Thursday, October 12, 2006

Are we chimps?

Hello all


There's not much happening here at the edge of the forest. The hideaway is doing its job of keeping me well away from civilisation, and Ravel is doing a sterling job of keeping us supplied with rations.

Some good news came in from Dolores recently. Apparently one of the charges against me has been dropped. The girl who unjustly accused me of sexual assault has withdrawn the charge after it emerged she has been enjoying the attention of many of the local village's male population. The embarassment is such, apparently, that she may have already left the village. At least I am vindicated on that one point, but I am still charged with asssault of Toby Hancock-Jones in Norfolk, and still hiding from one or more persons intent on extinguishing my life. My future life as a free and living man is still far from guaranteed.

I have a small television here, which helps keep me in touch with the modern world. One of the programmes I watched the other day was Horizon. Someone called Daniel Wallace had read that we share 99.4% of our genome with the chimpanzee. He wanted to know if, in fact, chimps were people too. I was so outraged by the programme that I have decided to write an open letter aimed at the producers.

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Dear Horizon producers

Regarding last night's Horizon. I am afrida to say that after watching this programme I am so affected that I must write and tell you my thoughts. The hypothesis that 'chimps are people too' was preposterous to begin with, as there is a common notion that people=humans, and it was therefore very unlikely that anyone would agree with the presenter, Mr Daniel Wallace. In the end, he got so frustrated that he changed the question. Instead of asking the last scientist 'Do you think chimps are people too', he asked whether 'chimps are kinda like people? The response was still not what he wanted to hear and the programme ended with a wimp rather than a bang (although the bonobo-threesome was peculiarly entertaining).

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for science programming on the BBC. But that programme hit rock bottom in terms of content, idea and presentation. It was basically a vehicle for Mr Wallace to use his brand of slightly irreverant humour and make scientists look frumpy. But the problem from the outset was that he had no scientific background whatsoever. He admitted as such, but this was no excuse. He came across like a slightly excited school boy in each encounter, and we learnt very little about chimp behaviour.

Horizon, you should be ashamed. I understand that you need to engage the audience, but that was turgid (to use your own scoring system).

Disappointed of somewhere secret.

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