We Are All Individuals

We are all individuals
Doing the dishes after Christmas dinner, I caught glimpses of Antz on the kitchen tv. I’d seen it at Lincoln Plaza when it first came out. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a whiny little worker ant (voiced by Woody Allen) who dreams of being an individual in the colony, where everyone is either a drone, a soldier or a queen.

Computer animation leaves me cold, excepting the Toy Story films, where it’s in the service of wonderful storylines. Even with those movies, I wish they hadn’t tried to do humans—it broke the spell to find the nasty kid Sid as shiny and plasticky as the toys themselves. At Monsters, Inc. my inner child sat above the action and noted dispassionately that they’d now figured out fur—wet fur, fur rippling in the breeze, fur being stroked…enough with the fur! I always found Pinocchio’s quest to be a real boy tedious, and this slavish CGI stuff makes me long for the economy of a Chuck Jones line.

Watching Antz, especially the scenes of bazillions of ants trudging through their tasks in the colony, I realized what makes me uncomfortable about being back in Ireland. We all look the same. We dress the same. We think the same. Like a child who takes the wrong Mammy’s hand in Tesco’s, I managed to follow three different women around Dublin, thinking they were my mother. I see my own face on strangers every day. It panics me, this vast weight of genetics and assumptions. It’s hard enough to shake off assumptions when they’re challenged; what chance do we have when they’re shared?

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