Friday, January 25, 2008

Animal Magic

For anyone who read yesterday's post who was a kid in England in the 1970s, it might be possible to think that I was referring to the guy who presented animal behaviour from Bristol Zoo every week on children's television. There are many similarities, but one fundamental difference.

Both characters had an infectious love of wildlife in all its forms. Both had long and varied careers across the mass media of the twentieth century. Both presented television programmes that showed nature at its most basic level - great popularisation to some, dumbing down to others.

However, the fundamental thesis presented by Desmond Morris was that people behave like other animals. The fundamental thesis presented by Johnny Morris was that other animals behave like people. Both arguments have elements of truth. But anthropomorphism of other animals has less relevance to economic policy than zoomorphism of other humans.

Or to put it another way, dubbing an elephant with a silly voice may be very funny but it is not very educational.

No comments: