Dumbo, and the Truth About ElephantsAugust 07, 2015

Disney's decision to do a live-action remake of "Dumbo" was anticipated, but the choice of Tim Burton took everyone by surprise.

Dumbo was a baby elephant, ridiculed for his very large pair of ears. But it helped him fly. He only had one friend, and it turned out be a mouse. There was supposed to be an animosity between the two animals, but viewers wouldn't expect Disney to show a parody in a wholesome animated film. At 64 minutes of running time, it was one of the shortest features that the studio ever made. Walt Disney was hoping it would earn enough money to recoup the financial losses from "Fantasia". "Dumbo" became the highest-grossing Disney film during the 1940s. It was a simple picture, endearing moviegoers who wanted to forget the news on World War II. What was even remarkable was the story didn't originate from a fairy tale.

Disney is on a roll after the phenomenal success of "Alice in Wonderland" five years ago. Burton was behind the camera, and his penchant for oddity synched with Lewis Carroll's surreal vision of a young girl about to experience puberty. Maybe this was one of the reasons why Burton was picked to direct "Dumbo", but many aren't holding their breath. Wholesomeness is not part of Burton's vocabulary, but there's always a first time.

Buddha and his herd

Anyone who have been to Asia will notice the ubiquitous elephant. They can be seen as statues, even carved in temples dating back to the Middle Age. If you want a live one, then no need to look far. There's a thing called Elephant Safari, and it's a short drive away.

It won't be surprising that many will associate elephants with Buddhism. It's not what everyone expects it to be. Buddha was said to like the elephant's perceptive behaviour and gentle nature. These animals can be trained, suggesting patience and intelligence. Buddha possessed these traits, and he preferred their company. Believers would swear that this is the truth, but the elephant is considered a religious deity in Asian culture. Nowadays, this animal is a symbol of animal conversation. Elephants are prized for their tusks. The World Elephant Day, observed on August 12, is about saving this species from extinction.

Political pundits in America would point out that the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. This was the idea of the GOP back then, as a parody of this party turned out to be a great idea.

How can you help the elephants

It will be better to travel to Asia and witness the elephants in captivity. Washing and feeding them become a part of the tourist's itinerary. There's nothing wrong about this kind of interaction, but better not take a picture at close range. And try to observe them. You'll never know that this creature is looking at you, probably sizing you up.

You can also check out your local area, as there might be someone who is part of World Elephant Day. You're not obliged to donate money for their cause, but you can research on this wonderful mammal. Nothing beats the real thing, so it may be time to dust off your travel backpack.

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