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Be Bear-Y Patient to Read this...that strange Men-Bear Connection!

Image from Blog about Bear-like Mannerisms
Don't Weird it Up by Drawing Comparisons with Me!
Please understand that this is not about the Papa Bear paradox that my teammates once invented - the image and the discussion is not about me in any way. It is about an image along with some childhood moments that flashed in my mind, and I had to blog about it - needless to say, am a chronic thinker and writer of sorts. I remember this picture of a big family of animals and birds seated together, getting ready for supper. However, the most welcoming, warm vibes that I could feel were coming from a big, pokey bear. Why is that?

Bears in the wild are not gentle or less ferocious than their carnivorous mates. They can be very defensive and ready to attack without giving away a clue. Somehow, images of even grizzly bears and the equally strong, and sometimes cruel, polar bear induce the same aura - something I still struggle to figure out. Bears are hibernation animals, somewhat lazy, not known for their social skills, infamous as parents, and don't present a high degree of human-level acclimatization. Still, these images are lapped up by most folks. Yeah, some members of this fraternity, like koalas, are naive and adorable. However, none of the images or instances I am talking about are about koalas or teddy bears - this is about the real thing, really big, wildlife bears who could tear you apart in a couple of minutes.

Revisiting the childhood image I mentioned before - I have this image of a big, father-like-figure bear at the helm of a huge dining spread, and on either side, there are smaller, humbler animals looking at the big-eyed fella wearing a checkered shirt to start things - the image is from my standard II days and it still surfaces whenever I find people gushing over this hard-to-decipher cuteness about bears.

From what I can understand, the reasons include:

- Size: bears are usually big, and their size is often amplified by the thick, hairy growth that makes them look broader and bigger than they actually might be. In some way, bigger-sized animals, not as huge as King Kong, perhaps induce that feeling of being able to keep you safe. The look is not athletic or muscular, sans any degree of aggressiveness. This is also a great camouflage because grizzlies can be very violent

- Eyes: bears have somewhat innocent eyes. These are not angry or emotive like that of a big cat or a dog. Bear eyes are something close to being round and on occasion, might look sad. The slight droopiness adds to that aura. Still, I don't recall any writer or comic book illustrator using bear eyes in their illustrative work or as an example to quote.

- Stance: most bear images have the four-legged creature with the upper, and front legs upheld, like arms. I cannot put this into words but that stance, that pose has some sort of likeability about it. If you want to compare, Google some images of cats and dogs raised on their hind limbs and you will realize that this posture is invariably cute. Even for guys who run away from words like "cute"

- Head: a round head, almost perfectly round with rounded eyes and a snout. These seem like the perfect ingredients for making most animals look friendly, less threatening, and more pattable. The rounded ears perched on either side, never flapping, never rolling down or up, always firm in their upright stance complete a look that induces an inaccurate sense of innocence

- Walk: that slow, ultra-slow walking style, somewhere between being a sloth and an elephant, further adds to the impression of bears being passive, too dormant to do any harm. If you have ever watched videos of bears walking, they have no sniffing action, there is nothing about their walk which makes them look circumspect about their surroundings. It seems bears have an inborn talent of mindfulness, merely concentrating on themselves, cutting away from the world, and walking in absolute peace. The animal kingdom's monk?

...wait, I forgot Honey! If there was ever an animal food choice that has helped to create an illusion concealing the real persona, you don't have to look far away from books with images of bears eating directly from a pot of honey. This is perhaps rooted somewhere in our sub-conscience. How can an animal that feeds on honey be not sweet?

1 comment:

  1. Found this very interesting discussion about the difficulty of making small talk when you are a natural born introvert - by Josh Uric


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