Monday, July 14, 2008

But don't they look natural?

By the time something needs preservation, it's probably too late to really save it, because the niche that allowed it to evolve has gone away. Consider the panda and the koala. They live exclusively on bamboo and eucalyptus, respectively. Their habitats are threatened by burgeoning global demand for tiki torches and coughdrops. Then there's jazz music, which grew out of a social environment that no longer exists. So today you can't get it fresh. It comes preserved, which is like substituting pickles for cucumbers. It's the same with opera, theater, poetry -- all those forms collectively known as the Embalmed Arts.

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