Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Zoomorphism gone awry

March of the Penguins is an advertisement for monogamy? The French film about mating and parenting in extreme climates has been appropriated by religious conservatives as an example of positive family values: the penguin parents remain faithful to raising their offspring for the duration of the cold winter in the Antarctic. However, as it has already been noted, their monogamy lasts only for the one mating cycle; the next year the birds are free to court another.

But, the movie could also be taken as proof of the equal value of women's work! Throughout the film, each parent takes turns making a perilous crossing of the ice sheet to fish in the cold waters; the other cares for the newborn, keeping it warm and away from harm. The first parent to take this trip is the female ... while the father carries the egg with his feet so that it does not touch the ice. So, March of the Penguins is an advertisement for revisiting the ERA!

(HT to Brdgt)

7 Comments:

At 11:08 AM, Blogger johnny two-cents said...

Wow... comment spam! Nat, you've made the big time!!

That's interesting about the penguins, and I'm not surprised that Brdgt latched onto it. Her and your point reminds me of an observation someone made after the hurricane to the effect that the tragedy reaffirmed for people everything they already felt... for liberals, it confirmed that more federal money must be spent on disaster relief, for conservatives it confirmed the paramount importance of local responsiveness and the failure of big government, and for fundamentalists, Katrina's cloud looked just like a giant fetus come to exact divine retribution on the five abortion clinics in New Orleans.

So of course, if we all must be like the penguins, me, you, and Brdgt are all several years behind the ball on finding a new mate! Better do what the fundamentalists say or the giant cloud-fetus will come for our homes too.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

Comment spam -- that's good stuff. I am amazed that Blogger lets it through.

It's hard not to see major events as part of the metanarrative that one uses to orient their lives. Doom and destruction raining down on an amoral nation? I looked back at Biblical narratives in which major cites and civilizations are destroyed. Natural catastrophes are always attributed to the wrath of G-d. What is G-d angry about? The absence of charity and hospitality and the exploitation of the weak. So Conservatives and Liberals both have a claim on Katrina.

March of the Penguins is a love story of sorts. A little anthropomorphic, but forgivably so. The film is very "French" in its understanding of emotions and sexuality. The erotic is open and public, indistinguishable from the individuals normal interactions. There is no barrier between the public and private. Penguins peck around, obviously trying to screw until they find "the one." It reminds me of the staircases below Sacre Coeur. The analogy between penguins and monogamy is half-baked: even the cultural interpretation of the director and writer do no correspond with religious conservatives' notions of family and love.

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Nuno Guerreiro said...

Hello Nat,

Just a quick note... I guess the conservatives haven’t done their research: They're in love. They're gay. They're penguins... And they're not alone.… heheh
By the way, I followed your recommendation from the sideblog and got Emmanuel Moses’ book. Absolutely fantastic! Thanks for the tip.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

Nuno,

I suspected that you looked into Moses. One of the best new poets I have read all year -- softer than Jabes, more artful than Leonard Cohen. I am glad that you enjoyed him.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger johnny two-cents said...

Unfortunately there isn't much you can do against a guy who hand-posts his own spam. Which is kind of touching.

Anybody want to write a paper on artisanal comment spam?

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger qinbincai123 said...

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Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.
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At 7:49 PM, Blogger qinbincai123 said...

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,Nor lose hidh81ke possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.
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