Friday, July 26, 2013

Caesar's false reality is one thing, Kanzi and Koko are another... aren't they?

Movie producers are engaging in a social
media campaign, hyping the idea of the
Simian Flu. How many people will fall for it?
This is getting exciting. Andy Serkis is reportedly in filming now for the 2014 movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where he brilliantly uses performance capture technology to portray Caesar, the chimpanzee who leads the apes in their revolt against humanity. (It looks like the apes will be helped by the insidious Simian Flu, which is on track to decimate civilization.) A year ahead of time, they are hyping the already hyped-up audience that loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And love it, they did! I'm still getting blog traffic from people asking Google, “are the apes in Rise of the Planet of the Apes real?” (For the record, no they aren’t.)

Technology now allows us to present actors as apes. Social media pushes news of an emerging Simian Flu epidemic. Entertainment produces an alternative reality. Which begs the question… Where else is technology and social media giving us a “reality” that doesn’t exist? (Beside Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner, of course.)

I recently had this Facebook message exchange about Penny Patterson’s Gorilla Foundation and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh’s Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary:

Message from FB friend: “I'm observing total quiet from The Gorilla Foundation FB page. Nothing since her birthday. Woke up thinking about Ndume wondering what will happen with him if/when Koko kicks the bucket? Did you ever see Weekend at Bernies? It wouldn't surprise me if Penny keeps it a secret and pretends Koko is still alive, posting old pics and vids. Koko is her money train.”

Me: “Now that's an amazing thought... and just as valid for Savage-Rumbaugh and Kanzi. We wouldn't know if either of these obese animals [Kanzi or Koko] finally succumbed... Hmmm.”

FB friend: “Nope, the public would never ever know. They post old pics now, some are photo-shopped. They’ve got gazillons of media material, enough to last another lifetime.”

Surely, that’s too fantastic to even contemplate. Isn’t it?