People have a tendency to romanticize — to weave narratives that sound nice, fit snugly in the brain, but do not necessarily reflect reality. Take, for example, the faux-medieval vision at work in this notoriously sword-and-sorcery-nerdy rock video from Chris Dane Owens, pointed out to me by fellow ex-Film Bulletin writer Liz Braswell (and if Liz, herself a fantasy author, thinks it’s geeky, well…).
That romantic impulse in turn causes other nerds to rebel by deconstructing and de-romanticizing things — including superheroes, as in next week’s big Watchmen movie, about which this highly educational video was created by your government, for your protection, so it is every citizen’s duty to watch. Are YOU in violation of the Keene Act?
Two men (gods? man-gods? men-becoming-gods? shining Moorcockian cosmic messiahs?) who may well be in violation of the Keene Act are, of course, Scott Nybakken and Dan Raspler, a current and former (respectively) DC Comics editor who will duke it out in a Debate at Lolita Bar this coming Wednesday about nostalgia’s value or lack thereof in sci-fi, so more about that in a couple days.
In the meantime, Scott forwards this decidedly un-PETA and de-romanticizing video of a killer whale performance at an aquarium gone awry — no dead people, just one very unlucky pelican. (No demon, Scott also sends this cuter video of Australian firefighters rescuing a wildfire-surviving koala. And as it happens, our April 1 debate will be about religion and our May 6 debate about animal welfare, so all these themes are in some sense connected — and then there’s our likely June 3 debate about UFOs. By the way, Ryan Sager, victor in our last debate, just blogged about this unintentionally darkly-humorous excerpt from Werner Herzog’s Antarctica documentary Encounters at the End of the World, featuring a suicidally-deranged penguin.)
Say what you will about the Darwinian view of the world, at least it helps keep us from over-romanticizing non-human animals. Then again, there is apparently a part-animated, part-live-action 3D Yogi Bear movie in the works, so have we really learned anything? Perhaps we could learn more from a 3D Yogi Berra movie. Berra (who, like Abe Vigoda, is still alive) is, after all, the man who inspired the book What Time Is It? You Mean Now? Advice for Life from the Zennest Master of Them All.
And speaking of wisdom and carnivorous activity, check out the way the best species of all — homo sapiens — turns food into calorie-dense art on the glorious site ThisIsWhyYoureFat, pointed out to me by one of my ACSH co-workers, Jeff Stier (who is actually quite the gourmet, I should note). As my “Month of Evolution” draws to a close, I would advise other species who wish to compete with us on this planet to stop being so tasty.
Of course, some animals work better as pets than as food, such as the Portuguese water dog, which looks more than a little like the late Uber, my parents’ lovable prior mutt. It’s the breed the Obamas are considering getting. That’s plenty cute, but I must nonetheless say some negative things about the President’s recent speech — and even more so about David Brooks — in tomorrow’s entry.