You may've heard about Knut, the cuddly polar bear cub at the Berlin Zoo. In fact, if you have not heard about Knut, you are the only one, the lone ignoscentus among the legions of the global Knut cognoscenti. (Blog about it, if you have not heard about Knut. It's newsworthy in and of itself, since knowing about Knut automatically puts you in the know. Take Leonardio DiCaprio; he's so in the know he and Knut are on the cover of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, fitting enough to be vain so famously, in a photo taken by the famous Annie Lebowitz.)
We saw Knut today at the Berlin Zoo. Knut was allowed to live after his mother rejected him; that's rich for all kinds of Freudian musing, speaking of another famous German.) Knut was allowed by his handlers to make a personal appearance between 1400 and 1500 hours. The press of crowds remined me of Beatlemania! Barriers held throngs back; uniformed guards controlled crowds by megaphone and stern reproach. Batches of people were allowed a 10- or 15-minute glimpse of the bear celebrity -- as popular as a bare celebrity -- human version. Women and children -- well, children -- were allowed along the first ring of viewers (speaking of that, we saw on Sunday a very original ballet rendering of The Ring yesterday; the short version, two hours; sort of a take by Maurice Bejart by way of Samuel Beckett by way of Richard Wagner -- at least to these eyes because the narration was all in German; it should've been called The Pole because there was more of long poles being swung than any ring or ring or Ring(s).) Back at the zoo there were international TV crews. Pushing. Bustling. Feverish excitement.
I saw a few glimpses, being in the Outer Ring.
Exciting? No. Mildly entertaining for a few minutes.
I get the cuddly and warm thing; I get the saved and rescued victim thing. But it's a polar bear (one that PETA ironically wanted killed)!
Later, back at the panda bear exhibit, a small handful. At the Washington, D.C. National Zoo, there would be throngs for the pandas (not thongs; they wouldn't fit).
Fame is such a fickle animal.
What disturbed me was the artifice of it, the mob mentality of celebrity. If somehow a komodo dragon was deemed the object of fame, or a muddy hippo, or a violet macaw, would we be braving the lines and jockeying for space and snapping pictures, because this was Famous? This was a Cool Celebrity Animal? Probably.
The bipolarity of fame and fortune; celebrity and anonymity.
Thanks for your comments and your views; more later this week, perhaps; maybe some pix too.