This morning in Center City Philadelphia I saw a bourgie young woman pushing a baby boy of two or three in a carriage. In the child's lap was a book, presumably with pictures, titled "Wild Animals of North America."
I noted to myself several ironies. One is that there are very few wild animals left in North America, unless you count squirrels. Another is that, while young boys are attracted to the notion of wild animals, that boy will grow up in the most regulated, watched, and catalogued society-- be it of animals or humans-- ever. We're little better than zoo animals. Except for patches of urban wilderness which soon enough point their occupants toward actual prisons, or a few rural hinterlands where reside historical throwbacks like Wild Bill Blackolive, dreams of the wild are all most people get. That boy might become a young literary writer, properly MFA'd after being properly indoctrinated in college, with proper style and proper self-regulated politically-correct thoughts, nothing untoward or messy or wild to be found in himself and his well-crafted words, anywhere.