Tuesday, September 13, 2005

La Marche!

And again, here we are.

I'm sure most all of you have heard of this La marche de l'empereur documentary. I haven't seen it quite yet, and may or may not do so in the future. We'll see. To clarify about the form of the title I've used, yes. It's a French film that was picked up by Warner and released stateside, evidently improving on what was a corny soundtrack by getting rid of the Bob Saget on America's Funniest Home Videos-esque dialogue for the penguins as well as the pop soundtrack, and just going with a solemn-voiced Morgan Freeman who, evidently speaks fluent French, which he's used to communicate with Canadians, long thought an impossible task.

But that's not what's great about this. That's not what's made me comment on it in my blog.

What made that happen is this piece in the New York Times, which, to summarize, discusses the positive feedback to the point of crafting it into a very specific kind of political tool by conservative commentators. Most of their comments, I don't take issue with. Sure, the footage of penguins struggling to survive sends a nice family/togetherness/sacrifice message. What I do take issue with is the opinion that the movie somehow acts as "a strong case for intelligent design" and the joy that's apparent from the fact that the US version doesn't talk all that much about global warming, taking the absence of a mention as proof that global warming doesn't exist.


As you'll surely read, Luc Jaquet says that he made the decision to leave out global warming...more or less because there's a larger story to tell and that while it's an issue for the penguins, that isn't the story he wanted to tell. So, fine.

What's more interesting is the claim that this a case for intelligent design. Andrew Coffin, a writer for World Magazine points to the odds that an egg could survive in such a climate being indication of intelligent design. Surely, he argues, something couldn't have evolved in such a harsh climate, so it must have been made in nearly its complete form at some point there. Which is fine, if you ignore the whole Pangaea and plate tectonics arguments, which would have allowed for the development of such birds on a much more mild climate, followed by millions of years of evolution after the separation of the continents.

Interestingly, the only time the film mentions something even close to evolution is to say that the penguins have been living as documented for millions of years, though the Times piece doesn't talk at all about the response of Young Earth Creationists.

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