Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 2193032 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3470 on: December 31, 2023, 05:14:14 pm »
I haven't yet had the opportunity to read the Scott Frank article. I enjoyed the Genghis Khan article.

In the "Goings On" section, I also enjoyed the short piece on Leonard Nimoy's widow. I'd never heard of her, but she's described as an actress, a writer, a director and a philanthropist.

It's funny, I guess. I've never been a Star Trek fan, but it's become such a pervasive part of popular culture that I think it's possible to learn a lot about the show, particularly the people involved in it, without ever having watched an episode.

I enjoy spotting Leonard Nimoy in roles from before he became famous through Star Trek. Twice I've spotted him playing a Native American.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3471 on: January 01, 2024, 03:25:27 pm »
I am reading but have not yet finished Jonathan Franzen on outdoor cats (Jan. 1 and 8 ). I would be very interested in hearing what others may think of it.

While I have not yet finished the article, in the interest of full disclosure I will say that I came to the article unalterably opposed to outdoor cats/cats allowed outdoors (unsupervised) since I saw one kill a robin in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the spring of 1981.

I am presently concerned about a cat without a collar that seems to be skulking around my father's neighborhood. I worry about the birds that gather on the ground underneath my father's bird feeder, and I guess a skulking cat means we will no longer have rabbits in the neighborhood.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3472 on: January 02, 2024, 02:05:53 pm »
Well, for one thing, the illustration is amazing. The more you look at it, the more cats you see.

The article is terribly long but this is a complex problem. Franzen starts by describing the trap/neuter/release method that is used in LA but this is obviously not going to make a big enough dent in the outdoor cat population. There needs to be a multifaceted approach that includes not interfering with the natural order. Instead, people in Pasadena actually considered an eradication program for coyotes because they were killing the outdoor cats! Fortunately, they voted it down. I lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade and there is much wildlife there, including not only coyotes but birds of prey such as the California condor.

There should be a place where unhomed cats can live relatively safely. When I was in Rome, I loved the cats that lived among the ruins such as the Pantheon. These cats are fed and protected. I don't know what all the people do to manage the populations but they should be consulted. As always, we could learn much from Europe but we don't bother to.

Midway through, Franzen starts talking about his real love, birds. It's true that the bird population has fallen alarmingly. My upstairs renter always has a full bird feeder or two on the raised deck, and I've started seeing more birds. But bird lovers unfairly demonize cats. The decrease in birds is also a complex problem and pollution is a bigger threat than domestic cats. My cat has never caught or killed a bird or anything bigger than a spider. As you know, she did bring in a chipmunk one time, but she didn't harm it. She was carrying it like she would a kitten.

I was at a workshop last fall when we heard a lot of cheeping around a tree. The baby birds had gotten too big for the nest and the mother bird was pushing them out. There were about eight small birds hopping around on the ground. They weren't able to fly yet. We asked our teacher/owner what to do and he said, "Let nature take its course." I knew there were many natural predators around. One of the babies hopped into my hand and I took it over and let it loose under some sunflower plants that were enclosed in a fence. Birds are the descendants of dinosaurs so you would expect them to be more resilient.

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3473 on: January 02, 2024, 05:02:39 pm »
The article is terribly long but this is a complex problem. Franzen starts by describing the trap/neuter/release method that is used in LA but this is obviously not going to make a big enough dent in the outdoor cat population. There needs to be a multifaceted approach that includes not interfering with the natural order. Instead, people in Pasadena actually considered an eradication program for coyotes because they were killing the outdoor cats! Fortunately, they voted it down. I lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade and there is much wildlife there, including not only coyotes but birds of prey such as the California condor.

Whenever anyone in my area reports a missing cat on Nextdoor, the neighbors pile on the scorn for the person having let the cat go outside and exposing it to coyotes. I've never heard anyone here propose eradicating coyotes, luckily.

Quote
There should be a place where unhomed cats can live relatively safely. When I was in Rome, I loved the cats that lived among the ruins such as the Pantheon. These cats are fed and protected. I don't know what all the people do to manage the populations but they should be consulted. As always, we could learn much from Europe but we don't bother to.

Actually I think European stray cats are more problematic than that. I wrote a story in 2022 about them. I'm not sure about the Parthenon cats but in general the stray cats are fed haphazardly, often have health problems and rarely get sterilized. My story was about a program that rounds up cats in Greece and keeps them in a big comfortable country home while they get health care from American veterinary student volunteers, including spaying and neutering. Then the ones that are young enough to adjust to human company are adopted and the others released.





Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3474 on: January 02, 2024, 05:52:44 pm »
This article tells about how Holland is taking care of its stray dog problem. IMO dogs are even more of a problem than cats but are hardly even mentioned in Franzen's article. Most every municipality has an animal control department that you can call when there's a stray dog or cat. When I lived in a semi-rural area, they wouldn't come out for nuisance animals. When a skunk family moved in under my deck, they wouldn't come out. Also, when there was a dead deer by the side of the road, I called but they said to leave it and mountain lions or coyotes would take care of it.

But we have domesticated dogs and cats to work for us and be our companions so we are obligated to manage and care for them. And that includes managing the population growth. Wild animals can do this. I read in the book Watership Down that when the rabbit warren gets too crowded, the female rabbits don't have as many babies. The embryos start to form but then are dissolved back into the mothers' bodies. Perhaps humans and all animals used to know how to do this but lost the ability over time. Also, many plants are natural abortifacients.

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3475 on: January 02, 2024, 06:15:37 pm »
In Minnesota, apparently when a deer is lying dead in the highway they call people who go pick them up, butcher and eat them. Frankly, I'd rather eat boxed mac 'n' cheese, watch a Hallmark movie AND drop hot sauce into an eye. I saw a movie years ago whose name I can't remember -- in fact, all I remember was a character (maybe played by Tim Robbins?) who was such a loser his job was picking roadkill off the pavement in the South in summer, so ever since then I've considered that the worst possible job. But I guess if the animal's injuries are in the right places and it hasn't been sitting out too long it's a valid use.

Ready for another gross story? OK then! (I may have already told this.) I went to a county fair where in one of the games, the prize for winning was a live bunny. I was standing nearby and saw someone from the game rush over and tell a small crowd of children near the fence to go away. Apparently a rabbit with new babies was so nervous about the crowd she was eating them.

Good thing human mothers can't reabsorb their babies or they'd probably be arrested in Texas.




 

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3476 on: January 03, 2024, 12:08:05 am »
People shouldn't feed these cats and then decide the cats are a problem. If they don't want the cats to become a problem, then they shouldn't feed the cats.

This is not rocket science.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3477 on: January 03, 2024, 10:03:15 am »
People shouldn't feed these cats and then decide the cats are a problem. If they don't want the cats to become a problem, then they shouldn't feed the cats.

I agree, however Franzen addresses this. He said there was something of a biochemical reaction when people, especially women, feed the stray cats. A nurturing instinct. Also they rationalize that the cats only need food, that being unsheltered outdoors is okay. But in truth it's not. Even for wildlife Nature can be brutal.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3478 on: January 13, 2024, 02:56:18 pm »
I enjoyed Jon Lee Anderson's piece in the Jan. 15 issue. However, as I read my way through it, I couldn't help wondering if in fact he'd sold himself a couple of times just to survive. Cute blond boy that he was at 17? I doubt he would have had to look far for business.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3479 on: January 13, 2024, 04:30:29 pm »
Looking forward to reading that, especially because he's exactly my age.

I forgot to mention that the "storytelling group" at work interviewed Jia Tolentino via Zoom (well, Teams equivalent) a couple of weeks ago. The group talks about how to write engaging feature stories, usually narrative style, and in most meetings we interview either magazine writers or longform newspaper writers, about particular articles someone admires and how they approached them.

This one with Jia Tolentino was on her article about Millennials' anxiety about climate change. Some in the group were really impressed by her wisdom (younger women, primarily). I wasn't particularly impressed in the interview, but I do often like her pieces. Anyway, of course what I really wanted to ask her was whether New Yorker staffers get paid by the article or receive a steady paycheck, but that seemed a bit gauche.