Saturday, February 7, 2009

Other incidents in the Animal Revolution

  • Chuck the groundhog bits NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg's finger. Chuck has redefined groundhog's day. It is about the groundhog, not the humans. Stay out of the animal layer. Interestingly, Chuck lives with his human handler, Doug Swartz. He was wild and orphaned and was taken in by the Staten Island Zoo. "Chuck has free range of the house and uses a litter box. But you know, groundhogs are very aggressive."
  • "Hit birds. We lost thrust in both engines." US Airways Flight 1549 struck by a flock of large birds (type yet to be determined). As humans, we're happy for the survival of the passengers and crew. But what happened to the birds? I've yet to see a funeral for them. My suspicion is the birds knowingly attacked the plane in order to assert their airspace over NYC. [Update: birds where Canadian Geese. Yet to be determined if they were the migratory sort or were local. If migratory, imagine the international wars involved here. NY Times says they are tracking birds by putting backpacks on them.]
  • Randy Malamud has a forthcoming essay "Americans do weird things with animals or why did the chicken cross the road?" in Animal Encounters. His premise is "it is morally, intellectually, and ecologically preferable not to do weird things with animals. By 'weird,' I mean contra natura; silly; irrational; counterproductive or retrograde, in terms of envisioning a relationship that people could have with animals that would be more fulfilling and better suited to our role as one speices among many in a complex and vast ecology" (75). Malamud lists things we do to animals. Among the list are Sigfried and Roy's 58 White Tigers of Navada. In October 2003, one of the tigers--named Montecore--"lunged at Roy Horn during the show and dragged him offstage. The tiger wrapped his raw around Roy's neck, making cuts that croshed his trachea as well as deep puncture wounds on the back of his head" (87-88). The notion that "Roy had it coming" was not very commonly held.
  • Hippo eats dwarf. Okay, this is an internet hoax story, but is recalls what Malamud says--"A mauling, or at least the possibility of a mauling, is the subtext of every carnival show" (88).
My thanks to Randy Malamud for the conversation that listed out these above incidents.

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