Friday, June 03, 2016


For those of us who grew up in the seventies, we know that the true beginning of the Planet of the Apes came when Aldo said, "No." Aldo was a gorilla, according to the scrolls handed down through the generations, who had grown tired of his role as a servant in the homes of humans and who was finally moved to utter the word that had been shouted at him for years as a slave and years before that as he was conditioned to that place. With electric shock and fire hoses and all manner of torment. Aldo said, "No."
This was the story handed down from ape to ape over the ages, but it may not have taken into account just how the gorillas, chimps and orangutans had gained the power of speech. The story from the scrolls suggest that it occurred as if it were predestined, but further examination leads us to understand that it was the appearance of Caesar, son of the time-travelling chimpanzee scientists Zira and Cornelius who was the true instigator of the revolt that eventually became known as the Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
The scrolls also tell of a plague that wiped out all the cats and dogs on the planet, and eventually humans brought apes into their homes as substitutes for their beloved pets. The size and cognitive abilities of these primates made them ideal servants, once the initial romance of the idea of sharing ones house with their distant cousins wore off. When Aldo said no, it set off a chain of events that eventually led to a race of super-intelligent apes ruling what was left of our planet after the humans had made a mess of it.
Whether you subscribe to the doctrine of the scrolls or the more precise timeline of the Ape-o-nauts, reading the story of Harambe, the seventeen year old gorilla who was shot and killed in Cincinnati last Saturday. The director of the zoo insisted that Harambe was shot in order to save the life of the four year old human child who had fallen into the enclosure. Director Thane Maynard insisted that a tranquilizer would not have acted quickly enough to bring down four hundred-plus pounds of gorilla in time to save the little boy. Who is to blame? In two thousand years when the Lawgiver's scrolls are unfurled and Aldo's story is told right after that of Harmabe's, hopefully it will be a planet of apes and men listening.

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