Babe – A Tale For Our Time?

By Bernie Bell

I watched ‘Babe’ again – I can’t remember when I first saw ‘Babe’ – possibly when it first came out, and I’ve seen it a few times since.

I also can’t remember when I last saw it – a good few years ago anyway.  I happened upon it, when Mike was making the tea, and I was pressing buttons on the telly box – yes, I admit to pressing buttons, after a day doing some gardening, sitting with a glass of wine while having my tea made for me.

I started watching ‘Babe’, and started remembering – the singing mice, the dreadful Mrs. Hoggett (why did he marry her?). Babe singing ‘lalala, lalala, lalalala, laaaaaaaa’ for Christmas……….

Something occurred to me, which, for some reason, hadn’t occurred to me before.  This film has some strong messages about  – racism, prejudice, intolerance, pre-conceptions about those who we see as ‘other’ than ourselves.

The dogs so firmly believe that the sheep are simply stupid  – ‘inferior’ to quote Fly – that the only approach to have to them, is to be The Boss – order them about, nip their heels if you need to.  Colonialism, in a nut-shell!

And the sheep, quite reasonably really, believe that the  ’wolves’ are too pig-headed and entrenched in their views, for it to even be worth trying it to discuss anything with them.

Sheep, are to be driven and herded by dogs, and, strangely enough, both sides collude in this idea.

Then, enter the Pig.  Babe is simply so good-natured, that everyone likes her. Everyone except the dreadful Mrs Hoggett’s dreadful cat, who takes delight in telling Babe that the only purpose of pigs, is to be eaten by The Boss.

There are a lot of ‘Bosses’ in this tale – the dogs believe that the sheep must see them as being The Boss – for them, the farmer must be The Boss.  To the cat, the farmer’s wife is The Boss.  A lot of ‘Bosses’, and not much thinking for themselves – until they start to work together.

But then, what happens is – Rex the collie went a bit crazy when he couldn’t take on the idea of a pig, herding sheep in his place – like a woman, doing a ‘mans’ job?

Babe has sunk into a depressive state, believing that her only purpose, in Farmer Hoggett’s eyes, is to be eaten – to become ‘pork’ – that terrible word – or ….bacon!!!!

Rex pulls himself out of his own un-balanced view, to help Babe, to help Farmer Hoggett, who is a good man, at heart.  Watch the film, watch his dance and his song for Babe when she is ‘down’ – a good man.

I’ve wandered away a bit, but the point I’m hoping to make – why I call this a tale for our time – is …….there is so much prejudice there, on all sides, even from good –hearted creatures.  And yet Babe, as an innocent, with none of the pre-conceptions or prejudices, can bring these diverse creatures together, and, though derided and mocked by the crowd at the sheepdog/pig trials, and though Farmer Hoggett is also mocked and derided, they come through, because they all work together.

The sheep, give the dog the pass-word, the dog, passes it on to the pig, the pig uses the pass-word, to help the human, and  – IT ALL WORKS!!

This reminds me of the ‘password’ in Rudyard Kipling’s  ‘The Jungle Book’ – ‘We be of one blood, thee and I.’

We are, we are of one blood, we are part of a whole. We…simply….are.

And so, I ask you to watch Babe, enjoy the fun and the singing and the sometimes slightly soppy stuff, but, maybe watch it, as I did, this time, as a message for our times.

We need to work together, without categorizing, stereo-typing, labelling and making judgements from that labelling.

Messrs Trump and Johnson please take note – all of us – please take note, as the Trumps,  and the Farages don’t get into positions of power, unless folk, ordinary folk, vote them in.  The Johnson Menace, never was voted in, by ordinary folk.

Please start to work together, try not to judge by appearances, maybe judge by actions – though Farmer Hoggett was mistaken when he jumped to the conclusion that Babe had killed Ma – weigh things up, as best you can. Get informed, as best you can –  I know – that can be a tall order, these days!

Oh dear I’ve gone off on one.

Maybe I’ll just say – watch ‘Babe’ with different eyes, as I did, and see what it says to you.

“All are one, and one is all.”

We shouldn’t even need a password.

We desperately need to evolve.

Star Child 2001 Space Odyssey

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