March 12th, 2004

[fades] browns and reds

Where everybody knows your fixation...

I had to request 80 new product codes for little 18-page books, many of them nonfiction, many of them nature-themed. I wandered into my boss's office and started listing titles--"gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, tigers, hedgehogs, snakes, stinky skunks--"

"--No hyenas," she finishes.

There are two books our company publishes that at least mention hyenas. One is called "Hyena, Why Are You Laughing?" and it features a striped hyena, which is just a fact error. The other is called, unflatteringly, if anybody but me would worry about not flattering a hyena, "Animal Scavengers," and the cover photo shows a spotted hyena with a TWO FOOT, VIBRANT BLUE streamer of drool, as if they photoshopped it in or selectively ramped the saturation on the hyena's slobber.

There are no less than three books actually titled "Wolves," and lions figure into no fewer than four titles. Hedgehogs have a book. Camels have two of them. Even the books "Spots" and "Spots and Stripes" ignore the noble, or at least quite competent, hunter H. Crocuta crocuta.

This is because of the powerful lion lobby in educational publishing, mark my words.
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