Stung by Anthropomorphization

In recounting a zookeeper’s memoirs published in 1944, Dalrymple acknowledges that mankind occupies a unique place in the hierarchy of Earthly beings, but admits that he still anthropomorphizes animals:

My belief, based I think on argument, that man is unique among the animals should make me proof against all forms of anthropomorphism of the Vera Hegi type, but in fact it does not. On the contrary, the moment I stop arguing that man is completely different from all other creatures, I invest practically every creature I encounter with human qualities, thoughts and emotions, down to the amoeba straggling under the microscope against a drop of acid or other substance noxious to it. I don’t go in quite for panpsychism, investing trees and stones with a mental life; I don’t hear strawberries scream in my mind’s ear as I bite into them, or hug trees, or speak to my roses, or anything like that. But insects I do think of as moral beings, there being some which are good by nature and some which are bad. I blame the nasty ones for their own nastiness.

3 thoughts on “Stung by Anthropomorphization

  1. Yakimi

    Off-topic, but I have a discovery to share.

    You may recall Theodore Dalrymple’s account of his journey in 1989 to the World Festival of Youth and Students held in North Korea. I was recently rereading that chapter of The Wilder Shores of Marx when I had the idea of seeing whether there existed any footage of him at the event. As luck would have it, YouTube is host to a two-hour film ( documenting the festival. Dalrymple mentioned that the British delegation wore a uniform of “stormtrooper brown”, so I reviewed the footage keeping an eye out for them.

    At 31:39, a figure wearing a brown shirt and strongly resembling Dalrymple as he appears on the book’s dust jacket can be seen, resting his chin on his fist. He appears again at 32:35, holding a camera.

    I do believe that to be Dalrymple. What do you think?

    (Sadly, the footage of Dalrymple telling the wrestler that he hates sports or that of him being forced to dance were not featured.)

    1. Clinton Post author

      Hello, Yakimi. I’m not sure if you saw my email to you, but we were wondering if you minded if we added a blog entry about your find, and if so, how should we credit you (e.g. under what name?).

      Thank you for sending this. It is a wonderful find!


      1. Yakimi


        Sorry, I was using a throwaway email address. Of course, feel free to make a post about it. “h/t Yakimi” would suffice.


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