Top of the food chain, Ma!

So I’m browsing Wikipedia for Watership Down stuff the other evening, my recent purchase having rekindled my interest in all things Lapine, and discovered…

…Right, let’s preface this by noting that I am not the world’s most PC person. I don’t – even above the clear religious scruple – like to hurt people, with words or anything else; but I also firmly believe in flattering intelligence and experience, not insulting either with obvious evasions.

Thusly it’s just possible I am over-reacting to the one paragraph in the Wiki article that details the severe critical backlash the novel received on feminist grounds. That is, there are those female critics who take issue with the fact that the story’s protagonists are exclusively buck rabbits, who are perhaps something less than tactful (‘Is she any good [for breeding]?’) in their quest to secure does to their warren.

Yeah. Didn’t think so.

I spent the entire afternoon composing a long, ranty, over-the-top post re: how this criticism rests on a highly selective reading of the source (in which various other passages show doe rabbits as strong, intelligent and capable), how absurd it is to tie sociological conditioning that closely to what is patently a fantasy tale, and above all how utterly, unbelievably, how-hard-up-for-a-thesis-can-you-be STUPID it is to apply those same standards to characters who aren’t even capable of recognising the need for conditioning in the first place. Y’know, their being frelling BUNNIES and all.

Then…I started picturing those same bunnies learnedly discussing ‘gender identity’ and burrows with ‘glass ceilings’, and it made me feel much, much better. ‘Specially the part where they were wearing little wire-rimmed bifocals.

So instead…pretty pictures!

Seriously, this past turkey weekend we joined a bunch of friends on a hike through Spencer Gorge Park, about half-way up the Niagara Escarpment, and the day was utterly perfect for appreciating everything nature had to offer.
As I mentioned to Shoemom after about the twentieth time she backtracked to find me snapping away, the effect of colour and light against dark trunks had nearly the purity of stained glass – and I wasn’t just trying to justify holding up the hike. To wit (clik to enlarge):

Through the looking glass... John Denver, eat your heart out.

It was about here I started feeling really thankful. Apparently, Mother Nature has access to Crayola...

...the 64-crayon box. Trailing clouds of glory...

I swear I saw this pattern on a Tiffany lamp somewhere. Yeah, I know the leaves are a bit blurred. I was tripping over a tree root at the time.

See? No panicking about falling in, much better focus.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rj_anderson
    Oct 23, 2008 @ 10:18:53

    Wow. Just… wow. Those photos are truly stunning.

    Aaah, I love autumn.

    Also, to the people who attack Watership Down on feminist grounds I have only one word to say: FAIL.

    (“It’s about bunnies!” — Sawyer, on Lost)

  2. kalquessa
    Oct 23, 2008 @ 14:13:33

    and above all how utterly, unbelievably, how-hard-up-for-a-thesis-can-you-be STUPID it is to apply those same standards to characters who aren’t even capable of recognising the need for conditioning in the first place. Y’know, their being frelling BUNNIES and all.

    That would be the sum of my argument for why-feminist-criticism-of-WD-is-silly, yeah. I can’t decide if it would be funnier to accuse the critics of attempting to impose their own subjective idea of proper gender roles on another culture…or just point out that no matter how much they want it to, reality is still going to include the fact that rabbits really do care about reproduction kind of a lot. Ahem.

    Your mini rant and the fall beauty were both most pleasing to me, and brightened my morning, so I win all the way around. *grin*

  3. shoebox2
    Oct 23, 2008 @ 21:19:22

    Thank you so much! I love autumn too – at least, the brilliant-October-day-in-Niagara version documented here. But this was literally gorgeous beyond anything I’d ever seen.

    (“It’s about bunnies!” — Sawyer, on Lost)

    [giggle] If I ever decide to rejoin a forum of any stripe, that is SO my sig line.

  4. shoebox2
    Oct 23, 2008 @ 21:21:08

    I am so glad to be able to provide you with win. Thank you much for the kind words!

    I hear you on the question of funny, too. Had a good – if slightly rueful – retroactive chuckle myself, when I realised that all the stuff I had found awkward and tacked-on in the sequel could be traced directly back to the author trying to appease this school of thought.

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