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By Susan Nance
The concept that of 'modernity' is principal to many disciplines, yet what's modernity to animals? Susan Nance solutions this query via an intensive reinterpretation of the lifetime of Jumbo the elephant. within the Eighteen Eighties, shoppers, the media, zoos, circuses and taxidermists, and (unknowingly) Jumbo himself, remodeled the elephant from an orphan of the worldwide ivory alternate and zoo captive right into a distracting foreign big name. voters on continents imaged Jumbo as a sentient person and puppy, yet have been aghast whilst he died in an commercial twist of fate and his continues to be have been absorbed by way of the taxidermic and animal rendering industries reserved for nameless animals. The case of Jumbo uncovered the 'human predicament' of recent residing, in which humans celebrated person animals to manage or distract themselves from the wholesale slaughter of animals required by means of glossy consumerism.
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Additional info for Animal Modernity: Jumbo the Elephant and the Human Dilemma
Barnum, himself, had become a celebrity in part by promoting audience interest in his business ventures, including notable entertainers like Tom Thumb and singer Jenny Lind. 10 Still, for North Americans, why pay any heed to this particular elephant? In London it had been his almost two decades of patient demeanor and hands-on contact with a broad public, especially children, that made him unique; in North America it was Jumbo’s size and life history that distinguished him. There was only a nascent network of zoos on the continent while the circuses tended to carry Asian elephants, which were smaller than Jumbo.
The contrast between the apparent romance of working for an adored circus coupled with frequent misery endured behind the scenes was captured by the 1882 route book (employees yearbook of a season) for the P. T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth and the Great London Circus. That season, the unit took on Jumbo while already saddled with a large herd of elephants, who raced in the ring as a feature of the show. 12 The company’s difficulties were just beginning: Sunday, April 9th. Y. On Sunday morning, April 9th, the long expected, best advertised, new sensation, the Mastodon Elephant Jumbo, arrived from London on the steamship Assyrian Monarch.
82 The redrawing of Jumbo as an emoting being took place long before the advent of cinema and other media we associate with the mass internalization of the consumer ethic and the need for personality, which developed for animals in animated films and wildlife documentaries wherein “animals [appear] personalities or characters ... 2 27 Satirical cartoon and poem on the Jumbo scandal. Judy, y 1882 zoo was a safe place for animals. Again, in part citizens were uninformed, in part they practiced some willful amnesia.
Animal Modernity: Jumbo the Elephant and the Human Dilemma by Susan Nance