By Kerri Romeo
‘Serpent!’ screamed the Pigeon.
‘Serpent, I say again!’ repeated the Pigeon
‘I’m not a serpent!’ said Alice indignantly. ‘Let me alone!’Alice In Wonderland
Why does this sound like an argument on social media in January 2021 as much as it does the next segment from Chapter V of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?
The Pigeon’s theory is that if Alice looks like a snake (due to an unfortunate effect of eating too much of one side of the mushroom, Alice’s neck has grown out of proportion to her body), and she acts like a snake (because snakes eat eggs and Alice admitted she eats eggs too), then Alice must be a snake.
But you and I already know Alice is not a snake. It is obvious to us that she is a little girl. The Pigeon doesn’t know Alice like we do. The Pigeon is reacting out of fear.
This week our political Wonderland has been playing out more violently than the Pigeon attacking Alice with its wings and accusatory words. To be honest it has become so confusing and overwhelming with conspiracy theories, media spin doctors and the most hurtful of all was losing trust in the ones who once stood for independent thinking and truth. I wondered, where is Alice’s White Rabbit? Where is the Wonderland Campaign’s White Dove?
“Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there was no use in saying anything more till the Pigeon had finished.”from Alice in Wonderland, Chapter V
The mother Pigeon had a reason behind her hysteria. At the time Alice in Wonderland was written, collecting bird eggs gained popularity among the elite in the name of scientific research. However, in typical human form it was taken too far and began to threaten certain bird species in the name of mass marketing, women’s fashion, photography or for the mere amusement of hobbyists. Mother Pigeon and her eggs are under constant threat of being cancelled as a species and she is scared, tired and angry.
As we focus on the hysteria of today, we become distracted from the source of our pain and division. We give more power to what and who we fear and deny or ignore a more refined, but no less damaging corporate power. We pre-judge and spread false accusations about those we don’t even know (no, not everyone who eats eggs is a serpent and not everyone who doesn’t share your political views is a fascist) and have forgotten those we were once supporting. We are scared, tired and angry. We want to be heard and validated. Is anybody listening? Or are we just going to censor one another?
`Well, be off, then!’ said the Pigeon in a sulky tone.Alice In Wonderland, Chapter V
Alice has been cancelled by the Pigeon. Cancel-culture in Wonderland.
“It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.”Doe Zantamata
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.