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An animated video of a kiwi with a dream nabbed “Most Adorable” last year in the YouTube Awards, along with 14 million views to date. As you’ll see, there’s quite a bit more profound going on here than mere adorability:

My kids all loved it. Connor watched it again and again, sorting out the implications of and emotions around the kiwi’s decision.

This morning, Erin asked to see it again, and I got her on the appropriate YouTube page. She watched it once, then clicked on one of the video responses that popped up. Suddenly she was clapping and woohooing.

“What happened?” I asked.

“THE KIWI LIVES!” she exulted. “He doesn’t die at the end! He LIVES!!”

I walked to the computer, puzzled. She replayed what she had just watched. Somebody had done a 15-second remake of the ending:

Most interesting of all are the YouTube comments on that one — mostly irate, convinced (as I am) that this revised ending robs the original of its poignancy and power. I agree, of course, but I LOVE what is revealed in that revision about the human inability to accept, or even think about, death.

In addition to death itself, the original raises issues about the right to die, the consequences of free will, the power of the creative spirit, the dangerous beauty of singleminded dreams, and much more. It’s incredibly rich and provocative. If instead you prefer a dose of denial with your entertainments, the revision’s for you. Or, if you prefer no remaining remnant of redeeming features, there’s this even more vapid rewrite:

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.