9.19.2005

Passion of the Penguins: 'Ideal Example of Monogamy' Or 'Some Pretty Slutty Birds'?

Penguin Wars: French Wildlife Film Sparks US Religious Skirmish

from AFP

WASHINGTON - From the Pledge of Allegiance to abortion and the siting of stones inscribed with the Ten Commandments, secularists and the religious right have fought bruising battles for the American soul in recent years.

To this lengthening list, another can be added: the penguin.

The cause is a French wildlife documentary, March of the Penguins, which has been the surprise blockbuster of the American movie summer.

The feature-length film by Luc Jacquet recounts the heroic life of the Emperor penguin, a species that battles against extraordinary conditions in Antarctica. After laying their single eggs, the females trudge in single file to feeding grounds 70 miles from their breeding site. For two months, the male sits on the egg to keep it warm and let the chick hatch, awaiting the return of the female bringing food for their offspring. Only when the mother returns does the father then make his own trek to the distant coast to ease his own hunger.

March of the Penguins has become more than a wildlife hit - it is on track for becoming the most politically-contested movie in America since Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's take on President George W. Bush's war on terror.

Little do they know it, but the penguins have been seized upon by conservative Christians as a parable of family virtues, a role model for men, an argument against abortion and convincing proof that Darwin was wrong.

The movie is "the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child-rearing," film critic Michael Medved told The New York Times last week.

For devout Christians, he suggested, "This is the first movie they've enjoyed since The Passion of the Christ. This is The Passion of the Penguins."

One Christian organisation, the 153 House Churches Network, raves over the film as proof of the glory of God. It is organising workshops in which families are invited to homes and cinemas to see the film.

Christians can be inspired by exemplary "dedication, cooperation and affection" between the mating penguins and the loyalty and perseverance of the father, says Mari Helms, reviewing the movie on www.christiananswers.net.

Rich Lowry, editor of the right-wing publication the National Review, urged young conservatives to check out the documentary.

"It is an amazing movie. And I have to say, penguins are the really ideal example of monogamy," he said last month.

Anti-abortionist campaigner Jill Stanek says the nurturing penguins were a stinging lesson to women who contemplated a pregnancy termination.

"I remembered last year's March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC, when pro-aborts gathered to bolster their right to kill babies," says Stanek, in a column on WorldNetDdaily.com. "I thought maybe a penguin movie analogy would help people understand."

Secularists point out that emperor penguins have a freewheeling sexual life and that homosexuality among penguin species is quite common.

"These penguins get around. They switch mates with each new mating season, which makes for some pretty slutty birds - and change the operative question from 'What Would Jesus Do?' to 'Who Would Jesus Do?'" notes Sheerly Avni on http://www.alternet.org.

A deeper question is whether the penguins survive as a result of evolutionary pressure or divine will.

"It is hard not to see the theological overtones in the movie...Beauty, goodness, love and devotion are all part of nature, built into the DNA of the universe," said Maggie Gallagher, a columnist with yahoo.news.

But, Washington Post columnist George Will asked: "If an Intelligent Designer designed nature, why did it decide to make breeding so tedious for those penguins?"


Yo, dude, tsup?
Howdy.
We just wobbled into town - wicked long walk but bitchin' beach you got here!
Yep.
So, like, you know, where are the babes? Where can we find us some of them sweet, egg-popping honies we've been hearing so much abou-
AND DUDES! HellO?!
Oh, yeah..and dudes. Gary back there wants dudes.
HI! LOVE YOUR HAT!
Mighty kind.
So, where we wondering where we can find th-
OMG! GARY, I'VE TURNED INVISIBLE!
OMG! WHERE DID YOU GO?!
I DON'T KNOW! I'M SCARED! SHOULD I GO INTO THE LIGHT?
NO, BABY!
OK!
ARE YOU WAITING FOR ME IN THE LIGHT?
STAY AWAY FROM THE LIG-
OK! OK! I'M SORRY! So Gary and BLAINE...
THANK YOU!
...want dudes, and sometimes Steve there...
Peace.
...but the rest of us just want those hot, juicy, fertile betties we've hear-
HOTTIES! MAKE SURE THEY'RE HOTTIES!
OKAYYY!
YEAH, HOT AND GAY!
Oh, totally! Have to be gay! I sooo can't go through that again! He "runs out for cigarettes" and next thing I know I'm sitting on his wife's egg for two months!
He was soooo hot, though! Wings like porterhouse steaks! I bet he could fly! And built-
IS THAT ALL?'
-like a keg! You KNOW it was worth it! Is he yelling at us?
Who knows.
ONE MINUTE PLEASE!
Sorry about all this.
Yep.
It was SUCH drama, though! When she got back, she FREAKED! "Who the HELL are you? Why you sitting on MY egg? AND WHERE MY BABIES DADDY?!?" She was-
"Rabies"? Did you hear what he said?
Nope.
-so mad she threw up all her fish right there. It was such a scene!
How could you know he was married? Besides, it worked out for the best. That kid LOVES you!
Well, Bebe did just write me last week.
See? She adORES you! And that name?
Yes?
Fab.
Thank you.
She was better off hatching to you than that flake anyway. That hunky, strapping...
Stop!
...cigar-chomping, order-barking flake! So hot he probably melted through the ice!
Stop it!
You know who he reminded me of?
Who?
SARGE!
GET! OUT!
TOTALLY!
"Large"? LARGE WHAT?!?
OH! My! GOD! You're right! He SOOOOO looked like Sarge! Damn! He was hot, wasn't he? I wonder if he ever came ba...OMG! Now I want to go back!
No!
Yes!
NO!
YES!
WHAT?!? Did you catch that?
Nope.
You waited two months! He's gone!
Maybe he just got lost! Or got mauled by a whale and just now crawled back to the nest! He could be there right now waiting for me, smoking his last cigarette and crying! "Where's Gary?!" HERE I AM, BABY!
Who the hell-
ARE YOU TWO TALKING TO ME?
-are you yelling at?! He can't hear you! That's a three-month walk! He's probably remarried by now. Operative word: MARRIED!
I don't care! I gotta go. Here, hold this.
No! A) That's Coffee Bean, and I don't touch that seal piss. B) You're inSANE! And C) you're SUCH a slut! Try to think with something above your ankles!
You should talk! I saw your little secret video, by the wa-HEY! DON'T YOU SLAP ME!
WHAT?!? You know a "Dabney"?
Nope.
THEN GET A GRIP ON YOURSE-OW! You BITCH!
WHORE!
A "Rich Horn"?
Nope.
OW!
OW!
Aw, GREAT! There goes my coffee! Dammit!
Ooh, sorry! That's probably going to stain, Coffee Bean and all. Stand still...
I look like I just slid in to homebase after a touchdown!
That's so butch!
Isn't it?
See? There, it's coming out. You know, I only slapped you because I care...
I know. I get a little wiggy sometimes. You look out for me.
And if you left, it would just be me and Sometimes Steve.
Peace.
Hey, Steve.
I wouldn't do that to yo-look, is he waving at us?
Oh, our order...SO GAY HOTTIES!
TOTALLY! HEAVY ON THE HOT!
You got that?
Yep.
THAT LOOK LIKE SARGE FROM MADAGASCAR!
AND NO EGGS! ...Is he even listening to us?
Yell slowly - he's straight.
ARE? YOU? GETTING? THIS?!
YES! YES! I GOT IT! WHAT ABOUT DABNEY?
Dabney? What the Hell is he talking about?
I have no idea. WHAT THE HELL-
Slowly!
-ARE? YOU? TALKING? ABOUT?
FORGET IT! IS THAT ALL? Will you guys SHUT UP NOW!?!
Did he just...? DON'T YOU YELL AT US!
HOW RUDE!
Sorry about that.
Yep.
So babes and hot gay dudes that look like Sarge and that are total...dammit, WHAT'S THAT WORD?
TOPS! He's so considerate!
LOVE YOU!
Tops, and smokin' hot babes for the rest of us.
BIG BOOBS!
Oh, yeah, totally - thanks, Deb! So hot babes with big boobs and hot tops like Sarge, and plenty of them. Got any around here?
Yep.

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