Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rescue the frog. Or, have some frog legs

I blame Al Gore. Yeah, Al Gore gets a lot of blame for a lot of things (thanks for the Internets, buddy. As if I needed more things to suck my life away, I was doing fine in 1994 with my time wasting. Now look at me, 14 years later and I can't go five minutes without getting online!). Anyway, in the movie about his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, there is this little cartoon clip about the frog in the water. You know the thing: you put the frog in a pan of cold water, the frog floats around in the water, happy as a ... I guess, a frog in water ... and then you put the pan on the stove and start to heat it up. The water gets warmer and warmer and the frog gets a nice warm, then hot, bath, until finally it just cooks to death without realizing it.

In the movie, a hand reaches in and pulls the frog out of the water, and Gore son
orously yet cheerfully informs us, "It's important to rescue the frog." 

He said that in earlier versions of the slideshow, he let the frog die, but people got upset. Al Gore, saviour of cartoon frogs. I bet they didn't mention that in his Nobel Prize.

But anyway, yes, it's important to rescue the frog, literal and metaphorical. That was the first time I'd ever heard the frog-in-the-water story. Now I heard it everywhere. Apparently this story has been around for more than a century, rooted (according to Wikipedia) in psychological experiments in the nineteenth century. It means, either, that bad things will happen because you're not paying attention, or, conversely, good things will happen because you were slow and steady in your approach. 

And, according to Internet rumour-checker, it's completely wrong. Gawd love the frog, they're smarter than the people telling the story, they will try to get out of the pan when the water gets too hot. 

So I'm browsing the Internets this morning when I came across this story at the L.A. Times about people in Virginia freaking out over all the happiness in California with the same-sex weddings. Seeing George Takei get married to his partner of 21 years just might make some Trekkers in Richmond catch the gay, apparently. The frog might catch it, too, come to think of it ...

Moore and Lux had never heard of West Hollywood. From their startled stares, it appeared they would have preferred never to have heard of it. Only Takei was a familiar face -- but a notion that Mr. Sulu was now something of a gay activist just made matters worse.

"You watch this celebration and I honestly worry about indoctrination," Lux said.

"It's like the frog-in-the-water syndrome," Moore added in agreement. "You know, the frog doesn't realize the water around it is heating up until it's boiled. I worry that Americans will get used to these images and they'll throw up their hands and say, 'Who cares?'"

Why is it that we never worry about lobsters and crab? We throw those in boiling water and no one seems to be upset about them boiling to death. I bet you could even boil them slowly like the frog and no one would care. Sometimes, the frog's supposed to boil. Aren't frog legs supposed to be tasty? I can't eat them thanks to The Muppet Movie, but still. Herb and Diana up there just haven't realized that frog legs are now on the menu, and they don't have to order them if they don't want to, but someone else might like some.  

What I'm reading: Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation by Dale B. Martin. It upholds reader-response biblical interpretation over sociohistorical criticism and pinpoints instances of homophobia in biblical interpretation, especially in liberal/progressive interpretations.

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