We humans tend to anthropomorphize animals: we have an insidious tendency to think of them as if they were humans, assign human characteristics to them, etc. Indeed, the early scientific efforts to objectively observe and study animal behavior required the conscious abandonment of all folk notions of animals being human-like. Later ethologists have somewhat freed themselves of this constriction.
Personally, I’ve only read Konrad Lorenz – a very charming writer by the way – and Jane Goodall – also a very good writer. But surely, the study of animal behavior – which came late in the development of biology – has yielded some wonderful realizations about ourselves and about our future as a species. Thanks to the study of animal behavior over the years, we now have a much richer understanding of humans’ place in this big, gigantic world, and a better understanding of earth’s ecosystems and our place within those systems – all of which perhaps gives us the ability and wisdom to avert at least some of the harmful effects of global warming, for instance.
Anyhoo, what I wanted to get to was some jokes about some anthropomorphisized animals whom we all know. This thought came to me – especially that word anthropomorphism – as I drove past a Smokey the Bear billboard that stated (underneath a picture of a smoldering campfire) “Even if you think it’s out—-It’s not out!” Smokey’s familiar face, capped by a Ranger’s hat, gazed sternly, but reassuringly, out from the billboard.
A parade of happy, but very silly, cartoon characters soon began to walk across the “stage of my mind”, so to speak. Oops, watch out there for Elsie the Cow!
There was Mr. Peabody, a talking dog with glasses. There was good ol’ Felix the Cat, and big hurray for good old Mickey Mouse, together with a bushelful of his goofy pals (followed by several Disney business associates). Then the Looney Tunes characters (nearly all of them voiced by the great Mel Blanc). Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck! My role models! Currently Triumph the Insult Dog has my vote.
There’s that talking Geico salamander. Yikes! There are zillions of them! Count ’em yourselves! Filling our airwaves and our brains with their silly, but much beloved, images and their ….er…..er…… personalities?
That’s all folks. For more weighty thoughts about animals consult the Cement Animal Sculpture Category, also the post about the smiling dog, the post Animals Speak Out. Also, check out a scientific treatise about a dog that talks, called Short Tale of a Dog.
Now, click below to hear Bumba do a song about a dog
When I was a lad and ol’ shepp was a puppy/over hills and mountains we strayed/Just a boy and a dog we were both full of fun/ and we grew up together that way. I remember the time by the old swimming hole/ when I would have drowned beyond doubt/ But ol shepp was there/to my resue he came/he jumped in and helped pull me out/ But the years passed on by and ol shepp he grew old/his eyesight was fast growing dim/then one day the doctor looked at him and said “I can’t do no more for him, Jim/with hands that were trembling I picked up my gun/and I aimed it at shepp’s faithful head/but I just couldn’t do it/I wanted to run/ I wish they could shoot me instead/ Now ol sheppy has gone where all good doggies go/and no more with ol shepp wil I roam/but if dogs have a heaven there’s one thing I know Ol Shepp has a wonderful home.