Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Answer 83 - Because nothing is more important than displays of wealth

My accordion keys may be made of ivory.

I didn't know this.  The man in security at the Belfast Int'l airport pointed it out - and now what am I supposed to do?  Dave bought the accordion on e-bay for me.  It's old.  It's Italian.  And maybe it's built on the blood and bones of a nearly endangered species that I've tried to do some small part to help.

 Dave says that it may not be ivory at all - that even all those years ago they'd managed a process whereby the look of ivory could be replicated.  I want this to be true.

But that doesn't make it true.

I want it to be true because if it's not true, I can't play it anymore.  And maybe that makes me a bleeding heart fool, but it takes an orphaned elephant 3 years to begin to get over the loss of its mother.  And they never entirely do.  We're not the only species that thinks.  We're not the only species that feels.  And they're brutally slaughtered for a product that can be easily replicated.

Now the geniuses that own the world (well, at least they own the U.S.) have decided to buy the ivory stockpiles that Tanzania and Zambia are putting up for sale.  For what?  So that we can all rest assured that nothing, but nothing is more important than a pretty display of wealth...

And that will mean so much to us, I imagine, when we're the lone species, in its final minutes, blinking in the bright sun after every last tusk has been carved up, every last tree has been cut down... watching the water rise... counting our money on our ivory abacuses and chatting about the good ole days while we pick nits off each other (just like the good ole days)...

You wonder why I drink...   Still, I'll find out if it's ivory. 

In the meantime, if you're feeling it, send money to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  They're fighting the good fight while most everybody else is fanning themselves with pretty currency...


  1. Ivory can come from elephants that have died for any number of reasons and, at the moment, parts of Botswana are so over-run with elephants that they are destroying the environment - leading to starvation for them and all the other creatures that live there unless humans bring in food for them. It' really pretty tragic. Few things are as simple as ivory=bad or ivory=good. The world is a lot more complicated than that.

  2. Fact remains that they're on the verge of extinction, regardless. I think in this case, no matter how you dissect it, ivory = bad. If it could be contained in a way that ivory only came from elephants that died naturally, that would be one thing. But I'm not sure that in my lifetime I'll see the day that human beings stop being motivated by greed enough to kill and torture for. Thanks for the info, though. Still haven't made my peace with being on this killing floor. Trying...

  3. Will making a bigger donation to save existing elephants help? No, probably not. That wouldn't fit you! Getting rid of or destroying existing ivory items seems like a double waste. . . shouldn't it be honored as something sort of sacred?

    I'll hope for you that the keys turn out to be something other than ivory.

  4. what about the pianos that you play?

  5. Hard to find pianos with ivory keys these days. Does beg the question, though. It's different to own it yourself than to touch it, eh? Read Number 84, and your question will be answered. If I were going to be that fanatical, I'd be Sinead O'Connor (alot wealthier and alot balder and probably incredibly medicated, because I'd go completely bonkers worrying about whether or not I'm coming into contact with something I'm ethically opposed to at every turn). ;] Happy Wednesday!


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