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Saturday, 9 June 2012

More about zoo animals - Harry Potter and the serpent

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 June

On that date, when I began this posting as a reminder to myself, we could read (on MSN) the caption:

Visitors to Rotterdam Zoo capture amazing footage of a submerged polar bear attempting to shatter his glass enclosure with a rock

Presumably, the vertical image of such a bear, not clearly doing anything (it could have been standing at a counter, waiting to order a drink), was - or was meant to be - that bear.

If so, as I have suggested, the choice of what to show was a poor one, if it was meant to exemplify the 'amazing footage', i.e. nothing very amazing about it, and a picture barely worth 10 words (This is a polar bear upright in water in Rotterdam zoo).

What is more amazing is the cunning, maybe subconscious, use of the word capture, for no bear would - unless bred there, with parents from the wild (itself, an awkwardly poor way of describing The Animal Kingdom where it is meant to live) - be in the zoo without having been captured. Our Let's capture this on tape! has the same thrill of the early explorers, and, in common with them, makes the chase more valuable than the rights or liberty of the thing to be caught.

Any story where an animal supposedly safely, i.e. we are safe from it, in captivity does something violent or dangerous is apparently newsworthy. I believe that I made a posting a few months back about a giraffe being attacked, which I shall endeavour to locate. Yes, thanks to the tag (and not a giraffe as such): Escaped lion kills camel at zoo (according to AOL®).

Which is where I come in with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Whether it is Tom Riddle's snake Nandini, the basilisk, or the one in the zoo, there is something thrilling about the fangs, the venom, the glass disappearing, or the serpent otherwise making an unfriendly house-call...

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