe this? There are various accounts, but generally it was because something random happened, for example an acorn fell onto his backside, and Little had this tendency to hysterically over-read the situation. “The sky is falling!!!” Sadly, Little had friends. Ducky Lucky. Turkey Lurkey. Little and his friends couldn’t seem to figure out that Little’s hysteria was just that.

What happens in the end? In a typical ending, taking advantage of the situation, Foxy Loxy promises to protect them and eats them one by one.

These type of stories have a point. Let Chicken Little represent the leftwing outrage culture, the tendency to overreact to everything, to misunderstand the significance of everything. “Trump’s a fascist!!!” “The Russians hijacked our democracy!!!” “Trump colluded with Russia to try to hijack out democracy!!!” “Barr is lying about the Mueller report, that’s why he isn’t releasing it!!!”

Let Foxy Loxy represent the capitalist, that clever predator who depends on the skittishness of Chicken Little and the other birds. He will offer them safety from the coming holocaust. It doesn’t matter that it’s not real. It only matters that they believe it is.

The other character in the story is the narrator. He’s over here watching all of this. He’s not anxious at all. At least not about acorns. He knows the sky isn’t really falling. He’s yours truly. He says: Pay attention to what’s really going on.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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