(y'know..Jane Goodall, the lady with white hair
who played with chimps on Sesame Street/National Geographic)


-------------------------
THE TICKET / THE CHURCH :
-------------------------
My ticket reads: 
The Unity Church of Dallas presents
world-renowned anthropologist and author
Jane Goodall
Sunday February 27, 2000 7:00-9:00 pm
Unity Church of Dallas
6525 Forest Lane (between Preston and Hillcrest)
Dallas, TX 75230
(972) 233-7106
 
My ticket cost me $45. There were tickets for the first 4 rows center
that cost $60. There were nosebleed seats for $35.
As I purchased this ticket I frantically examined it and
the accompanying brochure for some sign of,'all proceeds benefit the
Jane Goodall institute.' These signs were not there. I had been duped into
funding Protestant/Franken-christian activities as bad as if I had been
paying tithes.
 
I had never been to this church, nor did I know what sort of Frankenchristian
conveniences had been made by the redefinition of being a "Unity" church.
I knew it was in a certain neighborhood (a wealthy one) and we drove there
with no problems. As we walked up, Beth and I felt a growing sense of unease
amongst the lidless eyed smiling mini-skirted avon-painted women clearly
come to another protestant meat market.
 
Indeed, just inside the lobby was a gift-shop and bookstore. We were directed
into this bookstore to buy tickets. ALL the shelves were lined with new-age
watered down versions of the Kama Sutra. "Mars and Venus in Bed," "Healing Massage for
your Partner," et al. To be fair, they did have many copies of Jane Goodall's newest
book 'a Profound Hope.' (forgive my unclear memory of the title). I began to fear the worst
and I predicted much of the embarassment for Dallas that was to follow in the
order of a Reverend Manchild, a poor organist, and stupid questions from the
singles crowd audience.
 
I had so hoped to see parents with their teenagers. There was ONE and only one
child present under the age of ten and then ONE and only one lady who had
evidently dragged her goth girl teenager with her (this goth girl would be asking a stupid
question later). This crowd was all the dysfunctional traumatized 30's 
wanting to date crowd. I felt more unease.
Perhaps more forboding was the lack of an older crowd: there were seemingly
no octogenerians and very few (2 or 3 older lesbian couples) in their 50's/60's.
 
The rows/pews were of the stadium movie bucket seat variety. They were covered
in stuffed animals. I had to exit and ask the doormen whether it meant that the rows
were reserved. The answer was, "No, those are part of the 'Care Bear' program; we invite
you to hug the bears and give them a little love during the speech."
Infantile, but harmless; I imagined and relocated a bunny under my seat.
What's funny about this is that rather than go and ask like I had, many of the
arriving Texas Dragon Ladies complained loudly about, "what's with all the animals?"
and sat interspersed but not between or near the stuffed animals.
 
-------------------
REVEREND MANCHILD :
-------------------
Here is the right way to begin an event like this:
The moderator/ introducer/ pastor takes the stage by himself
says a maximum of 5 sentences that close with:
"Let's give a round of applause to welcome Dr. Jane Goodall"
at which point she comes out and smiles, waits for
applause to die and then begins with "thank you."
 
Here is what happened at 7:01 pm:
Five people take the stage. The Reverend Manchild, his organist, some stagehands
and Jane Goodall herself.
They all came out so suddenly that no-one was ready to clap.
Moreover, there were doubtless some folk who might not have been sure it was
really Jane Goodall at the rear of the stage seated at a desk.
(I truly wonder whether the comfy reading chair and the wood desk were
her idea; she only used them during Reverend Manchild's intro~ from then
on she was standing at the podium and pointing at her slideshow~
I know she needed them for the book signing later; but normally
this kind of thing happens in a different room or at least allows for
the auditorium to be cleared first~ more details later).
 
Reverend Manchild is so called because he is. This man had a bald spot,
a lidless gaze, a zealous smile, a beard, glasses, and "comfortable" clothes.
He spoke for FIFTEEN MINUTES! I used my watch to time him
and many times cocked my arm to hurl the bunny under my chair at him;
Beth restrained me.
He began with a litle 'welcome to my church.' okay, fine.
Then he read from notecards very stiltedly and awkward a long
description of her biography; which is absurd to do with
the woman ON STAGE! Her lecture IS an autobiography, I couldn't
imagine why he'd try to eclipse it with his own telling
(I found out later).
His reading was like this:
"Jane idolized her hero," long-pause/glance at notecards, "Tarzan, and ...um"
Comparing this to how seemlessly Dr. Goodall delivered her
well-practiced speech; well, it makes you wonder how this man
makes a living as a speaker.
Then it came: the reason for his long speech~
he tried to frame her whole work as something protestant
and he used the word "Unity" 3 times to do it.
Then he opened her book and READ aloud a whole page of it!
He read a passage about Jane visiting Notre Dame "in Paris" (duh!)
and how she had heard Bach's Taccatta and Fugue in D Minor there
and been filled with a "sense of the mystic."
 
He announced they'd be playing it to honor her.
Oh No!
What nouveau riche Dallas idiocy!
"We are all very proud of our church sanctum that looks inside
like Lew Sterrett Jail from the outside~ 40 foot tall smooth sheets
of gypsum board with a decorative sense of an AMC stadium movie theater~
and we want to recreate (mock) your sense of the mystic by having
our organist butcher a Bach piece here in its entireity while
you sit trapped on stage with no chance to speak while nouveau
riche Dallasites gawk at you."

Can you hear Bach's piece? It is kind of like something
Captain Nemo would play. A Dark, villianous introduction
with lots of grim authority.
THE PIECE WAS TOTALLY INNAPROPRIATE!
Worse, it was played in its entireity and it was played
very poorly. Now I'm sure the organist meant well, perhaps
he even practiced the piece a few times, and it is a complex
piece; but it isn't exactly the Rach 5.
I cannot believe that after his tenth mistake playing,
that he didn't foreshorten his playing and fade out.
It was so brutal to hear his Casio synthesized rendition with
tempo mistakes and off key notes. It went on and on for
another fifteen minutes.
 
At 7:26 the religious nuts left the stage.
 
------------------
THE SPEECH ITSELF:
------------------
Jane began with a "distance call" from Chimpanzees.
That alone is worth my $45.
 
Okay, Jane Goodall is the MOST beautiful 63 (or so) year old
woman EVER.
She looks like Venus in a half shell with long straight white hair
pulled into a pony-tail. She wears no jewelry, no make-up
and yet has more elegance than the queen of England
in her posture, poise and manner.
She has clear bright eyes, a dazzling smile and
direct unfaltering confident speaking ability.
~Her audience was dragon ladies in red business suits with
panty-hose, gold earrings, necklaces, eyeshadow, base, perfume,
and mean pickle puss looks from shrunken facial skin and plucked eyebrows.
 
It made it all the better when at the end she mentioned
environmental consciousness about hotel towels~
"please fold your towel if you do not want it laundered today"
Our American women have been force-fed soap opera commercials
for so many generations that your average American believes
that blue jeans must be laundered after 12 hours wear.
A salient point at a poignant moment, I wish I could
have video-taped the crowd squirm.
 
Her speech was totally unassisted by notecards,
was totally free of "uh" and "um," and covered more
material inside an hour than any college course
one could ever take!
She began with an autobiographical account of how
she began her work and how her mother made it possible
by accompanying her for the first 4 years.
She then began her slideshow and ran thru personal
histories of Flo, Fifi, Freud, Frodo, and Flint.
The speech moved to atrocities committed to the
environment the chimps live in, and the horrible things
that happen to chimps worldwide:
the worst for me was hearing how showbiz chimps
have their teeth pulled and are beaten~
then at old age cannot be given to zoos
(they are kind of retarded) and wind up being sold
to animal testing facilities. I thought of the
toothless gummy smiles of the chimps on recent commercials
I have seen: [1] the movie-fone commercial
[2] the superbowl commercial for some ISP/e-auction site.
 
This protestant franken-christain mob comes to this church
to get laid. They only want to hear good news about having
sex with a spouse and they just about died as Jane hit them
with the state of endangered chimps and human cruelty.
This too, was almost alone worth the $45: to see and hear the
squirming audience.
 
She ended her lecture with a rousing call to arms
for each person to feel empowered to make a little
difference in being eco-conscious and supporting her
work in Primatology through either the Jane Goodall Institute
or beginning a Roots and Shoots program (kind of like Boy/Girl Scouts).
 
---------------------
THE STUPID QUESTIONS:
---------------------
 
It was clearly a bad idea to let these nouveau-riche Dallas
sex-church idiots line up at 4 microphones to "ask questions."
They are clearly used to weeknight support group testimonials
and this is what most of them were up to. 
Reverend Manchild should have had a remote mike and walked to people
who stood up like Donahue and thus abbreviated/rephrased their
stupid questions. Here they are:
 
[1] A fat "alternative" girl who listens to a lot of
    10,000 Maniacs got up. She had bobbed red hair, dripping
    in jewelry, perfume, etc. and began a long repetitve story
    about "In my experience, I tell people about the whales, the bears,
    and they don't care and I can't forgive them..."
    This all came through strained, excited emotional at the verge
    of tears from this girl. She went on and on about "in my experience."
    I wished I could have seized her and whispered fiercely in her ear
    "You are 23! You come from the suburbs! You have NO observational
    experience at all compared to this woman who has lived observing chimps
    for 40 YEARS!" Worst of all, she didn't ask a question! There was
    something like "Do you agree?" but hardly suitable material.
    Dr. Goodall was very measured in answering this clearly traumatized girl,
    and deferred the bulk of the material to "come and talk to me afterwards."
 
[2] An older Texas good-old-boy got up (at the back of the room) to grab
    a mike and begin unprompted a long, long embarassing bit about:
    "Do you know the woman who made this movie about gorillas, and do you
    know her, feel like her work was like yours, or paralled it, or I can't
    remember her name, but her work was like yours, and I know..."
    Dr. Goodall did interrupt to say "Diane Fossey" rather quickly;
    but this bullish nouveau riche Dallas oil-tyrant wouldn't shut up.
    He kept trying to dig himself out.
    Of course Dr. Goodall did know Fossey, and revealed that they were
    one of Lewis Leaky's 3 "ape-ladies." She went on to reveal some
    interesting interchanges between the two of them; mainly about
    how Goodall had cautioned Fossey against militarism. So, a really
    good answer to a very poorly delivered half-question.
    The Man tried to begin a second question at the end of her answer
    to which she AMAZINGLY (I almost clapped) told him to go to the back
    of his line to ask a second question.
 
[3] This is the worst:
    A tall, thin 26 year old manchild in a lime green knit sweater with
    a mullet-fro took the mike to ask:
    "Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Evolution?"
    Throughout her lecture, Dr. Goodall had used the phrase/term
    "man's closest living relative" to describe the chimpanzee; so that
    this question could only prove that this man and all of Dallas that he presents
    seem like a unattentive slack-jawed mouth-breathing headline blurb society of
    conversationalists.
    Dr. Goodall had been so careful not to say "evolution" at a speech at a church,
    while hinting that of course she understands it.
    Moreover, within evolution theory; no-one thinks we evolved from Chimps/Gorillas,
    the idea is that we share a common ancestor.
    She very adeptly answered "Yes I believe in God. I don't see
    how evolution differs with an idea of God creating the world.
    Moreover, I think it is less important how we got here, than how
    we get ourselves out of the mess we are in."
    To which, she did get applause (thank you, Dallas).
 
[4] A little boy.
    He asked a good question: "Where is Mr. H?"
    Her answer: "I left him home on my pillow by mistake."
 
[5] A teenage goth girl:
    Repeated the evolution question. She tried to rephrase it
    to ask about the debate itself~ um, that debate happened
    FORTY YEARS AGO! It's over, we won. Earth to little girl!
    Come in little girl! Evolution can be taught in school.
 
[6] A four-eyed pseudo intellectual:
    Because of his mumbling he had to repeat his stupid observation/question
    four times, even though I heard him clearly each time.
    It was something like: "I read a book about Africa. There was a Danish
    guy who made a bean in the 50's. Do you know him?"
    Earth to idiot: come in idiot. Africa is a continent, not a country!
    Dr. Goodall answered with 'Yes there was a guy who made a bean. There are
    many guys who make beans.'
    With this guy's question, Dr. Goodall announced that only
    two more questions would be taken so that there would be time
    for her to sign books. (Nice Save! I'd have said, "these questions are
    stupid. I won't answer any more.")
 
[7] Almost the worst:
    A balding over-muscled mustache man asked:
    "How did you come up with the term 'cultural speciation.'
     I am very interested because I am high school teacher and
     I see it in the halls every day."
     Dr. Goodall, knowing this guy for a racist, was able to
     defer her answer to "come and see me afterwards."
     I should have followed this man outside and killed him.
     He was obviously looking for something to affirm his
     belief that he is a different species than the minorities he
     has to teach geometry to. ugh.
 
[8] Some girl at the back awkwardly asked how she could become
    "the next Jane Goodall." This didn't need to be such a bad question,
    except that the whole of the lecture was her answer.
    She could have extrapolated from 'here's how I did it' and 
    'here's what you can do to help me (send money)' some ideas
    about how to work with animals. Dr. Goodall was kind enough to
    answer shortly that she wasn't taking many students due to the
    spread of bronchitis from Human to chimp and so on.
   
I am picking on these questions in the hope of convincing either
Jane Goodall +her institute, or other people in Dallas that not all
of us are tone-deaf, religious, stupid, and self-centered.
 
-------------------------
THE SIGNING + AFTERWARDS:
-------------------------
 
I wanted to get outside and smoke. I needed to smoke so that I could
forget about killing the racist high school teacher.
The throng of idiots rushed to line up for the book signing which
made it very difficult to get out of the church.
On my way out, and later standing outside, I was unfortunately
able to hear the complaints of Dallas cattlemen nouveau-riche fools.
Highlights: 
woman : "I'm sure she is a very loving person..."
man : "...well, I don't know about all that negative animal testing militancy...
       ...people are more important..."
blah, blah.
 
Not too surprising to hear in a state that sued Oprah
for mad cow jokes. All these old men descend from cow punchers
and they don't want to hear much animal rights sentiment.
 
I went back inside to sign up for a Roots and Shoots mailing list
and then noticed the brochure given to us had all the info I needed
on it; so I left. I figured I could write this too; and properly scold
the members of the sex-church and the stupid-questioneers.
 
----------------------------
ROOTS AND SHOOTS CRITICISED:   
----------------------------
 
I'll probably go to hell for criticizing anything Jane Goodall has said;
but I feel like I have her best interests at heart:
 
Roots and Shoots is a deal where you pay $30 to join and get
organizational material/packets sent to you....
then you find a problem in your immediate neighborhood
and set kids to work to rennovate/repair it and send
everything in to the JG Institute for approval/review.
 
The problem is:
People can't be trusted to think of good stuff.
 
I would rather send Jane Goodall herself money to
build chimpanzee sanctuaries than send money
to USA for Africa and wonder where the trucks of grain
get sent to (they were impounded by the military).
 
Moreover, Dr. Goodall herself said that:
"20 years ago we didn't know CFCs would harm the atmosphere"
and then later that she met someone
who has invented a way to make bricks that safely house
toxic waste. These bricks get used to make hospitals, schools, etc.
Well, who can say that this is a good idea?
It sounds like asbestos paint to me~ sure its fireproof, but
the removal/renovation process gives people cancer.
 
Likewise, imagine that Roots and Shoots den-mothers decide
that they want to paint fences in the neighborhood, so they
go and raise money and then they paint fences with
products from Dow. Dow makes napalm. 'nuff said.
 
So, it is way easier for me to just give money to her for
Chimp Sanctuaries than all of that.
I know the membership slush fund can still fund
chimp sanctuaries, so I hope her Roots and Shoots draws members
anyway; but the success of a parallel organization like
the Boy Scouts provides a better paradigm.
Perhaps something like:
plant a tree, receive a 'merit badge' does the same
thing better (building confidence in children)
without room for Dallas idiot den-mothers to
paint fences with ecologically harmful chemicals.
 
So, to anyone who gets this e-mail:
go hit:
http://www.janegoodall.org
and bookmark it today.
Send money directly to her institute.
Chimps are very easy to feel good about "underwriting"
whereas poverty/ urban reclamation/ etc are hard things to
define and address.
 

janegoodall.org

mail to:J.R. Kerr

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