It’s been one year since the Department of Well-Being and Safety (DWBS) introduced Harmonious Humphrey and Harmonious Hannah to The Park’s Stereotype Sundays.
“We have to do all we can to prevent the younger generation from developing this fear of the other. If it takes a pair of gigantic stuffed Animals, that’s all right. Just so long as we don’t expect toys to do all the work for us.”—Gunnar Rotte, journalist and counsellor
The pair of stuffed toys, commissioned by the DWBS to foster interspecial harmony in the hearts and minds of The Park’s youth, have spent every weekend (notwithstanding the theft and recovery of Hannah) being hugged, cuddled, bitten, pulled at, and spat on by Animals of all ages. The question is, what has been accomplished?
“I think we made a very good start,” says Cornelius Kakapo, the DWBS Public Relations Director who famously said a year ago, “It is far easier to plant a seed than it is to relocate a tree.”
“We haven’t seen the kind of shift in attitudes that we might have wanted, but I think that was an unreasonable expectation.”
According to Kakapo, the key to the harmonious pair’s success is to get young Animals interested in our differences and similarities.
“We’re using Hannah and Humphrey to create curiosity in young Animals,” he says. “That’s the reason they’re so big.”
That curiosity, the DWBS hopes, will lead to an exchange of information about different species that will, in turn, create greater understanding.
Gunnar Rotte, whose own experiences in The Park have taken him on a whirlwind tour from being a journalist to a public enemy to a counsellor at the Extinction Anxiety Clinic, says we have nothing to lose in employing the stuffed toys. But he cautions against expecting “huge gains.”
“We have to do all we can to prevent the younger generation from developing this fear of the other,” he says. “If it takes a pair of gigantic stuffed Animals, that’s all right. Just so long as we remain vigilant and we don’t expect toys to do all the work for us.”