The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingGursky's Spectral Tarsier - Issue Thirty-Three
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Gursky's Spectral Tarsier  from Christiano Artuso The Gursky's Spectral Tarsier is a species endemic to the Indonesian islands of Southeast Asia. Although their fossil relatives have been found in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa, modern tarsiers are restricted to Pulau Peleng, and Pulau Selajar, although most live on the northern peninsula of Sulawesi Island where they have likely lived for more than 40 million years. Tarsiers evolved from a diurnal, or daytime-dwelling, ancestor, splitting from other monkeys and apes around the time the dinosaurs died out, about 64.2 to 58.4 million years ago. They are found in primary and secondary rainforests, though they prefer secondary growth forests. Their habitat ranges from the lowland evergreen rainforest near sea level to the lower montane rainforest up to 1500 m, although they have also been found in mangroves and scrub forest. These tiny tree-dwellers are among the smallest known primates, and have the biggest eyes of any mammal relative to their body weight. Their head-body length ranges from 9.5 to 14 cm and tail length ranges from 20 to 26 cm, and their eyes are larger than their brain. They have the most acute night vision of all primates, and even if their head is immobile due to large eye size, this is compensated for by the ability to rotate the head 180 degrees. The gestation period is approximately 6 months, and births also usually occur during May or November. Females give birth to a single offspring, which is born fully furred and with its eyes open. Newborns are precocial and are able to climb at just one day of age. Both crepuscular and nocturnal, they are very active throughout the night. At dusk, they travel for about 30 minutes until they find a forage site. They move through the trees and can leap more than 40 times the length of their body. As morning approaches, spectral tarsiers sing as they return to their sleeping sites, either as a duet with their mate or in a family chorus. These songs signal to neighboring groups that a territory is occupied. They mark their territories with urine and glandular secretions. They eat live animals, such as flying insects such as moths, locusts, beetles and cicadas. They occasionally eat small vertebrates, such as lizards or bats. Once a prey item is targeted, a tarsier ambushes its prey with a sudden lunge, grasps it with its long, slender fingers, and bites to kill it. The tarsier then returns to its perch to consume its prey. This form of ambush hunting requires excellent hand-eye coordination. Tarsiers can eat 10% of their own body weight every 24 hours, and they drink water several times throughout the night. Potential predators of spectral tarsiers include arboreal snakes, civets, monitor lizards, humans, owls and other raptors, and feral cats. If a predator, particularly a snake, is identified, they emit an alarm call. This initiates mobbing behavior, in which numerous tarsiers gather and approach the predator as a group, screaming, lunging, and even biting. Mob groups usually consist of adult males from neighboring groups, which is interesting as most spectral tarsier social groups only contain one territorial adult male. This grouping by neighboring males suggests some form of cooperation among males during predator mobbing. The species is still considered vulnerable due to habitat destruction caused by logging. Logging reduces tarsier densities through the destruction of preferred sleeping sites such as strangler fig trees. Strangler figs are removed from human-utilized forests because they are seen as a threat to other commercially valuable trees. This bleak situation indicates that some primate species in Sulawesi may go extinct before they have even been identified.


The Zombies of Bigotry: Oscar-Snubbed "Get Out" Slashes Through White Supremacy


Alison Ross

There are no good white people in director Jordan Peele's social thriller Get Out (2017). And that's just the way it should be.

Of course, there will be the legions of deep-in-denial detractors, those who brand the movie as benightedly bigoted against Caucasian culture. But I ask: Is it bigoted to portray reality? I think not.

Sure, the white people in the movie are sinister. Does this mean that the aim of the movie is to suggest that all white people are sinister? Or could it be that the movie is a take-down of white supremacist culture?

That, I believe, is a distinction that should be mightily mused upon. After all, white supremacy can be reinforced by anyone of any racial or ethnic group (Ben Carson, anyone?). Not all white people are evil, to be sure, but the white supremacist ethos that guides political policy and societal behavior is malevolent to the core.

Get Out is a devastating and savvy satirical indictment of the prevailing pathological white supremacy that lurks in all corners of society. The movie's bold metaphorical mockery of white appropriation of black culture is so painfully pointed as to be brutally depressing. I barely found any entertainment value in the movie, even as I could recognize objectively that it has entertaining elements. What the movie did exceptionally well is dredge up my not-so-latent white guilt complex and bring it to the forefront. I suspect it did this with many conscientious Caucasians.

I suppose it's redundant to reiterate how ingenious it was for director Peele to select the vehicle of a horror/thriller to transport racially existential themes. In hindsight, it's an obvious, intuitive genre to use. But it turns out that Peele had the foresight to pinpoint the horrors of white supremacy and elaborate on them in a stylized cinematic way.

Genre gimmicks abound in Get Out - zombified characters, caricatured archetypes, suspenseful plot points, carefully calculated missteps, violent crescendo, trick ending. There is a Hitchcockian sense of suspense and tension throughout the movie, but also nods and allusions to B movies, slasher films, 80s teen horror flicks--and yet the movie never seems cheap or derivative. Rather, it's an elevated and cerebral psychological horror on par with Poe. It takes the thriller genre to a new zenith by infusing a plausible plot and refusing to showcase gratuitous gore. Rather, aggressive actions arise organically and are legitimized by context.

All elements germane to the genre work in service to propel the plot of Get Out in an imaginative, if terrifying way.

For what we are dealing with in Get Out is an evocation of modern-day slavery via hypnosis and a vicious eugenics. Peele is urging us to see how all we are all subtly but forcefully mesmerized by white supremacy and its myriad connotations and reverberations. He is laying bare all of our preposterous "post-racial" claims and turning them inside out to reveal a seedy, sleazy underside.

I have long wrangled with the dilemma of how American society can disentangle itself from the dastardly web it's spun itself into regarding racial relations. And Jordan Peele's movie seems to reinforce my fears--that we are so deeply enmeshed in the maze of racial dysfunctions that we're better off just cutting loose from the labyrinth and starting over completely.

But how do we dismantle white supremacy? By eradicating Caucasians? Obviously that's not possible or desirable. By further segregating the races? That's already happening. We've been regressing for quite some time, as neighborhoods and schools self-segregate along racial lines. It would almost be justifiable if the situation did not always result in further suffering by people of color.

The situation is urgent. Jordan Peele's movie is a clarion call (a cacophonous clarion call) to action. His movie suggests that we should be more aware of our own deep-seeded prejudices and the actions we take that might be loaded with sinister intention, even if superficially we think we are acting from an impetus of self-awareness and benevolence.

For example, we might think that the justice system will ultimately "rehabilitate" the staggering number of black men caught up in it, without realizing that it's the system itself that caters to a white supremacist philosophy that deliberately thwarts black ascendancy.

Lynching is no longer necessary when you have prison cages that will stifle the soul. The KKK's fashion apparel is rendered anachronistic because the enforcers of Anglo authoritarianism now wear plain clothes and operate in the light of day. Burning crosses in lawns, setting fire to churches, devising nooses, using whips and chains--these tools of repression have been replaced by laws that perpetuate poverty and injustice. A society hypnotized by the system that stymies are the unwitting servants of such putrid policies.

Does it matter that the Oscars snubbed this grim gem of a movie for Best Picture award, honoring instead the much safer pick, "Shape of Water"? Maybe, maybe not. In one way, it defies concern because the Oscars are just a popularity contest, an ego wank, and often it's the mediocre fare that triumphs.

But on the other hand, it matters greatly because the Oscars have long been emblematic of Euro-centrism--and really, American society needs to Get Out of its lethal Euro-centric ideology and fight the zombies of hateful hegemony.

Clockwise Cat publisher and editor, Alison Ross, pioneered the genre of Zen-Surrealism and uses that as her guiding aesthetic. She also practices the tenets of Zen-Surrealist Socialism. Alison believes that "poetic intuition" knifes through the murk of the mundane and mutates mediocrity into a Utopia of the Dynamic. Recently, Alison was a featured poet at Surreal Poetics. In addition, she has three chapbooks - two from Fowlpox Press and one from dancing girl press - and has published reviews and editorials in various publications, including Literary Orphans, Fear of Monkeys, and Pop Matters.


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