All right, with the release of my "Conservatism for Punks" essay (in an anthology of essays that hits bookstores next week), now is a fitting time to reboot the Todd Seavey website. As befits the conservative/punk theme here, let us start with old, primal things. To wit: an animal news round-up:
•Woman fends off bear using zucchini.
•Victims of sharks learn to forgive. As a determinist who is nonetheless a moralist (since incentives such as public shaming can remold people in beneficial ways), I am against granting people blanket forgiveness merely because "it is their nature to be bad" -- as with sociopaths who lack empathy and remorse. Perhaps, then, I ought not to forgive literal sharks, either.
•Of course, animals are dimwitted, so slapping a gator in handcuffs -- as was done with one in Florida recently, oddly enough -- does not necessarily serve any productive educational end (though reform was not the goal in this case, I gather).
•By contrast, punishing a marine who killed dozens of ducks with rocks makes sense.
•I am less enthusiastic about arresting a man for fighting in public with a parrot. Sounds to me like the parrot started it, though some would argue that's like faulting a slave for seizing an opportunity to assault his master.
•Indeed, that might be the opinion of my vegan friend Diana Fleischman, who informs me of an even stranger parrot story: a schizophrenic who walks around carrying a helper-parrot in a cage on his back, trained to talk the man down if he has a serious schizophrenic episode. I'm not sure which is more insane, though: listening to the voices in your head or the voice of the parrot on your back. If I were at a moment of maximum crisis -- and lately, that wouldn't be too surprising -- I'm not sure getting advice from a bird would make me feel the world was more rational.
I guess the system works for the fellow, but I would still advise against creating a system in which, say, tiny robots under a schizophrenic's skin tell him to calm down and follow orders if he starts getting out of line. I also would not recommend a system in which the CIA keeps watch on schizophrenics to make sure they're OK, perhaps using high-tech listening devices.
•But to get back to the animals: I was delighted recently to meet Tina Louise (best known for playing Ginger on Gilligan's Island) and learn that she wrote a children's book, What Does a Bee Do? that not only describes bees but the hypothetical consequences of a massive bee die-off (a concern recently due to mysteriously dysfunctional colonies). Always good to inform while entertaining, as I shall strive to do on this revamped blog (bear with me while the Kinks are worked out).