I almost gave the baboon post and the final Victoria’s Secret musings seperate posts because they’re unrelated, but actually they aren’t.

Not really, since you could argue that both subjects involve festive displays of genitalia.

But I digress.

After yesterday’s Victoria’s Secret post, my inbox is still slammed with emails from Washington Post readers who took offense at my taking offense at their being offensive. Or something like that.

So yes, after skimming through a zillion emails I have to say: I disgree with most of you.

At it’s heart, I don’t think this issue has much at all to do with public morality or censorship or art or free speech or the need for indecency legislation.

Why?

Because it’s a mall. Private property. And it’s a window display, not the Louvre. This is about commerce, not personal expression. The free market, Milton Friedman and all that jazz. Don’t like it? Do exactly what the people in the article are doing – vote with your feet and your dollars. No one makes you walk into that store anymore than anyone makes you walk into that mall.

Is Victoria’s Secret introducing erotic stores to Northern Virginia? No, we’ve already got those. Is this about capitalism and not free speech? Yes. Are they committing acts of bad taste and demeaning women? I don’t know, but I’ll try to meet the Bunny there tomorrow and find out. Is this the end of the world as we know it? Probably not. Is this brilliant publicity for VS? You bet.

So that’s all I have to say about that. Now, on to the baboons.

I’m afraid of baboons. Have you ever seen an adult baboon? You would be, too. Nevertheless, I would like very much to go to CARE (Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education) for about a month sometime in the future. (I take the fact that Animal Planet reran their documentary, Growing Up Baboon, yesterday as a sign I should do this).

Plus, baboon. Fun to say. Try it now. Baboon.

Yes, so, I picked up a copy of Robert Sapolsky‘s A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons [amazon.com link].

Sapolsky is a splendid writer and it’s only because I’m partial to other apes over baboons that I’ve never read this one. I’ve been missing out. It’s a great read and I was hooked from the very first paragraph:

I joined the baboon troop during my twenty-first year. I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla. As a child in New York, I endlessly begged and cajoled my mother into taking me to the Museum of Natural History, where I would spend hours looking at the African dioramas, wishing to live in one. Racing effortlessly across the grasslands as a zebra certainly had its appeal, and on some occasions, I could conceive of overcoming my childhood endomorphism and would aspire to giraffehood. During one period, I became enthused with the collectivist utopian rants of my elderly communist relatives and decided that I would someday grow up to be a social insect. A worker ant, of course. I made the miscalculation of putting this scheme into an elementary-school writing assignment about my plan for life, resulting in a worried note from the teacher to my mother.

Still, baboons have very, very big teeth.

My affinity remains with Orangutans. Iris will always be my favorite.