Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Birds in Tuxedos

Speaking of good movies (weren't we?), have you seen March of the Penguins? Brilliant! I hate to admit that a Frenchman did anything worthwhile, partly because ze French were so rude to me when I was over there years ago, but I have to admit it in this case. I know it’s been out a long while now and I should realize that the world’s love affair with penguins has just about run its course, but as mine hasn’t, I feel compelled to talk about the cute little buggers. Of course, the movie isn’t cute, or about them being cute (well, partly; have you seen those baby penguins?!). It’s mostly about them being so darn intrepid. It’s hard for me to watch, actually; I have a really hard time seeing animals suffer hardships or, God forbid, actually die as I watch helplessly, sitting on my couch with no way to just pick him up, dammit!

This movie made me alternately admire the penguins for steadfastly persevering in spite of the eternal hardships they endure and condemn them for so stupidly enduring such ridiculous hardships. I know it’s not their fault, of course; I realize they don’t have a choice. Evolution plunked them down in this Godforsaken place and it’s nothing less than astonishing that they’ve survived at all. The emotion I felt most keenly, however, was shame. I was (and remain) ashamed of ever complaining about anything in my life. (Of course I still do; I’m got too many years invested in this attitude to shed it that easily. But I want to be better; that counts for something, right?)

I really wanted to adopt all of those poignantly comical (comically poignant?) penguins and put them somewhere cold (but not an icy vortex that has got to be one of the circles of Hell), free from predatory seals (never expected to say that), and full of nice plump fish to eat (sorry, fish). Hmm, I seem to have invented a zoo (or an aquarium, the Zoo with Water). Ideally the penguins wouldn’t have to be dependent on people to take care of them in their little wet zoo, but then we’re back to Nature and survival of the fittest. Sigh. Why can’t we all just get along?!

Okay, I know, everything has to eat, one way or another. Circle of life, it’s natural and beautiful, yada, yada, yada. But as I tell my father every time he wants to watch a nature show featuring animals eating animals (usually when we're trying to eat), “I know it’s Nature, but I don’t have to watch it.”

With this movie, I’m glad I did. If you haven’t seen it, rent it immediately. And make sure you have plenty of Kleenex.

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