Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, September 17, 2021

Which would you rather rage against: The Machine, or the dying of the light?

Hint: It might be a generational thang.

Not to suggest that Zack de la Rocha is another Dylan Thomas.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/17/2005 07:34pm
Category: Creative, Pop Culture
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Social conservatives must really be starved for popular entertainment if they think March of the Penguins is a motion-picture embodiment of family values and intelligent design, practically a second coming of The Passion of the Christ.

The movie goes on to follow the penguins as they trek back and forth over 70 miles of ice to their breeding ground and huddle together to protect their eggs in temperatures that average 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

To Andrew Coffin, writing in the widely circulated Christian publication World Magazine, that is a winning argument for the theory that life is too complex to have arisen through random selection.

“That any one of these eggs survives is a remarkable feat - and, some might suppose, a strong case for intelligent design,” he wrote. “It’s sad that acknowledgment of a creator is absent in the examination of such strange and wonderful animals. But it’s also a gap easily filled by family discussion after the film.”

Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, told the young conservatives’ gathering last month: “You have to check out ‘March of the Penguins.’ It is an amazing movie. And I have to say, penguins are the really ideal example of monogamy. These things - the dedication of these birds is just amazing.”

I question a sociopolitical movement that looks to a flightless bird as its spiritual inspiration.

Intelligent Design? These birds live in Antarctica — one of the harshest environments on the planet. They’re freezing their tailfeathers off for their entire lives. I’m thinking a truly intelligent design component would have been to give these hapless beasts flight-worthy wings, so they could leave that hellhole.

I wonder if these characters are aware that Penguins is a French production (original title: La Marche de l’empereur). If any of them are still eating Freedom Fries, it might dampen their enthusiasm for the film…

I think this is a prime demonstration of the conservative mindset. Consider: During its box-office run, Penguins started drawing comparisons with Fahrenheit 9/11, solely in terms of both movies being high-grossing documentaries.

But I guess this basis for comparison was too subtle for some people. Following the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” philosophy, suddenly everything about the two films went head-to-head. Basically, conservatives have grafted an anti-Fahrenheit mask onto a nature documentary.

And of course, the penguins’ black-and-white symbolism probably helped forge this outlook.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/17/2005 06:52pm
Category: Movies, Politics
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While lunching at Burger King today, I heard this lone figure heading my way. He was talking, seemingly to himself, loud enough to be heard but not enough to be comprehensible.

Not too many years ago, such a scene led to only one conclusion: The guy was a nutjob.

But in the age of mobile phones and Bluetooth, it’s often a wrong assumption. And indeed, the first thing that came to my mind was that he was having a phone conversation, and the paraphenalia enabling that was just not readily visible.

Alas, that assessment didn’t survive past the following few seconds. As he sat down at the table in front of me (with his back to me), I could see there was no headset at all, nor even a phone I could see. Plus, the guy was gesticulating and grunting enough to dash any idea that he had it at all together.

Funnily enough, I found this refreshing. For a change, it wasn’t some multitasking dork walking around, displaying some false hands-free glory. Someone was talking into the air, and it was purely an exercise in psychotic futility — like it should be, dammit!

The good feeling didn’t last long. The guy was getting more and more animated, making me more and more nervous. As I was just about done with my meal anyway, I got out of there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/17/2005 05:50pm
Category: General
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