Sunday, May 6, 2007

In Today's Ape News...

We have a headline from the Associated Press that reads Activists want chimp declared a 'person'. Animal rights advocates in Austria are petitioning a court to have Hiasl the Chimp legally declared a person — although not for the "animal rights' activists are nutballs" reason that you think. The sanctuary Hiasl calls home went bankrupt and is shutting down, and Hiasl's homo sapiens friends want to collect donations so he's not out on the street, dancing for food. Trouble is, under Austrian law, only humans can collect personal donations; hence the court case. I guess I'm the only one who thinks it might make more sense to change the law than to grant Hiasl human rights.

The story made me pine for the old days of Monkeynews, which was a regular feature on Ricky Gervais's former radio show. The show's star was this bald round-headed Manc bloke Karl Pilkington who had a gift for whatever the opposite of critical thinking is, and he reported on, among other things, the latest monkey news. Calling it "news" was a little misleading, since the Monkeynews wasn't timely or topical, and was pretty much always untrue. (Although there's this outfit here called "Fox News," whose stories are also made up — new study at James Dobson University reveals links between supporting Barack Obama and liver cancer — but they manage to hold on to their "news" moniker.) Typical example: There was this barber shop, right. And they were looking for somebody to do haircuts, but they couldn't find anyone. So one day, this monkey walks in, and the boss is like, "Well, hand him a pair of scissors, let's see what he can do."

And the story goes on from there, rambling through the inter-species behind-the-scenes politics at this haircutters. (The monkey could do haircuts but they wouldn't let it work the till.) Pilkington's ingenuous sincerity sells the whole bit — he found it online, after all.

I guess that's the monkeys' bad fortunes, sharing 98.5 percent of our DNA.