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RE: The Last Dinosaur Book

Philidor: some comments seriatim:

<< 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
 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
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.

<<TM: Yes, simultaneously, or at least in very rapid succession.  I'm
especially struck by the MacDonald's use of the dinosaur in its "Fossil
Fuels" commercial, which takes the T-Rex from fearsome predator to
whimpering domestic animal in 60 seconds.>>

>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.

<<TM: I agree, but want to add that obsolescence only makes sense in
relation to innovation and modernization.  The dinosaur seems to be able to
work both sides of this street, too.>>

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).

<<TM you'll need to clarify the bloody oxhide reference for me.  As for Baal
& Osiris, I think of them as idols, not totems.  That is, they are
representations of deities.  Totems generally aren't deities (according to
classic theories on the subject) though they have an aura of the sacred
around them. The word totem means "he is a relative of mine."  My argument
(despite what Dinogeorge may think) is NOT that we worship dinosaurs, but
that we think of them a related to ourselves:  they are incredibly distant,
alien creatures who nevertheless have a kinship to us, and which we desire
to bring back to life, and bring close to us for a multitude of reasons.>>

    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

<<TM: Certainly the re-invigoration of the past is a crucial issue with
dinosaurs.  And how much bigger a challenge than the one presented by Elvis.
Unless, as you suggest, there is one singing outside my window right now!>>

Thanks for a fascinating topic.