July 26, 2011

"Project Nim"

From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:
Project Nim is a critically praised documentary about Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee who was the subject of one of those attempts to teach American Sign Language to an ape, a fad that once fascinated the popular imagination. 
Directed by James Marsh, who won an Oscar for his 2008 documentary Man on Wire about another 1970s phenomenon—the French tightrope-walker who strolled from one World Trade Center tower to the other—Project Nim turns out to be an engaging, entertaining, manipulative, and characteristically lowbrow animal-rights polemic. Project Nim’s never-quite-articulated message is that chimpanzees should have been left in Africa. Perhaps, but there’s much this movie ignores. 
Like the liberal college professor played by Ronald Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo who raises a chimp like a child to show that nurture overrules nature, Columbia U. psychologist Herbert Terrace (Marsh’s designated villain) bought a baby male chimp in 1973 to prove Noam Chomsky wrong.

Read the whole thing there.

Let me add something about animals rights movements. Animal rights campaigners tend to be sentimental and illogical. The targets of their campaigns -- e.g., medical laboratory heads, slaughterhouse owners, and so forth -- are often their antitheses: logical and coldblooded. 

But, the syntheses that emerge from their conflicts, the compromise solutions, are often better than either side alone. So, chalk one up for Hegel. 

For example, we've learned an important lesson from the animal rights movement: don't import more chimps. Moreover, Americans shouldn't breed more chimps to use in entertainment. Young ones can be amazingly entertaining, but they live a long, long time, and the older they get, the cuter they ain't. (That line, which I use a lot, is from one of my favorite Simpsons' scripts, Lisa's First Word by Jeff Martin.)

The full cost of caring for a chimp over a typical lifespan of maybe 40 or more years is huge. Don't let private organizations privatize profits from chimps while socializing the costs they impose in the long run. (Funny how a lot of lessons learned from chimps can be applied more broadly.)

In medical research, don't make chimps your automatic first choice. They often turn out to be of less use as human stand-ins than they would appear. For example, a lot were bred for AIDS research, but then it turned out that chimps infected with HIV rarely developed AIDS.

And they are gigantic amounts of work. For example, because they are miniature King Kongs who will rip your face off, Jim, you can't, say, take blood from them without first shooting them with a tranquilizing dart gun. 

White rats are often a lot better choice outside of a few disease like hepatitis where chimps are valuable.

64 comments:

Bubbles said...

Mr. Sailer, you sir are a speciesist!

Anonymous said...

Here's a bit of Hollywood trivia for you, Steve: many of those monkeys in the bad 1980s movies were a little feller called Deep Roy in a chimp suit.
Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

For example, we've learned the lesson: don't import more chimps.

Naughty little white boy pushes the envelope...

.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the Charla Nash/Travis Herold case in which Travis, a 'tame' juvenile chimpanzee literally ate Ms Nash's face off, bit off her hands and gouged her eyes out for good measure.
Strangely enough during chimp attacks, male chimps are apt to castrate human males by literally ripping off the entire male genitalia en bloc.These maulings are usually accompanied by either ripping off fingers or entire hands/limbs and face ripping.
An adult male chimpanzee is at least 3 times stronger than the strongest adult male human.
There is an interesting story from antiquity about Carthaginian explorers discovering what they thought were 'satyrs' in the African interior.Apparently they grew so 'troublesome' that had to be 'slain with swords'.

Anonymous said...

Remember reading in my illustrated Tarzan annual and picturebook, that Johnny Weissmuller had a certain ritual when introduced to a new Cheetah for the first time on set.
Weissmuller would stare-out the chimp solidly for minutes, and then immediately after punch the chimp, without warning, hard on the nose.
Apparently Weissmuller nver had any sort of chimp trouble on set.
Lex Barker however, never did this.He received a very bad facial bite from a chimp that needed extensive plastic surgery.

Anonymous said...

One of the very best series of commercials produced by Briatin's well known and highly creative TV advert industry were the 'PG Tips Tea Chimp' series that ran from 1958 to 1993.
Most of them are on youtube if you are interested, two of the best being 'The Piano Shifters' and 'Tour de France'.
They feature costumed juvenile chimps in hilarious, dubbed classic vignettes and always end in the chimps downing cups of PG Tips Tea.The chimps were owned and trained by Molly Badham of Twycross Zoo UK.

Anonymous said...

You need to be completely crazy to raise a chimp. They are MUCH too vicious. They rip of the testicles of their rivals to essentially castrate them and eliminate sexual competition and they will gash their sharp canines at your face until their teeths pierce your skull case into your brain. Chimps are so vicious and brutal they would scare that Breivic guy.

What makes them scary is that they are volatile and capricious, especially the alpha male chimps. Unlike a lion that kills prey on instinct, chimps actually PLAN how they will kill you. Their plans are very elementary, but they do plan. A chimp has an intelligence comparable to that of a four year-old Human infant - and the same egocentric emotional maturity. Chimps also have incredible upper body strength, especially at pulling. They are about 4 times stronger than Arnold in his prime at pulling - at a bodyweight less than half - and have the raw power(strength + explosiveness) 5 X that of one of those 350 lbs NFL lineman. Their bones are also incredibly dense, meaning that impacts with a kinetic energy that would kill a Human from trauma will only injure them slightly.

So basically, imagine an animal as capricious and self-centered as a Human toddler, but 4 X stronger than Arnold in his prime and 5 X as powerful as the biggest NFL musclehead. Not a good idea having that around. There was that famous case of the chimp that went berzerk and attacked it's owner, and ripped her face off. The woman stabbed the animalbut it kept on coming. She ran off and when the police came, they shot it NINE times and it still went back inside, got into it's cage and died some 30 minutes latter. There is a documentary on Youtube that shows chimps hunting bonobos(just go there and type the words "chimps" and "bonobos". Just observe how flexible their limbs are and how thick their torsos are and how nimble and explosive they are sprinting on the ground to the trees and then jumping from tree to tree. A Human DOESEN'T STAND A CHANCE WITHOUT GUNS, AND THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IF A PET CHIMP ATTACKS YOU, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GET YOUR GUN BEFORE IT KILLS YOU.

Carol said...

Never got the exotic pet thing. They seemed more like an accessory - "how do I look with this cheetah?" So Hollywood. The fad here used to be wolfdogs, til one bit a baby's arm off. Owner said it had never done such a thing before.

rightsaidfred said...

I recall an interview where Chomsky urged society band together and cut funding for such projects. So much for libertarian anarchy.

Harry Baldwin said...

White rats are often a lot better choice outside of a few disease like hepatitis where chimps are valuable.

My daughter used to love rats when she was young, and we had as many as 17 of them in cages at one tine. Their shortcomings as pets is that they only live two or three years, and always die of cancer. In their last few weeks they develop tumors, and that's it.

Does the fact that all rats eventually die of cancer make them particularly useful for cancer research, leading to such discoveries as saccharine causes cancer, coffee causes cancer, etc.?

As far as why chimps are so g-d strong, here's some kind of explanation.

outlaw josey wales said...

It is not accurate to state that chimps are the first choice in testing drugs. They are the last animal tested, if ever. Most primate trials are done with pygmy marmosets for many of the reasons you mention as being unappealing about chimps.

Also, although I'm not an animal rights activist, not all animals are equal in my eyes. Many animals (cetaceans, primates) are obviously highly intelligent and in my opinion should not be kept in captivity. Please, no Animal Farm jokes.

Simon said...

I believe in animal rights and HBD.

People often say that the animal rights movement is illogical. The basis for this claim is usually an appeal to nature, which is itself a logical fallacy.

I tend to think animal rights is a logical movement. After all - the animal rights movement has its best traction in countries where analytic philosophy predominates e.g. (UK, USA, etc).

My argument is that animals suffer greatly for minor human benefit. Whether in farming, slaughterhouses, animal testing etc.

I think animals suffer pain in a similar way to us. On this basis I can't justify having an animal raised in cramped confines, separated from its brood and killed so I can enjoy some bacon.

Similarly I think there are other ways to learn if a chemical is safe rather than spraying huge quantities of it into a rabbit's eye.

I'm proud of my ancestors for creating better forms of government, democratic institutions and raising livings standards through the industrial revolution(s).

My only regret is that the North European carnivores have been spreading their winter diet around the world and causing a greater number of animals to suffer.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

male chimps are apt to castrate human males by literally ripping off the entire male genitalia en bloc.These maulings are usually accompanied by either ripping off fingers or entire hands/limbs and face ripping

Ah man. I hate it when that happens!

Anonymous said...

commenter "Truth" will be active on this post.

slumber_j said...

Another face-ripping yarn in this Esquire piece, about a California couple and the chimp they (falsely, obviously) considered "a member of the family":

http://www.esquire.com/features/chimpanzee-attack-0409

The parallels with Travis the Nutmeg-State face-ripper are uncanny in a lot of sad and annoying ways. Executive summary: you really, really don't want a pet chimp.

Londoner said...

Further to anonymous's post about Travis, while chimps are obviously too dumb to use language, they're not too dumb to maim humans in the most appalling, seemingly calculated ways imaginable. The intention is not to kill but to mutilate. Are they jealous of our perceived greater attractiveness? It's the kind of part-formed thought/emotion that could conceivably be running through their chimp brains.

Kylie said...

So African breeds require African environments.

No surprise there.

Anonymous said...

RE: Chimpanzee strength,

Most popular accounts of chimp strength are greatly exaggerated.

John Hawks: "But the "five times" figure was refuted 20 years after Bauman's experiments. In 1943, Glen Finch of the Yale primate laboratory rigged an apparatus to test the arm strength of eight captive chimpanzees. An adult male chimp, he found, pulled about the same weight as an adult man. Once he'd corrected the measurement for their smaller body sizes, chimpanzees did turn out to be stronger than humans—but not by a factor of five or anything close to it.
Repeated tests in the 1960s confirmed this basic picture. A chimpanzee had, pound for pound, as much as twice the strength of a human when it came to pulling weights. The apes beat us in leg strength, too, despite our reliance on our legs for locomotion. A 2006 study found that bonobos can jump one-third higher than top-level human athletes, and bonobo legs generate as much force as humans nearly two times heavier."

Baloo said...

Dogs, which we have domesticated for millenia, can still be dangerous and hard to handle. Too many people have the curse of Disney and think that all animals can be our pals with just a little effort on our part. This mindset transfers to politics, of course. Write something about dogs, Steve!

Gene Berman said...

I've had enough experience--actually very little--around such creatures to know that reports of their sudden and almost overwhelming destructiveness aren't exaggerated.

I bought a female chimp ($700) from a zoo in (York Beach?) Maine
(for my employer, a private zoo) in 1956. She had bitten (not seriously) a couple children at the place in Maine). I had her shipped to another of my employer's enterprises, a place called Soco Zoo, in Maggie Valley, NC (shuttered in 2005). As received, her name was "Nancy", to which she "answered," so Nancy she remained.

Nancy was an adult when we bought her. I don't know how old that made her--I'm guessing about 20 years. My only point in mentioning that is that she was still alive when I visited the (closed) place in 2007 (along with a collection of other aged animals--including a jaguar who'd been raised from a kitten (full-grown in '57)--which couldn't even be given away but required daily feeding and maintenance by Jimbo Miller and his wife.

Nancy had a nice, spacious cage with a 2 beds; one was on the cage floor and the other was in a tree house. She had a couple sets of clothing, which she washed almost daily in a trough with a washboard, and a bar of Fels Naptha--and hung on a clothesline to dry. She liked to smoke and would "bum" a cigaret from anyone
(and was especially fond of cigars). As far as I heard, she never caused any problems at the place. In '57, I was in the vicinity for several months and with a local friend, we'd sometimes get Nancy out`for a ride to town. She'd be dressd, with a hat on, siting in the front seat between us, and one of our amusements was to go into a drive-in restaurant and order for the three of us. It was amazing how many times a car-hop would never even notice her until she brought our order, at which point Nancy would always "blow her cover" by chattering excitedly or reaching for something on the tray. She always ended up initiating some sort of rough-housing but would get angry very quickly at being restrained (a gentle "full nelson" was about the only way to do that effectively)--and it had to be maintained all the way back to her cage, where, after being released, she'd calm down (and let you know that everything'd be al right--if she could have a cigar).

The common lab monkey--the Rhesus--can also be a very dangerous animal. In years past, I knew several people who'd been attacked and badly dmaaged--usually in a space of time of less than two minutes. The males are particularly aggressive, especially toward people they perceive as "dissing" them in one way or another (and will be driven to extraordinary displays of ferocity by any human male paying any attention to one of their females). Although I haven't enough experience to know for sure, my impression is Rhesus' are even stronger (pound-for-pound) than chimps.

I have a friend who once--as a newspaper publicity stunt for a zoo he was opening (out near the San Jacinto battlefield near Pasadena, TX)--taught 6 chimps to sit at a long table and go through certain motions as if "packaging" goods on an assembly line. Of course, the little they could accomplish took extraoprdinary number of bananas--just to get the photos.

It was intended for a few yuks, of course, and I suppose it got 'em.
But it also got letters and threats of suits from leaders of several unions and occasional death-threats by phone that went on for months. I tried to get my friend to reply to the union demands with a letter explaining that the chimps were already "organized" and dues-paying but he was sufficiently unnerved by the reaction he'd gotten that he just wanted things to calm down.

Fred said...

Gene Berman leaves one of the best comments on iSteve ever.

About the unions threatening legal action over the photos of the fake chimp assembly line, I'm not surprised. In one of his novels (Congo, I think), Michael Crichton added a footnote about a parrot who had been taught to sort pills on an assembly line (in Australia, maybe?), and how the unions claimed it was animal abuse, or something like that.

Mansizedtarget.com said...

Steve, not a big fan of BJ and the Bear?

Truth said...

"commenter "Truth" will be active on this post."

(Game show affirmation)

Don't exagurate their strength, guys. We know AIDS was caused by Africans having sex with them!

Truth said...

"There was that famous case of the chimp that went berzerk and attacked it's owner, and ripped her face off. The woman stabbed the animalbut it kept on coming. She ran off..."

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

Baloo said...

Lancelot Link was always very gentlemanly.

Anonymous said...

In the old days, all sorts of showbiz and publicity entities bought chimps. The classier ones sent them to the zoo. I knew a family of Gypsies that used them in their scams. They'd buy a cute baby chimp and when it got uncute they just shot it and buried it.

Anonymous said...

So, experimentation with chimpanzESE failed. Chimps communicate but could never like we do. Same goes for Chimp Art. Chimps can learn how to use a brush but can't really paint. And their splatter stuff doesn't even fool me as 'modern painting'.
I'm sure someone tried to introduce music to chimps, but I doubt if we'll hear a chimphony.

But this isn't half bad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoLTFQsFswM

PS. I think the key to communication is pattern and ability to pick up on that pattern. This is why birds innately pick up on 'bird songs' but to us it's just a lot of chirping. And there is pattern in music too, and humans can pick up on it while it's just weird sound to dogs.
Though different cultures have different languages, there is a pattern to the human communication which can be picked up by children who are wired for that stuff.

elvisd said...

Right turn, Clyde.

David said...

>til one bit a baby's arm off. Owner said it had never done such a thing before.<

That's what owners always say.

Frito Pendejo said...

"Don't exagurate their strength, guys. We know AIDS was caused by Africans having sex with them!"

Nobody said the sex was consensual, Truth. Or that the humans initiated it.

David said...

Simon said

>I tend to think animal rights is a logical movement.<

M-kay.

>After all - the animal rights movement has its best traction in countries where analytic philosophy predominates e.g. (UK, USA, etc).<

Non sequitur.

>People often say that the animal rights movement is illogical. The basis for this claim is usually an appeal to nature, which is itself a logical fallacy.<

Do you mean that nature is a logical fallacy, or that an appeal to nature is illogical? To what do the wise and honest repair if not nature? Some form of the otherworldly? Kant notwithstanding, only voluntarism issues from the supernatural.

>My argument is that animals suffer greatly for minor human benefit. Whether in farming, slaughterhouses, animal testing etc.<

Your argument is emotion. Suffering hurts; ergo, it's intrisically bad.

As Steve said, "sentimental and illogical."

Anonymous said...

"His story is bit like Oliver Twist, in which Dickens assumes that it’s especially horrifying that little Oliver is poor because his grandfather is rich.

Maybe that doesn’t make much sense, but people do feel that way"

I read Oliver Twist so long ago that I forgot almost everything about it. However, I think I do understand why people would be horrified that an upper class kid would be raised by lower class brutes. Wealth correlates with intelligence which surely correlates with emotional and physical sensitivity. A smart child would suffer poverty, mosquito bites, shame, anything at all, to a greater extent than would a dumb child.

Anonymous said...

"Most popular accounts of chimp strength are greatly exaggerated."

Yeah, I think the biggest most powerful man can beat a chimp. If chimp and Mike Tyson duked it out, I would bet on Tyson. But the thing about chimps is they got sharp teeth and bite.

But gorillas are another matter. I was once at a zoo and a gorilla took a swung at me suddenly with full force. Lucky for me, there was a 2 inch glass barrier between us. Without the glass, my head would have been decapitated and tossed back about 40 ft.
It was horrifying.

Frito Pendejo said...

I would like to point out that the precise ratio of chimp strength to human strength is largely irrelevant when a chimpanzee has ripped your face off and castrated you.

elvisd said...

The French understand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGfW5cGj6GE&feature=related

Kylie said...

"'My argument is that animals suffer greatly for minor human benefit. Whether in farming, slaughterhouses, animal testing etc.'

Your argument is emotion. Suffering hurts; ergo, it's intrisically[sic] bad."


No. Your reading comprehension is faulty.

Simon was talking about the cost/benefit ratio of animal suffering to human benefit, not animal suffering, period. He didn't say "Animals suffer so humans can benefit and that's wrong." His objection was that "Animals suffer greatly for minor human benefit." (Emphasis added.)

DCThrowback said...

Rip your face off, Jim? Heh. I'd like to meet his tailor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MRu8N2K0NY

Truth said...

"Nobody said the sex was consensual, Truth. Or that the humans initiated it."

I think you've spent too many nights watching Elvira's Movie Macabre, Sport.

Anonymous said...

Interesting review, Steve. Way off topic, but are you planning on reviewing CAPTAIN AMERICA:THE FIRST AVENGER?

Anonymous said...

Only TRUTH could make a joke about a woman getting her face ripped off.

Anonymous said...

"Way off topic, but are you planning on reviewing CAPTAIN AMERICA:THE FIRST AVENGER?"

Oh no, I've had it up to here with comic book movies.

Whiskey said...

Chimps belong in their native environment. I find them dangerous, appalling, and something I'd rather avoid. Who really wants to be around a Chimp? I don't find them cute.

If you want a faithful companion, get a dog. Or a cat. Or a horse. These are domesticated animals that need/want to live with humans.

Engineer Dad said...

Are the lessons of planned verses random breeding and the milk of human kindness verses dog food making an impression on the public imagination?

Recent revelations like Project Nim and Nova's Dogs Decoded or How Smart Are Dogs are conversation treasures that show the advantages of mate selection. Should Alliston Reid and John Pilley, results oriented trainers of Chaser, the canine genius, become presidents of Harvard and Yale? After all, over three years they taught the dog the names of 1022 toys. Can Harvard's Cathy Faust or Yale's Rick Levin claim a greater education accomplishment from such a meager resource.

After all, every husband seeking gal and wife seeking guy is an amateur eugenicist, unless they are idiots.

Truth said...

"Only TRUTH could make a joke about a woman getting her face ripped off."

You give me WAY too much credit. Svigor could, and Sam Kinnison could, and I think Keith Olberman could -- if it were Ann Coulter.

Anonymous said...

"Chimps belong in their native environment. I find them dangerous, appalling, and something I'd rather avoid."

Yes, chimps belong in their natural habitat, but they are remarkable creatures with diverse set of personalities or chimpalities. Just like there are mellow people, gentle people, funny people, gloomy people, aggressive people, etc, etc, there are chimps with all sorts of different traits. Some are nice, some are mean, some are friendly, some are terrifying, and many are mix of all of these. But all are quite amazing and fascinating. But certainly not as pets--unless they're bred to be mellower, like dogs were bred from wolves. But I'm opposed to chimps as pets cuz most people will abuse them or get tired of them and discard them--even the nice ones.

But with human population increase in Africa and poaching and destruction of natural habitats, Western zoos may be the last refuge of chimps. They are our closer natural relatives, and they should be valued for that. And I prefer them to some kinds of people.

Simon said...

David, your whole argument was a non sequitor.

Your argument was a misrepresentation of my argument considered emotion (suffering) so therefore proves your misrepresentation of Steve's argument.

Steve said "Animal rights campaigners tend to be sentimental and illogical." Steve might even be right about this. However, that doesn't mean what you think it does ....

It doesn't mean that all arguments pertaining to animal rights are "sentimental and illogical."

My point which is equivalent to Steve's is that arguments for animal rights tend to come from analytic philosophers - and to be based on logic.

Usually when people talk about vegetarianism they say "being a vegetarian is illogical because eating meat is natural" as the moral justifiation. That argument is more sophisticated than the one you presented, but is still an appeal to nature which is a logical fallacy. (The "appeal to nature" is the subject of the sentence)

G Joubert said...

A little chimp levity: HERE

Mr. Anon said...

"Frito Pendejo said...

""Don't exagurate their strength, guys. We know AIDS was caused by Africans having sex with them!""

Nobody said the sex was consensual, Truth. Or that the humans initiated it."

"Truth" is implying that AIDS was caused by some kind of CIA conspiracy or bioweapons experiment gone wrong (right?). Nobody, except someone like "Truth" invoking a strawman argument, says that Africans got HIV from having sex with chimps. They most likely got it from eating bushmeat. "Truth" believes everthing is a conspiracy .......because he is stupid.

Anonymous said...

It's not only male chimps.

"When he continued his aggressive outbursts, those five females beat him so badly, they damn near ripped off his testicles. After that, Tatango never caused another problem."


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/05/31/women-against-violence-be-more-bonobo/

kinda ironic, but hey!

It's not that bonobo females have high testosterone ala matriarchal hyenas, but male bonobos have less of it than male chimps.
Another interesting difference:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7858951/What-kind-of-man-are-you-chimpanzee-or-bonobo.html

Kylie said...

"But with human population increase in Africa and poaching and destruction of natural habitats, Western zoos may be the last refuge of chimps."

No. I am unalterably opposed to that approach and all it implies.

African chimps are an African problem requiring African solutions.

Kudzu Bob said...

Don't exagurate their strength, guys. We know AIDS was caused by Africans having sex with them!

Which brings us to this cinema classic, Twoof...

Anonymous said...

"But with human population increase in Africa and poaching and destruction of natural habitats, Western zoos may be the last refuge of chimps."

"No. I am unalterably opposed to that approach and all it implies.
African chimps are an African problem requiring African solutions."

It doens't IMPLY anything. Chimps are amazing creatures. A world without them would be a sad place indeed.

Truth said...

Damn Bob, I hope that one's on Netflix.

Kylie said...

"'"But with human population increase in Africa and poaching and destruction of natural habitats, Western zoos may be the last refuge of chimps.'

'No. I am unalterably opposed to that approach and all it implies.
African chimps are an African problem requiring African solutions.'

It doens't IMPLY anything."


OK, if you want to indulge in semantic antics. It doesn't imply anything. I am unalterably opposed to that solution and to carrying it to its logical conclusion.

"Chimps are amazing creatures. A world without them would be a sad place indeed."

Oh, yes, a world with one fewer species willing and able to rip entire faces off of human beings would be a sad place indeed.

This may come as a shock to you but except for the nauseating glimpses of chimps I've had in Tarzan movies and at the zoo, chimps have never been part of my world and it's not in the least a sad place.

Kylie said...

@Kudzu Bob,

Great to see you commenting again. Hope this means the book is going well or is finished and you'll be back on a more frequent basis.

Kudzu Bob said...

@Kudzu Bob,

Great to see you commenting again. Hope this means the book is going well or is finished and you'll be back on a more frequent basis.

Thank you kindly. But while my writing partner’s and my project is in the homestretch, time is a scarcer commodity than ever, alas.

PS. Twoof, if you can't find Tany's Island on Netflix, then I am quite sure that Whiskey can provide you with a copy from his private collection.

Anonymous said...

I have never found chimps 'nauseating' but I have always found them 'comical', as I'm sure most people do.
Deep down this is probably something to do with the human mind realizing that chimps really are 'half man and half beast', and it's our way of coping with this disturbing fact.

Kylie said...

"Deep down this is probably something to do with the human mind realizing that chimps really are 'half man and half beast', and it's our way of coping with this disturbing fact."

I find that fact in no way disturbing.

What I do find exceedingly disturbing is the human notion that a species that is "half man and half beast" can, if we just provide it with the proper environment, upbringing, etc. become more fully human, with all the rights that being human implies.

Svigor said...

Weissmuller would stare-out the chimp solidly for minutes, and then immediately after punch the chimp, without warning, hard on the nose.

I got two LOLs from that. Thanks.

Wait, make that three.

I think animals suffer pain in a similar way to us. On this basis I can't justify having an animal raised in cramped confines, separated from its brood and killed so I can enjoy some bacon.

I once thought as you do. Then one day, I was smashing some helpless raw veggies with my teeth and I could practically hear the screams. That's when I learned to embrace my inner killer.

On a serious note, I do think there's something to be said for a rite of passage where meat-eaters are obliged to kill and clean an animal. I think it might be a good idea to force people to own up to what they're doing when they eat flesh.

commenter "Truth" will be active on this post.

Another LOL. This thread might be heading for a record.

Make that two. Yep, prolly headed for a record.

So African breeds require African environments.

No surprise there.


Ooof. Harsh.

But I still LOLed.

Gene Berman, you should've introduced Nancy to Clyde, Philo Beddoe's buddy. Jungle Fever, maybe, but they sound made for each other.

They'd buy a cute baby chimp and when it got uncute they just shot it and buried it.

And another.

I would like to point out that the precise ratio of chimp strength to human strength is largely irrelevant when a chimpanzee has ripped your face off and castrated you.

Aaaand another. And before I was done, I saw the name ("Frito Pendejo") and it redoubled.

Svigor could

So you have been paying attention! Actually, you're flattering me now. I've got to have something to work with.

Sam Kinnison could

GD that was one funny white man.

and I think Keith Olberman could -- if it were Ann Coulter.

Aaaand another one. Even T-dog's tossing out the Lulz today.

When he continued his aggressive outbursts, those five females beat him so badly, they damn near ripped off his testicles.

Did the gals on The View get a good laugh out of this yet?

Anonymous said...

The problem with having a pet chimp is as follows. Imagine a creature that is as egocentric and remorseless as a four year-old Human toddler, but capable of all the lust, rage, frustration and capricious malice of an adult Human male full of testosterone, and with the raw power of at least 3 NFL linemen with two huge canines, and you'll understand why chimps are so dangerous.

The Nazis and others dreamt of the perfect killing machine, an organism that would kill without any hesitation and remorse. Throughout history, many psychopaths in power dreamt of having their personal armies of mindless killing drones that would do their biding. But this is not often what they get. Soldiers hesitate to kill and often feel empathy for their victims and very few soldiers are capable of killing unarmed men in cold blood, and te majority of the few who do often feel remorse to the point of being completely psychologically destroyed thereafter, and generals procrastinate and hope for peaceful resolutions for conflicts. But what if you had the perfect killing machine who feels a sadistic thrill in destroying their opponents and are utterly without scrupples and feel NO empathy for their vitims or remorse at all? How ruthless can ruthlessness get?

Wars between troops of chimpanzees are far more direct and brutal than Human wars, with complete obliteration of the other side in the blink of an eye the goal. The females of the defeated troops are raped and often have all the bones of their body broken in the process. The infants of the defeated troops are teared from limb to limb in cold blood with the same indifference you would tear a piece of paper, as the victorious chimps scream and gnash in delight as they eat the flesh and drink the blood of their defeated opponents. In these wars, the chimps are not motivated by feelings of loyalty to their troop or anything like that, but simply by the vile pleasure of destroying their opponents and delighting in their agony and death. And even if they felt hesitation to kill or remorse in doing so, which they don't, they wouldn't have a choice as they would be killed by their own troops if they refused. They are not like soldiers but more like gladiators: it's kill or be killed. Having chimps as pets: very bad idea.

Gene Berman said...

Svigor:

Though not in the same matchmaking vein, you reminded me of another primate incident of years long gone.

With my friend, Manuel King (long-ago--in the '30s--at 8, world's youngest lion-tamer), visited John Werler, Curator of the Houston Zoo
(whom I knew slightly from when he'd been Curator of Reptiles in San Antonio).

The Zoo had recently lost the male of a gorilla pair. The female was so love-starved that she'd taken to "soliciting" every male passerby, so that they'd had to drape the front of the cage for the sake of public decency. But she still made beckoning "come hither" gestures and exaggerated kissing displays whenever any male walked through the corridor behind the cage row.

(John's been gone about 5 years but I spoke with Manuel, 84, just a few months ago.)

green mamba said...

If chimp and Mike Tyson duked it out, I would bet on Tyson. But the thing about chimps is they got sharp teeth and bite.

So does Mike Tyson.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, yes, a world with one fewer species willing and able to rip entire faces off of human beings would be a sad place indeed."

Look... sharks will tear you to pieces, tigers will rip you in half, bears will break your neck with one blow, giant squid will pull you down and drown you, elephants will stomp on your, hippos will bite you in half, croc will eat you for lunch, etc, etc.
I suppose they should all die out cuz they pose a threat to us if we were to raise them as pets!!!

My point if we should protect chimp's natural habitat. Failing that, it'd be nice to create some big zoos where they can survive and have fun.
I never said we should live in the same house with them.

Kylie said...

"My point if we should protect chimp's natural habitat."

And my point is that emoting about how "sad" our world would be without chimps is hardly likely to persuade anyone who finds them repulsive. This matter-of-fact approach is much better.

"Failing that, it'd be nice to create some big zoos where they can survive and have fun."

There you go again. I don't give a flip whether or not any chimps ever have any fun, even of the non-face-ripping variety. I would care about their survival if their extinction posed some sort of real threat to the eco-system but I'm not sure how zoos would mitigate that.

I never said we should live in the same house with them."

I never said you did.