Sunday, July 17, 2005

Penguin Family Values

If you haven't already seen it, Bush, I think you'd get a big kick out of "The March of the Penguins." We saw it last night with friends, and I couldn't help thinking of you in your tuxedo. No, seriously, though, you'll love the penguin family values. One male, one female, one egg. And they're monogamous! Well, for on year at a time, at least. I guess you'd have to call that serial monogamy. Still, with penguins, we'll settle for what we can get, no?

Anyway, Bush, these guys (and gals) march seventy plus miles inland from their cold and watery abode to their breeding ground, alternately plodding along on foot or belly-gliding on the ice, then set about the business of mating (with somewhat ponderous seriousness) and laying their single egg. Then the moms pass on the eggs to the dads for the long, cold brood, whilst they (the moms) head back those same seventy plus miles to fatten up with food for the family.

Those eggs, by the way: if they so much as touch the ice, they freeze, so the dads have to stand there with the thing balanced on their toes and covered with a flap of belly while the blizzards rage around them. Talk about unswerving loyalty! Talk about sense of family duty! And the egg--you'll be relieved to hear this, Bush--if some duffer dad should allow it to escape his care for just one moment, it will freeze instantaneously so deep it cracks apart. No use at all, I'd bet, for embryonic research or stem cell cloning. God sure does have his way, here, even if he does move in mysterious ways!

So then the moms waddle back those same seventy plus miles over ice and snow and take over for the feeding chores, while the dads, this time, God bless 'em, toddle off in long lines on that tough trek back to the beach... Well, not really the beach, that gives the wrong impression: it's more the edge of the ice pack. And so on. If I have any words of criticism for this delightful film, Bush, it would be that it tends to anthropomorphize just a little too much. But then, who am I to cast the first stone? Here I am, doing the same thing myself. All in all, though, I'd say, this is conservatively very correct. Maybe you could get a copy for the White House screening room? Or show it to the generals on one of those big screens down in your Situation Room? It would be a hit.

1 comment:

David said...

Peter, we saw this the other night at the Writer's Guild, with the writer (of the narration) speaking afterwards. What's interesting is that the film's original version, the French one, has the penguins talking (in French, of course). What we're seeing now is the same exact film, minus about 20 minutes of footage, with the penguin dialog removed and English narration added.

So I agree that the birds were overly anthropomorphized. But can you imagine it w/ the pengiuns talking? Personally, I thought the footage was powerful enough that the narration was largely extraneous.