Monday, February 26, 2007

Courtroom drag act

Baffling news from New Zealand: a male barrister has been held in contempt of court after appearing before the judge in ladieswear. I should have thought that cross-dressing was one of the main attractions of the profession. Admittedly, this particular gentleman preferred a Little Bo Peep costume to the traditional black gown and ram’s arse wig, but who are judges to complain when many of them wear nappies as a form of recreation? Give a man a gavel and the power goes to his head.

His reason for wearing a girl’s dress was to protest against the overly-male judiciary. Yet there are surely valid legal arguments against female judges. Bear in mind that most criminals are young men, and the worst rogues among them are often blessed with the looks of Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. What is to stop them from flirting with a female judge by mentally undressing her in court and making passionate eye-contact whenever she addresses him? Most lady judges would be of an age when that kind of attention from a younger man is hugely flattering. Would a woman subjected to such fervent ogling really be capable of putting her romantic fantasies to one side when sentencing the fellow? This is much less of a problem for male judges, as very few villains would make lustful eyes at an old buffer in a wig, even in the hope of a lighter sentence.

The justified exclusion of women from the judiciary by no means implies that the men are doing a good job. Besides being too big for their boots, most of them are sorely lacking in imagination. As I see it, a judgement isn’t worth its salt unless it induces awed gasps of disbelief from the public gallery, followed by a hush in which the guilty man gapes like a fish that’s just seen Jimmy Savile in the nude. Occasionally you get a lateral-thinking judge who dreams up a new punishment, but most of them are stuck in the rut of passing the same old sentences for the same old crimes. What are the alternatives to a prison term or a fine? Here are three off the top of my hairy head:

Whatever happened to this form of rehabilitation? Roman emperors and medieval kings were banishing people all the time. The vast empty spaces of Greenland cry out for penitent humans to build igloos, pull sleds and feed the hungry polar bears.

Placing in stocks
Another one that was popular in the middle ages but has now fallen into disuse. I wouldn’t allow onlookers to throw tomatoes at the prisoners though, which is a waste of good fruit. If they must indulge their vindictive passions, let them daub the convicts with brightly-coloured dyes.

The dead leg
This would never work on gorillas, but I believe it’s highly effective on juvenile humans, the technique having been perfected in countless school playgrounds. One to be applied with caution and commonsense, I feel.

I have deliberately avoided mention of the death-penalty for fear of stirring up heated emotions. The only time I ever debated the issue was when I was a young circus ape. We performers had been invited to tea at the home of Reginald Bullshot, a retired army colonel who had invested in the circus. I happened to mention that some appalling serial killer ought to be fed to the lions.

“Executing a mass murderer won’t bring his victims back to life,” said Colonel Bullshot gravely. “It’s no good killing these blackguards after they’ve done the deed. You’ve got to kill ‘em before they get the chance.”

I scratched my head in confusion. “How do you tell which people are going to commit murder?” I asked.

“You can see it in their faces, by Jove!” exclaimed the Colonel. “All it takes is a bit of practice.”

Ever since then I have always carefully scrutinised the faces of humans for evidence of criminal intent. It must be admitted that the Colonel has a point. Quite a few humans – particularly young men – have the malevolent countenances one would expect of future hoodlums and assassins. But is it ever right to shoot a man simply because of his treacherous face? Thank goodness I’m a gorilla and don’t have to grapple with these complex moral questions.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Workers' rights

I hear that the snake charmers have been campaigning for fair wages and decent working hours. Good for them. A dangerous job like that deserves a high rate of pay, even though any jungle dweller can see that it’s a colossal waste of time. It is not in the nature of a snake to be charmed by anyone, expect perhaps its mother or its paramour. Snakes have no concept of good manners and no interest in social intercourse with any non-reptilian creature. Better to leave them writhing in their juices rather than tooting them out of wicker baskets.

Being a rare talking gorilla, I could virtually set my own terms in my performing career. Yet when negotiating my salary with Mr McDougall, the proprietor of the circus, I insisted on a salary of no more than five times that of the next highest paid artiste.

“If we pay you that little, GB, I’m worried you might be poached by one of our rivals,” said the hard-headed Scotsman.

“Rest assured that I will not be tempted, Sir,” I replied, “for there are more important things to a gorilla than hard cash.”

My moderation and restraint earned me the respect of my fellow performers. They made me the big cheese in their staff association and a trustee of their pension fund – a bit like that American chap Jimmy Hoffmeister. Mr Becks, currently
gorging himself in the swill bucket of Los Angeles, would do well to take note.

I probably acquired my progressive outlook from the example of my human mentor, Dr Whipsnade. In spite of being a self-made millionaire, he always stood up for the rights of the little people. I once saw him refusing to cross a picket line outside Foyle’s Bookshop in London during an industrial dispute. “It’s my way of showing solidarity with the workers,” he explained, “instead of voting Labour which costs me money.”

There are limits to all this plebeian militancy though. Ever since my failed attempt to join the Communist Party, I have drawn the line at Bolshevism. Support the workers by all means, but there’s no need to skulk around with a sour face, treating everyone who’s got on in life as a class enemy, to be strung up – come the Revolution – from the nearest lamp post. As the late Tony Randall once said, millionaires are also a minority group. They know their rights and they’ve got the money to fight for them. Instead of antagonising them unnecessarily, how much better to co-opt them in worthy causes.

My favourite story about a philanthropic millionaire concerns Roy Attwater, the pot-noodle tycoon. He hired an Indian gardener to tend to the grounds of his holiday mansion in Florida, and the man kept the lawn and shrubs in prime condition. The most unpleasant aspect of his job was picking up turds deposited by the dog of an inconsiderate neighbour, who allowed it to run off the leash. Tiring of this annoyance, he set a trap involving raw meat suspended from a string attached to a carton of Madras curry power. The pooch took the bait and snorted a fair dose of the powder, causing it to scamper back home to Mummy, whimpering and sneezing in a state of some distress.

The dog's owner was a middle-aged woman called Mrs Silverman, who took the agitated animal to the vet, where it was sedated before getting its nasal tract purged. She then stormed to the Attwater residence to berate the gardener.

“Whaddya do to my Mookie?” she screamed. “We got laws protecting animals here! You’re not in Mexico!”

"Madam," replied the gardener, "during past month your dog is doing shittings all over this grass. Where are laws for this?"

Mrs Silverman was not won over by this explanation. She pressed charges against the gardener for cruelty, and when Mr Attwater heard of this he flew to Florida to negotiate with her in person.

"Mrs Silverman," he said, "I will reimburse you for your veterinary bills provided that you drop all charges against my employee and keep your pet off my property. If you persist in your complaint, I will ensure that my man has the finest legal defence that money can buy. I will also initiate a lawsuit against you for harassing him in his workplace.”

Mrs Silverman relented and accepted his terms.

A few months later, the gardener had to return to India for his sister’s wedding. Mr Attwater arranged for a thousand pots of
Bombay Bad Boy to be delivered on the day of her nuptials. It’s little gestures like this that separate men of quality from the riff-raff.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Unrequited love story

There’s nothing like a female in distress to stir the chivalrous instincts of a male gorilla. I was quick off the mark to counsel Laverne, the yogic Canadian mom, when she appealed for help in her blog. Apparently, a walrus-like woman at her place of work had been invading her body space and whispering sweet-nothings into her happily-married ear. As Laverne put it:

“She’s VERY friendly, stands a little too close, her face turns red when she sees me, she kind of leans on my desk and she sort of softly says ‘Hey you’ when she sees me.”

I always give the same advice to women who find themselves in this situation: if Sugar Mama tries to force her attention on you, don’t resist or fight back. Allowing Miss Heffalump to play with your goodies is a lesser evil to getting bitten or scratched. Let nature take its course. It’s not as if she’s going to get you pregnant or give you AIDS. Just lie back and think of Ricardo Montalban.

Of course, it’s a good idea to make a mental note of everything she does to you. And after you’ve made a mental note, write it all down somewhere. Publish it in your blog, in fact, so there are witnesses who could later back you up. And don’t worry about what your husband or boyfriend will think. No man with balls in his sack would consider Sapphic acts with another woman to be cheating. The female gorillas in my harem are constantly fooling around with each other and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

For some reason, Laverne was not impressed by this advice. If memory serves, she used expressions like “You’re grossing me out, GB!” and “Stick it up your big hairy butt!”. Before I could protest that I had spoken in good faith – and that she was free to seek a second opinion – she fired off a telling question:

“What do you do to turn women off?” she asked pointedly. “I’m sure you have lots of experience with that.”

She had me there. When I was performing in the circus, you’d be amazed at the number of women who propositioned me backstage. They had these crazy fantasies of rough and hairy sex with a gorilla. Needless to say, it would have been a serious breach of professional ethics to have obliged them. Through trial and error, I discovered a foolproof method of cooling their ardour. I will let you in on the secret on condition that you apply the knowledge with restraint and discretion.

What I did was take one live locust and display it to the woman, holding it squirming between my thumb and forefinger. This would prompt her to say something like “Eeeuw! Make it go away!”. In deference to her request, I would then drop the locust into my mouth and eat it raw. This would invariably cause the woman to run away screaming, sometimes with her finger in her throat. It doesn’t matter how horny the woman is or who she has the hots for. If Russell Crowe himself were to devour a live locust, his most devoted female admirer would run for the sick bag.

Laverne seemed to give this idea serious consideration before rejecting it in favour of an alternative strategy involving her husband. She would get him on the phone when Miss Dikeypoo was standing nearby, and address him with endearments such as “big boy”, “honey hunk” and “daddy pie”. Her same-sex suitor would then surely realise that she was strictly a one-man woman and back off.

I wasn’t sure about this. Hell hath no fury… as the saying goes. So I advised Laverne to carry some pepper spray in her purse as a second line of defence. When desire festers in the bosom of the she-elephant, the park ranger keeps his rifle loaded.

UPDATE!: Laverne's husband came to the office on Valentine's Day and got his buns squeezed by his wife in full view of Miss Heffalump!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Cousteau's legacy

French philosophers are remarkably silly humans, but I refuse to discuss them or even mention their names. Lampooning the French has become a favourite pastime in the Anglophone world and I have no intention of jumping on the bandwagon. When good-natured teasing degenerates into chauvinistic gloating, the presiding gorilla must thump his chest and announce that enough is enough.

The French, of course, could help us love them more by showing better judgment in their choice of national heroes. They might start by singing the praises of
Jacques Cousteau , the intrepid ocean explorer, who could have exploded the pretensions of les grands penseurs with a single burst of gas from his aqualung. Cousteau was a visionary submariner who serenaded the sea-turtles and danced with the dugongs. And no matter how exquisite or alluring the creatures he encountered, he always resisted the temptation to prod them with his harpoon.

For all Cousteau’s efforts to get us to appreciate the diversity of marine life, I’ve never been able to drum up much enthusiasm for sharks. It’s not that I blame them for eating humans – anyone who chooses to show off on a surfboard is pretty much asking for it. What depresses me about those toothy demons of the deep is their utter lack of conversation or social graces. On a visit to an aquarium in Sydney I pulled every face in the book to get the sharks to wink or grin, but all I got in return were cold, fishy stares. So what if they have tiny brains? Crocodiles do as well, but it doesn’t stop them from opening their jaws and hissing whenever you inquire after the missus.

Dolphins are a totally different kettle of non-fish. I’ve chatted with a fair number of these characters and it’s difficult to get them to shut up once they get started. On a recent cruise to Hong Kong, I was limbering up on the railings when a dolphin’s head poked out from under the waves.

“Hello Mr Hairy,” he chirped. “You look like a giant sea slug – click, click, clack!”

“Hello Mr Slippery,” I replied. “You look like a giant dildo.”

“I am one,” said the dolphin smugly. “The female whales in the neighbourhood have to book three months in advance to get me to service them – click, click, clack!”

I clenched my jaw to avoid chuckling. It’s important to keep a straight face when you’re bantering with aquatic mammals. “As if you’d dare mess with a whale, you saucy sea-devil!” I cried. “Haven’t you got fish to catch or something?”

“Nah, it’s my day off,” explained the dolphin. “Why don’t you jump in so I can take you for a ride? The water’s lovely – click, click, clack!”

I wasn’t going to fall for an obvious trick like that. Dolphins are infamous practical jokers, and I might have ended up in Bermuda if I’d jumped on the back of that bottle-nosed bullshitter.

“Thanks for the offer, my flippery friend, but we gorillas don’t ride other animals. That sort of thing generates ugly rumours. If you want to amuse yourself I’ll throw you a beach ball.”

“I don’t need a beach ball to play with myself,” said the dolphin with a smirk. “But if you hang around for a while you’ll see some real fun and games. The females will be coming; they always do with me – click, click, clack!”

I might have asked him how he knew the females weren’t faking it, but I didn’t want to end the conversation on a rancorous note. “An enthralling spectacle to be sure,” I remarked, “but I regret that I have another engagement and time is pressing – click, click clock!”

“You’ll be sorry! – click, click, clack!” exclaimed the dolphin as I waved and took my leave.

Jacques Cousteau was surely right about the ocean being a world of wonder, inhabited by the most extraordinary creatures, but I don’t intend to explore it for myself. Putting on a diving suit and squirming about like a fish is not the gorilla way. My hope is to discover the secrets of the deep from dolphins, who are far better equipped for that sort of work than we primates. First, I’ll have to persuade them to stop larking about and start patrolling the seven seas with cameras attached to their heads. It won’t be easy.

Here is their
theme song.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Meat for the girls

Leonardo DiCaprio has denied being a “piece of cute meat”. Someone should tell this conceited young man to wait for the compliment before pretending to reject it. It seems that Hollywood celebrities have been desperate to play down their sex appeal ever since Steven Spielberg narrowly escaped being sodomised by a stalker. But if DiCaprio is really the ugly duckling he claims to be, how is he able to command a fee of $10 million per movie? No film studio would pay that kind of money for an actor with a face like Porky Pig.

In fairness to Leo, he may not have been talking about his face. I wouldn’t blame him for trying to postpone the fateful day when he is asked to bare his buttocks for the camera. His fans will certainly feel cheated if he hasn’t done so by the age of 35, and perhaps start to wonder whether his derrière is not disfigured by some great bulbous wart. It’s curious how these fashions creep into the movie industry. No one ever expected Humphrey Bogart or Spencer Tracey to show his backside to his fans, but nowadays it is more or less de rigueur for the leading man.

I suspect the fad for rear-exposure was kick-started by the narcissistic mooning of Richard Gere in American Gigolo. Gere also exposed himself frontally in that movie, but mercifully this precedent never caught on in Hollywood. The reason, I should imagine, is that few women derive any pleasure from ogling a man’s “meat-and-two-veg”, as the English housewife calls it. For the lady of good taste, HMS Winkie is a gunboat to be felt rather than seen. The hindquarters, however, are an entirely different cut of beef. Many are the times I have witnessed women peering at the well-packed posterior of a strutting young buck. Female gorillas, I should add, are just the same.

Of course, there was a time when mooning was a tactic used by heterosexual men to shock or humiliate their rivals. The Scotch reputedly did it to the English before their famous victory at the Bannockburn. In my circus days, I was asked to umpire a tennis match between the ringmaster and the senior clown. Believing that the ringmaster had served long, the clown caught the ball in his hand and threw it back over the net. The ringmaster, infuriated by this presumption, was having none of it.

“If that was a fault, I’ll show you my arse!” he bellowed, glaring at the clown before looking in my direction.

I adjudicated in the ringmaster’s favour.

Given that it is now socially acceptable for women to admire the male rump, they ought to come clean and say what they look for in a bottom. The film industry deserves no less from its enthusiastic patrons. Which of the following would be their ideal?

(a) an enormous billowy pumpkin, rough and cratered like the lunar surface;

(b) a smooth, tight, boyish pair of buns;

(c) a muscular pair of upper thighs, suggestive of the pelvic power of a rampaging stallion.

My guess is that the human female, being a complex and subtle creature, would like a combination of all three to suit her changing moods and evolving preferences. Such versatility, alas, is surely beyond the ingenuity of Mother Nature.

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