Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 35 [66]

An Entertainment

Thin face, deep-tanned, eyes full of distance, pronounced Adam’s apple: there’s a certain Australian physiognomy developed over the last hundred years or so – I speak only from a white western/invader perspective, have no right to speak from any other – that makes one think of a kangaroo (my own grandfather, for example). And some people you’d be more inclined, from the look of their faces, to think Wombat or Possum, Koala or Emu. It’s a game I used to find myself playing, at dinner parties or academic meetings or cricket matches (too much Magic Pudding in my childhood). How sad to think that, for reasons known only to the most adept depth psychologists, so many of the people I’m speaking of would probably quite happily kill the very animals they remind you of. The land might form you a little, outwardly, but it seems there are some wounds, flaws and deficiencies it can’t do much about. Or perhaps it’s just that it takes a fair bit longer than we’ve yet given it. Indigenous tribes have their totems. In fact their totemism had a significant impact on what we’ve come to think of a psychoanalysis (see Freud’s Totem and Taboo). If your totem is the kangaroo you do not kill it, you do not eat it. If your totem is the goanna you leave it alone. A wisdom. The clans of the invaders have glimpsed some parts of it; other parts are still far beyond. The problem is that they’ve come, the invaders, with a whole technology of killing – homo omnicidens – and that they’re likely to obliterate the sources of wisdom before they can get much sense of it. Ultimately, one thinks ruefully, the technology will end up killing the killers. How profoundly sad that it is taking so much else on its way.

But I was wanting to offer you a game, a diversion, something light to interrupt the heaviness. You can play it yourself, around your own dinner table, no resources needed but your family and friends, or (one of my favourite versions) think of past Prime Ministers (some pics below), or (even better!) recent or contemporary politicians. One day, if nothing else has yet done it, hearing a kangaroo speaking of culling might bring the horror home to you.

Here you go (no disrespect intended):

Which one’s the Eastern Grey?