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CULTURE:

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SeaWorld orca show. Found online. All rights reserved.

NATURE:

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Found online.

LIVE, NOW, AT TRUE/SLANT: “When Animals Attack!: On Gordon Grice’s Deadly Kingdom

READ IT HERE.

THE VITALS:

The unnatural acts of wild animals penned up in zoos, or forced to perform in theme parks and stage acts, or treated like family in peoples’ homes, is a recurrent theme in Deadly Kingdom. We love nature best when it plays the romantic Other to human culture, just wild enough to remind us how far we’ve come from the primordial soup, but still respectful of the bullwhip, a contract that reaffirms our status as the apple of God’s eye and the only primate with predator drones.

Walt Disney, the man whose name is synonymous with talking animals, robotic wildlife, and the theme-parking of the forest primeval, once remarked without a hint of irony, “I don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.”

We dream of being part of an Edenic order where the lion lies down with the lamb: the paradise regained of Born Free, Free Willy, and moldy Disney chestnuts like Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar. Yet we insist, simultaneously, that we’re not animals; rather, we’re above nature, closer to God, at just the right altitude for Sarah Palin-style aerial wolf gunning.

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