Page update: 28.02.08
The time is right to issue a statement about the bear problem.
There has been a lot of loose speculation in the media, recently, about the exact motivation of the bear population in launching multiple nocturnal investigations into human dustbins.
And there was that unhelpful cartoon in The New Yorker which depicted a bear sitting at a restaurant table, studying the menu, and saying to the waiter: "I know I shouldn't, but I'm going to have the garbage."
A lot of people laugh at bears. Sadly for some, it is the last thing that they laugh at in their lives.
It is only fair, I think, to record that for many of us of bipedal persuasion, the early literature of our spiritual formation involved prominent bear exemplars. I think of the Tedi Masters, Rupert, Pooh and Paddington in particular.
And Bigears should not be forgotten in this context, although Noddy might demur. Of course, Bigears was not a bear. But he was bear-like: that is the point. Bigears was more formidable, pastorally, in his day than any Johnny-come-lately armoured bear of the Dark Materials canon.
And we should not forget tarsiers. Tarsiers, in crepuscular conditions, may sometimes be confused with bears by those with zoological difficulties.
Now, I am not myself a bear. And I don't eat bears, even at Christmas. But I do like to hibernate. And, of course, I am fully sympathetic to the concerns of the beargarden community, particularly in its Thames Valley Homeland. As you all know by now, I have long been a trusted companion of the animal people.
I urge people of goodwill everywhere to extend cyber-cleansed screenpaws to our friends, the bears. At difficult times like these, they deserve our support and understanding. And if they are koalas, they need urgent relief from the marsupial culture which so unfortunately surrounds them.
I will speak about wallabies on a future occasion. There is an issue of vulgarity to be addressed. And there is an issue of under-achievement at Rugby Football.
For ease of reference, and in case it assists in calming public fears, I append herewith a hyperlink to a high-resolution image of a tarsier.
Whoops! Sorry. That was the wrong one. Where are we now? Ah, yes. Here we are. That's better. Tarquin the Tarsier.
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