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February 13, 2007

Feng shui for monkeys

Young Vervet monkey, originally uploaded by shashamane.

This is the stupidest thing I've heard in hours. I haven't heard anything this dumb since Instapundit's Farsi Ninja fantasy.

The LA zoo just spent $4500 on feng shui for monkeys:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Zoo paid $4,500 to an expert in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui to ensure three endangered golden monkeys on loan from China can have a strong life force.

Consulting the feng shui expert was part of the cost for a $7.4 million enclosure for the golden monkeys debuting at the zoo later his year. Feng shui focuses on balance in design to promote health and happiness.

Feng shui is in demand among high-end architects and interior designers, but Beverly Hills-based feng shui expert Simona Mainini said the Los Angeles Zoo's effort may be a first in animal enclosure design.

"It's very experimental," Mainini said. "We don't have any books on feng shui for monkeys. We just have to assume that Darwin is correct and that there is a connection and what is good for humans is good for monkeys." [AP]

I'm the first to agree that good design contributes to quality of life, but let's drop the mystical life force bullshit. Leave it to the primatologists and real architects to determine what kinds of enclosures are good for monkeys.

Note: The monkey shown here is a vervet, the monkeys who got feng shui are Chinese golden monkeys. I don't know if the LA zookeepers are assuming that feng shui works better for Chinese monkeys than it does for other primates.


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Um, if Darwin teaches us anything about this, it's that what's good for humans is not good for monkeys. That's why we're different species.

Well, if feng shui is worthless for humans...

I never thought I'd see Darwin invoked justify feng shui for a monkey house.

Feng shit. How depressing. And The L.A. zoo is a nice zoo. What moron made this decision? There’s not a zoo in the world that can afford to piss $4500 down a rat hole.

This story is of a piece with Marcotte and McEwan having to quit the Edwards campaign and (gag) McCain pandering to the I.D. idiots. How is it that people in general, and Americans in particular, keep the gain on their bullshit detectors set so low? When we’re not worrying about cryptic messages in crazy-ass Bronze Age “sacred” texts, we’re lighting candles for “sacred virgins”, or arranging the furniture to please the spirits. One of the stupidest bromides ever uttered, “you gotta believe in something”, never seems to raise any eyebrows. What I’d like to believe is that now, when we need it more than ever, skepticism might become a virtue. No hope of that though. God bless.

I'm guessing that this may have been part of the loan agreement with China, since feng shui isn't really fashionable out here in LA anymore. I'd be very surprised if the zoo decided to do this on its own.

I guarantee you that a feng shui expert was probably consulted on the plans for Huntington Gardens' new

D'oh! I hate when I don't close tags right:

It looks like the aesthetic judgments of a decorator or architect are getting projected onto a landscape or layout as if they were realities there to begin with.

I am glad to learn, Mnemosyne, that feng shui is out of fashion in L.A., so it may lose what vogue it still enjoys in the rest of the country. But I suspect that vogue has less to do with cfrost's "pleas[ing] the spirits" than with the same vulgar naturalism that makes fetishes of crystals or chooses where to dig a well by "witching" with divining rods. None of these three superstitions deny a scientific understanding of the physical world; their practitioners think that they are part of such an understanding, because they understand it so poorly. Physicists talk about "energy," and so does the feng shui practitioner, who will re-arrange the furniture or insist that that door be kept closed because of the "energy flow." It doesn't occur to him that he doesn't know what the physicists are talking about because he doesn't know what he's talking about.

since feng shui isn't really fashionable out here in LA anymore

Quick, someone alert Gnarls Barkley!

From what I understand, feng shui is fairly popular/respected in China and I agree with Mmnemosyne, it was probably part of the agreement for recieving the monkeys at all.

Long speech; search for "feng" to get to where he talks about Feng Shui as maybe a way to tap our intuition about nice places to live in.

I know nothing much about Feng Shui or interior decoration, but a house that conforms to feng shui really does look nicer than one that has not. I think it's really the same as traditional Chinese medicine -- the principles are bunk but over the years they must have hit upon a few roots and shoots with the correct curative properties.

Like many Chinese households, I keep a tank of fish near the door (alas, now reduced to one lone guppy). Apparently this is in accordance with some fengshui principle. But I just think it looks nice.

But feng shui for monkies? Yep, a little nuts.

Intereting article. I have never heard of Fend Shui for any animals more less monkeys. When a room, area or house complies with Feng Shui principles, it just feels right when you walk in. Perhaps it could work for monkeys.

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