|Bow, yesterday afternoon, relaxed and conflict free|
If Bow sees two people in arm to arm combat, it makes him want to get in on the action. If he sees a car chase, it makes him very nervous. When we used to drive places together, if a truck got too close to us on the road, he would get very upset. We need to be the biggest car on the road, and others we do not know should stay far, far away.
I like to keep Bow as happy and relaxed as I can and to avoid getting him keyed up over nothing. But every once in a while I try to watch something with him on my computer screen. It turns out that even what we might consider very subtle human drama gets his hackles up.
Take this scene from an episode of Enlightened: Two old ladies meet by chance in a grocery store. Each of them is shopping for food, but they recognize each other and stop to chat. They have not seen each other in a long time. First they talk about their looks. "You haven't changed a bit. You look so young." There follows an exchange where every compliment contains some kind of barbed put down. Then they start talking about their grandchildren. How many of them there are and how cute and talented and smart. One of the women has just been to see her grandchildren and shares pictures on her iphone. The other woman is estranged from the daughter who has children, and living with the one who has none, so she feels bad. After which they talk about their children, and about their children's spouses and careers. One woman is gushing with how great her children's accomplishments are, while the other feels bad because her divorced daughter is now living with her and is not doing well in any aspect of life. And then the subject turns to their own husbands. And that's when all emotional hell breaks loose, because it turns out that one of their husbands betrayed the other at work, leading the man to commit suicide years and years ago.
Because they are human and women and civilized and temperate, at no point do these two women raise their voices in anger, or pound on their chests or do anything that would seem like an overt act of aggression. But do you think Bow is fooled? He starts to watch this scene with me calmly, but as it continues, he becomes progressively more and more upset, until he can't stand it anymore and starts hurling himself against the glass. I hurriedly click it off and order is restored. But you can see why I would not even try to show him a movie about an ape revolt against humans.
That said, I totally support the right of another ape mother or father or owner or trainer to choose differently. I would never condemn someone because they chose to do something for or with their dependents that I would not choose to do with or for mine. I am not at all like Barbara J. King.
The reason CGI apes were used in that movie, rather than real apes, is that animal rights advocates like PETA and the Humane Society and all those other animal rights groups make a stink every time a real chimpanzee actor, such as Chance Rosaire, appears in a movie with a real human actor, such as Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now, Bow is not an actor. He wasn't trained to be one, and he seldom does anything unless he wants to. But I can definitely see that other chimpanzees have a different life story, and that forbidding them to earn their own living is not helping them to find a place in life. So, I think it is sad that we have to use fake chimps when we could have used real ones and contributed to their livelihood.
But on the other hand, I don't think we have to boycott those films that portray chimpanzees without using chimp actors. My motto is live and let live. And the people at Myrtle Beach Safari seem to feel the same way. They saw an opportunity to educate the public about chimpanzees and took two of their chimps to the movies with them.
Let's make no mistake: the photo op helps Myrtle Beach Safari to raise funds to keep its chimpanzees and the other animals who live there. They have to interact with the public, because the public means funding. People like Barbara J. King want for there to be only one source of funding for chimpanzees: the government. We know what the government has done in the past to chimpanzees. I find nothing humane about that.
The young chimps who were taken to see the movie posed no danger to the public, and they probably did understand the plot of the movie. I remember that when Bow at a similar age saw Jesus Christ Superstar he was able to follow that plot with no problem.
Pre-adolescent chimpanzees are tolerant that way, but I think it is probably not a coincidence that any older chimps at Myrtle Beach Safari stayed home. The desire to actually do something about upsetting situations does seem to grow with the supply of testosterone available.
Unlike many older women I know, I do not think we would have a better world if men had less testosterone and wise old crones ruled the world. People can do more damage with underhanded comments that destroy another person's reputation than with out-and-out violence. That's why I think that the practice of dueling which was prevalent in 19th century and is described in my Theodosia and the Pirates novels spared us from a lot of ugliness. The possibility of a duel to the death really does cut down on snarky comments.
That said, I want to keep Bow safe from harm. So he is not going to the movies, and he won't be watching any planet of the apes movies any time soon. But I would fight to the death to defend another chimpanzee parent's right to make the opposite choice.