Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mammoth Murder

Had you asked me what the coolest thing in California was when I was in grade five number redacted years ago, I would have not hesitated: tar pits. Pits of tar, laden like Chunky Soup with the remains of such wondrous creatures as sabre-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths.

It took a visit from our French friends, Yann and Félicie, to finally induce us to make the trip out to the pits. It was pretty awesome: there were a lot of animals that fell into those pits. The fact that the first few dozen to go in didn’t serve as an object lesson to the dozens more that followed probably goes a long way to explain why they didn’t survive to the present day. The Ice Age was a stupider age.

Sabre toothed freakin' tiger!

As visitors enter the museum grounds, they see the largest pit, fenced of for safety. Within the fencing is an educative, if horrifying tableau:

How can you look at this and not be shocked? Look at the mother mammoth, crying uselessly for help, as it sinks, panicked, into the relentless, sucking void? Look at her baby – reaching it’s tiny trunk out for his mother, watching the very source of his existence sink, with tortuous slowness, into oblivion, while his father, stands by, helpless and knowing he can do nothing to help. It rends the heart.

But it got worse. Unnoticed, on the other side of the lake, we spot another mammoth, concealed behind a bluff, watching the terminal paroxysms of the female.

Creepy. What is he doing there? Why is he watching, offering neither assistance nor comfort? Why is he hiding? Did he have a hand in events? Could it be that our perpetually dying mammoth did not fall, but was in fact pushed?


JC Martin and the Sam Spades said...

It wasn't murder: It's just that Hollywood needs a narrative. It wasn't good, wasn't interesting enough that strange (and brainless) beasts once roamed the city and, brainlessly strange, mistook tar pits as a great place to drink and bathe. That won't sell tickets. People have to be shown what to feel. So Hollywood needed a fall guy, yeah, a patsy and a tar-bucket full of pathos to make the tar pits real, see. I know, see, 'cos I followed Hollywood down that street, see, and I got pictures to prove what they did. Meet me at the corner of Mullholland and that other street and I'll show ya.

Jane Kramers said...

It's the lover! That's the best drama i've seen in weeks.