Talking About My(Space) Generation
|by Roberto Rivera|
A year ago, people around the world were anguished over the plight of Knut, a baby polar bear born at a Berlin Zoo. Knut had been rejected by his mother and an animal rights activist had been quoted in a German magazine as saying, "The zoo must kill the bear. Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws." Another said that zoo officials "should have had the courage to let the bear die."
As you probably know, it didn't come to this. A worldwide phenomenon called "Knutmania" not only assured Knut's survival, it made him a cash cow (bear?) for the Berlin zoo.
So how is Knut taking his newfound fame? How is he using his second chance at life?
Not well. One of his keepers told the Daily Mail that Knut is a "publicity-addicted psycho" who is "obsessed with the limelight and [howls] with rage when denied an audience." Markus Roebke told the Daily Mail that
"He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and aah at him.
"When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down."
According to Roebke, "'The trouble is that he identifies himself as a human and not as a polar bear. And as long as he is with us he will always think of Thomas Doerflein, the keeper who brought him up when he was a baby, as his father. Knut needs publicity and that must change.'"
Apparently Roebke isn't alone in his assessment of the star's mental health: "In January, a prominent animal conservationist branded him 'an animal psychopath.'"
There's an obvious cautionary tale here: Wait until you see what blogging, MySpace and Facebook do to an entire generation of young Americans.