Saturday, May 10, 2003

Six monkeys, one typewriter, no Shakespeare

This story, about an experiment designed to see if monkeys could produce literature, or even English, made me think about something said by Terry Pratchett in one of his numerous book tours down here (and obviously elsewhere as well):

"A chimpanzee will take a camera out of a person's hands and smash it. A gorilla will take a camera out of a person's hands, sniff it, and hand it back to him. An orangutang will take a camera out of a person's hands, take it to pieces, and hand the pieces back to them."

Terry didn't know about Bonobos then; if you gave them a camera, they'd use it to make a porn movie. And if you gave them a computer, they'd set up a webcam and a credit card facility, spam millions of unsuspecting web users with messages promising "hot primate sex", and get down to the serious business of running a porn site. Assuming they could drag themselves away from what they were doing at the time, that is...

[And from the look of it, Terry has a new book out. Didn't the Nac Mac Feegle appear in Lords & Ladies?]