The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

This Chimp is Bananas: B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Posted by demkid on February 19, 2009

Sadly, the recent incident of a pet chimpanzee severely mauling someone isn’t the first time this type of story has been in the news.  Only several years ago, two chimps escaped from their cage at an animal sanctuary in Bakersfield, and the victim there may have jumped at the opportunity to trade places with the unfortunate woman in Connecticut.  I’ll spare you all the details, but you can read about what happened to St. James Davis here.  That incident even led to a popular phrase in the Urban Dictionary, which comes in handy when you’re really pissed at someone!  In any case, I think the moral of this story is that if you want to have a chimp as a pet in your home, you’d better be prepared to lose one or more extremities in an extremely brutal manner.  Of course, the craziness of the whole story doesn’t end with the mauling itself: “She fed him filet mignon and lobster tails.  They shared cozy glasses of wine.  They bathed and slept together.  He tenderly brushed her hair.  She gave him gifts and sweet kisses.  He drew her pictures.”  That’s right.  Travis and his owner, Sandra Herold, had a bond that could be considered EXTREMELY close.  It’s just too bad that Herold had to stab her companion multiple times with a kitchen knife to try and get him from killing a real human friend.  Yes, this shit is bananas!

It would have been too bland if the chimp story had ended right there.  Nope, there’s always room for controversial cartoons! 

Racist? Nah, just plain stupid.

Racist? Nah, just plain stupid.

As you can imagine, there have been strong reactions over this New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas.  Political cartoonists many times like linking two current news stories together, and this attempt failed miserably.  I’ll give Mr. Delonas the benefit of the doubt, that he was poking fun at the legislators who drafted the recent stimulus bill, but if he didn’t realize that people would react after a drawing that plausibly links a black man with a monkey, he should get his head examined.  All he had to do was draw a sign around the chimp’s neck that said “Congress”, and there wouldn’t be hundreds protesting outside of the Post’s offices.  The big Dumbass Award should go to the Post’s editors, who decided to publish this cartoon, however.  They had the option to deny it the light of day, but went ahead with it anyway, and are now strongly standing behind their decision.  Nice.  Also, in stories like this one, you always have to be on the lookout for overreactions.  Examining “the cartoon’s gun violence as a stoker to the nervousness some feel about the safety of a black president in a historically racist country”?  Come on.  Now we’re getting a little overboard.  “An attack on Obama’s skin color and African-Americans in general”?  Again, I think we’ve fortunately moved on from a lot of this talk of racism.  Sure, some can plausibly argue that the cartoon was blatantly racist in nature, but more likely than not, it was just plain dumb.  President Obama didn’t write the stimulus bill afterall, Congress did, and the mistake of not making this clear was costly for sure.  However, getting Al Sharpton involved over something as silly as this (remember nappy-headed hos?) is likely only to do more harm than good.  Hey, are those cops Jewish??


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