Transitive verb: ape, aped, ap-ing, apes.
"To mimic slavishly but often with an absurd result"
"to act like somebody else in an absurd or grotesque way"
Suggested synonyms include : mock, parody, travesty.
Well, be that as it may, while in France most of our party spent a fabulous day going ape.
These photos are all courtesy of my BIL (thanks, Mr. M) - which accounts for the fact that I am in many of them.
I discovered not so long ago, through some of my teaching, that using the word "ape" to mean mimic goes back to the middle ages, when Western homo sapiens were taken aback by the extraordinary similarities between themselves and some of these animals. This resemblance was generally seen as inappropriate - a threat to our human superiority and God-likeness.
The idea emerged that apes were deliberately copying human behaviour, somehow trying to muscle in on our act - and so apes became a prototype or symbol for fraud, seen as imposters, flatterers, hypocrites. (Desmond and Ramona Morris did some interesting research on this)
Apes were often hanged (along with other animals) alongside Jews or heretics as a symbol of foolishness and wickedness.
Well, here we are, aping the apes.
I've sometimes showed a documentary to students about Shantek, an orang-utang who uses american sign language. Always one of them will comment that his communication is very limited, considering the many years during which he's been learning and using it.
I think his abilities to communicate through the signs invented by another species are more impressive than our attempts to negotiate the tree-tops where we don't really feel at home.
This picture below is LG.
She overcame her fear of heights. With a lot of expert and sensitive help from her cousin. (Thanks Miss A. M)
We'd gone to an English version of this a few years back, when LG was younger and considerably smaller. She had began well on the practice run but the rest of the routes were way too high and difficult and she quickly had to give up.
Not only is she older and larger now, but the French park is far superior. More relaxed, with more gradual increases in height and the option of repeating lower levels or going on to more difficult. Also much cheaper. Trust the British to offer an inferior experience and charge more for it.
LG finished (and enjoyed) the highest course and went back for more.
The best part - of course! - was the zip wires - some of them started at about 20+ meters high and disappeared over 100 meters into the trees.
Some apes who've learned human sign language have apparently invented their own swear words. Isn't that brilliant?!
I bet they would have had some funny and excruciating things to say about our efforts in the tree tops, and the system of clips and harnesses which assured our safety. The words "parody", "absurd" and "foolish" come to mind.
It was, however, BRILLIANT FUN.
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11 months ago