Saturday, July 30, 2011
What's so Damn Attractive about Elephants? Sneaky marketing.
All this week I've been pitted against the popularity of elephants. Circus Elephants, sometimes 'Modoc' sometimes 'Dumbo' usually both but today just the one. It's been interesting and I've given it some thought.
I've pondered on the attraction of Circus Elephants, given that stories of such have been bumping me down the Kindle best sellers list in the subcategory of 'circus'. I hope it's normal but as a new author I've been taking a borderline compulsive interest in the minutia of my limited popularity and to be frank these lumbering leathery fictions annoy me in much the same way a Hyena might be annoyed watching a Cheetah gorging on some juicy, out of reach, tree-drug Antelope .
'Mordoc, The True Story of the Greatest elephant that ever lived' has been sitting there at number one iridescent with blarney and hucksterizm, the first review dismantling the books claim to non fiction status point by glaring point but still fairly commenting that it is indeed a good book, just made up.
There is much to learn, perhaps writing bathos ridden equivalents of sentimental flypaper is one way to succeed as a writer.
One thing is certain, we are attracted to Elephants and a canny writer who knows why can take that and simply construct layers of syrupy confirmation bias till the reader is left sobbing into their flight-meal sub-texturally grateful they are not in fact an elephant.
But we are! I'm convinced that Elephants popularity stems from our commonality.
Beatrice, [age indeterminate ] flying from Idaho to New Jersey to visit grandchildren, identifies because she was captured as a child, frolicking in the playground and led, mute with shock, away to the circus of life where she was at first 'pegged' [tethered by restricted expectations, negative reinforcement, and sociological peanuts] till she ceased to question the strength of her bonds and was subsequently led unquestioningly to her daily performance tasks as wife, mother and housewife.
But part of her will always be yearning for freedom because like the elephant she never forgets and that's the sadness we share with the Elephas maximus.
Elephants represent the tragedy, those of us who dwell on that sort of thing, our lives are, but also the comparative relief available in that our growing old and unfulfilled and performing mundane tasks for the amusement of others as we grow leathery and bleak before finally dying stoically is not burdened by the spotlight affixed to the circus elephant.
Spotlights affixed to others tragic lives make us feel better about ourselves. That's why I've noticed that made for TV leukemia movies in which little pre-pubescent Jimmy bravely confront's his mortality and finally succumbs, but not before delivering his fearlessly solemn yet upbeat message about how life is to be lived a day at a time and the capacity to love is the greatest gift we're given, [cue last breath]....are always programmed for sunday evenings.
Given the majority of folk spend monday morning wrestling with their own pointless drone like unfulfilled existence's in those moments during their absolutions before their commute I suspect recent TV bled memories of wasted innocents larger than their own are a well placed comfort.
I have yet to see a made for TV leukemia movie on anytime other than sunday evenings and I'm deeply suspicious of them.
Just as I am tragic fictional books written about circus elephants that outsell my book on Kindle.
Because I'm smallminded. Much like, when all anthropological clap-trap is set aside, an elephant.