Monday, June 9, 2014

But a Frog Mariachi Band Would Just be Tacky

Not creepy at all.
They always do that.
A London woman is attempting to revive the Victorian craft of arranging taxidermied animals in human like poses, according to an article in the New York Times. She teaches classes under the pseudonym Margot Magpie. She uses a pseudonym because she has received some death threats. I find taxidermied animals a little creepy, I would hope that the people who have made these threats realize just how horribly creepy they are.

The Victorian practice was started by one Walter Potter (no relation to the Beatrix Potter of cutesy animal illustrations). Mr. Potter created what the article calls “whimsical tableaux,” which are described as including
rabbit schoolchildren scribbling on slates, squirrels smoking cigars and kittens playing croquet or dancing, wearing ruffled dresses and bead necklaces.
No, not creepy at all. I’d be averting my eyes. This is the sort of thing I just can’t look at. In an antiques shop, I once saw a large of set of frogs that had been posed into a variety of positions. I quickly went to another, dead-frog-free section of the store. For that matter, you can now guess my least favorite part of any natural history museum.

Still, there are some creepy parts to the article.
Oliver Morley-Leacock, another participant, said his first lesson in taxidermy reignited a fascination with biology and anatomy. “You kind of get a godlike feeling by ripping apart a little animal,” he said dryly.
I don’t want to sit near Oliver. I’ve done various bits of cooking that have required me to section birds (mostly chicken, of course). At no point does that ever make me feel “godlike.” Ms. Magpie has an explanation for why students are interested in this:
“I think people are interested in the bizarre,” she said during a recent class s she bared a tattoo of a rat on her arm, its bright red tongue matching her hair. “They sit at their desks all day and they stare at a computer, and they want to get into something else and do something manual with their hands and be creative.”
Okay, but you would think that knitting might fit that bill. Still, there are some people who wonder after you’re done with the knitting project what you do with that scarf, hat, or sweater. I suppose the same thing might be true for a taxidermied mouse with a “Votes for Women” banner. But whatever is true of what you do with the things, in no way does this really give the animals "a second life."

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