On Anthropomorphism and More

Q: Why do we anthropomorphize?

For the same reason dogs dogropomorphize“Are you a dog?” from Milton is a Shitbag, a short film by Courtney Davis http://www.miltonisashitbag.com/; it is all we know. THough seeing a dog owner crawling around her NYC penthouse — rope toy in mouth growling wholeheartedly, neck-snapping tug-of-war juices flowing. One begins to wonder.

Goats have had their share of rough treatment over the years. It started as far as we can know, about 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains of Persia.

In the Bible, it was decided that Sheep and Goats were Different; those of the Nineties know the refrain: “Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell.” So true, indeed.

Goats were given the humble and thankless duty of carrying the sins (read: bubonic plague-ridden clothes) of a village into the woods (i.e. Carrying the “sins” to the next village…).

Words: Fire Truck, Purple, Ger, Goat

The goat saunters by like a pimp in a cadillac — one touch look from a cop and they freeze in terror, but then they’re back to bizness as uzual.

The life of the goat is driven by a raw spontaneity that has little human equivalent outside of: childhood, senility or mental illness — and perhaps those hippie free-spirits who dance around in fields all day or drop lots of acid.

The kinetic momentum of a stampede, in the middle of the night, out on the empty step. Not a real stampede, like the kind that killed Simba’s mother. More like a shuffle-pede. One goat gets startled by a thought or a shadow or a gust of wind, and runs, headlong into another goat, who then runs in another direction. Rustling builds, then fades out as the energy dissipates. A self-reorganizing system — to the tune of their own internal “il-logic”.

Why does ice cream taste better in the morning? Are we really so biblically cliché? Perhaps it reminds us of the sweet sucklings at our mother’s (or father’s) teat.

I have an idiosyncratic taste for food. I call it simple, others call it picky, or naïve, or even just boring. I say it’s simple; nay, elegant. But I have done my share of experimentalizing: boiled sheep heart, lungs, liver, blood sausage, spinal chord, fish, sushi, raw beef filet, mussels, fine goat cheese and wine on fig almond cake; whatever. Just give me a slice of sharp cheddar, or pizza; a nice chocolate chip cookie, and I am content. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food – I just need less exoticism to satisfy my culinary appetite, as it were.

Goat cheese–it all tastes the same (except for _aaruul_, more on that later) like it smells. Pasty, thick, herbal and congealed; like cream cheese gone horribly, horribly wrong. Sour, sickly sweet tart turned sideways, always a bit past not quite there. (It’s not really _that_ bad…)

Now chevre is another matter. Cut up some fresh slabs, throw in a bowl layered with hot rocks; ladle in some water, then cover and let simmer until ready. To seal the seam between the top and bottom bowl, lay wet rags along the crack to keep in the steam.

Pass the time by drinking airag, vodka and singing joyfully. If you are not Mongolian, try to ignore the food-poisoning paranoia-gremlin that turns every gurgle into a prophecy of impending gastrointestinal doom. And drink lots of vodka.

Goats are not people; but are we really wrong to ascribe to them our own abstracted behavioral metaphors? If the model works, then what’s the harm? Now we can’t be kidding or deluding ourselves, creating expression where it isn’t; but neither should we needlessly ignore evidence of emotional complexity beyond that of a brick. Goats are not people, true; nor are they bricks or pieces of lead pipe (or robots).

But this is dangerous territory. We have already gone this way with our dogs — and those who see their dogs as pals recoil in utter disgust at the thought of eating one of their beloveds. But do we lift the goat and sheep and cow and pig to such a place? Never. To protect our selves from self-condemnation. _You_ try watching ___Babe___ then sitting down for a nice meal of porkchops.

Bondage Goat Zombie

Several events over the course of human/goat-history have shaped our Goat consciousness, at least in the Judeo-Christian world (empire?). First, deomestication: 10,000 years ago. Then, the pagan traditions which are eventually immortalized in the Bible (Sheep go to heaven, Goats go bring the plague to thy neighbor so you can return to village bizniss). Third, medieval expounding on Biblical ideas, and the Knights Templar trials.
>The diuell..dooth most properlie and commonlie transforme himselfe into a gote.
_–R. Scott. ‘Discov. Witchr.’ v.i.89. (1584)_

5. Black metal — the most tongue-in-cheek and heavy form of goat bedevilment. (See: bondage goat zombie)

Song of Solomon 4:1
[ Lover ] How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.

Job 39

1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

2 Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?

3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.

Jeremiah 50:8
“Flee out of Babylon;
leave the land of the Babylonians,
and be like the goats that lead the flock.

Daniel 8:5-8
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saintsOr rebellion, the armies and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.