Goat Song

Broadly, Goat Song reminds me of Part Wild, following a somewhat similar autobiographical pattern between seeking, purchasing, and caring for a domesticated animal. As others have expressed, my impressions of goats from afar were quite inaccurate, particularly in the area of goat intelligence and personality. Why I took comfort in my ignorant impression of goats as nothing more than a collection of nearly identical, stupid animals that do nothing but make obnoxious noises and make inferior cheese is beyond me at the moment, as I was clearly wrong, and I should have known it intuitively.

However, the component of my impression of goats that did not change, and was actually reinforced, was their humor. These are hilarious animals. From their noises, to their absurd sexual behaviors, to their (occasionally) inexhaustible resistance to milking, to their impulse to scramble for higher ground at the slightest hint of danger, is very entertaining to read about and imagine. Although, I could go without the excruciating detail about the sexual “rituals” of goats. I didn’t think there existed a goat counterpart to Fifty Shades of Grey, but this book, if it weren’t titled Goat Song, most certainly should have been titled Fifty Shades of Goats.  And I’m not sure if it was the imagery created in my mind that was more disturbing, or Kessler himself for being so d*mn observant to make sure he caught every detail of these goat “activities” and wrote them down before he could forget. I wouldn’t be surprised if he used binoculars while observing them, given the detail. And finally, I’m not surprised historical cultures have associated this animal with sin… This animal, while hilarious, is little more than a giant ball of seething id impulses that explodes from Kessler’s writing and into my  brain. Thanks.

Aside from that, most fascinating to me was the bit about the origins of letters A, C, H, L, and I. Honestly I hadn’t even thought of English letters as originating from more meaningful symbolism. I had assumed English and languages like Egyptian Hieroglyphics were mechanistically entirely different, and they may be to some extent, but it was fascinating to learn of the pastoral origins of some of our language. Even more interesting is thinking about these letters as “storing” or “containing” elements of past human civilizations, where these bits of history are present in all of our writing, albeit with 99% of us being completely oblivious to it. This only reinforces my support for an interdependent view of nature (and reality in general), as with a little bit of knowledge or observation it is pretty easy to notice the intricate interconnectedness of everything. This awareness has been especially important as it relates to a recurring theme in this class that humans, human creations, other animals, and “nature” are inseparable, despite the illusion we’ve constructed of it being otherwise.

 

 

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6 Responses to Goat Song

  1. Please tell me you’ve seen this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IuRzJRrRpQ

    Absolutely perfect regarding your mention of how hilarious goats are.

    • Please tell me how you found this video! I wonder how many times Buttermilk gets away with jumping on top of the black goat? Love it.

  2. Agreed. Hilarious video.

  3. Kessler does seem to have a knack for getting the nitty gritty details down on paper before they slip his mind- I’ve never seen a more detailed (or eloquently written) diary that exists solely for the purpose of tracking goat milk and activity! I didn’t find the imagery as disturbing as many seem too (although the bit about drinking urine was a bit much), but I can understand Kessler’s fascination with figuring out how everything worked. He did a great job with his research and putting his factoids into his own words to make it flow with the story. I agree that the book really speaks to the interdependency and interconnectedness of natural and human history, in a better way than any of our other reading this semester (in my opinion).

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