Ah, how jaded we have become in this last month of 2011. As we speed into January and the year 2012 we can reflect back on how young and innocent we once were — how excitable and naive, how easy to enthrall — as evidenced primarily by the public’s reaction to escaped zoo animals and their Twitter accounts. As the New York Times puts it, while once we were fascinated, now we are bored: “They swooned over the Egyptian cobra, gone rogue inside the Bronx Zoo’s Reptile House last March. They cheered the peacock from the Central Park Zoo, who crossed Fifth Avenue to spend an August day on the ledge of an Upper East Side apartment building, only to return, on his own, the following morning.” But the eastern box turtle missing from the Inwood Hill Nature Center, still on the lam since Thursday? Meh. Has the turtle jumped the shark?
Maybe, but only just. We’re still creatures of habit, after all. In response to the Times‘ query of “Where is the fake Twitter feed?” for our latest escapee, there is indeed now a Twitter feed, @NYBoxTurtle, followed by 40-some people at the time of this post. And as soon as that, another: @InwoodBoxTurtle. Inevitable, maybe, but also wearying, a slow turtle shuffle toward the death of a meme.
That’s not to say we have something against the turtle. We’re sure he’s a great guy (girl?), even if we’re only saying that because of his terrifying red eyes. But, really, how many escaped zoo animals can a person follow on Twitter, anyway, and how many can we actually care about, deeply, after the initial fervor has faded? Stop teasing us, escaped animals!
Of course, if Alec Baldwin gets involved it’s a whole ‘nother story.
(If you’re reading this, turtle: Hi. Stay safe!)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 5, 2011