Going over a barrel for monkey rights

By Scott Green

Austrian animal rights activists are trying to get a chimpanzee named Matthew Hiasl Pan legal protection as a “person.” For those of you keeping score, this means there are humans who fight harder for voting monkeys than for gay marriage.

(Note to people who know anything about science: True, monkeys and chimpanzees are not the same thing, but they are close enough for me and I will use the terms interchangeably, just as I generally refer to Kevin Federline and Vanilla Ice as the same person.)

The president of the Association Against Animal Factories (that’s the group’s real name) described the issue as a “fundamental question” and said “a large part of the public does see chimps as beings with interests.” Nonhuman primates finally want to join society and to them I say, “Welcome.”

Simians have been gainfully employed in the arts for years. “Dunston Checks In” and “Monkey Trouble” combine for 9.1 stars on IMDB, though both were ignored at Oscar time, possibly because of the academy’s longstanding primate discrimination policies.

Few people know James Cameron’s original idea for “Titanic” was “Monkey Titanic.” However, during the tender, intimate scene where the poor working-class monkey draws the hot, wealthy, upper-crust monkey in the nude, the chimps ruined the mood by repeatedly throwing poop at each other. Also monkeys are usually naked anyway. So Cameron had to go with real human actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, who were more expensive, but only threw poop between takes.

And primates can do more than act. A million monkeys at a million typewriters may take a long time to churn out the complete works of Shakespeare. But scientists have proven that it would only take six monkeys on six typewriters a week and a half to reproduce “The Da Vinci Code.”

In other news that I am not making up, the Monkey Love Dessert Bar & Grill in Brunswick, Ga., is selling monkey-painted artwork to pay for the monkeys’ food, medication and other needs, according to WTOC-TV. Patriotic American monkeys are out there earning their rights while their Austrian cousins are looking for handouts.

It doesn’t take a sharp political mind to see where this could reasonably be headed: international affairs. Can you honestly imagine an all-monkey United Nations accomplishing less than the real United Nations? Or, considering the bathing practices of certain third-world countries and France, smelling worse than the real United Nations?

But news on the monkey front is not all good. In Missouri last week, an escaped rhesus monkey bit two children, ages 7 and 11. The Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune’s article on the story doesn’t speculate on why the monkey bit the children, but it’s pretty obvious: He was fighting for his civil rights.

The same article quotes a pediatrician who says literally thousands of people are bitten every year by this kind of monkey. I think we all know what this means: I am too lazy to confirm a fact quoted by a non-expert who heard it from unnamed sources that I read in an article from some other newspaper.

Monkeys are treated differently than “actual” human beings, a fact I personally confirmed last month on a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Not only were monkeys not allowed into the same common areas as humans, but they were forced to a small, caged section of the zoo with absolutely no view whatsoever of the flamingo exhibit.

I tried to interview the monkeys to ask about this treatment, but they were so upset at this injustice that instead of answering my questions like reasonable citizens, they flung their feces at me and shrieked loudly. I do not know if they were the same animals from “Monkey Titanic.”

But perhaps, like the passengers on that doomed ship 95 years ago, the monkeys’ plight will be turned into an emotional cinematic tour de force. Coming June 20, 2087, get ready for “Brokeback Monkey.”