Much is being made of the apparent adoption by American Christian conservatives of a nature documentary they reckon provides “proof” of the syllogistic “intelligent design” theory.
By all accounts the movie, March of the Penguins, is set to become a box-office smash on the back of the Christian chatter it’s generated.
Towleroad got onto this a week or so ago, quickly pointing out some of the more obvious flaws in the theologists’ thinking:
Why don’t we also include Roy and Silo in that discussion? They’re the gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo who so yearned to bring up a youngster that they took care of a stone for several weeks hoping for it to hatch. Now I’m not sure that’s an argument for “intelligent” design, but it certainly proves that in the penguin world they’re not all marching towards heterosexuality.
In today’s Australian, columnist Emma Tom picks up the argument and expands on it:
[Using] animal habits as allegories for human values is risky. Sure it can work when applied selectively, but the big picture is not so neat. Take emperor penguins, for instance. Couples are monogamous during the breeding season, but only one in 20 penguin pairs are still together after two years.
The rest engage in a partner swapping spree that makes the key party scene in The Ice Storm look like a Hillsong singalong.
Tom picks up the Roy and Silo ball too, and runs with it:
It’d be fascinating to hear how churchfolk reconcile this type of natural homo romping with their intelligent design theory. After all, if the big G intelligently designed female monkeys to play games of erotic peek-a-boo, who’s to say he wasn’t planning something similar for humans when he dreamed up the ingredients for Mardi Gras?
In the Philadelphia Enquirer, Faye Flam (her real name, I guess) followed her journalistic training and went to the experts for comment. It turns out that not only is the God Squad reading rather too much into the film, the filmmakers, a French team spending the National Geographic dime, have exaggerated, misrepresented and editorialised their “documentary” into difficult territory:
Kooyman said these cold-adapted penguins probably aren’t suffering, despite what viewers are told. From beginning to end the scriptwriters project human feelings onto the penguins. It’s not exactly scientific, but then the film probably couldn’t have achieved its blockbuster status without going light on the science and heavy on the melodrama.
Flam also reveals some disturbing news about Roy and Silo. It seems that Silo, after a six-year walk on the wild side, has gone back into the closet and now “has a girlfriend”. Poor Roy.