by Fran Jurga | 30 January 2010 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
Mark your calendar: Saturday, February 6, 8 p.m. on the east coast; check your local listings.
If you don't know who Temple Grandin is, don't worry: you will. Publicity for the February 6th airing of HBO's original dramatization of Dr. Grandin's college days is sure to initiate a blitz of publicity and media stereotyping. But don't let that put you off.
Even if this film comes off badly, which I don't think it will, it's based on the true and amazing story of one of the leading figures in the American livestock academic community.
But just how many people in the USA does HBO think are going to stay home on a Saturday night to watch a film about a graduate student in animal science?
Plenty, HBO is betting. Because, unlike most graduate and post-graduate students in animal science, Temple Grandin was and is autistic. And there's no bigger buzzword in America right now. Yes, people will watch. People who have never seen a feedlot or a slaughterhouse are about to get quite an education.
It's true, most people will be interested in this film because Dr. Grandin is autistic but it is her relationship with animals, her astute observations of their behavior and her motivation to help them--often to help them meet a more humane end on their way in the otherwise grisly world of meat processing--that will draw you and me in and keep us watching, in the event that the autism card is poorly played.
Do your homework between now and the airing of this movie. Check out some of the books that Dr. Grandin has written as well or read a list of her papers on aspects of horse welfare and behavior. Just don't have any preconceived notions, because you might be surprised at some of her stances.
Don't miss it. Or should I say, to be safe: Don't miss her.