Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blowing The Goat

Humans have always had a strange, almost paganistic relationship with dead animals. This is especially true of pets, the sad thing about which is that they usually die before we do. When this happens, the emotional bonds are so strong that grieving owners sometimes have their animals stuffed, as singing cowboy Roy Rogers did with his beloved horse, Trigger--a phenomenon I find peculiarly creepy, and have never quite been able to wrap my mind around. Much as we love Rush Limbaugh (not), I doubt they'll have him stuffed and mounted with his golf clubs in the Florida room.

A similar postmortem practice is observed among hunters who shoot inedible animals not for food, but for the purpose of mounting the carcasses in menacing action poses. It's not much different from all those wild Indians who wore buffalo heads in cowboy movies. Nevertheless, taxidermy--the art of stuffing and articulating dead animals--has become so popular in recent years that Animal Planet is now producing a reality show on the subject, entitled Stuffed.

Odd as the whole thing is, there are some things even more bizarre, such as turning an animal into a musical instrument, as the bearded rustic in some Borat-like part of the world demonstrates in the above video. In this case he has turned a dead goat into a set of bagpipes that sound exactly the same as bagpipes that aren't made from dead goats, which makes one wonder why he went to all the trouble, apart from the shortage of Macedonian elephant scrotums.

The idea of goat bagpipes suggests a host of potential uses for other kinds of animals. A boa constrictor might make a nice basson. And what about those little pet shop turtles that always die? Why not a kazoo! The possibilities are endless. And it needn't be a musical instrument. There is an enormous, teat-dragging walrus of a cat in this house that would make a fine helium balloon if we could keep its intestines clear long enough to inflate it.

I don't know whether the goat in the video was a pet or a farm animal, however it doesn't really matter. It's all somewhat disturbing, like seeing one of those fox stoles with the little heads and feet still attached. (Did anyone really think those were attractive, as opposed to, say, nightmarish?

Don't misunderstand, I'm not one of those people who thinks chipmunks are little people in chipmunk suits, neither do I believe that humans are anything more than animals. We just have bigger brains. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and if we're going to turn a dead goat into a set of bagpipes, why not extend the same courtesy to people? Rush Limbaugh, for example. He's already something of a windbag.

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