Dear zoos, zooey allies, and confused others,
I am totally loving the Dragon Knight series, by Gordon R. Dickson. It is a very simple storyline. The good guys are good. The bad guys are bad. It is soothing and pleasant fantasy literature, and it has this really sexy English wolf in it, named Aragh! While the plot is relatively simple on the face of it, it reflects how people, during the 1970's, were people that craved a sense of a spiritual journey or transformation.
At the time, the fantasy genre, in general, was incredibly niche. An author like J.K. Rowling would not have become a billionaire in any length of time at all. Authors, in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, published to a very small audience within a very small subculture, and while more successful ones like Gordon R. Dickson could sometimes make an actual living off of their fiction, this was not the rule. In fact, literacy was not really held in the same high esteem, in general, that it is held today.
It might be a misnomer for me to identify as a "furry," actually, even though I have thought that I was one in the past. I think that I am really just a sci-fi and fantasy fan that loves dragons and enjoys some light roleplay. To be perfectly honest, I still identify a lot more deeply with the great fantasy and sci-fi literature, which influenced the humble beginnings of the furry fandom, than I do with other aspects of the furry fandom today. I was in my twenties before I looked at very much visual furry porn, and I frankly regret ever coming down with that addiction, which I have weaned myself off of. To this day, literature still has a substantially greater depth of meaning to me, and I feel that I have lost myself at times when I have drifted away from that.
I also feel that I am, deep down, a child of the 1970's, and I don't think that I will ever feel that I have truly had my time in the sun until we have had another generation like that one. I feel that such a generation only comes but once in every lifetime, and because of that, I think that I will be quite old before a time comes when I can feel truly young. For some reason that I may never fathom, literature from that time-period makes me feel that I have come home, not just in the sense of being in the right place but being in the right self.
I think that it was a much more spiritual generation, and the current generation is perhaps the least spiritual generation that has ever existed. These days, people have become so materialistic and so selfish and so shallow that even the best of them cannot fathom sticking out their necks to help someone less fortunate than themselves unless it served their own interests in some way. Millennials have many selling points, but at heart, they are selfish and shallow.
My sense of disaffection with our culture is only amplified by the fact that I am a zoophile living in a culture that has decided to throw zoophiles under the bus with both hands. Other minority groups, in the country, have become so selfish and so self-protective that they are willing to sit by and let us get shit on, even though many of them know that what is being done to us is wrong.
I don't think it's really their fault, though. I think that they have just gotten caught up in the general shallowness and selfishness and pettiness that has been perpetuated in our culture. I think that we have a long time to go before they start to recognize how much this really hurts them also, not just those of us whom they choose to throw under the bus. Their self-mechanizing culture is not really sustainable.
Our culture has a long way yet to go before I can feel that I have come home in body, not just in spirit. Until then, I remain
your devoted zooey blogger, social critic, and literature-fiend,
Dear zoos, allies, and confused others,
I am back to back-dating blog posts that are really a couple of days late. I do not really have an excuse, this time. I could chalk it up to the fact that I was shoving around half-ton blocks of hay last week and strained my back, but that's not really why.
I work at this great equestrian center, and as a matter of fact, I do not have any interesting stories to tell about that. I have a creature of my own that does more for me than an entire herd of thoroughbreds.
I am going to discuss an actual book, this week. I have not read it yet, but one book that I want to read soon is The Dragon and the George. I have always been drawn to books about people getting transformed into animals. In fact, I really got interested in the furry fandom through transformation literature, and I still think that transformation literature has a lot more heart and soul in it than most ordinary furry fiction out there. Stories about transformation are often a sort of spiritual journey.
The particular theme of being transformed into an animal is often a part of a spiritual journey, and the reason why is that our humanity really comes in two parts, according to a growing number of social psychologists. One part of our humanity is our "human nature," which is actually the part of our human nature that we have in common with animals, such as the capacity for feeling, individuality, personal warmth, or even the capacity for learning new things. The other part of our humanity constitutes the qualities that distinguish us from animals, though, and that is called "human uniqueness": this would be qualities like civility, rationality, moral sophistication, or maturity.
Weirdly, though, many of us do successfully learn how to understand our human uniqueness, but we can go through our entire lives without understanding the good things about us that we have in common with animals. I think that the process of learning to understand these more primal things about ourselves is often called a "spiritual journey."
In a story where someone is getting transformed into an animal, I think that the point of the story is, "Alright, you have figured out your human uniqueness, and maybe you have even gone overkill with that. There is still a whole lot you have left to learn about yourself before you can feel like a whole person."
That is a meaningful sort of story to me and one that I have always been drawn to. As an intellectual sort of person, I feel that I can be at the greatest risk of forgetting to appreciate the parts of my nature that I have in common with a dumb animal, and I have even been through the grievous experience of denying or suppressing those aspects of who I was, at least around the people I knew in person. These animal transformation stories and later roleplaying as a dragon helped me develop and understand a part of myself that I was really fearful of exploring in my day-to-day life.
While I have moved past the point in life where I was so repressed, those sorts of stories still hold tremendous sentimental value for me. I think that The Dragon and the George will turn out to be a slam dunk insofar as satisfying that inclination in me, and I think that it's going to turn out to be a great read.
By the way, The Dragon and the George was the basis for the Rankin and Bass film, The Flight of Dragons. If you have not watched that film, then you should fix that. The intro by Don McLean is fantastic.
Until next time,
I am Sigma!
Dear zoophiles, zoo allies, and confused others.
This blog is usually focused on a new work of literature every week, but I honestly just went back to studying Orphic hymns. I am a massive Greek nerd, and I find the Orphic hymns, in particular, to be stunningly beautiful. I really meant to do more of this last week, but I did not use my time for that particular pursuit, then. I have about half of it committed to memory, and it takes little work to get it to come across as musical.
I also went on a very nice walk with my husband outside the local art museum. We used to go there a lot more often, but then it got cold. It is the most beautiful place in the area when the weather is warm but not too warm. The way that the grounds are kept is remarkably civilized.
Over the past week, I am pleased to say that the zooey community came together to help a young person that had been at risk of becoming homeless, and one brave zoo actually helped to initiate legal action to protect him. All of this is thanks to the fact that his boyfriend, who unfortunately lives far away, stood up for him and reached out for help, keeping us updated and keeping up dialogue with everybody that had anything to say. I was blown away, and I feel kind of humbled by the fact that this community has proved to have such huge hearts. Hurray to whoever intervened!
I am going to spend the rest of my weekend trying to get some work done on another project. I don't want to say too much yet, but I am excited to move forward with it. It's pretty dry, though.
Once again, the best lunch hangouts are closed for the duration of this pandemic. That kind of sucks for me because there are so many distractions at home! I can hardly get any reading done!
Until next week,
I am Sigma!
Dear zoos, zooey allies, and confused others,
This will be the first week that I will also be publishing my blog/journal to SoFurry. If anybody on SoFurry wants to read more of this weekly blog, come find me on Zooville.
The cafe and bakery where I usually do my Saturday afternoon reading is still closed due to the pandemic. This is highly depressing because I love the staff there quite a lot, and I have missed them for every single week that the location has been closed. I am looking forward to seeing those people's smiling faces once more, and I know for sure that they will be the same awesome friendly people as they have always been.
Nevertheless, this remains the only day of the week that I really set aside for trying to get myself started on reading in a novel or a biography, and today, I am trying to get back into reading The Plague, by Albert Camus. I heard about it through my husband. Apparently, The Plague was one of the most popular books among gay men during the 1980's, and it was so trendy that the author got mentioned in a song by The Magnetic Fields. Gay men who had lost a friend or a lover to AIDS or gotten diagnosed with HIV themselves would dress all in black, read Camus, and often chain-smoke clove cigarettes. It was a stunningly depressing time for gay men.
The fact that gay men were hit so hard by HIV, during the 1980's, was partly a consequence of the fact that, during the 1970's, gay men had been possessed of a very strong desire to start coming out, but the only people they felt comfortable coming out to were other gay men, which led to the gay community having a lifestyle that was almost entirely centered around sex. They did not just have a little bit of sex, but they had a positively amazing amount of sex. The bathhouse scene was at its height. It was essentially an epidemic that was waiting to happen.
In the eyes of the Reagan administration, gay men deserved what was happening to them, and they felt so strongly about this that they spent a long while deliberately prohibiting any funding for AIDS research. The way that the Reagan administration saw it, if gay men did not want to die of AIDS, then they would give up homosexual sodomy and preferably convert to (conservative) Christianity. Neoliberalism was rising in American politics, and as far as they were concerned, those whom they deemed as inferior really deserved to suffer and did not really deserve for anybody to help them, and those that were doing better deserved to be praised and empowered for having lived better, more productive lives. Prosperity theology was all the rage among religious conservatives. As far as they were concerned, making any effort at all to address the AIDS pandemic constituted interfering in the righteous judgment of God. Even when this position slowly started to become deeply unpopular, the Reagan administration famously said, "Look pretty, and do as little as possible."
What had happened to the gay community was that the very prejudice of their society had helped create these conditions. Because of the fact that the gay community per force could never really feel comfortable or safe, as long as they were out, around anyone except another gay person or maybe transgender person, they were effectively being driven into a sort of ghetto, what I call a "cultural ghetto," where they ultimately self-objectified based upon their sexuality and saw everything about themselves as being somehow related to their sexuality. This was profoundly unhealthy, and it was a large part of what created the bathhouse scene.
Think of it in terms of genetics: remember, in your biology classes, you were taught about the dangers of inbreeding, and you may have heard the term "founders effect" at least once. There are many recessive alleles that are, in effect, normally vetoed by more dominant alleles, so those weaker recessive alleles never really affect the phenotype that is actually expressed in offspring; in the case of inbreeding, the more dominant alleles are not there, leading to serious and often catastrophic health problems. However, I think that similar things can happen in a society: I think that insular subcultures ultimately fail to learn or to accept the difficult lessons that society at large has spent centuries learning and accepting, and because the gay community felt so estranged from society at large, they mistakenly rejected some important centuries-old wisdoms. Their trust in the moral judgment of society had been profoundly damaged, so it became very hard to reason with them about things they were doing that actually were harmful to them. They were not letting in ideas that might have saved them.
There was no doubt that the gay community, in the 1980's, had been struck by a deadly epidemic, but it was not one that could be contained by sealing them away from the rest of society. Unlike the disease that was being spread in The Plague, it was a plague that only multiplied when society attempted to seal it away. Unlike normal epidemics, this was one to which isolation constituted gasoline on the fire.
I think that this lesson from history is one that the zooey community could also stand to learn from. We really cannot be an island. I don't really know enough, on my own, to give a lot of great advice about how to mend our damaged relations with society, but the lessons of history are clear to me. We cannot survive as an isolated community. There is a lot that we and non-zooey society can teach to each other if we give each other a chance. We have made mistakes. The rest of the human race has made mistakes. We are still worth each others' time. We can help each other heal.
While I understand why some members of the 1980's gay community identified with The Plague, I am convinced that it fails to really equate. Some pandemics really can be contained by isolation, but others can only be fought with shared immunity.
Next week, I intend to discuss a more optimistic novel, and until then, I remain
the local shoulder-dragon-in-chief,
Dear zoos and zooey allies,
I don't know why I back-date these things anymore. It is not the 28th of March, but it is really the last day of March. The cafe and bakery that I usually do this in is closed until the worst part of this pandemic has passed, and because I am no longer able to do my usual thing, I...just kind of get distracted.
About 200,000 people are expected to die during this pandemic. Instructively, Hurricane Katrina only killed 1,833, so COVID-19 just might constitute the single deadliest natural disaster of most people's lifetimes.
However, there were many ancient peoples that were not really all that upset about death. They just extended their knowledge of primitive agriculture to how they thought about life: things died and decayed, but then the soil was more fertile for producing new life. The Proto-Indo-Europeans even referred to the human race as "Earthlings" because humans knew and understood the earth and how earth could produce new life.
The ancient Greek word for "earth" was chthon, and because of this, divinities and beliefs that are related to the earth are regarded as "chthonic." Some of the ancient chthonic religions were very dark, and their gods would ruthlessly demand blood sacrifice, thereby leading to entire cultures being slain in order to appease the blood lust of these sorts of gods. Others, though, were actually incredibly gentle and focused on nurture.
An example of a chthonic divinity that was focused on nurture was the goddess Hecate. While Hecate was worshiped by the ancient Greeks, she was not really invented by them. She is really a lot older and has been traced at least to ancient Turkey. Hecate was a very gentle sort of goddess that was responsible for taking care of the souls of the dead between one life and the next.
Yep, reincarnation was something that some ancient Greeks believed in. According to those that worshiped Hecate, the souls of the dead lived in the part of the sky between the sea and the orbit of the moon while they waited to be reborn, which was called the "Middle Sky." While the souls of the dead were living in the Middle Sky, they were considered to be on a spiritual journey, and to the cult of Hecate, this was an amazing and adventurous sort of journey with many crossroads.
In fact, Hecate was venerated in any remote place where three paths met...in other words, anywhere that there was a fork in the road. Think of the poem "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost. The cult of Hecate would have appreciated this poem intensely, and to them, the very shortness of life was a sort of blessing. You could not take every road in every life, but that was alright: you were destined to be reborn, and someday, you would have a chance to travel that road if you still wanted to. It was not such a terrible thing, to them, that we got once chance after another to make our journey through life. It meant that we did not really have to regret all of the times we had to make a choice and wondered what could have happened if we had made a different choice.
The most sacred animal of Hecate was the dog, by the way, and it was believed that the dog helped watch over our souls between one life and the next. Could some of them have been some zoos who watched a few of their loved ones cross over the Rainbow Bridge in their lifetimes? We that fall truly in love with our animals get hit the hardest by their loss, after all, but we never really regret having known these people throughout their lives.
Yes, there were some Greeks that did believe that Hecate therefore demanded dogs as a blood sacrifice, but based on the hymns, I believe that this would be out-of-character for the original followers of Orpheus, who really thought a lot like the followers of Pythagoras, who were often vegans and were profoundly tenderhearted. The hymn describes a very gentle sort of goddess.
The cult of Hecate that was brought to Greece by the prophet Orpheus is fascinating to me, and therefore, I have been practicing at the old Orphic hymn to Hecate. It is beautiful, and it is really fun to try to learn. You might hear it in the future, someday, when I have managed to get the meter right.
Anyhow, to all of those that are either worried about the expected death toll of COVID-19 or grieving for a loved one that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge not long ago, it might comfort you to know that there were at least some ancient peoples to whom the journey between one life and the next was just our journey onward to our next adventure, and even though I don't literally believe in supernatural things, this sort of thinking really makes me smile.
Dear zoos and others to which this pertains,
This update is backdated to Saturday, even though I was not actually at my favorite cafe Saturday. This pandemic has got all of the good hangouts closed to dine-in customers. It is highly aggravating.
I have some good news on the zooey front, though. I think that the Zooier Than Thou crew have found someone on SoFurry that would be willing to do the work of getting the show uploaded on there. We are really leaning hard into our outreach to the furry community. I personally have never liked hangouts that were mostly zooey related, but I really strongly prefer mixed zooey and non-zooey hangouts where it's always been normal for some folks there to be zooey. Many furry venues fit that description, and while there are some furry hangouts where anti-zoo trolling is rampant, the reason why is that there are a lot of zoos in the fandom: wherever the anti-zoos can get control, they go full-on Nazi against us, so us zoos have to be very organized about keeping those useless trolls out of the hangouts where we actually can get left in peace.
If you are a zoo and also a furry, I will tell you that there are many furry hangouts where you can be openly a zoo, and the longer you hang out and stay out of the closet at these hangouts, the less the anti-zoo trolls are going to think they have any moral credibility. Just make friends, try to get along with the leadership, and don't make any kind of trouble you can't avoid. Most of the time, if you just hang out and be yourself for a while, the in crowd will start liking you, and the sorts of trolls that come in occasionally convinced they are going to start telling everybody else how to think and how to live are going to wander off somewhere else. Don't even bother with scoring points. Once you have a few friends that you know are supportive, they are the ones that matter and deserve your attention, not some troll. Focus your attention on your friends, and stay out.
Believe it or not, the best kind of activism anywhere is to just come out, stay out, and keep on being yourself. Scoring points, winning pissing contests with trolls, and other ridiculous drama really takes us backwards, but anytime that you are just being your regular everyday self and yet out as a zoo, you are tearing all of the anti-zoo arguments to pieces. The way that most zoos are, once you get to know them, simply does not fit the anti-zoo arguments, and when people's supposedly invincible logic consistently does not match up with reality, their entire case just falls apart. Just stay out, and be you, whether in the furry fandom or any other venue.
For the most part, furries are extremely zoophile-friendly, and any pockets of trouble that you do find are merely a reaction to this fact. I have always preferred them over strictly zooey social venues, and to this day, I spend considerably more time at them than at strictly zooey venues. I get to meet highly diverse people from all over the world, and I get to meet people that have many different points-of-view. I think that us zoos that are also involved in the furry fandom should keep on opening up to other furries. Just coming out and going on with business as usual makes a big difference.
Until next week,
I am Sigma!
Dear zoos, zooey allies, and all of you that are in that gray area,
I have a very good excuse for missing last week's update: I was helping my good friend @TogglesHappyZoo create and host the first episode of Zooier Than Thou, Season 2! As all fans of the show already know, Zooier Than Thou was always intended to outlast its creators, and I am very proud to be counted among the show's dynamic and courageous leadership.
Back to blogging, though! Today's book was The Cat and the Curmudgeon, by Cleveland Amory. As a feline zoophile, I feel a deep connection with Cleveland Amory's experience of raising his quirky and headstrong cat, Polar Bear. This is a book that I have read before in the past, and Amory's prose has helped awaken a special sort of gentleness in me that has really been empowering.
Amory did something with Polar Bear that I have always enjoyed doing with my own cat: he walked Polar Bear on a leash. Rather, he stood there while Polar Bear sat. If you are thinking of leash-training your pet cat, the good news is that your cat will most likely enjoy it quite a lot. However, I suggest packing a very lightweight folding chair for you to sit on while your cat sits down, fairly frequently, to engage in long, long periods of intensive bird-watching, and you might also want to bring a good book with you, just in case your cat decides to take a nap while basking in the sun. Don't get me wrong because your cat will walk plentifully, but cats have more imagination than to just patrol a perimeter and be done with it.
Reading this book again sort of reminds me of something that us zoophiles really ought to spend more time talking about, which is the fact that we actually do have a relationship with our animals besides just having sex with them. Many of us are at least as obsessive over finding ways to have fun with our animals as any other pet-owner. Acknowledging and engaging the sexuality of our animals is really just a part of the same drive, which is to embrace the fact that our animals are a significant and meaningful part of our lives.
However, not all of us zoophiles are pet-owners, and for a long time, I felt a little bit prejudicial toward zoophiles that are sexually involved with other people's animals. I think that the reason why was that I believed that this kind of behavior was going to draw negative attention to other zoophiles, but after having a conversation with @TogglesHappyZoo about this, I realized that he was right: the people that hate us do not acknowledge any such nuance. Nothing we do will ever be good enough for the worst of them, and until we have more allies than we do enemies, us zoophiles need to stay united, rather than getting wrapped-up in petty squabbling and finger-pointing. Blaming other zoophiles for the cruelty and maliciousness of the anti-zoophile mob constitutes taking the blame off of the people that are hurting us and putting the blame onto other people that they have been persecuting. Maybe I would not have advised a fellow zoophile to leap into someone else's horse's paddock in order to have sex with that horse, but that person does not really deserve to be punished disproportionately. Regardless of what I think of trespassing, disproportionate punishment is just as revoltingly unjust as punishing people that have done nothing wrong at all. It is still injustice, and we ought to stand together against injustice. Moralizing at each other when we do not really have to will not help our situation.
Let's stick together, and let's try to change the world.
Dear all zoos and zooey allies,
My perseverance has paid off. Since December of last year, I have been hoping that some zoo in the area or who is passing through the area would eventually want to meet with me at that cafe. We actually ended up going to a nearby "coffee bar" named Brew because the cafe had closed for the evening. I am glad we ended up at Brew because Brew has incredible private spaces in them on three floors of awesome, and it is like a secret hideout where nobody knows you are even there.
I can speak for my friend here @Lux_wolf1990 as being a very soothing man to talk to. He is exactly how he comes across online. He even looks almost exactly like I expected him to look. I like getting to talk to people that are like that because when you talk to someone that is the same in person as online, you don't feel all that different talking to them in a nice private spot in a public place than you do sitting at home and talking.
We chatted for hours, and we started out with very SFW things. As we got more comfortable with each other and relaxed a lot more, we started talking about our zooey experience with each other more. It was very much a release to have someone that I could talk with candidly about this, in person, face-to-face.
It blows me away that it only took a little over two months for someone to take me up on just meeting to chat. I was ready for a longer wait. I am very glad that it was not a longer wait, though. Very awesome.
Until next time,
Dear zoos and allies,
For the record, I am sexually active with my pets, and I actually have every intention of changing how most people feel about that fact. I am moving forward. However, I missed my usual lunch this week, due to work.
For the past week, I have been working on a local horse farm, and even though I am really a feline and canine zoo, not really an equine zoo, I am actually getting to like the horses quite a lot. I might actually become a convert.
As a matter of fact, I intend to honor the existing relationship between the horses and their owners. As @Aluzky pointed out, it is time for us zoos to learn that "owner-hopping" is a behavior that perhaps us zoos ought to start putting into our past. The way that I think about it is that I tend to assume that any given stallion there just might be somebody else's husband. If you are a married straight man, imagine if somebody got your wife drunk and then took advantage of her one night: the answer is, "the guy can count himself lucky if you do not actually shoot him in the kneecaps." I do not know that the owner of any given horse is zooey, but that is the point: I do not know, and it is not my business to know. I do not have any inherent right to know. I want to become the manager of that farm, save a lot of money, and then get my own horse.
Before taking this job, I had never heard of the idea of a horse getting "herdbound," but apparently, horses can sometimes become so deeply attached to other horses that you literally cannot even take them out of view of each other without putting yourself at risk of a serious and dangerous drama.
I also had, for some reason, previously had an impression that a horse was sort of like a large dog, but I was flat-out wrong. A horse is like a large cat: your name is "room service." I thought that cats were bossy, but horses really take the pie. They know that their mom and dad is richer than your mom and dad, and they want to make sure that you understand this fact.
I am gradually starting to understand and accept this and other qualities about them. I am very excited over this turn in my career, and I am planning on staying in this occupation for as long as I can.
After talking to my friend @caikgoch here, this past week, I realized that starting a zooey non-profit corporation might actually be a good idea. Once it was getting consistent funding, it would be able to hire on full-time staff that do not do anything else except find various ways to help the zooey community or put out great publications on behalf of the zooey community.
Also, I think that decisions that are made by a board tend to be a lot more cautious and a lot less reckless and a lot more informed than decisions that are made by lone wolf individuals. A lone wolf individual might actually do something stupid like go on twitter arguing with anti-zoo trolls and thereby giving the trolls in question a lot of attention they did not really deserve.
In fact, while I was talking with @CritterFunatic, it came home to me that our community really does need to learn how to move forward with greater organization and better planning. I got a little bit frustrated with the fact that he was apparently very focused on criticisms about what is not going to work, but I think that that is why us zoos so deeply need an informed leadership structure that operates by parliamentary procedure and makes decisions as a team. If we had a leadership structure that was focused on safe ideas and sure bets and relatively inoffensive publications, then it would actually be a lot easier to get zoos to fall in line behind them. I think this would also help deter lone wolfs from making decisions that are not really all that smart. I think that us zoos having a higher degree of organization is really the best way for us to address his concerns.
In other news, I have been getting to know some local zoos a little bit better, and they are turning out to be pretty swell guys. I am very hopeful that I might actually get to have a meet-up with one of them soon. I do not really intend for anything in particular to come of it. The way that I feel about it is that we really prove a whole lot by just meeting together in person. Maybe I am just an aging and out-of-touch Xennial, here, but I feel that actually being there and proving that someone else is more to us than just pixels on a screen still means something that is significant and special.
Anyhow, keep it zooey, friends and neighbors!
Until next time,
I am Sigma!
Dear zoos and all zooey allies,
For the record, I am sexually active with my pets, and I intend to help try to change how most people feel about that fact.
Two days late, this time!
However, it was recent enough that I remember my thoughts, at the time. Saturday, at lunch, I was reading some of the opening lines from The Massacre of Mankind, by Stephen Baxter, which is a putative sequel to The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.
The really powerful thing about Wells' original book was that the book described a war between the entire human race and a foreign invader that had decided to do to humans as the British and other imperial powers had done to many sensitive indigenous populations. The Tasmanian genocide, for instance, is one example.
At the time, there were still many British people that saw the expansion of the British Empire in an overall positive light, and if some "savages" were in the way of the glory of the British Empire, then that was too bad. The British made a particular mess of the Tasmanians, and by the time that Wells had the conversation that led to the publication of the book, there was a huge amount of discussion going on, among the British, about whether it was okay that the British were being so callus as to engage in outright genocide.
The question that was being asked by the book was whether superiority, in either intelligence or civilization or military might, was really something that made it alright for the British Empire to wipe out an indigenous population and take their land and their natural resources for themselves out of nothing more except their own imperialistic certainty that they had a divine right to exploit and to take.
This is easy for us to answer, today, and the answer is no. However, the British had not really fully reached that conclusion, at the time, and there were still many British left that believed that it amounted to disloyalty toward the Empire or perhaps even somewhere close to treason to even ask these sorts of questions. Men like Wells were often treated rather scornfully.
It was very important, though, that Wells created a work of literature that put the human race all on the same side in dealing with an alien menace.
When we talk about zooey rights, we often forget that zoos are an often dysfunctional minority group. There are still zooey youth that engage in fence-hopping behavior or molest their neighbors' dogs or free-roaming dogs in the area, and there are still zoos that have not really figured out that it's not really dignifying to their animals to treat them as prostitutes. The truth is that zoos are flawed.
However, the Tasmanian aborigines were also flawed when the British got there. They were not perfect. They had a long way to go as a people. However, there was a time when there were many British imperialists who therefore regarded their genocide as a sort of "pest control." They were so obviously barbaric that it was laughable, to them, to talk about them as if they were people that might have deserved a chance to make social progress on their own terms and perhaps build empires of their own, one day. To many of the British at the time, the fact that the Tasmanians were imperfect was actually a perfectly valid justification for the Tasmanian genocide.
I am talking about this, right now, because I have run into many more conservative-minded zoos that try to mock me for caring about the zooey community, and they often tell me, "don't you realize other zoos are mentally ill?" and tell me about how they had had endless trouble with other zoos and really never liked them.
However, I would ask any zoos if the Tasmanians therefore ought to have been any better off than us zoos to not deserve genocide. Do you people not realize that there are people in non-zooey society that are talking about having us murdered?
I do not always get along well with other zoos or agree with them, but oddly enough, I think that even the ones that I have thought about in less than than charitable terms deserve better than that.
Trespassing is a petty misdemeanor, not a felony, and even that is not really enforced very vigorously. I would know as a person that used to cut across people's grain fields as a child and likely damaged their crops. It would have been perfectly justifiable for a judge to put me to picking up litter off of the roadside for that. It probably would have even done me some good and taught my young punk self that I really owed something to my community, which had really done a lot more for me than I appreciated. Retrospectively, I would have agreed with it, although I am certain that I would have complained at the time. It was not really acceptable behavior to trample that poor farmer's harvest selfishly to just take a shortcut getting somewhere on a day when I had nothing but time. However, it was not a felony and should not be a felony.
Us zoos do have many discussions that we need to have, among ourselves, about showing due and proper respect toward society and toward our animals. This is really a large part of what I think that zooey activism ought to be about. It is right for us to have those discussions.
Another part of what zooey activism ought to be about, though, is to stop letting the zooey community get bullied by other zoos that believe that the rest of us are barely fit to live, just because we do have issues.
It is not really okay that some zoos mock us activists from the sidelines, just because we are imperfect, while doing absolutely nothing genuinely helpful except behave just as obnoxiously as any anti-zoo if not moreso.
Anyhow, I am going to address the fact that I have been getting these blog entries out so late by taking my laptop with me, so I can just write them right there, staying an extra hour at that cafe and bakery. I want to get back on being more timely.
Thanks to any of you that have been following my blog,