Peacocks! (Sink me!)


Peacock | Source: | Click to embiggen

My first book of January is Benjamin Mee’s memoir, We Bought a Zoo, which, admittedly, I was inspired to read because of the movie (which is not an Oscar winner by any means, but was charming nevertheless.)

Last night, I came across Mee’s description of peacocks:

Peacocks seem to have been designed by a flamboyant madman, probably of Indian extraction given the fine detailing, though with more than a nod toward the tastes of Liberace. Even in repose they are stunning, their impossibly blue heads and necks suddenly giving way to equally unlikely green and gold feathers laid like scales from halfway down their backs. These in turn abruptly change into their famous long tail feathers, many of them around a meter, easily three times as long as the males’ bodies. As if this is not enough, as an afterthought their heads are embellished with more blue-tipped feathers on narrow stalks, which blossom out in an animal parody of a Roman centurion’s helmet. And why the hell not? you think. They’ve gone this far. It seems the only limit to their opulence is the almost boundless confines of the imagination of their Indian Liberace designer.

Is it any wonder that the passage above had me humming “The Creation of Man” from the Broadway musical The Scarlet Pimpernel? Witness: