The circle of life

 

“Son, we eat the antelope…”

And thus begins Mufasa’s soliloquy to Simba on the nature of life in the African Savannah, and why it’s okay to eat animals that worship the ground you walk on, because you’re the Lion King…or something like that. It’s been a while since I watched it, although the fact that the soundtrack has been recently discovered by the children and is now on high rotation (or, more accurately, the only thing they want to listen to) in the car has made me think about it again. It makes me think a lot, on my drives to the supermarket or to after-school lessons, or anywhere really, about why Americans still cast English actors as villains all the time, and why Mufasa obviously grew up in an American school on the African Savannah, whereas his younger brother Scar seems to have gone to an English boarding school (maybe that explains why he’s so peeved). I didn’t know there were English boarding schools in the African Savannah. Perhaps he was forced to move to England. Hmmmm. Now I’m imagining a sulky cartoon lion skulking around the halls of Eton College. Any English people noticed any cartoon characters moping around recently? Watch out, they’ll be dangerous. As is, apparently, anyone with a British accent in the US. They’re a villain, you can tell by the voice. Best to get rid of them now before…

NOW HANG ON A MINUTE!

No, just wait up for a bit, okay? This brings me back to the thing that the Lion King makes me think about, and that is why it’s okay to eat the antelope when they worship the ground you walk on, just because you’re the King. I’m not a vegetarian (and the fact that I’m bad with nuts and dairy means I’m not going to turn vegetarian any time soon), but…I don’t like killing things. I don’t like killing animals, and I certainly don’t agree with the idea (which idiot suggested it?!! Oh, that was me) that Americans should get rid of all people with British accents because they’ll probably be villains. Sometimes people think I have a British accent – even other Australians. I’m about to go to the US, where it’s apparently likely that every second person will mistake me for a Brit. I’ll just have to make extra sure I don’t go out with a black outline around me so nobody thinks I’m a cartoon character (aaaaaand back to the point).

The point is this: I believe we all have a right to life, that life is sacred, precious, valuable. I do believe that life was given to us by our Creator, and that we are blessed to have it, and we need to respect it. We can’t restore life, or create it, and therefore we should treat the taking of life with some gravity.

And here’s the only problem I have with this: I eat animals. Every night. For dinner. I don’t like stomping on spiders (although I do if they invade my territory), and I hate to see animals mistreated, although I do squash ants and put the cat in front of any mouse that dare enter my kitchen. I represent the paradox of modern living and thought.*

So this is my point: sometimes what we believe doesn’t line up with our actions, and vice versa. Often we believe stuff just because we always have, and often we do stuff just because we always have. It’s so easy to forget that we’re grown-ups now, and we can spring-clean our minds from all kinds of fears and beliefs and judgements and yellowed pictures sticky-taped on the walls of our minds.  

And it’s okay. Like I said, much as I value the sanctity of life I’m still in no hurry to become a vegetarian. I am, however, working on a few other, more personal examples of the paradox. You know, stuff more along the lines of “that person has a British accent and is therefore a villain”. Dumb stuff. Stuff that’s stuck. Sometimes you know it’s just time for a change.

Know what I mean? Ever found yourself believing stuff, or prejudiced about people because of a once-upon-a-time? I’m ripping a few old pictures off the mental walls. Care to join me?

Image

*I eat cheese mites too. So do you if you eat cheese (although possibly not plastic cheese, and most definitely not that weird American squeezy stuff). Oh I’m mad at the person who first told me about cheese mites! Grrrrr.

 

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24 thoughts on “The circle of life

  1. The big to-do here in the states was the hyenas and what most people surmised they represented. Whoopie Goldberg got quite a bit of flack for proliferating the stereotype of immorality and blind trust in a faulty leader for material and selfish gain.

    BTW: I promise nobody will kill you because you sound British. Quite the opposite, really. They’ll think you’re smarter just because of how you sound.

    • Wow, I missed the whole Hyena deal obviously. I’ll have to look that one up.
      Teehee…I didn’t know that Americans thought that about the British until today – it came up in another conversation with an American as well. Shhhh…I’m not sure I should say this in public or not, but between you and me (and, well, anyone else who bothers reading comments) that’s been the big stereotypical thing in Australia as well. Really, really common perception.
      Not that I said that out loud. And you said it first…

  2. I like the bit about British accents. In the part of England where I come all the neighbouring towns have thir own unique dialect, and although born 10 minutes walk from the “Village” I have earned the label “foreigner” — pretty certain my accent would n’t pass as British. All life is precious, feathers, fur and green.. By the way, my American neighbour lets me borrow her accent for acting purposes… Murder, Mystery in the village hall! Best wishes…..

    • Okay now I’m confused…you were born ten minute’s away from an English village where you’re now labelled a foreigner because of your accent?
      I know something of the different English dialects (I used to be a massive fan of The Bill, and spent an inordinate amount of time working out where everyone was from…I’m an accent geek) and from stories of family members who live over there, but…wow. Unless I’ve missed something significant…did you grow up somewhere else?
      I love love LOVE the intricacies of dialect and accent and history in such a small place as the British Isles. I’ll have to make that my next holiday destination.

      • No did n’t grow up somewhere else…. If not born in the one street called the village, you are a foreigner! And since I have been the leader of a Ladies Meeting of 20/30 of villagers for the past 25 years, I think I should qualify as a naturalised citizen by now. The English, Megan are probably well noted for their funny ways. Hope you get to come and meet some of us!

        • WOW!! Oh my. That sounds, from what I’ve heard, SO English! Oh boy.
          My aunt and uncle spent five years in Manchester, and some of the people that they’d met who talked about family who’d “moved away”, as if they were living in London or Australia or some place, and then to find that “moved away” was a mere ten miles or so – FAR too far to travel. Such a funny perspective.
          Actually, Tasmanians are almost as guilty…the idea of travelling from the north to the south (a 2 hour drive) is a bit too gruelling for many people who save it for special occasions and overnight stays, whereas on the mainland some people drive that distance to work and back every day. Funny.

  3. This was just soo pleasant and fun to read. Had me grinning all the way through and my workmates were passing by and giving me the “duh” look. Much Love from Ghana, West Africa.

  4. Yes, the British definitely get a bad rap for getting speaking as villians in movies ….look at the first three Star Wars movies…the Generals and High ranking officers in the Empire all spoke with a British accent…lol…but then again so did Obi One Kinobi and CP30 so they weren’t all bad…:)… The funny thing is the Brits are great at going undercover as Americans….alot of America’s lastest Heroes made into movies have been British (with a few Aussies thrown in as well) Take Christian Bale as Batman, or Andrew Garfield as the New Spiderman, and Henry Cavill as the new Superman coming out next year and lets not forget Robert Pattison as Edward Cullen ….so they have a good thing going for them…the British get to do both gigs you might say….funny thing, if you look at the Asian Culture in movies they portray Americans a lot of the times in movies as the villian so we get our just rewards as well…. Hey and we all loved the Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings (dont forget the The Hobbit coming out) and the Dr, Who sensationover here, and Sherlock Holmes on movies and television …I think we are starting to come around to a better way of thinking of the Brits . Sorry I don’t think I answered your question you put forth…see your not the only one who can go off in odd directions..:)

    • Us, Brits, Philip are strange…I am a ‘stranger’ in my own backyard and have lived here over 60 years, which is an advantage because I know all the spooky tales… My US southern drawl has won prizes, but have a good Auzzie, South African and Scots, Irish ones too. My German one is n’t so hot.

    • Hey that’s so interesting about the Americans-as-villains in Asian movie thing. I didn’t know that!
      And yes, I have to confess it made my heart happy to know that the yanks have got into Dr Who and Sherlock in a big way (I’m a huge fan of both, and couldn’t imagine a Western country where they weren’t appreciated)
      And, of course, my two favourite American TV shows – United States of Tara and The Mentalist, both of which star AUSTRALIANS! With fake accents, yes, but Aussies nonetheless.

        • Yeah…my best friend still talks about my trip to “Yankland”. It’s pretty common still.
          I LOVE THE YANKEES! They are the reason I got interested in the US in the first place. LOVE NY, and LOVE the Yankees. Just don’t understand baseball.
          I’m learning that it’s very much the UN-pc thing to do over there though…apparently EVERYBODY hates the Yankees. Hmmmm.

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