Bud Petal blogs here, and is also on facebook, twitter, vimeo, and instagram.


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The Ballad of the Chimp

They tried to teach me sign language as if I were a human child
But all I wanted was a banana
They raised me in a human abode
But all I wanted was to pick fleas off my next of kin
They believed I acquired rudimentary linguistic skills
But I was merely responding to their positive reinforcement

I am Nim Chimpsky
The chimp they tried to turn into a child
I am not Koko (the gorilla) nor am I Washoe (the chimp)
I am Nim Chimpsky
The chimp with complex communication abilities
I am not a creature with language

I signalled "give me eat"
As past instances of the action brought me food
They signalled for more information
Under an illusion of conversation
I signalled "banana me eat banana"
As past instances of the action brought me food
They signalled for the approach of the banana
They signalled for the approach of the banana

I am Nim Chimpsky
The chimp they tried to turn into a child
I learned basic sign language
But I cannot reflect on what I learned
I am Nim Chimpsky
The chimp with complex communication abilities
I am not a creature with language

I am Nim Chimpsky,
The chimp they tried to turn into a child

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