Saturday, May 29, 2004


From an online interview of Robert Sullivan, author of "Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants":
Washington, D.C.: Most people do not recoil in horror at mice, which look just like rats but are smaller, nor do they loathe squirrels [Ed.: The Warrior Monk is a notable exception], which are the same size and are also rodents but are considered cute. Why do so many people have an instinctive fear and disgust toward rats?

I know I do. I am chilled even to look at them, yet I do not have that kind of reaction against any kinds of bugs or reptiles. What is it, do you think, about rats?

Robert Sullivan: A couple things: the tail. The rats (sic) tail is really really gross. It looks like something on an armadillo, no offense to armadillos. Secondly, rats while not as big as dogs or cats are, especially compared to mice, huge. Their teeth are stronger than steal. They squeak. They his (sic). They kind-of make a growling sound sometimes. ...
And ... in Minnesota they bear a striking resistance to bunnies, or as one local nursing home instructed its staff: "tell residents that the rats they saw scurrying around were 'bunnies.'"

Minnesota. Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, all the children are above average and all the rats are bunnies.


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