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RE: Dinosaur Art & Q's



Dear Dane, Thomas, Raymond:  sorry for the name confusion.  I like the
suggestion that the issue isn't the metaphoric use of dinosaurs (we all
agree that is inevitable, I take it) but the use of the WRONG metaphor
(useless, outdated, etc)  Some of you now think the metaphor should be
changed.  If the bird hypothesis is correct, it looks like dinos are a big
success story.  Or maybe it is US (humans) who are the endangered species,
faced with obsolescence.  What interests me about this is not who is right
about the "success/failure" alternative, but the fact that the dinosaur
serves as a symbol within human value systems, and a debatable symbol--a
"bone of contention" if you like.  We can be pretty sure that these thoughts
never crossed the minds of the dinosaurs themselves.  So what does this
debate over a metaphor tell us about ourselves?  Tom Mitchell

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 12:37 PM
> To: wjtm@midway.uchicago.edu
> Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: Dinosaur Art & Q's
>
>
> At 10:25 AM 4/21/99 -0400, Tom Mitchell wrote:
> >Dear Raymond:  Which part gets you worked up?  The condescension toward
> >dinosaurs or being made to think about why they are simultaneously
> >aggrandized and belittled?  Instead of trying to censor people's use of
> >metaphor, why not try to understand it?
>
> It was my impression that the objection wasn't over the use of
> dinosaurs as
> a metaphor, but rather the use of dinosaurs for that *particular* metaphor
> (outdatedness, uselessness, etc.) (much the way ichthyosaurs,
> dodos, and so
> forth were used pre-Crystal Palace).
>
> >I notice, Raymond, that your
> >"feathers" are "ruffled" by this idea.  Should I tell you to
> stop comparing
> >yourself to a bird, or ask you why this metaphor seems to come naturally?
>
> A) I think that it was Dane C. who used that metaphor, not
> Raymond.  Also, I
> was under the impression that the use of that particular metaphor was to
> contradict the idea of dinosaurs as failures: after all, the
> reason we HAVE
> a metaphor "ruffles my feathers" is due to the massive survivorship of
> Dinosauria into modern times!!  (Dane, if that wasn't you intention, I
> apologize.  Whether intended or not, it does counter the metaphorical
> version of "dinosaurs" quite nicely).
>
> >Failure? hmmm... I guess that ruffles my feathers as well.
> Mankind may have
> >progressed (seemingly) to a more advanced state. But will our
> race survive
> >as long as they did?
> >
> >Dane C.
> >
> >
> >
>
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
> Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
> University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
> College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661
>