PANDAPHILIA 

PANDAPHILIA

Far be it from us to rain on the panda parade, but with all the hoo-ha about these overgrown raccoons, and how great they are, and how many tourists will race into Memphis to see them munch bamboo, dropping all their wonderful tourist dollars along the way, it's only fitting that the eternally pessimistic Fly should take an opposing view. The following is excerpted from David Plotz's 1999 obituary of Hsing-Hsing, the National Zoo's ex-panda, once dubbed "the most famous animal in the world":

"For the past six years I have lived next door to [t]his zoo. ... So I speak from the heart when I say: Good riddance to the semi-bear. ... Pandas are not sweet-natured, they are no-natured. Drearier animals you cannot imagine. They are highly antisocial. ... Mother Nature's couch potatoes [are] staggeringly lazy, so slothful they avoid climbing trees because it's too tiring. ... The animal's decade-long attempt to mate was played out as a comic opera. ... At first Hsing-Hsing failed to inseminate Ling-Ling because he tried to mate with her ear and her arm. ... The Smithsonian just announced plans to stuff Hsing-Hsing and exhibit him. They could just stick some bamboo in his paws and return him to his own cage. ... No one would notice the difference."

Actually, all that business about the ears and the arms sounds, you know, sorta sexy.

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