Monday, 27 September 2010

When we escape, it'll be together.

(Gee Note: Howdy. At some point during the middle of last week, my dear friend Rob Haines of Generation Minus One emailed me to tell me he was working on a guest post for this 'ere web log. And then yesterday he sent it to me.

My, that was a good story wasn't it? Be sure to tune in next time for my tale about looking in the fridge for some butter. Until then however go check out Gen-1, buy one of their prints, and marvel at how lovely it all looks. Or, you know, don't. I can't force you to or anything. I mean, sure it would be the classy thing to do. And it would instantly make you a thousand times better looking and charming somehow. But if you don't want to better yourself then so be it. Anyway back to Rob's guest post. Here it is.)
Two weeks ago, Gee wrote on my prospective mother-in-law’s Facebook wall. The post set up a hue and cry across our combined social circles, sparking vicious debates, backbiting, intensely choreographed knife-fights up – and down – fire escapes, culminating in a giant robot beating the crap out of a butterfly while the Burj Dubai burns in the background to the tune of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The contents of said post, you ask?
Who would you rather be: Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster?

Battle-lines were drawn, t-shirts were made (I believe Gee’s still loudly trumpeting his Team Nessie credentials); but come now, ladies please don’t fight! Let’s examine the issue like civilised folk. “That’s all well and good you claiming to be an impartial mediator,” I hear you say. “But aren’t you I Saw Elvis’s token marine biologist? How’re we expected to believe that you won’t intrinsically support semi-saline loch-based fauna over some lunk in a monkey suit lumbering around some trees?” In the face of such criticism, I present two crucial pieces of evidence; first, that my post as embedded marine biologist to this fine blog comes from having once dissected a crab, and second, that Bigfoot sucks.

Look at the facts: Nessie is a beloved symbol of her home nation, star of mugs, t-shirts, stuffed toys, and numerous tv shows; Bigfoot is a shunned mini-kaiju, whose only chance of real fame is either: a) to run for President – he’s certainly old enough, and no-one could dispute his claim of residency; it’d be fought all the way down to the Supreme Court as to whether he’d be considered a citizen – or b) to become embroiled in a winner-takes-all tournament with such regional hopefuls as the Jersey Devil, Idaho’s Bear Lake Monster and North Carolina’s Beast of Bladenboro. I suspect Bigfoot would go out in the playoffs after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out. Needless to say, whoever’s leveraging name and likeness rights for the big B needs to have a good hard look at the quality of their merchandise.

It doesn’t help that when someone goes looking for Nessie they swan up to Loch Ness with eight squillion quid’s worth of submarine and fancy-schmancy sonar equipment, do an interview or two, vanish beneath the depths, then reappear a week later with a wry shrug and a press release saying ‘Nope. She must’ve swum away when she saw us coming.’ Bigfoot sightings, on the other hand, are more apt to be reported by some trailblazing pioneer with crazy eyes and a blurry video camera (do they even make video cameras with such lack of resolution these days?) or glory-hunters proudly displaying a chest-freezer stuffed full of gorilla-suit and providing DNA samples which test 98% human, 2% opossum. Now either Bigfoot is some form of crazy human-opossum hybrid (A husum? An opoman? How would that even work?) or we’re rapidly approaching Barking Redneck County.
Bigfoot doesn’t even have location going for him. You can be a mysterious, alluring, potentially ancient underwater beast of massive size splashing around in the scenic waterways of bonnie Scotland, or you can be a peculiarly large ginger gorilla wandering round the Mid-West trying not to get in the line of fire between Dick Cheney and his latest attorney. Frankly, if I had to go down the lumbering uber-gorilla route, stick me down for a brief spell as Monsieur Yeti. Great views, a distinct lack of firestick-toting Republicans, and a cool wrestling-style nickname: The Abominable Snowman! (It is a truth universally acknowledged that people with names in the form ‘The [adjective] [proper noun]’ are always cool; c.f. ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ and... um... yeah... Damn you, flagrant disregard for pop culture reference!).

As to whether either of them really exist? Who knows. Nessie certainly does in the hearts and minds of thousands, Bigfoot a little less so, but the evidence for either is pretty thin on the ground. As a televised cryptid deathmatch would undoubtedly reveal, there have always been tales of odd creatures hiding in unexplored reaches, and as humanity overruns ever more of the surface of this planet, paradoxically the unexplored places become ever more remote as we shine a light into the dark and realise that the monsters under the bed were never there at all. Or at least, weren’t there.

Perhaps someday we’ll have the technology to know for sure, to state once and for all whether there are unknown creatures hiding beneath the waters of Loch Ness and the Appalachian wilderness. On that day I hope Nessie and Bigfoot make a run for it, and maybe we’ll meet their like again, as shadows and memories in all the dark places where humankind will tread.

P.S. Go Team Nessie! Woooooooo! Ahem.

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