“Once you have started on this binge, fables have a way of dogging your steps—you see the beast in every human, yourself included, and wonder whom you prefer.”
July 30, 2012
Thusly does Fritz Eichenberg introduce his collection of “Fables with a Twist”, the text and intricate woodcuts of which the zoöeschatological disputants pore over with rapt imagination. In the titular tale a meeting of the animals fumes over human oppression and envisions the placement of Homo sapiens on their coat-of-arms. The fall is rewitnessed, the Ark is regretted, power plays out, man is mourned, apocalypses are left behind, the peaceable kingdom is yearned for and mocked, and olden fables are given modern twists which don’t avoid but intensify their morals. “Headlines proclaim: Exploded populations—oceans polluted—wars and genocide—animal kingdom threatened with extinction. … The Lord made a mistake!” (Endangered Species, p. 96) Let us rehabilitate the fabular.
December 20, 2011
Weary of the actual world’s abnormal wildness, the disputants turn their attention to possible transhuman futures. “A rather fair way of characterizing the great majority of posthuman trends is to consider that they have definitively taken the side of the machine against the animal in order to conceive the human being.” (Journey to the End of the Species, p. 6) Thusly do Bardini and Lestel contextualise the search for immortality that their decryption of Guide to Singular Metamorphoses demonstrates will have succeeded within forty years. Or, as the post-singularity Nexii state in their “manual for nexial self-configuration”, “The idea of sharing my conapt with little sapiens gives me the shivers… may as well live in a zoo!”
The demonstration continues throughout the 64 prophecies interweaved with philosophic and acerbic commentary. Carried away by an experimental urge, the zoöeschatologists follow GenCorp’s instructions to candidates and, after some meditation, update the commentary on Claude of the Milieu’s 177 AS suggestion that “we can scientifically create new organized species, … [that] have not yet been realized by nature”—the commentary being that “nature is incomplete and we have the means to compensate for that insufficiency. … The Nexus corrects God. … A good expert”—with these words: “And these experts are among the most advanced, erudite and spirited modifiers of human and animal nature one could imagine. A most self-affecting and multihued swarm. And yet the most lonely. May A Thousand Species Blossom! And die.”
“worse than I could even imagine. … it’s a tragedy for the animal world is what it is. But it could have been a bigger tragedy for the human world. … The most magnificent creature in the entire world, the tiger is. … But if you had 18 Bengal tigers and everyone running around these neighborhoods, you folks wouldn’t want to have seen what would have happened.”
Thusly did a suicidal Ohioan amateur zookeeper recently loose his exotic animals on a public media-primed for panic, as if to fulfil the therological dreams of riot observers, and worse, the predictions of overzealous policemen. A tanned man in khaki leapt before the cameras to hyperbolise the threat. An impressive inventory of such beasts as provoke an “Oh my!” became an impressive kill-list and cameos in deputy’s anecdotes. The message is as clear as ever: leave the menageries to the professionals.
The disputants remark how quickly impotent welfare concern becomes shoot-to-kill tyranny when the beasts’ sovereign owner self-sacrifices and wildness is uncaged. Some propose the ironic reading of a passage from Jungle Jack’s autobiography, but the learned gathering declines so as to slow Hediger’s grave-spin. One notes that a viral monkey escaped. They nod and murmur; they have heard that one before.
August 9, 2011
The desire for leonine liberty seems always to accompany social unrest. Thusly does the great zoöeschatological disputation’s solemn halt before a vision of barren humanity flicker with anarchic hope. Yet it is well known that escaped zoo animals trend to return to their immured Umwelten. One disputant recites his Hediger: “in such situations the police usually shoot far too soon and generally without need. Naturally, they act on the firm conviction that the sacrifice of human lives must be prevented as quickly as possible. It is not easy to convince the police that danger hardly exists. … Escaped beasts of prey are not dangerous absconding criminals, but just wild animals undergoing flight reaction.” This is soon agreed to be equally the case with illusory beasts, no matter how strongly the twitterverse might crave them.
“the tableau of a world after animality, after a sort of holocaust, a world from which animality, at first present to man, would have one day disappeared: destroyed or annihilated by man …” Thus does Derrida diagnose being without the animal as the deathly real production of a Cartesian methodological fiction. The great zoöeschatological disputation pauses in sombre silence.
September 24, 2010
“Nothing only nite for years on end. Playgs kilt peopl off and naminals nor there wernt nothing growit in the groun. Man and woman starveling in the blackness looking for the dog to eat it and the dog out looking to eat them the same.” (Riddley Walker, p. 19)
Thusly is the great zoöeschatological disputation of Wells and Carter’s professors interrupted by Hoban’s tel woman, Lorna Elswint, in the story “Why the Dog Won’t Show Its Eyes.” This joyful barking species may have domesticated us over tens of thousands of years, but after the Trubba it’s a matter of survival, with “man and his dog” co-devolving, trying wild once more.
May 30, 2010
“In those days, Marianne, people kept wild beasts such as lions and tigers in cages and looked at them for information. Who would have thought they would take to our climate so kindly, when the fire came and let them out?” (Heroes and Villians, p. 9)
Thusly does Carter’s Professor of History counter Wells’s wooden-headed Prof in the great zoöeschatological disputation.
Who would have thought, indeed.
Perhaps enough will survive to take kindly to our posthuman remains. It seems the apocalypse must come before the rewilding.