The Cover Story + Polar Bear Citizenship

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May 272012

Yep. This week’s episode of Polar Bear Cafe proves everything I said in this post.

He gives the classic sad backstory that’s meant to deflect any suspicion. Even without that “weren’t you in construction” comment that cemented his story as fabricated, the bit is way too precious and sappy to be plausible. Yeah, I’m not buying his “separated from his family and being taken in by fishermen” spiel. But you can’t help but suspect that he’s dropping little bits of truth admist his blatant lies.

Maybe Polar Bear is an orphan. Maybe he was taken in by a government program that trains youngsters to be covert agents. Being a polar bear, he’d be a perfect Cold War agent, since the northern wastes are shared by NATO and Soviet nations. He would have been a perfect agent on either side of the matter, being able to traverse the north and enter any nation with borders around the Arctic Circle.

And that’s how he would have met Grizzly. That flashback to where we see the two of them practicing “fishing” could have been from when they trained together in their youth. Fishing for salmon is a way to train bears in hand to hand combat by having them become proficient in their natural hunting skills. What’s an enemy agent but a big land-bound fish? Killing him follows the same principles.

So Polar Bear’s “touching” story is his way of letting us know about his past without letting us know more than we need to know. We know that he’s lived a lonely life, albeit in a different context. We know he doesn’t know his family and will likely never see them again. We know that he and Grizzly have known each other forever. And we know that Polar Bear is a masterful liar, able to string everyone along without them caring that they’re never going to know the full truth.

And all of this brings up a completely different matter: Are animals in the Polar Bear Cafe world bound by nationality. I’m assuming this takes place in some quasi-Japan, yet none of the animals in this show are native to the country. Are animals considered citizens of their country of origin? Is Panda a legal immigrant, or is his family in the country illegally? Maybe he’s a legal citizen because he was born in the country, hence why he’s able to get a job while the rest of his panda family can’t (since we never see them leave their home)? Do penguins have a nationality? Are they bound to the nation that “controls” their portion of Antarctica? Or are they citizens of, say, Argentina or Chile since many of them migrate there? Maybe Penguin was born in an aquarium and is a natural-born citizen? Polar Bear is likely able to get forged passports, so his nationality isn’t relevant, but what about other Polar Bears? Can one come down from the north and claim citizenship in Canada or something? Do various animals have reservations like Native Americans? Maybe there’s a buffalo reservation somewhere in the western US or something.

Damn, man, I need to know this stuff.