Posted in 미분류, Miscellany

TikTok, the Orphaned Marmoset’s Story

TikTok rescued from a miserable life courtesy of BBC.

Whether it is my animal zodiac sign of Tiger that is believed to be highly incompatible with anyone with that of monkey, let me just clarify that monkeys are my least favorite animals. However, that doesn’t mean that I should not feel strongly about the article from a recent issue of BBC Wildlife about the U.K.’s primate trade accompanied by the title photo of the baby marmoset named TikTok. Call it milk of human kindness. I cannot just leave the pages closed and forget about it as a piece of memory. The images and words still haunt me, which prompts an enduring reckoning, resulting in writing this essay.

The primate trade in the U.K. and here in the States evokes the human history of slavery. Under slavery, human lives were counted as chattel, and the families were continuously disintegrated because of volatile trade-offs. On the same token, keeping primates as pets seems no less different from colonialists or slave owners whose eyes were set upon the exotic physical attributes of the people they subordinated.

The article has also taken me to my brief research into the U.S. primate trade with the following facts: in 2012, 19 states, including California, where I live, had outright bans on private monkey ownership. The primates are considered a threat to wildlife and public safety and health because their habitats and nature are not agreeable to our environment despite our conventional knowledge of primates as the closest to our species lost in the evolution tree. Come to think of it, the idea of “Planet of Apes” has a point in reversing the directions of gaze from humans to apes, and vice versa, showing us why the two species could not cohabitate by confining them in the opposite environments.

We should not think of animals as live toys or ornaments that will satisfy our whimsical, capricious tastes. From pets to wildlife, animals are not our property but companions. I know it for sure when I feel a little heart of my cat Toro sleeping at my feet.

Posted in book review

forget sister acts

This week’s The New York Times Book review of The Trouble with White Women by Kyla Schuller manifests dishearteningly why Feminism has failed to gain unanimous consent of the universal womanhood across social barriers, cultural differences, and physical planes. Instead, it reinforces my conviction that Feminism is a league of an ambitious, level-headed elite group of women (Black or White) pretermitting the rights and positions of all ordinary women who live in the periphery of their ambitious political constituency academic appellation.

The review written by Joan Morgan, the director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at NYU, who is also a black feminist scholar, is an intricately academic and emotionally trenchant antithesis to white Feminism, so to speak, by the women, of the privileged, for the white. Morgan’s review itself has no regard for a general reader in mind with her magnificently intellectual syntax and abstruse syllogism, which makes on a par with the hypocritical white feminists she and her league of feminists criticize. Feminism, in its unalloyed sense of justice and the most original idea of essence, should belong neither to ideology politics nor to academy subjects that cater to a specific group of demographic populations. Thus non-white (the adjectives I am so hesitant to use because of its coarse way of describing a person) women should not feel betrayed because many white women who professed themselves to be feminists voted for blocking the Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The stance of pro-choice is not a proverbial character of white conservative Christian women because, as a matter of fact, Hispanics, African-Americans are more religiously and culturally more conservative than their counterparts. I am not here to debate my stance on abortion, but historically, the procedure has been motivated and campaigned by the eugenic inclination to curb a particular “undesirable” population, no matter how intelligently the proponents of abortion would try to persuade you. That said, wouldn’t it odd to even contemplate the recent Texas case as a manifest token of White Feminism v. Non-white Feminism?

Perhaps it’s an American thing that inherently discombobulates a simple truth. Outside the States, sisterhood among the members of Female Species is comparatively felt and celebrated, albeit without a total transcendence of racial and cultural discrimination, which you can’t eradicate in this world. But America is New World, and it still lacks a coherent force that unifies peoples. That is why Feminism, which should be only one with capital “F,” has so many subsidiaries, resulting in Morgan’s review of the book by another feminist (a Rutgers University professor who happens to be a white woman). Such is my true feeling about my reading of the review, but it should not be yours.

Posted in Miscellany

for whom the bell tolls

Watching the world leaders attending COP 26 and G20 vehemently discussing achieving the net-zero policy makes me wonder how Greta Thunberg can get away with her angry facial expressions and vitriolic remarks that would otherwise have been simply unpleasant. How powerful Greta Thunberg’s vehement narrative on her newfound purpose in life has become! Now the world leaders vow to her harmoniously, when they should know better as expensively educated men that the goal of net-zero carbon dioxide will require live human sacrifice and stultify the truth about carbon dioxide in its relationship with the earth.

To begin, you have to understand carbon dioxide is not evil but necessary to keep the appearance of this planet. The principal effect of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stimulates plan growth, aka the fertilization effect. Thanks to its grim colorful image of the reaper as a hazardous element, its function to make the green greener sounds cynically antonymous. Also, carbon dioxide warms the planet earth, lest it turns into a dwarf planet like Saturn with frozen lakes adumbrated with gas-filled clouds. Besides, only 1/6 of a degree per decade has been increased, the amount inconspicuously perceptible and critical to producing any apocalyptic effects on the earth’s surface. Thunberg and her comrades command that all nations achieve net-zero in carbon dioxide emissions, which means using fossil fuels, which is too costly for underdeveloped and developing countries to keep up with. The poor always remain poor because of this unfair authoritarian policy without regard to the national economic system and social situations forcefully measured in the Outrageous Bed of Procrustes. In effect, most pollution in the world comes not from Western Europe but from those countries where the industrial revolution was the counter-product of colonialism or communism. Therefore, if these countries strive for the net-zero goal, they will fall by the wayside of their social progress for the welfare of the people by spending the national treasure on achieving the pyrrhic goal.

I have never seen an aggressive environmental campaign such as this at present. Of course, climate irregularities have always existed, but humans have remarkable skills to adapt to new surroundings with the power to think as a bipedal species. Dostoevsky said we could get used to anything, even hanging. But the current seismic environmental zeal with the Swedish teenager seems more unpleasantly cataclysmic with her militant warrior approach. The matching ensemble of the haughty voice is heartless, laughing at how the famous and influential adults are fumblingly and funnily reacted to her like dolts. Could it be her ambition to prove herself to the world that despite her autism and want of beauty, she could become the most well-known and influential girl in the world? After all, even the women politicians and intellectuals fall in love and even marry. The whole scene reminds me of a teenager dissatisfied with herself venting her depression and anger with a holler from the rebels against the demands placed upon daily tasks of life. In William Golding’s dystopian juvenile literature Lord of the Flies, Jack, the antagonist, plays innocent along with his followers in the eyes of adults. Greta is the female version of Jack. And the world leaders at COP26 and G20 are the officers who rescued the band of children and boarded them on the ship, not knowing what would happen soon. But Greta has much more followers to her alter of Climate Catastrophism.

Posted in book review

‘Royalty’s Strangest Characters: Extraordinary But True Tales of 2000 years of mad monarchs and raving rulers’ by Geoff Tibballs

Royalty’s Strangest Characters: Extraordinary But True Tales of 2000 years of mad monarchs and raving rulers by Geoff Tibballs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It always amazes me that some people can get away with their character flaws and faults under the aegis of social status and wealth, such as modern-day celebrities. The celebrities of the bygone days were kings and queens whose God-given authorities indemnified them from punishment. Their entitled strangeness swiveled my head in wonderment at the stupendousness of freakiness. Ironically, this anecdotal recounting of the cruel-to-be kind potentates reminds me of a tenet of Logotherapy, which explains that a healthy dose of suspense in life helps us escape boredom, resulting in excessive indulgence in perverted pleasure-seeking.

This book tells of the infamous kings and queens and some aristocrats. They are famous and lesser-known, mainly from Russia and Eastern Europe, which gives a somber ambiance to the tales of weirds born with silver spoons in their mouths. The most memorably horrible and ignoble characters that left indelible marks on my consciousness are as follows:

1. Elizabeth Bethany: This diabolically perverted Hungarian countess whose uncle was a king of Poland had a fixation on blood and pain in devotion to youth and beauty. Some say she was trained to be cruel, but I think it has to do with her connatural inclination for cruelty passed down in her lineage. Her aunt was a Satan-worshipping noblewoman who sought erotic pleasure in young girls, which Elizabeth also learned and practiced in her castle. She had her trusty three maids lured beautiful young girls, usually from poor families, under the pretext of training them for top-rated maids-in-waiting with generous munificence to the families. What happened next was all over but the shouting. Bethany tortured the girls in unthinkably cruel ways and bathed in their blood because she believed doing it would restore youth and beauty. She deserves no revisionist or appeals on the crime against the girls under her care. Nevertheless, modern-day feminists and the radical leftists are moved to portray her as a wrongfully accused Calvinist woman in a time when sectarian religious rivalry and antipathy were rampant. Her being charged by a Lutheran minister in the town does not ipso facto constitute Lutheran machination of destroying the Calvinist influence in the region. If the minister conspired to concoct any such plot, he would have targeted a man, not a woman whose social status was not entirely regarded as equally significant as a man even in high birth.

2. Vlad the Lad, aka the Impaler, aka Dracula: The proverbial bloodsucker ruler had a penchant for impaling men, women, and children for leisure and punishment. The point was to give them slow deaths to heighten the apex of pain till the last breath. The legend of Count Dracula is loosely based on this Romanian ruler who might have inspired an idea of shashlik, kebab. Or any skewed food. Thanks to the detailed accounts of how Vlad artistically mastered impaling, I swore off any such skewered food lest it should conjure up the vista of the impaled helpless.

3. Frederick I of Prussia: A stout and short, the king’s obsession with men in great height was his actualization of ideation. He had the tallest men in all the regions of Europe, especially from the North, to establish the royal military version of a freak company called “The Potsdam Giants.” The recruits, or in many cases, abductees, were consisted of a former woodsman, laborers, and farmers, allured by abundant compensations promising dazzling delights of secured lives. Yet it was an empty promise, beguiling the simple-minded low-class foreigners, who were subjected to mistreatments and even punishments should they attempt to escape. The king’s pastime was to call upon the guards at any time anywhere, including in his chamber at night, and watch them in full uniform, admiring their impossibly imposing physique that he coveted but could never have. Thank God that his son Frederick the Great disbanded the freakish guards no sooner than had he succeeded his father upon his death.

I wonder if these royal characters were due to in-breeding abnormalities, which were usually customary in European dynasties to preserve their noble royal lineage. It also testifies that keeping means in one’s life is a blessing because extreme wealth and poverty lead a soul astray due to listlessness and exasperation, resulting in amoral walking dead subsisting on the pain of the others. Robinson Crusoe’s sagacious father was right in saying that the best is the upper station of low life. Mel Brooks once uttered, “It’s good to be a king.” Unfortunately, it only applies to these afore-described weird and evil characters. A good king or queen doesn’t.



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Posted in book review, Miscellany

the image of the war

original
from International Archive

When Oberon, the king of Fairyland in Shakespeare’s The Midsummer Night’s Dream, demands that queen Titania yield the human child whose mother is a votary of her order,  she remonstrates thus: “Set your heart at rest. The fairyland buys not the child of me.” The queen is adamantly protective of her human changeling for the sake of his well-being. Then I see one of the famous photos of the war children, which was taken in the wake of the Korean War, as shown above in this post. Where is their Queen Titania in her fairyland? Or more tragically, has she forsaken these little children in their own care? What would have happened to them?

The face of a doleful young girl carrying her little brother before the tank needs no assistance of words with a surge of the pathos of child refugees who were forced to grow fast in the reality of war. Wandering about their whereabouts now in mind conjures up the mental picture of Aeneas carrying his elderly father on the back, escaping from the carnage of the war behind. Both the elderly father and the younger brother are prone to any seismic events because of their weak mentality and physical strength, and therefore require special care at all times. Aeneas, the man destined to become a founder of Rome and the nameless girl, is, in fact, are brought together by the collective experience of war, bound by the familial duty that requires sacrifice.

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Aeneas carrying his elderly father

Notwithstanding the official cease-fire agreement unwillingly made and entered into by and between the Two Koreas, the tension, the disbelief, and the conflict of the political, social ideologies are still in the consciousness of the North and the South, keeping the amber of the war volatile around the 38th Parallel Line. This current unfinished state of the war is arguably akin to the 10-year long Trojan War between the allied forces of ancient Greece and of Troy during which the Trojans continued to carry about living in the semblance of the ordinariness of life.  The compelling, emotive picture of the little Korean siblings attests to the atrocity of war that forfeits the innocence of childhood that every child in the world should have. It pleads in silence that we as citizens of the world should prevent a reprise of the Trojan War not only in the Korean peninsular but elsewhere in the world so that no more war children of their kind will be begotten by the tragedy of war.