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Animal Instinct
by Asa Butcher
2006-10-05 10:22:33
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Have you seen that incredibly funny video where an orangutan is urinating into its own mouth? What about the one where a monkey sticks its index finger inside its anus and then sniffs it? Come on, you must have seen the one where the man yells at his cat or the other guy who throws his feline companion onto the ceiling and it hangs there by its claws.

Animals have been stars online far longer than YouTube may have you believe. I have no idea how many times my Inbox has received another version of the 'Funny kitten pictures, including the one where it is smoking and drinking' or the 'Funny kitten PowerPoint presentation' that is just too cute to miss for the umpteenth time.

I have been using email since 1998, so it is rare for anybody to send me an original forward. In fact, my audible complaints and constant whinging has reduced the thoughtless junk that friends send to me to a bare minimum. However, there are still some that insist on sending the latest Photoshopped images, urgent virus warnings, Microsoft chain letters and that bloody kitten photo package.

The Net has provided animals with a new stage on which they can repeat their misfortunes, quirky routines and cock-ups well beyond their interment into the local Pet Cemetery. Our domesticated pets, garden wildlife and zoo inmates have become the unwilling participants in the planet's demand for more of home video clip shows that dominate our Sunday TV schedules and appear on the YouTubes of this world.

Why are we supposed to find a man screaming at his cat funny and why don't we question the fact that he is recording himself doing it? I admit that there are the occasional humorous clips, but the material that some people upload is just baffling. They are wasting valuable bandwidth to host a 30-second WMV or MPEG of a dog that can perform countless back-flips or a naked woman that wants to show just how much she loves her dog…forget that last one.

What we all really want to see is some freak accident where the animal wins over human, like the Aeschylus legend - you know, the Greek guy who was killed when an eagle, mistaking his baldhead for a rock, dropped a tortoise onto it! Two animals and one human fatality, perfect. We want to see more matadors gored to death by bulls because they bloody deserve it and more turkeys snapping at the US President's testicles because he deserves it too.

My attention was caught by the recent debate following the death of Steve Irwin concerning whether the footage of his final moments versus a stingray should be broadcast. Thankfully his widow made the right choice by saying no because for all the 'educational' and 'it's what he would have wanted' waffle, it would have instantly become another email forward quickly mutating into a Zinedine Zidane headbutt re-edit, with tasteless jokes, comedy speech bubbles and ironic music that would merely offend his memory.

So, in honour of World Animal Day, why don't you put away the video camera and spend some quality time visiting the zoo with your kids or playing with your pets instead of luring them into the seedy world of The Planet's Funniest Animals. If you can't do that, then think about getting them a good agent and perhaps you will find yourself the owner of the next Lassie, Old Yeller, Beethoven or, one for the older folks, Rin Tin Tin, but beware because Hollywood can be dog eat dog.

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Get it off your chest
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Robert2006-10-04 13:57:33
damn ... day at work

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