Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Viva ovoviviparous sharks!

Harlot folklore has it that it was good old me who suggested we call Aristotle Aristotle. I was five at the time, and he was a wriggly round puppy with a leg at each corner. In my memory, I spent days lobbying for Daisy. Someone had told me that chihuahua puppies were small enough to snuggle inside matchboxes, and I was wishing my socks off that at the last minute the beagle elect would be replaced by a chihuahua.

The beagle won, thank Dog, and Aristotle trumped Daisy. I don't remember giving up on Daisy, but the collective account is emphatic. I chose Aristotle. I do remember, afterwards, being inordinately proud of having fished out such an illustrious name for the wonderdog.

Until I realised what a total doofus Aristotle's namesake was. Exempli gratia:

But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature?
There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.
That's just charming, that is. Much worse than his theory that babies happen when an Athenian plants his homunculus in the nearest vessel's menstrual blood.

But this is kinda cool. In De generatione animalium, Aristotle classifies animals into five groups: mammals; ovoviviparous sharks; birds and reptiles; fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans; and insects. And might I just add how impressed I am by those sharks, who keep their eggs in their bodies until they're ready to hatch. Way to avoid the omelet factor.

3 comments:

Mitzi G Burger said...

I can't believe the spermacentric post got so much fan-mail and this sharky bit went by quietly!

Incidentally my friend's beagle is called Bagel, and yes, he was cute enough to spread with cream cheese, drape with smoked salmon and eat for brunch.

I think the subjection/ruled dichotomy in terms of markedness from the startness in Aristoteleian terms is trueish of some kinky relationships, but not of indidviduals' civil liberties. Some are destined to spank, and others, to be tickled. Aristotle, that toga-lifter. So wise.

TimT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TimT said...

And then there are those who prefer neither spanking or tickling, but are avalable for a wee spot of spickling.