The arrival of an Iranian tour party is making the chimpanzees nervous. The Iranians have recently sent worms and turtles into space, and the chimps are worried that they will be next. They haven’t forgotten how NASA ruthlessly press-ganged members of their species into rocket-service back in the 1960s. At least those hapless simians had the good fortune to blast off in the mighty Saturn-5, which was the Biggus Dickus of space exploration. The Iranian Kavoshgar-3 is more of a Naughtius Maximus by comparison, and might end up dumping its payload in Salman Rushdie’s back garden.
Our Iranian visitors are actually US residents who have nothing to do with the regime. The manager of the safari camp removed the porn channels from their rooms out of respect for their supposed religious beliefs. In less time than it takes to unpack a suitcase, a delegation of them gathered outside his office to demand restoration of the standard en-suite entertainment package. I must say I’d feel the same in their place. Although I have little interest in human porn, denying me the right to watch it would be viewed as an inhospitable act. We don’t stop humans watching apes mate in the wild, so they should extend the same courtesy to us.
I don’t want the chimpanzees to have an irrational fear of Iranians, so I’m holding a jungle symposium called “Understanding the Cultural Diversity of our Human Cousins”. It should be well attended, given that chimps are very curious about humans and love to mimic their habits. President Obama’s recent video message to the Iranian people shows he shares my philosophy. His speech was very good, although excessively tactful in avoiding any mention of beards. If most Americans believe that the Supreme Mullah in Tehran should be forcibly deprived of his whiskers, the Iranian people should hear it from the horse’s mouth. I hope the president uses his proposed “cultural exchanges” to send them the latest Gillette products. The Iranians are sure to take the hint.
As a gorilla, I am well qualified to be a mediator in human disputes of a tribal or sectarian nature. Back in my circus days, the 6th form of a local girls’ school was torn between two factions called The Virgins and The Tarts. Things had got very nasty when they asked me to intervene – hair was being pulled, cosmetics were being vandalized and tampons were being dipped in ink. So I went to the school and gave the girls a speech.
“Virgins! Tarts!” I exclaimed. “You are both essential to a healthy ecosystem, for Nature thrives on biodiversity! Without tarts, what appreciation would exist for a virgin’s maidenly blush? Without virgins, what gratitude would exist for a tart’s wanton lubricity? And yet, you are not so different! In every virgin is a quiescent tart who longs to abandon herself to the pleasures of carnal indulgence. In every tart is the memory of a fresh-faced virgin who shyly contemplated her own ripening womanhood. When your aberrant antagonism has abated, you will appreciate these truths and join hands in sisterhood.”
They looked at me in a puzzled sort of way, which seemed to take some heat from their feud. I won’t pretend one speech solved everything. I did a fair amount of work with the girls in the following weeks, both jointly and individually. But we got there in the end.
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