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RE: The Last Dinosaur Book(long)



To Dinogeorge from Tom Mitchell: replies in <<  >>


Now that I've practically finished reading the book, I must say that, while
it contains some interesting notions, I found it quite useless in telling me
why I, myself, happen to be interested in dinosaurs.

<<I deeply regret, Dinogeorge, my failure to explain you to yourself.>>


I couldn't care less
what view the ignorant public has of dinosaurs, or whether or not dinosaurs
are some kind of totem for the masses.

<<Then why did you bother reading this book?  The dust jacket alone should
have told you that it was not for you.>>

 I certainly don't "worship" dinosaurs
by any stretch of the imagination,

<<who says you worship them?  Not me, certainly>>

and I rather resent the notion that being
interested in dinosaurs and wanting to study them marks me as some kind of
anal retentive. There are plenty of anal retentives in the humanities in any
case, so even if I were, I'd have company. There are plenty of passages in
the book that strike me as unduly condescending, but since that happens to
be
my attitude toward the humanities as a whole, I can accept that.

<<Suppose we call this one a draw, and agree to be condescending to anal
retentives in both the sciences and the humanities.  I hereby confess to
being one myself...>>

With regard to dinosaurs in popular culture, I can't take any study of this
seriously that completely ignores the dinosaur image in comic >books< (not
comic strips).

 <<Dinogeorge is right about this.  I completely neglect comic books.
Perhaps someone should write a sequel to "The Last Dinosaur Book" that will
cover this.  But then: if we're not interested in the "ignorant public" or
the masses, why bother with comic book dinosaurs?  You can't have it both
ways, George...>>


The chapter on Zallinger's mural is deficient in not mentioning that
Zallinger did his mural at least >twice<: once as an essay that was
completed
in and dated 1943, and once again on the Yale Peabody Museum wall.

<<George is right again.  I didn't mention the preparatory study for the
mural, from which most of the reproductions were made.  And, much to my
horror, after the book had gone to press, I discovered that the Peabody
Museum had sent me a transparency of the study, not of the mural.  The
detail is from the mural, not the study.  This is the sort of mistake that
gives art historians nightmares.  I don't believe my interpretation of the
mural, however, is damaged by this error.>>


The puke that passes for "fine art" these days does a vast disservice to
the talent, care, and research that today's dinosaur artists put into their
work.

<<This sort of remark leads me to think that there's not much point in
continuing this discussion any further.  I do want to say that I treat
scientific illustrators, dinosaur artists, and so-called "fine artists" with
equal respect in this book, along with many cartoonists, film-makers,
fiction-writers, and makers of commercials.  I will admit to poking a little
fun at many targets along the way.  The book is critical in varying degrees
of, among others, Stephen Spielberg, Michael Crichton, Walt Disney, Henry
Fairfield Osborn, Andrew Carnegie, O.C. Marsh, and even Steve Gould and
Daniel Dennett.  But I don't think it's ever mean or vituperative, and I
hope we can keep further remarks above the level of a puking contest. >>