Scaly Motherhood, Witnessed

I had the general impression that alligators and crocs were indifferent parents. Females laid the eggs, hatched them, and the little pre-dinos were on their own. Not so —

About three decades ago, we were walking through the Everglades in FLA and came across a couple German-speaking tourists who were tormenting a foot-and-a-half-long baby alligator by pulling its tail. I was about to run up to them and tell them to cut it the fuck out when the baby let out this piercing shriek — very high-pitched and birdlike.

Instantly, with a horrendous roar, the mother burst out of nearby reeds and began racing on fully erect legs toward the tourists — this was no slow crawling, she was moving fast as an attack dog. If she had been a yard closer, one of the tourists would not have a hand today. They sprinted away in terror and we got away in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Fortunately the mother began nuzzling the baby and was happy for the hairless apes to get gone quick.

Just a reminder — as every park ranger will tell you, these animals are not to be approached.

PS: Have to add that on the end of the same walk, a full-size alligator was snoozing on the tourist path and people wold bend down and pet it as they went by. Didn’t holler “Don’t Do That!!” But should have.

 

The Cosby Immolation, Pt. Two

This is what I wrote almost four years ago. I would make one major change. I suggested that if Cosby had muffled his arrogant criticism of younger black culture, the story of his serial molestations might have stayed dead. That is absolutely not true. He could have used everything he had to keep the accusations old news, but social and cultural change would have kept them burning-hot items. It’s one of the saddest, most abject collapses of my life.

Rot in Hell: Uncle Charlie

I have, surprise, two positive notes about the end of this psycho:

He has come to be viewed, not as a transgressive antihero or the depraved underside of all rebellion, but as a freaky product of freaky times.

Unlike what a lot of people feared, he’s become a smaller and smaller footnote to the story of the Beatles. Not least because their work remains undiminished.

Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Pervert?

As I noted recently, comics after Jonathan Winters are off my screen. [Male ones, anyway, I know, if anything, even less about female stand-ups, but don’t have the same specific objections to them.] Nobody’s ever accused me of being humorless, so I don’t feel bad about this outlook at all. What surprises me is how much reinforcement my attitude has gotten over the years. I thought The Sophisticates was a huge indictment of all the stand-up society. When I first moved to Boston in the late ’70s, comedy clubs were undergoing quite the boom. So I went to a show, I don’t remember who. I found the atmosphere relentlessly icky. Making members of the audience uncomfortable and encouraging those who were yukking it up to look down on them was a clear component of the act. It was a divisive collective experience the opposite of what I enjoyed about music performances. The final conclusion I came to is that far too many comedians are like what I consider the utter worst kind of fiction writer — those who create feuds and disasters in their own life to use as raw material.

The Disney Menace

Aw. c’mon — menace is over the top innit? I donno — when we visited Anaheim recently I thought it had the weirdest company-town vibe imaginable. Felt like you had to wear a Mouseketeer hat to live there. Non-Disney places felt like escape havens. Now it turns out Disney is doing something really, really shitty — banning LA Times critics from advance screenings because the paper is reporting on the freaky conquest of the town by the company. The only pleasure I take from any of this is that the shivery feeling I had out there was based in reality.

 

UPDATE: the ban is lifted after backlash that any non-arrogant non-bonehead could have seen coming.