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If only college were just lion around

Jackie Mirandola Mullen | Monday, April 26, 2010

I initially wanted to use this, my final Observer article, as a summation — or multiplication, I might say if I’m in the boastful mood — of my college career.

But every time I’d stop and think, I became distracted. This summarizes college well, actually, but I still needed the article. What dis-tractions kept me from tracting (maybe?) my attention on the article? Well, in this case, it was that fantastical Christian shtick, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Any fun-loving Notre Dame student could admit to similar distractions, drawn in by the Christian allegories of Mr. Lewis and his two pre-ceding initials (Does “postceding” come after “ceding?” Or maybe it’s seceding. I’ll ask someone else from the South).

The longer I watched Lewis’ story, the more disturbed I grew — why is Jesus a lion? (Aslan is Turkish for “lion,” in case you only listened to the movie.)

Again, why? Male lions do not deserve this praise; their main purpose in life is to spread their seeds amongst females … and even if that allegory sounds similar to Jesus (regarding sowing seeds, that is), a creature who exists solely (not like soles on shoes, more like only) to copulate might not be the best representation of God on Earth.

And perhaps worse, in our hard-work-gets-you-ahead American mentality: Male lions are lazy.

When I say lazy, I don’t mean sit before the Serengeti boob tube and watch the latest wildebeest stampede on ESPN (Events on the Savanna Programming Network). No, I mean that these lethargic cats (pardon my redundancy) spend an average of 20 hours a day lay-Z-ing (they sound like rap artists) around.

Twenty hours! Makes you feel silly for working so hard here when the symbolic “King” of the natural world doesn’t stand on four feet during the day any longer than it takes you to stand in the stadium and watch a football game — on two legs.

Female lions lounge just the same amount (not on “a mount,” though, usually on rock) as the males, but they earn that relaxation time, as well as the first “laxation” time, before the “re-,” that is. This is because the lionesses both hunt and raise the young to adulthood. Working women who also keep up the home, lionesses would need something pretty exciting to keep them providing food for the pride.

Well, excitement they have. Male lions might be good-for-nothings when it comes to meeting basic needs in lyin’ lives, but they have one thing that trumps all, whether lion or human: good looks. These mane men have evolved through the scientific process that human models undergo rapidly in journeys to fame, known in Latin as “gottitus flauntius,” also described in the musical “The Producers” as “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” These kitties are so good-looking that they don’t have to do anything except fight with other men to shorten each others’ life spans and claim territoriality over the ladies, despite the fact that lionesses aren’t too picky once breeding season rolls around…

What turns these ladies on? Well, if you’ve seen the Lion King, it’s not him. Mufasa and Simba are impressive, yes, but Disney’s racist tendencies skewed the real attractiveness of the lion. Dark manes are what the ladies really want. Re-watch the Lion King through the eyes of a lioness (please interpret that figuratively, as lion eyes are hard to come by), and you will see the new appeal of the villain.

Lions’ evolution to these maned sex-symbols has been rapid, as Wikipedia informed me last evening. Apparently, scientists at UW (as I assume the University of Wikipedia calls itself) have found cave paintings of European lions as “exclusively show animals with no mane, or just the hint of a mane, suggesting that they were maneless.” I don’t think I need to point out to you the similarity between “Maneless” and “Manless.” Their effeminacy, however, likely resulted in a more egalitarian society where the men and women shared a good deal of the responsibility.

I’m not even making up this egalitarian nonsense, as you will see as I wiki-quote my next hard-earned find. “Lionesses do the majority of the hunting for their pride, being smaller, swifter and more agile than the males, and unencumbered by the heavy and conspicuous mane, which causes overheating during exertion.” Pretty boys can’t even run without getting too hot because of their hairdo.

Perhaps I have been too hard on the male lion. His territorial defense and wooing of the female with his sexy dark mane permits the continuation of Panthera leo, after all. Yet, my upbringing by a feminist (I don’t know where she “brought me up” to, but I’m here) makes me want to go in and educate that lion so that he can help with the cooking and the child-rearing, as he likely once did before his hairy neck collar. Mail lie ons are lazy, but they look good.

I guess in leaving you, I can only hope this article did not end up as a summary of my college experience. Ladies, steer clear of attractive men with neck hair, and gentlemen, only grow out your mane if you plan on going into show biz. Good luck, everyone.


Jackie Mirandola Mullen is a senior History and German major. She would like to thank everyone for putting up with her environmental slants, Austrian rants and bad puns for the past three years. You can reach her at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.