Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Bono bo boss


I have just read the latest article by George Monbiot, which outlines his action in attempting to perform a citizen's arrest on John Bolton at the Hay Festival. More power to his elbow, I say, and it's just a shame that he didn't succeed, though I am amazed that there are some people out there still attempting to justify the invasion of Iraq.

However, the serious political issues aside, my attention was grabbed by GM's reference to gorillas in the piece. I read the article in hard copy last night and have been haunted by the phrase till now, which is the first opportunity I have had to go online and read the comments posted by the loonies on CiF. These are his words:

"I had almost reached the stage when two of the biggest gorillas I have ever seen swept me up and carried me out of the tent..."

It comes hard on the heels of watching Escape From The Planet of The Apes the other day, which is a mildly absorbing and mildly amusing movie. A bit too clunky perhaps in its attempts to raise social issues. You will be familiar with it, I'm sure, or at least familiar with the whole POTA schtick, as I thought I was. I had always thought that the story went like this:
In a future Earth, due to some catastrophic nuclear event caused by humans, apes will have become the dominant species (or would that be race?) and us people have become subjugated to their will and hunted like animals. What I have discovered (from Wikipedia) is that the story was originally a novel written by a Frenchman called Pierre Boulle. What really happened was:
"In the distant past, the planet was ruled by human beings, who built a technological society, and enslaved apes to perform their manual labour. Over time the humans became more and more dependent upon the apes, until eventually they became so lazy and degenerate that they were overthrown by their ape servants and fell into the primitive state..."
(From the Wikipedia link highlighted above)


The problems obviously start with the premise that the most belligerent group on this hellish future world are the gorillas, while the chimps are the gentler, more cerebral ones. Orangs (in the films at least) are cast as spiritual guides, holders of the sacred word, etc. This is clearly not correct, as anyone who has watched either (or especially both) of the David Attenborough programmes on gorillas or chimps will concur. Chimps (and to a certain extent bonobos, though there is some debate as to whether the influence of humans, direct or otherwise, is causing a shift in bonobo behaviour, making them more aggressive. Which could be a possible explanation for the total shift in ape behaviour in the POTA) are immeasurably more violent than gorillas, who are, as someone on the CiF board pointed out, peace-loving vegans. They go on to point out that the gorillas GM refers to are actually serving the top chimp - GW Bush - but my issue is with the whole idea of gorillas being misrepresented. This is, I suspect, partly the result of ignorance, in that M Boulle wrote his novel in 1963 and detailed knowledge of wild ape behaviour would not have been available at that time. We all, even the esteemed Mr Monbiot, carry the stereotype of the 'big gorilla' as a terrifying monster. But more than this, I believe there is a strong whiff of racism in the classification.
Anyway, 'two of the biggest gorillas [he had] ever seen' is surely a wild exaggeration? Has he never watched King Kong?

24 comments:

paul pincea`velo said...

Bonjour!
I am Frenchman and was googling and arrived at your site because of M. Boulle and Planete of the Apes referance. I am fanatic of Apes movies and please to answer these following questions:

1. Can Alpha-Omega bombe destory our planete really?
2. Is Mutante/Mutantisme really the way for human evolution? What do you think?
3. Is Senor Armando the ancestor of Khan?
4. If the Human Being had sexuelle relations with Ape, can bebe speak really?

Thankyou and MERCI!

m see emdo said...

Bonjour M Bebe

Here is answer to your questions.

1. Only if we are not careful
2. Os Mutante are the way forward
3. Armando is an arguido
4. You must ask bebe that question

You're welcome and de rien!

bonobimbo said...

i say oups oulala.Women will rule the world one day. Na.

M. Platini said...

I am intrigued by the suggestion from Monsieur pincea`velo that the Alpha-Omega Bomb could 'destory' our planet. Would this necessarily result in all football tournaments ending with the richest clubs being divided by penalties? Oh... you maniacs...you finally did it!!

g herrst said...

Take your cheese eating attitudes out of the door, M Platini. We don't want your sort pontificating on us great English. Ve vill vin ze next time, mark my vordz!

Pope benedict xvi said...

If anyone's going to pontificate it's going to be me. Now listen up. I'm often asked about my opinion of The Planet of the Apes saga and I always give people the same reply: THE REMAKE IS NOT CANNON. Got that? Now get back to your labours. That includes YOU Saul Bellows.

G riding said...

Sorry to interrupt everybody, but is there anywhere I can tie up my donkey?

frank cannon said...

Surely you mean 'canon' your holiness?

pope benedict xvi said...

No, tubs, I meant that the Tim Burton-directed 're-imagining' of athletic Charlton's classic is NOT, I repeat NOT an episode of 'Cannon'.

A donkey said...

What the hell are you people on about? Anyway,does anyone know a place where I can tie up my griding?

Frank Cannon said...

What's a 'griding'?

Dick shenerry said...

'Griding' is what you do on a 'grider'.

frank cannon said...

Surely it's a noun Dick?

dick shenerry said...

Dick is a noun, adjective and verb.

frank cannon said...

No,no, I meant 'griding'.

dick shenerry said...

Ah yes, here it is...GRIDING (Noun); a business proposition that rests on:
a. A game of cards.
b. A bare-knuckle fight.
c. The existence of Bigfoot.

Terry butcher said...

I think B!

Tom Baker said...

I`ll go for A.

Colin candlestick-maker said...

C! C! C!

s quatch said...

Rrrrraarrrr

a donkey said...

Just a second...that last post means that I can tie up my griding! Great. Now I can eat hay while the sun shines!

carlton s. coon said...

Now, hold your horses Mr Donkey. The howl of a male adult sasquatch is, in fact: mer-mar mer-mar.

loren coleman said...

Dear Mr Coon, I think you are mistakenly referring to the アmブランセ that people claim to have seen since the 1890s (see Smythe et al).

d kong said...

Now listen all of you, there's only one donkey around here, and that's me.