Wednesday, December 12, 2007

my kingdom for an odd duck Have you seen the movie Happy Feet? I'd been aware of it out of the corner of my eye for some time and had been meaning to watch it someday. That finally happened this past weekend. Queue up adorable penguins, an environmental issue resolved in a powerful way, music to tap your feet to, Robin Williams doing his thing--what's not to like, right? Cultural conditioning was all I could see, from beginning to end. Granted, I am predisposed to this kind of filter, and I've been doing some reading in that arena lately (The Culture of Make Believe, by Derrick Jensen, to be specific), so there was probably no way around that influence on my film experience. But the degree to which the cultural messaging hit a nerve was fascinating. Maybe it was the visual yumminess of the main character, the exquisitely detailed animation that expertly manipulated the intensity of emotion for me. Add to that the dominating "differentness" issue--this from an entity that brings no game whatsoever to the table in that regard--and I was primed for the gauntlet being thrown. So I picked it up to see where it would take me. First of all, I identified completely with Mumble, the yummy cuteness in question. He does not possess a certain quality that is perceived as vital to survival in his culture. From his tenuous birth, he cannot sing--not a note of his "heartsong" can he warble, as he demonstrates several times while valiantly trying to force this skill upon himself and thus to fit in. I don't believe there is any one characteristic that can be pointed to in my case that made me the square peg in-a-round-hole-world that I happily continue to be, but there is one thing that sets my son apart from the rest...

Deb Schanilec

Connected and Committed relationship transformation strategist.

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