Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Siege of Cardinalis: Real Life Imitating Fantasy?

Birdchick and A DC Birding Blog have both commented on a "My Turn" letter in Newsweek in which Walda Cameron, a self-confessed gun-hating woman from New York claims she shot a cardinal because the bird’s incessant attacks on her windows were driving her crazy.

The following excerpt from her letter is eerily reminiscent of a scene and accompanying dialogue from Failure to Launch, the zany comedy starring Matthew McConaughy and Sarah Jessica Parker:
After living for 36 months under the siege of Cardinalis, I cracked. My sleep patterns had altered, my ability to concentrate (already declining with age) was spiraling down to about 30-second intervals. My hands were shaky, my head ached, my vision blurred. I had morphed from a cookie-baking granny to a crazed zombie. I turned away from my bleeding-heart pals toward those who enjoy a more pragmatic turn of mind—those who honor the way of the warrior.

"I want to kill a cardinal," I announced to the middle-aged man behind the gun counter.

He glanced up from the weapon he was dismantling or cleaning or appraising and said, "It's against the law to shoot a cardinal."

"This is self-defense." I explained my predicament.
I commented here on one of the subplots of the movie, in which one of the characters "is plagued by an incessently singing mockingbird that is keeping her awake at night and generally driving her crazy."

Is this an example of reality imitating fantasy (i.e., a copycat crime), or a parody on the evil of guns? There are just too many parallels between the movie and Cameron’s confession for there not to be some connection between the two. Is Wanda Cameron guilty of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, or merely plagiarizing dialogue from a movie?

Addendum: Other bloggers who have written about this event, other than Birdchick and A DC Birding Blog, include Backyard Birder, Birder Blog (with follow-ups here and here), Liz of the cosmos, Mike’s Birding and Digiscoping Blog, The Bird Chaser, The Hawk-Owl’s Nest, O’DonnelWeb, and WoodSong.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the story conjured up a different fantastical story. I posted about it in my own blog here:

February 08, 2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger John B. said...

I had not considered the possibility that the incident was fabricated. That may answer my question, which is why someone would admit to breaking a federal law in a national publication. I have not seen Failure to Launch, so I am not sure how closely the letter resembles those scenes.

February 08, 2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

You need to see the movie, John. The parallels between the mockingbird sub-plot of the movie and Ms. Cameron's letter are uncanny.

February 08, 2007 8:14 PM  
Blogger Bird Advocate said...

I also posted the story on a very large forum I'm a member of. She may get more attention than she wanted out of this. I hope so.

February 10, 2007 4:15 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Thanks for the comment, Bird Advocate. BTW, I just added your blog to my ever-growing blogroll.

February 10, 2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Bird Advocate said...

Thank you very much for the link, John. I'll reciprocate it immediately on my own blog. I'm relatively new to bird blogging but enjoy yours, Birdfreaks, and a number of other fine ones I've been visiting. :-)

February 12, 2007 12:47 AM  

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