Apparently PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has called for Punxsutawney to replace Phil, the world’s most famous meteorologist groundhog, with an animatronic stand-in.
OK, I’m all for the ethical treatment of everything, and I happen to be a huge fan of animatronic rodents — it’s a big part of why I love Chuck E. Cheese so much — but this is ridiculous.
After all, as Bill Deeley, the president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club points out, Phil is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.”
After all, there’s a Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. And it has an Inner Circle. This rat is pampered all year long for ten minutes of stress from the “large, screaming crowds” PETA describes, because obviously Punxsatawney Phil gets mobbed by lunatics as soon as he leaves his burrow, like the Beatles in Hard Day’s Night.
I have to imagine Bill Deeley probably wanted to add, “also, he’s a f@#$ing groundhog.”
Seriously, has anyone thought to consult Phil about all this? Because look at that thing. Are groundhogs supposed to be that fat? He’s living in the lap of luxury, and I gotta figure if Phil could talk, and someone asked him if he’d rather move to a sanctuary somewhere, or be released back into the wild, Phil would politely decline and go back to eating his giant mound of delicious nuts and berries.
Actually, I’d bet if Phil could talk and someone asked him just about anything, he’d say, “nuts and berries, nuts and berries, nuts and berries, nuts and berries.”
And furthermore, the Wikipedia tells me that groundhogs and woodchucks are the same thing. Who knew? Apparently they’re also known as whistle-pigs and land-beavers, too.
Also, one time I saw a groundhog while driving in Westchester. Apparently there are groundhogs in Westchester. I nearly pulled off the road, all, “lordy me, I believe that was a whistle-pig.”
And lastly, Groundhog Day was a great movie. Everyone knows this, and nearly everyone who has seen it frequently ponders its various philosophical ramifications. Plus it’s one of the great vehicles for character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryerson in that film and also Werner Brandes in Sneakers. (“My name is my passport?”)
The Wikipedia confirms that Tobolowsky now plays a character also named Ryerson in the Fox series Glee. So that’s interesting. But it’s not about groundhogs, and so it strays from the point.
In conclusion, Groundhog’s Day is cool, as a concept and as a movie. And while I support animatronics in general, I don’t really think a robot groundhog would be able to accurately predict the weather. And that’s what’s important here.
Come at me, PETA.