To shore up your environmental intellectual side, we should probably have a discussion about children’s stories that humanize or anthropomorphize animals, portraying them as having human relations, emotions, and understandings. (By the way, it’s obvious that animals do have relationships, emotions, and understandings, but I suspect that it’s bad for us (and for animals) to always frame these in our own, human terms.)
There’s a whole boatload of literary and environmental criticism on the topic, but my favorite book that touches on the subject is Matt Cartmill’s A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature Through History (Harvard University Press 1996).
I’ve been thinking about animal imagery this morning, as I often do, when I happened upon the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books–that’s shorthand for books that people want drummed out of library because books about things you don’t like are scary. Just like professors who say things you don’t like are scary.
So this time out of the chute, the numero uno most challenged book is about gay penguins:
“And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
The cover even has some lecherous penguin porn:
So there’s some socio-cultural environmental and sustainability soup for you this morning. I might point out that if global warming becomes catastrophic, we’ll not have to worry about penguins, gay or otherwise, any more, let alone their ability to corrupt American youth.