Category Archives: GRIZZ 1.0 (2009)

Posts and essays from the 2009 class of Animals and Nature in Popular American Film and Lit – otherwise known as Don’t Hug the Grizzly Bear.

Breed, I say, breed!

Some light-hearted – yet also troubling? – news from the Associated Press: endangered Chinese pandas are on loan to Australia, and both states are urging them to make babies. Verbally urging. In speeches. Surely this is a no-fail solution, right?

Earth, Cage or Source

Yesterday when we were talking about The Lord of the Rings I got to thinking about how earth tends to be used in movies. More specifically when we were talking about the birthing of the orcs from the mud and earth, there seemed to be a hesitance in the room. It seemed that no one wanted to say, “The earth is a source of evil!”

Clearly there is a problem with saying the the earth is evil. It gives us food, water, not constant earthquakes, and a place to lie. In general we seem to all agree that it is a good place.

The main discussion that I am trying to get to is that in a lot of the stories and films in the world there is some evil under the surface. There are orcs and other beasts growing under the surface, but there is also the demons caged underneath the surface. The description of the earth, using these scenerios, is endless. The earth could be an evil thing that is trying to get ride of us, it could have an evil center, or it could be sacrificing itself to hold these beasts. I like to think that if there is some evil demon thing under the surface of the earth it would be caged there and the earth would really be taking one for the team.

Is the earth a cage or a source?

“Beasts of England”

I was working on my final paper today when I came across and very interesting song…

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken to my joyful tidings

Of the Golden Future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,

Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,

And the fruitful fields of England

Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,

And the harness from our back,

Bit and spur shall rust forever,

Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,

Wheat and barley, oats and hay,

Clover, beans and mangel-wurzels

Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,

Purer shall its waters be,

Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes

On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labor,

Through we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,

All most toil for freedom’s sake.

~ “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

I found this song interesting, because although from a fiction story, it seems to bring up an interesting argument. Is it true that animals would be better off without human presence? For one, it can be argued that all animal cruelty will cease to exist. Nature would be able to function the way it’s supposed to, without the intervention of humans doing things like controlling the weather or playing god by saving species that should be extinct. In addition, animals could be free–dogs would no longer be subjected to human civilization, as would cats and horses. Cows and chickens would no longer be farmed just for the pure desire to eat. Tuna would be happily swimming in the ocean, instead of watching their numbers rapidly decline. Condors would be happily living without humans destroying their habitats. And marine animals would be able to live in non-polluted waters.

Yet there seems to be a major issue forgotten. Some animals have become dependent on human life. Dogs, cats, and horses are still able to live in the wild, yet they thrive in human societies today. Cows and chickens may be bred simply for food, but in the wild they will all be eaten eventually. Condors may have been able to live without human destruction, yet the reason condors are still around are because people saved the last pair alive in Bir Sur, California to breed until numbers could go up. For some species, it is non-negotiable: humans are more of a problem than they help. But for other species, humans have changed the traits that are the strongest, and now they are dependent on human society.