January 2021 is the top of an period. Sure, in fact, for the United States and all that, but additionally for one thing far much less contentious: The “Wild” taxidermy exhibit on the Melbourne Museum.
I’ll always remember my first expertise with the taxidermy room. Whereas visiting my siblings in Melbourne once I nonetheless lived in Los Angeles, we took my son to the museum. We have been barely delirious with jet lag and the taxidermy room was a bizarre surprise, a tiered, starkly-white area full of beasts from all corners of the world.
My sister identified one animal particularly, an otter with an expression so wonky and forlorn it despatched me into suits of uncontrollable giggles. This, in fact, was Unhappy Otter, who has since acquired a modicum of web fame. (Now you can purchase Sad Otter plush toys at the museum gift shop.)
It’s thought that Unhappy Otter bought his weird look as a result of the taxidermists who labored on him might by no means have seen a stay otter. Regardless of the trigger, he isn’t alone.
Whereas the otter might be the weirdest specimen within the assortment, he’s one in all many to seem with a sure macabre shoddiness. I additionally am fairly keen on flea-bitten lion, disintegrating bat, and mangy bandicoot.
Many of those specimens are over 100 years outdated, and it exhibits.
It’s the imperfection of the gathering that makes it so endearing, at the very least to me. Usually a lot of these shows in museums are so slick that it’s simple to neglect these animals have been as soon as alive, at the moment are lifeless, and someday will disintegrate fully. It’s their impermanence that provides them gravitas.
Their impermanence can also be one motive the show goes away. The taxidermy room will shut on January 26, partly to make means for a 67-million-year-old triceratops skeleton, but additionally as a result of publicity to the general public results in moth infestations and different environmental contaminants. As soon as the show is disassembled, the specimens will likely be put right into a deep freeze to eradicate any creepy crawlies, earlier than being saved.
I’m excited for the brand new triceratops — which is outwardly one of the full and best-preserved dinosaur fossils wherever — however I’ll all the time miss “Wild.”
Australia is commonly so desirous to current itself as ahead considering and fashionable that it neglects to correctly have fun its personal weirdness, and the taxidermy room was one place the place that weirdness was on superb show.
Now for this week’s tales.
… And Over to You
Final week, we asked for your take on the Australian politicians who’ve been spouting misinformation and conspiracy theories in regards to the American election and the pandemic.
“Born in Australia in 1944. I moved to America in 1978, dwelling in New York the place Donald Trump was broadly seen because the egocentric self-centered particular person he’s. It’s unhappy that Australia (I’m nonetheless a citizen) goes in the identical path.”
— Invoice Quinlan
“Sure, of us, surprisingly sufficient we in Australia help freedom of speech! Freedom to say what you consider, even when I don’t agree with the perspective! No progress was ever made by censoring views that don’t accord with the so-called ‘mainstream’ view. Take a look at how Galileo was handled! And Socrates! Evidently, the MSM is NOT the font of all information!
Historical past has demonstrated that censorship is the instrument of the Left, as seen in communist nations. It’s a disgrace, with all its ‘woke’ concepts, that freedom of speech is just not included within the Left’s toolbox!”
— Kay Kelly
“What has gone on right here is America is horrendously tragic and downright harmful. Our incipient fascist has been flummoxed however his legacy carries on. Watch out, Australia. You’re a beautiful nation and it will be very, very unhappy to see you go down the identical path.”
— Andrew Clark
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