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Picture of Chris J. Strolin
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I just posted the following on the OEDILF board and thought it might be of interest here as well:

This won't help anyone write limericks any better but it might be something you'd care to consider.

I recently invoked the name of "Ricky Ricardo" in my "aye-aye" piece in the belief that everybody was familiar with the old I Love Lucy show. Wildly popular in the 1950s, the reruns are still shown on a regular basis. Catchphrases from the show ("Luuuucy, I'm ho-o-o-o-ome!" and "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" along with the one I used in my limerick) abound in our culture. As luck would have it, the first person to comment on this piece was born and raised in South Africa and now lives in Wales. He wouldn't know Ricky Ricardo if he fell over him.

And this is to be expected. We're an international collection of writers with a wide variety of backgrounds. What wasn't expected was when Lostock Hall informed me today that this might be largely generational as well. He turns 70 next month and reports that none of his children or grandchildren have ever heard of Lucille Ball much less the fictional Ricky Ricardo!

This got me thinking about the things that make up our shared culture. I would have thought that I Love Lucy reruns were pretty much universal but this apparently is not the case. I'm tempted to say, "You can't be an American without an intimate knowledge of the Ricardos and Fred & Ethel Mertz but I suppose this would be seen as... what's the word? "Generational-centric"? Still, it seems to me that there are certain things that are inherently American, things that 90-95% of all Yanks have experienced and can draw on as part of our shared culture. The same, obviously, goes for our friends in the UK and Australia.

With this in mind, I began thinking of what would go on a list of these shared experiences. I've got a few and I invite you all to add more. Those OEDILFers living in other areas of the world are encouraged to form your own lists.

To me, you can't be considered an American unless:

1.) You've seen at least one I Love Lucy rerun, preferably the one where Lucy and Ethel get jobs in the candy factory but the one with the "Vitametavegimin" commercial is a worthy substitute.

2.) You've seen, either in a video or, better, as it actually happened, the two appearances by The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

3.) You've heard a recording of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

4.) You've heard Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine and can name at least half of the ballplayers mentioned.

5.) You've been to at least 20 barbecues.

6.) In your high school or college years, you read Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and, to this day, are completely familiar with the verb "to grok." If by chance you somehow missed this one, any five Kurt Vonnegut novels will do.

7.) You say you know all the words to "The Star Spangled Banner" but could not be coaxed to sing it in front of a group of a dozen strangers for anything less than $250.

8.) You've seen John Cleese and Michael Palin perform "The Parrot Sketch" at least a dozen times. (Yes, I know that Monty Python was a British group but melting pot that we are, I don't believe any country loved than more than the U.S. did.)

9.) You've shared your life with dogs and/or cats and have allowed them to sleep with you in bed even when they stretch out and take up too much space. (I have a very old Siamese cat that licks my eyes to get me up in the morning.)

10.) You've seen (again either in reruns or, better, when they were first aired) episodes from the first year of Saturday Night Live. I recommend the "Bass-o-Matic" sketch but they were all great.

11.) You've seen Casablanca umpty-ump times and can recite huge stretches of dialog. Ditto Wizard of Oz and Animal House. (If I had been putting these in order, this one probably would have topped the list.)

12.) You believe deep down in your heart that if you absolutely had to, you could probably do pretty much anything you've seen done in the movies. Logically, I realize full well that it takes months of training and years of experience to land a jumbo jet and yet I can see myself at the controls of a 747, the crew slumped over with food poisoning, being talked down by the former alcoholic chief air traffic controller whose ex-wife won't let him see the kids but who maintains a calm and reassuring voice and let's me know that he believes in me.

I could go on but let be cut this short (??) at a dozen. I'm curious to hear what feedback y'all might have, from both sides of both oceans.
 
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What a great list! There are only a couple that I can't relate to. I especially like the one about sleeping with dogs and cats. Smile
 
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I think every American knows where he was and what he was doing when the announcement was made that President Kennedy had been shot.

And perhaps also where we were and what we were doing on 9/11.
 
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My first thought was how could George Washington and Abraham Lincoln not be considered Americans. Heresy! Though George was born a British subject.

To me, you can't be considered an American unless:

9.) You've shared your life with dogs and/or cats and have allowed them to sleep with you in bed even when they stretch out and take up too much space. (I have a very old Siamese cat that licks my eyes to get me up in the morning.)


Having grown up on a ranch, we had a simple rule. Animals live outside of the house and people on the inside. Yeesh. Eww. I know it happens, but I don't have to approve of it.

11.) You've seen Casablanca umpty-ump times and can recite huge stretches of dialog. Ditto Wizard of Oz and Animal House. (If I had been putting these in order, this one probably would have topped the list.)

A colleague at work once asked me where "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" came from. And I said a film from 1939 called The Wizard of Oz. This brought blank stares. I loaned him a copy of the movie, which he watched and enjoyed. I also suggested Casablanca, but he hasn't seen it yet.

For better or worse, popular culture does have a stranglehold on most US citizens. Folks who would mock somebody for using a classical reference, can turn around and cite lines from their favorite sitcoms verbatim. I would go with the legal definition of citizenship rather than a cultural one, but that's me.

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I'm allergic to cats, does that make me un-American?

How can you not have at least heard of "The Wizard of Oz"? I mean, I knew a girl in high school who hadn't seen any of the Star Wars movies, but she had heard of them and from other people talking knew the names of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, etc.
 
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What wasn't expected was when Lostock Hall informed me today that this might be largely generational as well. He turns 70 next month and reports that none of his children or grandchildren have ever heard of Lucille Ball much less the fictional Ricky Ricardo!

Sorry, but I find this hard to believe. I do think the shows are shown all across the U.S.; I travel a lot and have found them available everywhere. However, beyond that, Lucy is well known for being instrumental in developing the concept of reruns(whether or not that is good, I don't know!). Plus, "I Love Lucy" was one of the first really popular sitcoms and for that reason will go down in history, I think, unlike shows like "Cheers" or "Friends." There is always the case that someone, somewhere won't have heard of the show, but generally I think it is safe to assume that Americans know of "I Love Lucy."

As for your list, most of them I relate to, though, like Sunflower, not all. I do think some of it is just culture and interest. For example, I don't like John Cleese that much and have never seen "The Parrot." While I have seen a few "Satruday Night Live" shows, I surely didn't watch them regularly. Ditto for "Animal House." What is missing for a large part of the U.S. is that there are no sports selections, either for playing or viewing. While many Americans love sports (the Chicago Bulls for me!), others don't know anything about them. See what I mean? Heck, I have even heard that some Americans don't even know what a limerick is! Wink

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Hmmmm . . . .

Animal House is, I think, a disgusting movie. Even with this opinion, and even though it was out before I was allowed to watch such movies, I can still quote a few things.

I think I've seen one of the Beatles' Sullivan appearances. Of greater influence on me was when the Jackson 5 was on.

I would be happy to sing The Star Spangled Banner in front of a group of people, and donations would be gladly accepted. Be prepared for me to do so at the Wordcraft Convention if I can get there next year. I also take requests. For the record, though, I've always thought that America the Beautiful is a better song than that nearly unsingable anthem we have.

I think the funniest Saturday Night Live sketches were with the character Rosanne Rosanna Danna, played by Gilda Radner. She was a genius.

I was not yet born when JFK was assassinated, but I've read all about it.

I'd say a true American pays taxes. After that the rest is negotiable.

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Originally posted by Seanahan:How can you not have at least heard of "The Wizard of Oz"?

It happens. I have directed and performed in a number of improvisational theatre groups. There was once instance, in front of a live paying audience, where we were building a scene based on The Wizard of Oz. I forget the actual premise, maybe something like The Wizard of Oz as a WWII movie or whatever, but there were seven or eight of us in the group that night and, one by one, each performer would enter the scene as one of the characters to interact with whatever was going on at the time.

The piece was really working. It was building beautifully, the crowd was loving it, and then suddenly one of the last members of the troupe to take a part entered the scene with, "Well, I'm the plumber. I'm here to fix your pipes!" Everyone on stage stopped dead and looked at each other while the audience exploded in recognition of the fact that we very suddenly were going directly into the toilet. (Improv comedy is like that.)

After the show, we asked this person what the hell she had been thinking and she told us that she didn't understand what the rest of us had been doing at the time but that she joined in anyway so as not to be left out of a bit that was getting such a great response from the audience. Turns out that, at the age of 25 or 28 or so, she had never seen The Wizard of Oz.

Now, she had been born and raised in Germany so possibly this serves to support my premise in a reverse way. She wrote me several years later to say that the had finally seen the movie and now understood what the heck we all were doing on stage that night.


Ref my list, it is, of course, very specific to my own prejudices, positive and negative, and, as has been pointed out elsewhere, very generation-specific. Kalleh, I'm not a huge sports fan so sports missed the boat on my list although an OEDILFer added "Attending a SuperBowl party" as item #13. The items on my list were listed only in the order they occurred to me. Had I given this a lot of thought and several rough drafts, sports certainly would have been in there somewhere. Also (now that I've had some more time to think about it) The Brady Bunch, playing baseball (very generational: If you're my age, this means playing actual "fun" baseball with your friends; if you're 20 years younger, it means the regimented torture that is Little League.) Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and Playboy magazine (the pre-pubic hair days were the best) all have places on the list.
 
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Playboy magazine (the pre-pubic hair days were the best)


You lost me with this one. What do you mean?


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You can't be considered an American if:
you have just three meals a day
you can pronounce Leicestershire
you know that Cardiff is not in England
you see why a chance aquaintance from Bristol might not know the Londoner you flew with in the war
you answer no to the question in that Alanis Morrissette song
you understand the word loud when applied to clothing
 
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you see why a chance aquaintance from Bristol might not know the Londoner you flew with in the war


That problem is pretty general across America. "Oh, you're from the Chicago area, do you know my cousin? He lived there a couple of years back." My other favorite is "Oh, my friend goes to the same college as you, do you know him?" I typically have to answer "No, I'm sorry, he must be one of the very few of the 30,000+ people I'm not chummy with. Does this problem exist in other places around the world?

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you answer no to the question in that Alanis Morrissette song


Alanis is very much a Canadian.

quote:
you understand the word loud when applied to clothing


This is a pretty apparent metaphor, can those who haven't heard this used chime in with whether they could surmise it. For example, the work "kosher" is used in a wide array of meanings, all derivative of the original. Of course the best I heard was on a tv show where the guest said the heads of Islam wouldn't do something because "it wouldn't be kosher". The audience laughed, as the metaphor had been taken a little too far.
 
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Originally posted by Caterwauller:
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Playboy magazine (the pre-pubic hair days were the best)


You lost me with this one. What do you mean?

Standards being what they were, when Playboy first started out, absolutely no hint of pubic hair was allowed to be shown in any photo. I think this standard still applies in some Asian editions of the magazine.

I believe it was sometime in the early 1970s when Penthouse magazine became the first "legitimate" men's magazine to feature full-frontal nudity. Hugh Hefner's famous comment at the time was, "That's not photography, that's pornography!" Naturally, Playboy climbed right up on the pubic bandwagon some two or three months later, undoubtedly in response to a sharp increase in Penthouse's circulation.

My preference for the "good ol' days" has nothing to do, however, with any aversion on my part to body hair. Back then, Playboy had in-depth articles and lo-o-o-o-ong interviews and fiction from the greatest authors of the era that might run 10 or 15 pages. Nowadays, the average Playboy article is only slightly longer than what you find in People magazine (a reflection of the dumbing down of America, in my opinion) and the biggest features are the ridiculously over-siliconed breasts of the Playmates (another reflection of same).


The world would be a much better place if only everyone just agreed to let me run things....
 
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If one Googles Cultural Literacy, one finds several hits about E.D. Hirsh's ideas regarding what constitutes being an American, and, of course, it extends to other groups. We share many similarities with other English-speaking cultures, but then Shaw's business about our being two countries divided by a common language crops up.
 
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Uh..., CJ, let's take The Brady Bunch off, okay? Baseball should stay, though, along with Mom and apple pie!

Graham, I hate to admit it, but I am probably an American by your list. Along with most of your others (I don't have more than 3 meals a day!), I absolutely do comment on someone's loud clothing. Roll Eyes
 
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Back in college we had a floor barbeque, pay for out our floor funds. The RA who ran it obviously didn't know how to run a barbeque, and it was poorly managed. The coals weren't started until well into it, meaning the cooked food wasn't ready until quite late. They cooked hamburgers and veggie burgers in equal ratio, despite there being only 10% vegetarians. I suppose they were worried about vegetarians not getting food, but they all got to eat right away, and we meat lovers were forced to wait, almost an hour went by before everyone got food.

I was frustrated, and telling my friends the correct procedures on how to put on a barbeque, which they didn't seem to know too well. One of the guys cooking was basically a cooking major, and while he cooked well, he didn't really know how to put on a good barbeque.

I was thinking at the time how un-American everyone there was. I mean, putting on a good cookout should be in our blood.
 
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I mean, putting on a good cookout should be in our blood.


Unfortunately, being a good host/hostess is something that requires that you actually pay attention when you see a good one in action.


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Well, I have been thinking about Graham's post up there.

How about turning it around a bit? You are a true English person if:

1) You think all Americans only drink Bud Lite.
2) You think the British speak "real English."
3) This one may be more for OEDILF than here, but I have found that English limericists, more than those from other countries, make grand and glorious excuses for why their limerick is correct. Here is an example (made up, of course):

There once was an Englishman who had an idea
One day as he was looking into the mirror:
"The Queen will really be happy;
I'll beat those Americans...this Saturday
My brilliant lightbulb will make me a hero!"

In workshopping it I'd hear: "In England 'idea,' 'mirror,' and 'hero' all rhyme, as do 'happy' and 'Saturday.' The meter is perfect as our stresses are different from yours and we speak more quickly than you; for example, 'Englishman who had an' is said in only 3 syllables in England." And so it goes...! Wink

Really, we Americans love our British friends! Big Grin
 
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Really, we Americans love our British friends! Big Grin


What? You STILL have British friends? Roll Eyes
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Uh..., CJ, let's take The Brady Bunch off, okay?

This was my attempt to reach out to the post-baby boomer generation. I never watched the show myself but have seen many younger people who followed it with an almost religious devotion. It's like, "Where were you when Marsha got hit in the face with the football?" ("Well, I was watching The Brady Bunch," but you know what I mean.)

Ref limericks, I've been away from them on this site for a while (Busy elsewhere, sorry) so I can't comment on Wordcrafter limericists but in defense (or defence) of our UK and Aussie OEDILFers, this isn't a huge problem. Granted, a number of our writers post on both boards so one would assume that the problem, if one existed, would be about equal in both places. Generally speaking, if someone says, "That's how we say it here," we accept that and don't fret over it until the case in point is just a bit too outrageous (which has happened a couple of times) and then we discuss it. Usually the outcome is that someone will say something like, "Well, that may be the way you say it there, but keep this one as it is and no one outside of your backyard is going to understand it." Since communication is, after all, the ultimate goal, all of us tend to be willing to alter our writing for the sake of a bigger audience. There have been at least a dozen Americanisms that I've dropped from my own writing over the past year for this very reason.


To add to the list:

There is at least one movie you love for a reason that you very well might hesitate to admit: It makes you cry every single time you see it. We Americans can be a very sentimental and weepy people. My movies in this category include Brian's Song, the very first movie that American men allowed themselves to cry at, and All That Jazz the semi-pseudo-autobiography of Bob Fosse. In that last big production number, the part where he's saying goodbye to his daughter? And she doesn't want to let him go? Jeeze! I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it!
 
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Oh dear, if we start listing movies that make us cry, my post is going to be very long . . . but here are some that were completely uncontrollable for me:

Saving Private Ryan
The Color Purple
An Affair to Remember
Schindler's List
Born on the Fourth of July
Forrest Gump
The Lion King (although that was probably because I was pregnant)


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I have seen an episode or two of The Brady Bunch, but mostly it is for people a bit older than me, which I guess is illustrative of the generations between Chris and I.

Males my age, 20-25, probably don't allow themselves to cry at any movies. I don't think I cried when I saw Bambi, although I was too young for me to remember. If I asked any of my male friends if they cried at movies, I'm sure they would all say "no".

Here is another thing which might be American, "D.A.R.E", which is Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and the slogans like "Dare to keep kids off drugs", "Just say no", and others.

Also, did anybody mention Smokey the Bear?
 
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Good ones, Sean. I really like Smokey the Bear.

My kids are your age Sean (sob! sob!), and they make fun of "The Brady Bunch" all the time. I don't think any generation ever considered that show a basic part of our culture, but then that's just my perspective.
quote:
Ref limericks, I've been away from them on this site for a while (Busy elsewhere, sorry) so I can't comment on Wordcrafter limericists but in defense (or defence) of our UK and Aussie OEDILFers, this isn't a huge problem.

I was referring to my workshopping experiences on OEDILF; we don't workshop on wordcraft. Of course I was half-kidding, though in all seriousness, I have noticed that difference when I have workshopped others' limericks. Again...that's just my perspective based on not that much workshopping.

Besides...I had lots of fun writing that limerick, especially my inclusion of good old Sir Joseph Swan and the Queen! Big Grin I am interested to hear if in fact "idea" and "mirror" rhyme in England; they very well may.

In writing that non-limerick, I realized how much I have learned in 1 year of workshops. I so wanted to rhyme "happy" with "sappy," and much to my dismay, my original line 5 was in perfect meter. I had to change it so that it wouldn't work!

BTW, so that I don't sound anti-British or anything, one thing I've noticed about Americans on any forum (and I've been on a few now) is that they start the fights. Now...which would you rather see, someone who is adamant that his/her limerick is correct (when it isn't) or someone who starts fights? I thought so!

I think movies are hard to add to the list because of preferences. Brian's Song wasn't one of my favorites, for example, though Gone with the Wind always has been. However, some (especially the men!) would make fun of me for the latter! Wink

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Two films that have had me actually sobbing (as opposed to the usual few tears and sniffing) are The Elephant Man and The Green Mile. I watched half of the former when I was school-age, left the room in a hurry and couldn't bring myself to watch the rest for years.

What got me the most about The Elephant Man was that it was based on reality, and even if none of its specific scenes actually happened, you can bet that Mr Merrick (and other 'freaks') went through absolute hell at times thanks to bigoted fools with stupidly superficial ideas on what is 'ugly'. Made me hugely angry as well as upset.


2) You think the British speak "real English."

But we do, Kalleh. That's why it's called 'English' Wink

/tease
 
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I am interested to hear if in fact "idea" and "mirror" rhyme in England; they very well may.

They do not. They'd actually be closer to rhyming in US English where "mirror" is often pronounced as a single-syllable word rhyming with "fear".

There are no perfect rhymes that I can think of for "mirror" in UK English. "Clearer" is about as close as one gets.


Richard English
 
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Smokey the Bear


Actually, his name is just Smokey Bear.


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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Caterwauller:
An Affair to Remember

This is one of my all-time favorites.
Anyone able to share the Sunday Trib comic "MISTER BOFFO? I seldom laugh out loud at any of the 'funnies', but this one just struck me...hard!
 
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There are no perfect rhymes that I can think of for "mirror" in UK English. "Clearer" is about as close as one gets.

But...I thought you said "Idear," which should rhyme with "mirror," shouldn't it?
 
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Originally posted by Seanahan:Males my age, 20-25, probably don't allow themselves to cry at any movies. I don't think I cried when I saw Bambi...

Depending on whether or not you felt it was an admirable quality in men, I have always been described as being "over-sensitive" or "having a strong feminine side." During Bambi, I cried during the scene where he first met Thumper....
 
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Originally posted by Caterwauller:
Oh dear, if we start listing movies that make us cry, my post is going to be very long . . . )


The movies that upset me the most are those in which animals are injured or killed (Old Yeller, The Horse Whisperer, etc.).

I'm the one who says, "OH, NO, don't shoot the HORSE!" Animals are innocent.
 
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The movies that upset me the most are those in which animals are injured or killed (Old Yeller, The Horse Whisperer, etc.).

I'm the one who says, "OH, NO, don't shoot the HORSE!" Animals are innocent.

I totally totally agree. If you have not seen the Mel Gigson movie "Signs," avoid it at all costs. A family dog is murdered, off camera, in an astoundingly shocking way.
 
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Stanley Kubrick once noted that critics who found his Clockwork Orange shocking were usually the same folks who found his Barry Lyndon boring. Yet, more people are killed in the latter onscreen and off than in the former. It's all a question of which killings were socially sanctioned. Why would the simulated death of an actor-dog be more shocking than the simulated death of an actor-human?


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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But we do, Kalleh. That's why it's called 'English'

Well, Cat, I suppose the British (I do miss that Brits term!) did speak English a whole lot before we Americans!

I agree with you, zmj, at least intellectually. Yes, I cried in Old Yeller and Bambi, but surely an actor-human death should be a whole lot more tragic than an actor-animal death.

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Originally posted by Kalleh:
[QUOTE]
I agree with you, zmj, at least intellectually. Yes, I cried in Old Yeller and Bambi, but surely an actor-human death should be a whole lot more tragic than an actor-animal death.


As soon as we can get people to act as humanely as dogs, James Thurber and I will agree with you! Big Grin
 
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Originally posted by Cat:
Two films that have had me actually sobbing (as opposed to the usual few tears and sniffing) are The Elephant Man and The Green Mile.


I assume you mean the scene in The Green Mile in which the mouse gets murdered?
 
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I cry at "Dumbo", when he visits Mother in the lock up pen..

And "Lonesome Dove", when Gus dies... and various parts throughout..

And "Shenendoah", with Jimmy Stewart.. pretty much during the entire movie... especially the cemetery scene.

And "The Great Santini", and ... I must admit, that when I was 12, and first saw GWTW, I cried when Mammy said, after Bonnie Blue's death.. "He done shot that pony!"... Later on, I cried over the human deaths. But I still didn't like Rhett shooting that pony!!

Enough of this ... I know I can't even begin to watch Old Yeller again.
 
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During Bambi, I cried during the scene where he first met Thumper....


So how'd you like "Bambi Meets Godzilla?" Eek
Yes, boys and girls, there really WAS such a movie!
 
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As soon as we can get people to act as humanely as dogs ...


This is why I like cats less than dogs: they remind me too much of humans.

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So how'd you like "Bambi Meets Godzilla?"


It was quite funny the first time I saw it. Though, the blue lines in the binder paper on which it was animated disturbed me. Still do.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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But...I thought you said "Idear," which should rhyme with "mirror," shouldn't it?

It's not a perfect rhyme though it might do at a pinch. "Idear" (a made-up word, I assume) would rhyme with "my dear" or "Hi dear". Mirror is pronounced "MI-rurr".


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by KHC:

I cry at "Dumbo", when he visits Mother in the lock up pen..

. . .GWTW, I cried when Mammy said, after Bonnie Blue's death.. "He done shot that pony!"... Later on, I cried over the human deaths. But I still didn't like Rhett shooting that pony!!



Those two scenes made me very sad, too.

Another one was in Sophie's Choice, when she was forced to choose which of her two children would supposedly be saved from the death camp. It was heart wrenching.
 
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...but surely an actor-human death should be a whole lot more tragic than an actor-animal death.

Have to totally disagree here, Kalleh, in most cases anyway. What makes a human death less tragic (sometimes, admittedly, only slightly less so) than an animal death is the factor of understanding. In most cases, we have the capability to understand the reason for the impending termination of our lives but with animals, there is that heart-wrenching and unanswerable, "Why? Why??"
 
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What makes a human death less tragic (sometimes, admittedly, only slightly less so) than an animal death is the factor of understanding. In most cases, we have the capability to understand the reason for the impending termination of our lives but with animals, there is that heart-wrenching and unanswerable, "Why? Why??"



Pfth! Humans are worth more than cats or dogs. Sorry, that's just the way I was wrought.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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This is why I like cats less than dogs: they remind me too much of humans.

I think dogs are much more like humans than cats are, and I like dogs better than cats!

I agree with zmj here about the worth factor. However, there is also the factor of understanding. First, I am sure you don't think an infant or child understands death. But beyond that, do we really ever "understand" death? As a nurse, I don't think we do, or ever will. We deal with it, but we don't understand it anymore than the cat or the dog.
 
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Humans understand death but don't want to believe it actually happens. Which is why all races have invented religions - most of which promise some form of afterlife or re-incarnation.

Animals do not, I believe, understand about their mortality which is why there are no animal religions.

As regards the worh of life; it is surely a known fact that we rank the importance of lives. We none of us much mind killing millions of bacteria with our drugs, thousands of ants with ant-powder and dozens of flies with fly-spray. We are a little more concerned about killing mice, rats and squirrels, and many people get very upset about the idea of killing foxes and grouse.

Not rational thinking, of course, just human emotion.


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by zmjezhd:
Pfth! Humans are worth more than cats or dogs. Sorry, that's just the way I was wrought.


I think your view reflects a Christian upbringing. I don't know any Christian vegetarians.
 
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I'm trying to go through my list of vegetarians in my head and I can't seem to find any Christians, however I'm sure there have got to be a couple. Many vegetarians I know are either Muslim, Indian, or guilt-stricken liberal hippies, the latter of which tend to be agnostic, at the least.
 
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I don't know what sort of 'hippies' you know, Seanahan, but most I've met have a great depth of spirituality and are relatively guilt-free (compared to, say, the way some Catholics are brought up).

All life is precious and equal - just because something is a different species doesn't make it inferior. That line of thought is similar to those over the years suggesting that Black/disabled/LGBT people are inferior: ie, "they're not 'us' so they must be lesser beings".

I've had friends of several different species throughout my life, and although they require different understandings, they're of no lesser or greater importance to me based on species alone.

Cat the hippy goth metaller environmentalist anti-labellist Big Grin

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Verily, "liberal" implies "free," so if one is truly emotionally free, one is not guilt-stricken. To be sure, there are those on the "loony left" who are guilt-stricken, just as there are those on the reactionary right who are.

Asa the Independent.
 
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All life is precious and equal - just because something is a different species doesn't make it inferior.

So you don't take antibiotics because they kill bacteria or chloroquine because it kills malaria plasmopodia?

They're all life forms, after all.


Richard English
 
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I think your view reflects a Christian upbringing. I don't know any Christian vegetarians.


I used to be a vegetarian, but for health reasons, not religious ones. I am an atheist omnivore currently, and I was not brought up Christian. I was just saying that giving the choice between saving a human and saving a domesticated pet, I'd go for the human.

I've known some Christian vegans for what it's worth which probably isn't much.

quote:
So you don't take antibiotics because they kill bacteria or chloroquine because it kills malaria plasmopodia?


Yes, people attribute all sorts of things to animals, especially their domesticated animals. This is usually styled anthropomorphism. That they are eating some chicken or beef that was raised in hideously inhumane conditions and slaughtered brutally, and then cut up and packaged in filthy conditions by underpaid workers concerns them not. That insects of all sorts splatter against their windsrceens doesn't matter. But that a fictional character in a movie "dies" upsets them. I would rather cry for the people who died in the tsunami in Asia recently than for Old Yeller.

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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So you don't take antibiotics because they kill bacteria or chloroquine because it kills malaria plasmopodia?

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giving the choice between saving a human and saving a domesticated pet, I'd go for the human.


I was waiting for these arguments to come up, but I didn't have the time to pre-empt them in my earlier post Big Grin.

Richard, I respect all life forms equally. However, I also respect and therefore seek to protect myself (against those who will cause me harm). So I would just as likely kill a human / dog / tiger who was about to kill me as I would harmful bacteria. As for the 'Do you swat wasps?' question which will no doubt follow: no, I don't. I capture them and put them outside. The only time I'll consider killing one is if there's no way I can capture it, and that's because allergy of varying severity runs in my family and therefore there's a genuine risk.

zmjezhd, I agree with you on the hypocrisy of some meat-eaters/pro-vivisectionists who'd never give up THEIR dog for experimentation: I despair sometimes at that type of differentiation. I don't eat or wear animals - no, not even silk, because silkworms die in its preparation. I do my best to avoid products that have caused animals to suffer: sometimes I slip up, but hey, I'm human - I do my best, and carry on.

As for the second quote: ANY human? Even a convicted sex offender? The person who you watched kill your family? I don't like that argument anyway as it's so hypothetical and only results in hypothetical responses like mine above. If asked would I save a random baby or cat from a burning house, my answer would be "Whichever one I found first, but I'd try to save both". But really, how many people will ever be in a situation where there's the possibility of such a choice?

And I try not to anthropomorphise my non-human friends; rather, I interact with them on their wavelength to the best of my knowledge. I may talk to my cat and anthropomorphise him for fun (e.g. 'he's not speaking to me 'cos I didn't give him smoked salmon for lunch'), but it's never at his expense and I respect him as a powerful hunter and intelligent creature in his own right. But even then, what is anthropomorphism? As we cannot yet talk properly to non-human animals, we can't say for sure what they're capable of thinking and feeling, so it's a bit too soon to assume humans are the only creatures capable of certain functions, and that anyone putting these characteristics onto non-humans is guilty of anthropomorphising them. Personally, I keep an open mind.
 
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