As a proud and dedicated Duck Activist, I must admit that Fox Network’s new reality television show, “The Swan,” initially ruffled my feathers, so to speak. For decades, we Duck Activists have been trying to convince the world not to discriminate against us. Our history is long, and our struggle for equality has been a tough one. I realize that many people in this world may judge the contestants on this show. Therefore, in order to prepare you for Monday night’s pageant finale, I must give you an account of our fight for justice. But I do this not only for the ducks, but for our beloved swan friends as well.
1844: Hans Christian Andersen was a tall and effeminate man. He was ostracized by his human society for being a little “different.” In those days, the term “queer” was used to describe someone “different.” In a fit of self-loathing homosexual rage, Hans ran out behind his Danish cottage and ran out to the pond to drown himself (drama queen). But when he got to the edge of the water, he noticed a cute little duck paddling along the shoreline. “Quack-Quack-Quack,” the duck yapped with glee.
You see, ducks were happy back in those days…
Hans thought the animal was ugly. After all, it waddled when it walked and it made an obnoxious quacking noise all the live long day. On top of it all, it was shaped weird. Hans thought to himself, “why does such an ugly little creature get to have all the fun while I suffer in shame.” So, he snatched the little duckling from the water and displaced his own anger upon the happy little creature. He tried to drown it but realized that he was being just as evil as his the fundamentalist whackos. He then plucked the largest feather from the little duck’s behind and mercifully tossed it aside. He ran into his cottage, jammed the feather into the ink jar on his desk, and feverishly started to compose a story to express his anger to the world.
The resulting piece of work was titled, “The Little Ugly Duckling.” Although Mr. Christian Andersen’s story appeared to be a story of triumph and personal achievement, many ducks were offended by his work. They felt alienated and victimized by his message because it seemed to carry an underlying message. They felt as if they had to be beautiful like a swan in order to overcome their ugly little strife. To them, they wondered why the duckling could not have grown up to be a big ugly duck and still find happiness.
As the story achieved notoriety, the whole perspective of ducks started to change. Everyone started ridiculing the ducks for being ugly. The poor little creatures tried to disguise themselves as swans, but the clever fundamentalist hatemongers forced them out of their little closets by yelling, “If it walks like a duck, and if it quacks like a duck, then the animal is surely a duck.” But it wasn’t Hans’ fault. Nor was it the swans’ fault. The poor little duckies were victimized by a hate-infested world filled with fragile little egos. As a result, the age of SPECIESISM was born and the world has never been the same since.
Over the course of time, others joined in on the duck-bashing. Children started to play Duck Duck Goose and suddenly, even the equally-ugly geese were far superior to the ducks. They lobbied the car manufacturers and even preserved their own sound once the car was invented. “HONK HONK if you’re happy” became the new way of life. And “HONK HONK get out of my way” soon became the voice of power.
If you ask me, those damned geese should have just stayed in Canada.
Summer 1922: Hortense and Quackmore Duck, along with their twin baby ducklings, Della Thelma and Fauntelroy, set out for a nice day at a remote pond in Kissimmee, Florida. The day was perfect and calm as the family waddled their way along the dirt path and into the water. Hortense and Quackmore nudged little Della Thelma into the water. As Quackmore lifted her wing to help little Fauntelroy leap in for a swim, they were all startled by the sweeping sound of a fishnet.
WOOOOOSH! Within an instant, little Fauntelroy was gone.
Rumors began to spread and all of America started to talk. The specists were finally asserting their power over the waddling birds. Apparently, a man named Walt Disney had abducted little Fauntelroy and turned him into a slave. Every civil right’s movement is spawned by a horrifying moment in time and Fauntelroy’s abduction (and subsequent conversion) was the defining moment in Duck Activist history. It was then, that the Duck Activist Movement was born and the search for little Fauntelroy was underway. During the search, poor Hortense and Quackmore were killed by a group of Chinese poachers who were opening a restaurant in a nearby town. They were tossed into a kettle and later served in a bowl of Mandarin Duck Soup.
June 9, 1934: Della Thelma, at the age of 14, was living her life as an orphan. She would often times sneak into the movie theatre to catch a glimpse of the silver screen. She loved the cartoons because they often depicted animals in a loving way. On opening day, she snuck into the movie house and watched the anticipated release of “The Wise Little Hen.” When Della Thelma looked up at the screen, she quacked with sheer horror as she saw her twin brother Fauntelroy dressed up onscreen as a sailor. Apparently, Mr. Disney brainwashed Fauntelroy and he now went by the name “Donald.” He was lisping and spitting and running around while not wearing any pants. She was horrified to see that her little brother was being forced to perform in a gay porno film. She later heard that poor Fauntelroy – er um – Donald, underwent torturous scenes involving enemas and electromagnetic butt plugs. As a result, Della Thelma went off the deep end and joined a bizarre duck cult at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where she still remains today.
Donald was a slave for the sake of the almighty dollar. The producers would frequently force him to perform explicit scenes with – GASP – rodents. Yes, indeed it was terrifying, but Donald suffered through three long years of torture while that annoying little mouse got all of the notoriety. Mickey was the dominant creature, while poor Donald was forced into subservience. They even casted Donald in a Nazi flick, but the movie was quickly banned. WHEW! Obviously, life was quite different in the 1930’s than it is now. Thank goodness for our Duck Activists! If it weren’t for these pioneers, we would still be watching that little mouse whip poor Donald as if he were some low-life loon.
Luckily though, the Duck Activism movement was gaining momentum. They raided the movie theatres and started throwing pigeon shit all over the place. They were angered that their one and only movie star idol was being forced to live a second class life while that filthy little mouse got all of the praise. They carried signs that said, “birds of a feather, shall only flock together.” In essence, they were saddened to see their hero being forced into animated orgies with other kinds of animals. On one occasion, poor Donald was forced to do a sexy scene with Winnie the Pooh. Nine months later, the platypus species was spawned. HOW TERRIBLE!
But the activists were ultimately successful. People all over the world started developing lung problems due to the pigeon shit and the movie houses closed down for a while. The producers nixed the sadomasochistic tone to the films because Naziism was no longer the in-thing. However, the platypus remains the symbol of our strife.
The idea behind the early duck movement had good intentions. However, the activists realized that they too were discriminating against the platypus, and even the little black mouse too. After all, Mickey was probably caught in a trap somewhere and brainwashed – just like Fauntelroy. Nevertheless, the blackness of the mouse triggered an idea with the activists and they subsequently waged a war against BREEDISM. You see, there were no black ducks being represented in the films. So after the activists were successful in ending the abuse of poor Donald, they set out to find a black duck to save the day and put an end to discrimination.
April 17, 1937: By now, Donald was earning a little bit of respect for the ducks. However, only the white ducks seemed to get all the glory. That’s when Jack, Sam, Harold, and Albert Warner jumped in to save the day. They found a little black orphan with yellow feet. His name was Daffy. And yes, he too was a duck. The whole duck world was ecstatic that their black brothers and sisters would finally be represented.
Daffy had survived a horrible wind storm that blew him far away from his nest. Actually, rumors suggest that it was a result of a disaster during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz.” When the brothers looked at little Daffy, they realized that he was a little girly, but figured, “hey, this was acting right?” So, the Warner Brothers scooped him up in their arms and the rest is history. The black ducks finally had their hero.
…or did they?
Daffy’s experience proved to be no different than poor Donald’s. However, rather than forcing him to submit to the awesome power of a black mouse, they threw him into a barnyard and laughed as a stuttering pink pig was given the lead role. This was by far the most devastating blow to the black ducks, and even ducks in general. It is well known that pigs are the vilest creatures on the planet. they snort, they stink, and by golly, Jewish people won’t even eat them. As a result, the Duck Activists took action and decided to form a group to spearhead the gruesome portrayal of ducks in film.
The Anti-Defamation Paddle, as they would call themselves, stuck their bills into this fiasco but could not save Daffy’s career before he destroyed it himself. You see, poor Daffy couldn’t handle the pressure of being the only black duck in America. He knew that the whole world judged his fellow black ducks by every move he made, and quite frankly, he could not live up to the macho expectations that so many people attribute to black ducks. He turned to drugs and alcohol and the downward spiral started to spin. One night in the 1940’s, while hanging out at the underground duck bar with his best pal Donald (duck bar’s were still illegal until 1969 – but that is another story altogether), Daffy snorted a line of bird seed so long that his bill almost fell off. He began bouncing all around the place while shouting, “WOO-HOO, WOO-HOO, WOO-HOO.” He is still living today, but he has not stopped bouncing around ever since.
From that day forth, he would always be known as the Looney Tunes duck. The stuttering pig soon got sick of his antics, so the producers tossed Daffy in with an asshole of a rabbit that treated Daffy like a mental case. QUACKING was suddenly the thing for crazy folks, and it was not long before the psychiatrists were seeing people for being “Quacked Out.” It is a low-down dirty shame that America judged the entire duck kingdom for poor Daffy’s ill-mannered behavior. Then again, it should come as no surprise as people. The movies and the media have contorted reality so much, that everyone is conditioned to be afraid of anything that is different. It sure does give a new meaning to “What’s up doc” doesn’t it?
Poor Daffy – – – but even poorer ducks, indeed. However, the activists continued fighting and it was not long before the American Psychiatric Association declassified quacking as being a mental illness. It seems that all ducks suffered from the stereotype that Daffy manifested.
December 1, 1974: On a very hot day, the steroid-induced Big Bird lifted his leg and out popped a little egg. Since Big Bird was male, it was obvious that this was some sort of immaculate egg-laying. He wanted to keep it, but he had no room in his nest. After all, he had to save room for his furry elephant friend, Snufalupagus. Everyone always thought he was imaginary, but little did they know he was actually hiding in the nest while sticking his trunk where it might not belong. EEEEW! But hey, their relationship has at least ignited a sense of hope for the platypus.
Big Bird did not know what to do. He asked Snuffy for advice, which Snuffy in turn referred him to another friend who was into Bird-Elephant relations – his faithful friend Horton. So, Big Bird asked Horton what he should do. Horton looked deep into Big Bird’s eyes and said, give the little chick up for adoption. Big Bird then asked Horton if he was sure that this was the right thing to do. Horton looked back up at Big Bird and said, “Yes indeed, an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.”
Big Bird then remembered that two young “bachelors” from Miami had recently moved to his neighborhood. One was tall and yellow and had a unibrow. The other was short and fat and laughed so much that spit shot out of the sides of his mouth. They seemed happy and appeared to be suitable parents. In fact, they even tried to adopt a child in the past, but the evil legislature of Florida would simply not condone it.
When the egg finally hatched, out popped a rubber duck. Apparently, Snuffy and Bird tried to use protection. Anyway, Big Bird scooped up the duck and gave it to a stork. The stork then delivered the baby to its new home. The new couple lived together in an apartment at 123 Sesame Street in East Greenwich Village in New York. To many across the globe, this would be known as Burt and Ernie’s house.
Ernie opened his orange face and the words, “rubber duckie you’re the one” resonated throughout every home across America. Although the fundamentalist anti-duck organizations claimed that this would harm society, their hateful message was ultimately ignored. People all over the world FINALLY fell in love with the ducks and bath houses all over the Village became much more entertaining!
Despite this new found freedom, many ducks did not feel as beautiful as the rubber duckies. The rubber ducks were always considered “the cute ones” and the regular ducks were merely walking around the world were suddenly dodging the daily woes of life and getting themselves redone. You see, although they despised the outside world, they They would find refuge within the toy factories as they dipped themselves in yellow rubber. These ducks were then sold all over the world and the ducks became the most-loved feathered creature of all.
The Duck Activists had finally achieved victory. The war seemed over and it all came with the saving grace of a little bit of plastic. Therefore, even artificial outsides have tremendous long-lasting effects on the inside. Thank goodness for plastic surgery and thank goodness for designer clothes. It was finally time to celebrate our beauty.
April 7, 2004: We flash forward to our present day. The ducks have surely had their ups and downs – all the way from Howard the Duck to Ducktales, and from Duckman to the Disco Duck. Many cities even parade rubber duckies around town in little races. However, just when we Duck Activists thought it was safe to go back into the water, the story of the Ugly Duckling has reared its ugly head once again. When I first saw the commercial for The Swan, I was frightened. I thought the curse had returned to kill all of the ducks once and for all. But then I realized that this show was for people – and I wiped my brow with relief.
Nely Galan, already a gorgeous Swan herself, dreamed up a show that regurgitated the Hans Christian Andersen tale. Sixteen women were selected to undergo complete transformations, including head-to-toe plastic surgery, full dental makeovers, physical training, dieticians, stylists, and psychotherapy. WOWZA! This sort of thing would normally costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, because they are participating in a network television extravaganza, all of it is handed to these women for FREE!
For the past eight weeks, we have watched two women undergo these total transformations. The kicker is that they do not get to see themselves in a mirror for over three months. Each week, two women are allowed to finally see themselves in the mirror to witness this reconstructive miracle. Each timne, the women place their hands over their faces and scream and have a healthy nervous breakdown. The judges then decide which of the two women will then move on to the final round – the beauty pageant.
I realize that this sounds like a major dose of garbage, but trust me folks, The Swan is a marvelous presentation. These women came to the show looking even worse than our little duckling friends from the 1800s. They lacked self-esteem, confidence, and some even lacked the will to LIVE! Folks, there is no denying that people in this world can be utterly cruel. And if we only live once, we might as well feel beautiful while we are here. People are often quick to judge someone else’s lack of self-worth; however, they fail to realize that the very notion belongs to a SELF – one that nobody else will ever truly know. Once the women see their new self, you can almost see their spirit transform into a beauty that parallels their outside.
Therefore, it is my assessment, that this show is fantastic. In fact, tears have welled up in my eyes as I am reminded of the pain and suffering that people endure on a daily basis. For anyone that judges these women, I would like to quack out a big PLUCK YOU! Go mind your own business and let these women heal themselves in any way they can.
May the best swan win! And to the rest we shall say – CONGRATULATIONS GIRL – YOU STILL LOOK FABULOUS!
The moral of this story: Nobody wants to be ridiculed, but we all want to be loved. Love the duck who is comfortable being a duck. Love the swan who is comfortable being a swan. And for Duck’s Sakes – stop ridiculing the poor duck who merely wants to be a swan. They aren’t hurting anyone! They are simply trying to get comfortable enough to swim in the pond and smile!
It is true that ducks are not as pretty as swans. If we stop judging ducks for their appearance, they will not strive to become swans. We should simply let them waddle along their merry way and appreciate them for what they are. However, as long as ducks are repeatedly ridiculed, beaten, tortured, plucked, or maimed, many will try to become something they are not. In an ideal pond, one could only hope that each duck has the strength and courage to overcome this sort of hatred. However, because each duck has a different set of feathers and a different set of experiences, the way one deals with one’s own oppression is merely a resulting consequence. Therefore, we should not judge the poor little duckies who try to become something they are not. Why? Because it is none of our duck-damned business – THAT’S WHY!
Having said that, it is also important not to turn our hatred to the swans. They cannot be hated simply because they are beautiful. I am sure that many swans are stuck-up and pretentious fowls, but to judge the entire species for the strife of the duck is absolutely unfair. Believe it or not, some swans are beautiful on the inside too – even the ones who were born that way.
CU Friday for Part 2 of the Preview.
I will give a brief rundown of our favorite Swan contestants and offer you my favorites to win. Then, on Tuesday, I will review the pageant and the whole world will embrace the Swan. But this time, the ducks will still be happy because nobody is a loser on THE SWAN!
The two-hour finale airs on Monday, May 24, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. EST.
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