September 25th, 2004

mepublicenemy

Jane Goodall

My wife and I went to see Jane Goodall today.  She's famous for studying chimpanzees in the wild and making some groundbreaking observation, including the observation that chimpanzees sometimes make war on other tribes of chimpanzees.  She was giving a speech at a local college, Saint Xavier.  So Marsha and I hopped on our bicycles and pedalled over to hear her.  We arrived quite early, so that we could get good seats, and we did get front row seats, though a bit to the right.

She was speaking in a big basketball gym, so there was plenty of room.


The first thing I noticed that was "off" was the background music that played while we were waiting for an hour.  The "off" thing was that they were playing one song, over and over, some 60's sounding folkie anthem to circling the world with peace.  It sounded okay - the first couple of times.  But after a full freakin' hour of this little ditty, I was wishing for earplugs.


When the introductions were through, and she began to speak, she was very charming at the beginning, speaking of her early life and her desire to go to Africa.  She was positively magical when she made various chimp sounds, and described her first big breakthrough when one of the chimps she was studying stopped being afraid of her.


But, after talking about  her early work with the chimps a while, she switched gears and started talking about... Saving The Planet.  And this included not only reforesting and preserving species and all the usual stuff, but it also somehow turned into Peace On Earth stuff.  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed her as one of the UN's "Messengers of Peace," but I must say that having a nod from Annan does not carry any weight with me.


In the Grand Finale, children brought out Giant kite-like Peace Doves, two of them, and then... drumroll please... Goodall asked us to listen to a wonderful song that Dana Lyons had written for her organization.  Yes.  It was the same freaking song!


She even blamed the bad hurricane season on human interference in the planet's climate.  You know there is no solid science behind such a claim.  It's just environmental scaremongering.  But what else is new?


My wife's quantitative analysis.  Out of 70 minutes, 20 minutes of good scientific stuff, and 50 minutes of sermonizing.


Rhyme of the day:


Tops as primatologist.
Flops as climatologist.


By the way, she has an organization for young people called Roots And Shoots.  But after listening to the song lyrics about "ain't it time to bury the guns," I leaned over to Marsha and said I was going to form an organization called Aims And Shoots to teach young people the virtues of self-defense.  I mean, peace and freedom are precious things, but that means we should defend them effectively.