September 15th, 2005

A hairy situation

We EVOLVED for a reason

Conservative 'culture warriors' have been lauding Luc Jacquet's film "March of the Penguins" as one of the best movies to come out in recent years. Many people seem to agree, as it was the breakout hit of the summer and quickly became the 2nd highest grossing documentary of all time. The thing is, these culture warriors are not just promoting the film for the obvious reason, it's the perfect family film devoid of offensive content for even the most uptight parent, but for another one as well. They claim that "March of the Penguins" promotes the lifestyle of monogamous heterosexual marriage.

To this claim I really have only one major response. They're penguins. I could add another point if pressed, that being that THEY'RE FUCKING PENGUINS, but I'll stick with the first. They're penguins. They are penguins.

Now leaving aside the fact that penguins have significantly fewer choices to make in their lives than humans do, and that penguins sometimes get involved in homosexual relationships, the fact that they're penguins has some rather important ramifications. For one the penguin is not exactly the best-designed non-flying bird, a competition it clearly loses to the noble ostrich. As the movie clearly demonstrates Penguins have evolved some rather peculiar behaviors. If we're going to follow their model when it comes to relationships why not when it comes to child rearing? Should we have the men of the species huddle together in sub-zero cold for two months in some sort of homo erotic egg-hatching scheme while women march thousands of miles to the sea to bring back fish? Perhaps we should give up modern society and science and literature and spend the rest of our existence marching back and forth from the sea. I can think of some people who that might appeal to, but personally I don't think I'd much like a 2 month arctic journey without my faithful Xbox.

It should also be noticed that if you're going to fit Penguins into an "intelligent design" theory you pretty much have to put them in a sub-section with the duck billed platypus and the mayfly entitled "Intelligent but kinda stoned design." This theory states that after the 'designer' created all the plants of the forest and the plains he started a little cannabis bonfire and decided to create a few creatures of the earth. "Dude," said the unnamed intelligence "What if this one's warm-blooded with like fur but it lays eggs and, aw fuck it, we'll put on a bill. And check out this other one. It's a bird, but it can't fly, only waddle, and it has to go thousands of miles every year. Look at em waddle, look at em waddle. Sweet." Then it made the mayfly the most intelligent of all animals on earth so that just as it achieves enlightenment in its 23rd hour of existence, having discovered the secrets of all creation and the meaning of the universe, it dies. Just to fuck with it. That's all.

I'm tired of people claiming that humans should take their cues from other animals. There's a reason that people have cities and interstate highways and penguins have big gay egg-parties. Humans are, at least right now, the better evolved species. Using our intelligence and opposable thumbs we can adapt to practically any environment or, when we have to, adapt the environment to suit us. We're the only animal that can fly to the moon and back, the only animal to both soar high above the clouds and dive to the bottom of the ocean, and the only animal to know that sometimes hot man on man action in the privacy of someone's bedroom is just so very right. Just because Bonobos manage peace in a matriarchal society doesn't mean we would (Joan of Arc wasn't exactly a bigtime peacenik) and just because Penguins all heterosexually mate for life (Which isn't even true) doesn't mean that works for every member of homo sapien. Kurt Vonnegut claims that we are a disease on this planet and should leave it to the cockroaches and bluejays. He may be 1,000,000 times the writer I'll ever be but I have to disagree with him here. All cockroaches know how to do is scuttle about, and have you seen the Bluejays? Their best hitter is Shea Hillenbrand and his OPS is barely over .800!

When it comes to people we need to figure out what's right for us without turning to 'god' or 'nature' or any other nebulous undefined force. We are our own species and we need to make our decisions as such. Penguins don't turn to humans for advice on how to act, if they did they wouldn't be wearing formal-wear on an ocean voyage. How 1920's can you get?

As for me, I'm a human and happy about it. I'll pick what kind of sexual orientation and relationships are appropriate for me, and stick to those. You won't catch me huddling over eggs with a bunch of hungry men in the foreseeable future. That shit's for the birds.
A hairy situation

The war at suck

Like an idiot I like to check out every new piece of slop that the networks throw at us in the Fall season. Maybe it's the vain hope of seeing the next Seinfeld or 24 somewhere in the muck and mire. Maybe it's an attempt to answer the great question of who, who, WHO thought that this shit was worthy of the airwaves. Maybe it's just habit. I don't know. Nonetheless I faithfully TIVOed many of Fox's new offerings, and while most were mediocre or mildly interesting at best, one stands out. That one was "The War At Home" and it stands out because it makes "According to Jim" look like fucking GENIUS.

"The War At Home" stars Michael Rapaport, who's kind of like Breckin Meyer but more annoying. He's been in a few good things, seemingly by chance, but mostly he serves merely to irritate anyone who has the misfortune to see him on the screen. It's a persona that can work if harnessed properly, like in Beautiful Girls, but he's not the first guy I'd pick to anchor a network family sitcom. In fact I'd have him pretty far down on the list, sandwiched between Dolph Lundgren and Carrot Top (Which one is buffer at this point is anyone's guess.) Anyway this is his show and he...stinks. It's not just him though. It's the writing. Oh god is it the writing.

You know a show is headed for the halls of infamy when it throws out gay jokes in its first episode. Not just a few gay jokes either. A lot of gay jokes. Way too many gay jokes. You know a show has a chance of making the hall of shame when said gay jokes could come from a late 80's episode of Roseanne. Haha they think their kid is gay because he dresses like a woman, but he's not, he's just trying to look like his mother so he can drive her car without being pulled over for being 15. Why he doesn't attempt to look like an older man never gets explained because we are SWEPT AWAY in the hilarity. Who needs logic when you have the old "Not Really Gay Son" routine? Who writes this stuff and, more importantly, who actually wants to watch it? Gay themes are offensive to middle American religious zealots. Homophobia is offensive to coastal elites. Is there really a market for 80's style homophobic humor out there? If so, I don't want to meet the people who it represents.

Because homophobia wasn't enough the show also chucks racism into the mix. "Do black people really have knows?" Asks Michael Rapaport's character. "Christ this material is fresh" replies his wife. "A white guy insecure about his penis because of the rumor about black men? Nobody's done it before. Why hasn't anybody done it before?" Their daughter dates a black kid named Bootay. Bootay's father is middle class and Bootay makes all As in school. Why a middle class father raising a studious son would name his child Bootay in 1989 is never explained either. Maybe he was on crack back then.

I know, I know, picking on "The War At Home" is like throwing rocks at the short bus. It's a waste of time and energy. This is, after all, the network that brought us Life on a Stick. Clearly there's some retard on the Fox lot giving great head and having his moronic ideas made into TV shows in exchange for it. Who are we to judge? Still I can't help but think there must have been SOMETHING out there better than this. There's no way that this was the funniest or cleverest or most interesting or even most commercial show pitched at Fox during pilot season. If it was then someone should go out there and check the water purity in Hollywood because it just may be spiked with lead.

The War At Home will lose in the ratings and get its ass kicked off the air (Or maybe not, somehow Yes Dear has hung on despite being so unwatchable that I've heard the live studio audience is issued blindfolds to avoid potential lawsuits) It's a sad comment about the state of American television when this show actually makes it into prime time. If it actually catches on? Well there's not much negative to say about the American public that our president doesn't already represent, but I'm done overestimating. You really CAN go broke THAT way.