Tag Archives: animals

Where’d the Animals Go?

29 Sep

The dots are beginning to form up. I’m starting to connect them. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the pattern that emerges is really there. Is the Big Dipper really there? Or is it really a Big Bear? Or just stars?

What I’m looking at is the disappearance of animals from daily life and the rise of funny animal cartoons. Then we get nature films in the theaters and on TV and funny animals begin disappearing from cartoons. And then we have animal rights movements and animal studies begins showing up in the academy.

Causal connection or mere historical sequence?

Don’t know. For that matter, don’t really know if it makes sense as a mere historical sequence. But I’m thinking about it.

Urbanization and Funny Animal Cartoons

So, there’s a big migration from rural America to the cities in the first half of the 20th Century. At the same time animation gets invented and funny animals take over cartoons. There’s an argumentthat there’s a causal connection between the two–see Evolutionary Alienation for pointers. Funny animal cartoons are somehow a reflex of, compensation for, the retreat of animals from our lives.

Those cartoons were theatrical—had to be, as TV didn’t exist. They played before feature films, often as parts of integrated programs that included newsreels, short subjects of various kinds, cartoons, and two features, the main feature (an A movie) and a secondary feature (B movie). People of all ages went to see these programs. Cartoons weren’t for kids.

But cartoons WERE for things you can’t readily do in live action. That’s doctrine. Paul Wells quoting Chuck Jones (The Animated Bestiary, p. 108): Continue reading

Evolutionary Alienation

27 Sep

What do you mean by that? you ask. Crudely put, we evolved in a world surrounded by plants and animals. We’re now headed pell-mell into cities where plants and animals are largely absent. And so we no longer fell at home. We’re alienated. We miss our friends and companions.

And we’re not going to find them by cruising the web or watching CGI movies.

Do you actually believe that? you ask. How the hell would I know? says I, I just thought of it.

What made you think of it?

Two things: cartoons and community gardens.

How so? Continue reading

Jumper Protests Human Folly

20 Jun

The New York Times reports:

Racing regulators kept hearing the reports: trainers were giving their horses a powerful performance-enhancing potion drawn from the backs of a type of South American frog.

When asked for a comment, Jumper the Frog responded,”This is an outrage to frogs and horses everywhere. Have these humans no shame?”
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Jumper further stated that the Amphibian Protection Association is investigating rumors that members of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia have been licking frog backs in late night sessions in the gardens at Monticello. “If these rumors prove true,” Jumper remarked, “the consequences will be most grave. Humans must not be allowed to continue acting like narcissistic damn fools. Frankly, they’re stinking up the planet. They need to stop it. Right now.”

Our Animal Natures – NYTimes.com

10 Jun

Animals and humans get the same diseases; we even like to get high.

A century or two ago, in some rural communities, animals and humans were cared for by the same practitioner. And physicians and veterinarians both claim the same 19th-century doctor, William Osler, as a father of their fields. However, animal and human medicine began a decisive split in the late 1800s. Increasing urbanization meant that fewer people relied on animals to make a living. Motorized vehicles began pushing work animals out of daily life.

via Our Animal Natures – NYTimes.com.