Monday, November 09, 2009

Bambi vs. Nala

I think you know how much I hate zoos.

To me they're like animal prisons, and, sure enough, the prisoners/animals have similar pathological behaviors like rocking, swaying, and sodomizing young punks in the showers.

Here's the equivalent of getting punked out in SuperMax, this time at the National Zoo in Washington, where a suicidal or just plain panicked whitetail doe lept into the (as you can see from the film) senselessly small lion enclosure.What this makes me think is how absolutely mad it is that we keep these great predators in tiny holes for our own entertainment. THIS is what they do; it is neither entertaining nor majestic but rather a bloody, frightful thing that serves to remind us that for the unpaved portion of the world much of life is bloody and frightful. No standard-issue American would want to or pay to see this, even though it is central to what lions are all about, and what predators and predation are all about. It's been too long since we were anything but the apex predator. When we were prey, this was all too often how our lives ended.

The truth is that life is often about (as Mrs. Lovett said) "who gets eaten and who gets to eat." This sad little video reminding us of that truth points out the degree to which zoos are nothing but a lie and a mockery of the animals imprisoned within. They really need to vanish the way of the minstrel show, Lydia Pinkham's Tonic, and the dog-faced boy in the midway.

Perhaps we could keep the cockroaches and a frog or three.

(h/t to Nancy Nall for the cool video)

Update 11/9 p.m.: Meghan mentioned this '89 Nick Park video, which is too clever and too funny - and uncomfortable in a revealing sort of way - not to include. So here is "Creature Comforts":


Lisa said...

I have always thought zoos rather sad islands of imprisonment or internment camps. Our own little relocation project. And yet... as we deny the animals more and more of their habitat, the very sad question becomes, "How shall we preserve living specimens?"

Zoos also provide captive breeding programs, but again I wonder at the quality of life to which these animals are subjected.

As a child, I always founds zoos and circuses rather sad affairs. Maybe just the melancholic in me . . .

Sheerahkahn said...

Hi bambi, I'm Nala, welcome to the food chain.

"'s the circle of life!"

Meghan said...

You think zoos are bad now -- you should see the remnants of the WPA-era enclosures at the Kansas City Zoo. They are grim little jails that once held amazing animals like bears, lions, etc.

I hope you've seen the Ardman Animation short Creature Comforts -- what might the zoo animals say if they were asked.

Lisa said...

"Creature Comforts" is brilliant!

FDChief said...

Meghan - thanks for the "Creature Comforts" direction.

Lisa - isn't it? Nick Park is fucking brilliant.

FDChief said...

Sheerah: I was desperately uncomfortable with the entire "Lion King" mythos. The "Circle of Life"? How about the "Circle of Life and Death"? I thought the whole thing was full of the most vicious nature fakery and our precious manufactured ideals of nature, the sort of thing you could get from watching denatured animals in zoos and reading Victorian animal tales. Ugh. Awful.

And for me the worst part is that it ends up giving kids the sort of ideas about animals the ends up with people trying to adopt wolves as pets or gambol with bears and lions in the wild.

sheerahkahn said...

Fully understand Chief, but then again the "circle of life" reference is a cop-out statement for the "food chain."
Hence, my refernce to Fern gully's monitor lizards song, "welcome to the food chain."

However, I want to draw your attention to something, and this will require watching the video again.

Look at the lions's completely and totally confused as to what to do with the deer.
Oh, it caught it, and yeah, it's in the right position, does it kill it?
The cat doesn't know.
My bet is that this cat has never been out in the wild, and should never be allowed to leave the enclosures of man's care.
She can't even kill a deer.
Chase, you bet, but killing it...not a clue.
This is the sad state of our zoos...the animals are just mere imitations of themselves.