The Law of the Wild (in the City)

 Polar Bear Cafe  Comments Off on The Law of the Wild (in the City)
Jul 222012
 

An otter (or a gang of otters) devoured Polar Bear in public. Grizzly catches word of this. What does he do?

He doesn’t attack the otter out of revenge. He doesn’t call the police. He’s wracked with grief over the death of his friend, but he does nothing to bring justice to what’s essentially a murder.

What’s up with that?

If the characters in question were humans, we’d assume that this would play out differently. Someone would go to the authorities. Someone would hunt down the assailant. Something would be done to make sure the guilty parties are punished in some way.

So why does Grizzly do nothing in this situation? Sure, you could say this is all played for laughs, since turning this into a police procedural to find out the truth wouldn’t elicit the intended situation, but I think there’s more at play here.

I think the world of Polar Bear Cafe plays by completely different rules.

Animals eat animals. They aren’t like us humans, who breed cattle for slaughter. They all live in the same “community” in the wild, inhabiting the same woods or plains or whatever, and when one of the carnivores gets hungry they chase down some animal that’s lower on the food chain and gobble it up. Just because animals have been integrated into human society to some degree doesn’t mean their instincts are gonna cease to operate.

The way Grizzly reacts, it seems as if public hunting like that is common place. If some animal eats another animal, that’s just the law of the wild, even if it’s going down on the streets of a sleepy little town like the one in this series. So even if it’s unnatural for a gang of otters to chow down on a Polar Bear, animal-on-animal violence is accepted in this society because that’s the natural way of life for animals.

So you gotta wonder if this changed laws in general. Is any form of murder acceptable? Are humans exempt from this law? Can a human kill another animal in public? Can humans kill humans? Is there some condition where the ingestion of the victim is necessary for the act to be legal? If you only eat certain parts of the body, do you have to pay fines?

The way I see it, in order to accommodate the nature of these integrated animals, all forms of murder have been made legal. What keeps the peace is the very fact that murder can happen at any time. There’s an uneasy truce at play. Anyone rounding around the corner could be eager to gulp you down, so everyone is ready for such a situation. You rarely see someone eating someone else because they don’t want to be the next victim. It’s a cold war of sorts, with no one willing to take the first bite in fear of everyone being eaten. The only time you see something happen is when a group of individuals work as a pack and take down an individual, much like how Grizzly imagined Polar Bear being eaten by otters.

Yeah, that’s the most logical conclusion.