Ever the misfit, I am thinking of George’s reluctance to mate despite a ten thousand dollar reward (1), forced inter-species manual stimulation of the intromittent organ (2), and the introduction of multiple she-tortoises into his spacious pen (3). ‘Fuck them!’ they all must have politely thought. ‘Fuck you!’ was George’s most deafening response, although he said so with far more eloquence than I.
Since I repeated myself so often, she surely understands my position.
A somewhat remorseful recourse to an archaeology of knowledge may explain George’s crude placement here, off a room labeled ‘Mammals’ on the fourth floor. Perhaps the Museum is attempting to make a longer point about the challenges facing our planet, one in which man is not the sole natural force that led to extinction. Yet this view is confounded with the label texts associated with George by his vitrine. These communicate a heavy emphasis on the European discovery of the Galapagos and the resultant impact on native populations of tortoises; whether their killing, movement, or conservation. What is certain is that this strange placement transmutes not only George but the entire Galapagos-associated taxonomical categories into exceptional biological accumulations, wonderful objects transported from the edge of the world to their center on Central Park West; long-necked rocks on strong hind legs conceived as remarkable singularities rather than exemplifying particular natural kinds. Thus, it should come as no surprise that George has been sacrificed accordingly, crudely wasted for our viewing pleasure at least since the second voyage of The HMS Beagle.
Tortoise: you twisted creature from hell.