Sunday, August 28, 2005

The London Zoo pushes self-loathing to the limit

No lice. No brains, either.

Fausta over at Bad Hair Blog has managed to call my attention to a story I'd been meticulously avoiding on my rounds through the news over the past few days. The London Zoo has put a group of humans in a caged habitat in an attempt to say something profound about our relationship with the animal world and the ecosystem in general. What caught my eye in Fausta's post was the blatant self-hatred evident in the zoo's own statement regarding the exhibit:
"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem," London Zoo said.

"Plague species"?! Good grief. I'll accept that I'm evolved from lower primates, and I'll grant that we gobble up the planet's natural resources to support a lifestyle rather more advanced than that of the life forms further down the ladder. But "plague species"?

A look at the Yahoo slideshow on the human zoo reveals that all eight of the volunteers taking up residence there are white. What are they trying to say? (I'm also curious what the reaction would have been from the public and from the media if all eight were black, or Polynesian, or Australian aboriginal.)

I was avoiding this story because just the headline reeked of relativist idiocy. I wasn't wrong about that, but I'm still glad to know just how strong western self-loathing has grown. They made their point. Now I think the bears probably want their space back.


Blogger Fausta said...

all eight of the volunteers taking up residence there are white, and pale, too. I guess they decided against self-tanning lotions.

The whole thing looks like something Dr. Cornelius would have put together.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you please provide a link that specifically attributes the "plague species" quote to the London Zoo? From what I've found on the London Zoo's website and the media coverage, there's absolutely no mention of this. In fact, the London Zoo and the participants appear to be doing this with their tongues firmly in cheek. There are letters posted on the Zoo's website from those strident anti-evolutionists who appear to have taken great offense to this exhibit, but in general, everyone appears to find it rather humorous.

5:52 PM  
Blogger tompain said...

Gee, Anonymous, I'm shocked that the London Zoo would like its spokesman's statement to slip down the memory hole. The AP story which quoted Polly Willis (the aforementioned spokesman) was originally linked in the first paragraph of my post. But it is gone now. I hope the archived story from USA today will suffice:

USA Today London Zoo

It would be convenient for the zoo to throw the cloak of satire over its gaffe, but no one would buy it anyway. Intellectually, satire is a bit far along the evolutionary trail for them.

10:52 PM  
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7:02 AM  

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