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Re: The Last Dinosaur Book

In a message dated 5/1/99 1:04:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
wjtm@midway.uchicago.edu writes:

<< As for the power of the dinosaur image.  You are right that it sometimes
 (but not always) symbolizes the familiar cliches of stupidity, slowness,
 etc.  I think it's important to recognize, though, that there are many other
 meanings (ferocity, world dominance, giantism) that make dinos objects of
 admiration and wonder.  >>

Part of my day job is market segmentation, and I have thought of dinosaurs as 
having different images among different groups of people.  If I read you 
correctly, I think you are saying that the same people hold contradictory 
ideas of dinosaurs simultaneously.    From Jurassic Park, many people can 
recognize an alternate view, but it seems they still use dinosaurs as a 
valuable symbol (perhaps because non-human and therefore uninsulting) of 
certain ideas, particularly obsolescence.
Also, I don't think of figures like Baal or Osiris as totems in the same 
sense as the bloody oxhide (to continue the Egyptian comparison).  This is 
not to be denigrating, but couldn't some people think of the dinosaur 
renaissance as a group effort to re-invigorate the past like the Elvis 
following, with the ever-missing principal(s) represented by birds instead of 
Thanks for a fascinating topic.