I try to maintain my composure whenever possible when discussing gun rights or hunting with antis out there. I think it is a good tactic to remain calm and placid in the face of weak reasoning and irrationality. But just as Superman has Kryptonite, I have Bambi.

Nothing sends me over the edge faster than the mention of that doe-eyed little demon, even when the person I’m talking to isn’t an anti-hunter. This happened just the other day, in fact, when I tried to explain to a friend why I won’t let my children watch the movie and be exposed to its brainwashing propaganda. By the end of the conversation my eye had developed an involuntarily twitch and my blood pressure had rocketed out of orbit. My friend looked both concerned and scared.

The reasons to revile that filthy, spotted rat are too numerous to catalog here, plus if I started to type them out my computer screen would soon be dotted with flecks of spit. Suffice it to say that Bambi is for me the preeminent symbol of brain-dead environmentalism—you know that brand of “thinking” that holds that animals have nuclear families, that predators don’t eat meat (or flat-out don’t exist), that man, and more specifically hunters, are soulless destroyers of the natural world, and that fuzzy and furry herbivores are somehow the most morally supreme beings in the universe. Try explaining that last point to my innocent shrubbery, which has suffered unspeakably at the hands (hooves? mouths?) of my local deer.

But my overheated response to the cervid-from-Hell is not unique. An article in today’s New York Times about the death of one of the Disney animators who worked on the film discusses the polarizing nature of the debate around Bambi. The article even notes that when Bambi was released back in 1942 that Outdoor Life labeled it an “insult.”

That’s putting it mildly.

—John Snow