I'm seeing penguins everywhere. This is really odd when you think of it, seeing as the nearest non-zoo-dwelling penguins live many thousands of miles South of here. I mean, Colorado is just not penguin country. So why all the penguin art and knick-knacks?
Is it globalization, or a resurgence of affection for birds, black and white, or Antarctica? Not only that, it's also Christmas. At the mall near my mom's house a whole flock of these flightless fowl now attend Santa, replacing the elves and perhaps the reindeer as well.
How did penguins get associated with Christmas? Has our notion of geography gotten so off-kilter that we don't realize the South Pole and North Pole are kind of far apart?
No sense getting too snippy about 'new traditions,' though: The old(er) ones are no less bizarre. Many, many strange things have become associated with this holiday. It seems that everyone wants to cosy up to Christmas.
What does the birth of Christ in a small town in the Middle East have to do with the bleak midwinter (here in the N. hemisphere anyway), evergreen trees, lights and tinsel, snowmen, large red socks hung by the chimney with care, or a fourth-century Byzantine bishop? And why should that particular bishop be said to still be living, perpetually wearing a red suit, and hanging out in the Arctic where he tracks childhood morality, makes toys, and and circumnavigates the globe (in a night) each December? It is pretty ludicrous, I guess.
So maybe the penguins are not so strange after all. If they hang around I'll probably get used to them after a while. But I'm not an 'early adopter.' I still look on Rudolph with suspicion, considering him an unwelcome interloper crowding in on Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen. But somebody invented them, too, and apparently the canon is not closed.
Well, if I were a penguin I might rather hang out at the mall with the guy in the red suit. After all, Antarctica isn't what it used to be what with global warming and all. And if that turns out to be a fad and it's really global overpopulation we need to worry about (the latter fear only relatively recently replaced by the former one) then the penguins might as well get used to people. Before you know it someone's going to put up a mall at the Pole of Inaccessibility. I guess it's kind of encouraging that the penguins have someplace to go: the schoolchildren of America love them.