Monday, May 18, 2015

Rothfel, Zoos, Elephants

The following blog post will be concerning Rothfel's "Zoos, the Academy, and Captivity", and particularly the film he discusses, Microcultural Incidents in Ten Zoos. I found this to be a poignant piece in the writing, for at face value it is rather interesting to see micro-cultural trends occurring within humans at spaces meant to be displaying micro-cultures of the animals.  One quote refuses to leave me, "...zoos and elephants uniquely matter; they are significant and intriguing, even if it is not immediately evident from his film that Birdwhistell realized that." (Rothfels, 158). This quote sticks with me solely for the fact that we can realize the importance of majestic beings such as elephants only in compartmentalized spaces, when they are free and existing as they should, we tend to see them as mysterious, wild, and almost at a complete opposite to human existence. Yet within the frames of this silent film, even the director noticed the changed reverence towards this creature, because it was in a space which was comforting to the human population surrounding the elephant. Overall, Rothfel's article was extremely stimulating and interesting, zeroing in on zoos and their pitfalls, but for some reason the imagining of these seconds of film combining humans and elephants seems to encapsulate the entire argument.

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