Our final Planet of the Apes post for this month (at least) is about Le Grande Singerie, a room decorated with all things monkey.
Says the Times:
In the early 1700s it was fashionable for aristocrats to keep monkeys as pets. They dressed the monkeys in fancy outfits for comic effect and taught them human tricks, like pickpocketing, that they would display on leisurely walks around Versailles.
“The monkey was like a dog, a domestic animal,” Ms. Garnier-Pelle said.
But why is Huet’s work so compelling today? “Monkeys represent man,” she said. “When we laugh at monkeys, we laugh at ourselves.”
This is the sort of thing that encouraged the French Revolution. Talk about your popular ape species uprisings.
Happy Bastille Day.
Is "Planet of the Apes" complete fiction? Yes, what did you think I would say? Because it's monkeys, not apes, that get the real attention. From the History is Fun blog, 2007:
Clarence Darrow put a talking monkey on the stand. That’s right. A little monkey was sworn in, sat down, and answered Darrow’s questions for a startling half hour.
From the Dayton Herald News dated June 15, 1925:
The drama of the Scopes matter continued to fascinate and stir the wonder of this small hamlet as a thirty pound African green monkey was called to the stand to answer questions from the defense attorney, the esteemed Clarence Darrow. A shocked crowd proceeded to hoot and holler until reprimanded by Judge John T. Raulston. Much to the amazement of all, the monkey spoke fluently and eloquently when questioned by Darrow. However, the greatest surprise of all came when the prosecution’s William Jennings Bryan rose to question the monkey. Under the harsh pressure of Bryan’s inquisition, the monkey broke down and admitted his answers were coached by Darrow adding, “I don’t believe I am related to any stinkin’ [sic] humans.” Judge Raulston dismissed the jury saying he, “needed to make sense of all this hurly burly.” The monkey was later seen at a local tavern. By most eye witnesses accounts he was visibly intoxicated.
I never did hear how this turned out, but I'm pretty sure the mutant fish people are feeling a little lonely these days. Since it was Louisiana, I was looking forward to my crawfish etouffe being served by an actual crawfish.