The Beijing thing

Everyone at the safari camp is following the Olympics on TV, but the whole thing leaves me cold. In the few events I’ve watched I couldn’t recognise a single face. How am I supposed to get excited about a bunch of nobodies competing against each other? It’s a bit like going to see an art-house movie with no big stars – you appreciate the skill of the director, but don’t really care what happens to the characters. Flags and national pride mean nothing to me.

If I were in charge of the Olympics, I‘d invite Mr Becks to participate in a delegation of one. He could represent Toontown so all the kiddies would cheer him on. After the recent ego-massage he got from Eva Mendes, he ought to be on top form in the high jump. The pouting sex kitten admitted in a
newspaper interview that she would fancy Becks if he smelled of “old socks and bad cheese”. I would have thought the aroma would suit him rather better than aftershave or cologne, but apparently many women have delicate olfactory organs. I can’t help wondering what Victoria Spice will make of this brazen attempt to seduce her husband. Gorilla Bananas is no agitator, but even he can sniff a catfight in the air. Perhaps the ladies should go to Beijing and settle their differences in the wrestling competition.

One group of athletes I will be watching closely is the female sprinters. In truth, their bodies fascinate me – tight bottoms, flat bellies and small breasts. Although these features are quite admirable from a certain angle, they’re not the ideal combination for producing children, and therein lies the quandary. Why would such traits have survived in the female stock if they were unsuitable for breeding? On first sight, it’s not something that chimes with the ideas of Charles Darwin, the great father of ape brotherhood.

The first thing I do, when faced with a puzzle like this, is send an e-mail to Professor Dawkins. If you’re wondering why he’d bother to answer my queries, please note that Dicky has been in my debt ever since
I saved his life as he dangled precariously above the rapids of the Congo. He also knows that I visit England from time to time and might accost him in Oxford if he displeased me. I certainly wouldn’t rule out interrupting one of his lectures, if he started getting sniffy, and giving his head a good rub in front of his students.

So I fired off an e-mail and got a long reply from Dicky, which I won’t reproduce in full. The gist of his argument is that women haven’t evolved solely as baby machines – in order to reproduce successfully, they had to live long enough to bear a goodly brood and nurture them to adolescence. In the context of mankind’s ancestors in the African plains, this required skills like running away from predators at high speed, hence the advantage of the sprinter’s build. There’s no point trying to have babies if a lion has chewed your head off.

Had Dicky stopped there, I would have accepted the logic of his point and held my peace. But he then went on to create a second line of defence, arguing that even if having a small arse makes no sense in biological terms, humans can brainwash themselves with “memes”. These things are like computer viruses, he asserted, infecting the human brain and making people disobey their selfish genes. Thus a woman might come to believe that having a tight little tush was desirable for its own sake.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds suspiciously like a “get-out-of-gaol” card to me. He seems to be saying that even if natural selection doesn’t work, it’s all the fault of those wretched “memes” rather than the theory itself. I’m in two minds whether to send him a scornful e-mail or give his head a good rubbing the next time I’m in England. What do you think?

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