Thursday, October 05, 2006
(I swear I remember seeing this movie in grade school. Shows how old I am.)
In 1958 Disney released a movie called "White Wilderness"; an epic documentary that took nine photographers three years to make. During this movie was rare footage of a lemming migration and lemmings throwing themselves off cliffs to drown in the sea. This is how everyone first learned the strange and anomalous way lemmings deal with their own population control.
Except that it was total bullshit. Fiction, if you will. But even today you will hear it from people and even read it as a matter of "fact" in books. Even the expression "like lemmings to the sea" was born from it. A "lemming" became slang for someone who would blindly follow someone else no matter what, even if it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, against all common sense, against self preservation.
Read about how Disney lied here... and here.
(This post comes about because I tend to use the term "being a lemming" a lot and I've noticed recently that many younger folks don't know what a lemming is, other than a character in an old video game.)