HARVEYJAMES™
1983 TOWARDS TOMORROW
BONSAI BABIES 
17th-Jun-2006 06:38 pm
My mum has bought my dad a tiny olive tree shrub for father's day, with the intention that he uses it to grow his own olives (apparently, due to global warming, Britain's climate will now support the growth of olive trees). Alternatively, she said, he can 'bonsai it'.

I decided (mainly just to see how my mum would respond) that I didn't agree with bonsaiing because it's cruel to the plant, in the same way that corsets are cruel, or when Mongol children had their heads stretched so they'd fit into their pointy helmets. 'Yes', she said, 'or when the Chinese peasants put babies in jars so they'd grow deformed, and they could beg'.

This sounded like crap. Why would they go to such lengths to cripple their children just so they could put them out to beg? Wouldn't an able-bodied child who worked bring in more income than a crippled begging one? Alternatively, if all they want is a disabled child, couldn't they just chuck them down a flight of stairs or something? Then they could use the jar to keep pickles. Anyway, I didn't believe it.

'They didn't keep them in jam jars, you know! It was a child-sized jar!' Yeah, I guessed that. It wasn't the jar thing I had a problem with. I believed that the Chinese might have kept children in jars because of some extreme fashion for tiny, child-like bodies or something- like when people broke children's feet so they'd fit in tiny shoes, or castration of choir boys etc. It's not unheard of. It was the beggar thing that didn't make sense. 'Well, ask your father about it', she said. (My dad knows everything.)

My dad confirmed that the practise of growing children in constricting jars filled with oil did indeed go on in ancient China. He remembered reading about it in Marco Polo, or something. But it wasn't so they could beg. It was, and I quote, 'because they made really good shags. The oil made their skin very soft and their limbs were incredibly supple.'.

Writing this out it strikes me that if I had come across this information any other way, it would be probably the most disturbing thing I've ever heard. That I heard it from my parents seem to completely take the edge off it somehow. This is one of the things I love the most about my parents; even as a child, they could talk to me about things like child prostitutes grown in jars with the same casuality and matter-of-factness as if they were explaining how honey is made or the theory of evolution.
Comments 
18th-Jun-2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
if you're worried about thee feelings of plants, stop eating them.
18th-Jun-2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
They like being eaten because our poo spreads the seeds. If you bonsai them and listen close you can hear a tiny plant scream. Actually, I don't care about the bonsaiing of plants.
18th-Jun-2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
There is a form of diet called "fruitism" or something, where they only eat parts of plant that falls off naturally and thus eating it does not harm the plant or kill it, like berries and fruit and stuff.
18th-Jun-2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fruitarians. As I read that, an idea popped into my head. You could make a funny short cartoon about some starving fruitarians who go to eat the fruit from a tree. But there's a few who don't get any fruit, so they have to wait for the fruit to fall from the tree.

So hours pass and all the fruitarians got some fruit, except two. And there's only one piece of fruit left. We just watch them lying under a tree waiting the last piece of fruit to drop off. They are doing this under the watchful eye of their sect leader. As they get hungrier and hungrier the urge to snatch the fruit of the tree gets greater and greater, but they know the sect leader won't approve (they see him shake his head or something). And I guess they do crazier and crazier things to make sure they'll be the one who gets the fruit (erecting scaffolding out of fallen birch twigs so they can lie under the fruit, etc.)

The tension builds. Their contraptions are in place. But both methods are as good as each other. It's anyone's game. Or maybe, one is a bit more sneaky and underhanded and it looks like he's going to win. Booo.

No-one takes their eyes off the fruit. It seems to be getting heavier by the second.

The fruit glistens and twists on its stalk.

Sweat comes down from their foreheads.

Their tummies rumble.

The camera slowly closes in on the fruit. The bow can't take the strain. It is going to fall!

A monkey comes in and eats the fruit. Then maybe the fruitarians go crazy and cannibalize each other. The end.

The obvious moral is that because monkeys aren't fruitarians, the practise must be an unnatural construct of humans who think too much about stupid shit. Also the fact that they're desperate for the approval of their cool dude guru leader guy points to why I think people become fruitarians.
18th-Jun-2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
It would be even better if the leader of the group was a self-important celebrity actor or musician of some sort. And if the cannibalism at the end was really sudden and astonishingly gory.
18th-Jun-2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking the leader should be someone who fancies himself as some kind of hero.

My mum didn't like the cannibalism, she'd rather they just clutched their bellies and it went 'wah-wah-waaaaah'. But yeah, you're right.

It would be tough to make it gory to the point of being astonishing. I mean, I've seen Cannibal: The Musical.
19th-Jun-2006 04:25 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Well, if you did the whole thing live-action, with drab colors, and then the blood just appeared instantly, after a beat, at the very end of the bit and then the credits roll a nanosecond afterwards.

REally, the flaw in the whole project is that ithe moral of it is "Fructitatians are dumb" hich everyone knows already. Careful medium and hrasing choices must be made if the project is not to languish in self-importance.
19th-Jun-2006 10:43 am (UTC)
while the obvious moral is that fruitarians are dumb, it can be read as a metaphor for other weird human constructs.. vegetarianism, veganism, religion, celebrity worship, whatever.
i like it.
and keep the cannibalism
19th-Jun-2006 11:51 am (UTC)
Anonymous
I was just thinking I'd render it in a kind of Monkey Punch Lupin III style. Maybe a bit like this. http://www.maudevintage.com/error.gif. It's actually quite hard to make goofy cartoons like this feel self-important.
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