Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Passion of the Penguins

Michael Medved is worried sick about the political misuse of penguins:

In America's ongoing culture war, with ferocious combatants grabbing every available weapon to strike at each other, innocent children and adorable penguins simultaneously qualify as collateral damage.
A few superannuated readers, whose brains have not yet been reduced to suet by the progressive's compulsory diet of blotter acid and fortified wine, may recall a documentary called March of the Penguins. Back in 2005, an up-and-coming young critic named Michael Medved proclaimed it "the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing."

He wasn't alone in that opinion, of course. The quasi-Pentecostal raptures over March of the Penguins were as exquisitely choreographed as a collaboration between Busby Berkeley and Leni Riefenstahl, and their ardor was not at all quelled when the director pointed out that penguins are not poster-children for monogamy, parenting, or intelligent design.

What I find interesting - compared to the prospect of cleaning out the garage, anyway - is that unlike Medved's radio show, his piece for USA Today pretty much avoids the conservative catechism of anti-environmental cliche. To say that this movie is too frightening for small children, and that bringing them to see it is tantamount to child abuse, is a much shrewder line of attack; as always, protecting childhood innocence is the perfect way to avoid examining adult guilt.

One of Medved's problems with Happy Feet is that "endearing creatures on screen face the deadly menace of leopard seals." As it happens, March of the Penguins shows penguins being chased and killed by seals; I suppose that's why Medved approvingly referred to it as Passion of the Penguins. Speaking of which, it's interesting that Medved, that immovable object standing in the path of "the National Assault on Innocence," seems to have studiously avoided warning parents about a certain gore-drenched snuff film by Mel Gibson. As far as I can tell, he confined himself to scolding Jews for criticizing it, and gloating over its earnings compared to Fahrenheit 9/11.

Medved goes on to complain about a book featuring gay penguins, a concept he describes as "potentially explosive." If he ever finds out about the hermaphroditic mating chains favored by sea hares, there won't be enough vinegar poultices in the world to save him from neurasthenic collapse.

1 comment:

juniper pearl said...

glenn beck has also professed his hatred of penguin-ferried environmental propaganda. what is with these people? did the nra protest bambi back in the day? was disney accused of trying to put children off s'mores and weiners by instilling a paranoid terror of campfires? never in my life would i have expected so many people to stand up in opposition of education, but the message of all of these arguments seems to be, "how dare you make my child wonder about science?"

maybe we can split the nation up into smaller territories, and some of them can ban happy feet, and some of them can air nature documentaries in school cafeterias, and we'll see whose kids don't destroy the planet.