We have one cardinal rule on 99% Invisible: No cardinals. Meaning, we deal with the built world, not the natural world.
So, when I read Jon Mooallem’s brilliant book, Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, I didn’t think we'd ever do an episode of 99% Invisible about it. I just read it for fun.
But then I saw Jon perform stories from the book live with musical accompaniment from the band Black Prairie. And that changed everything.
What you need to know about Wild Ones is that it's not a book about nature. It’s a book about how we fit nature into our lives. Wild Ones is about the cutesy stuffed animals, the eco-tours, and the byzantine methods of conservation that evolve when our experience with wild life goes from something natural to something designed. Human-animal interaction has become a designed experience and the story of that transition, as the title of the book suggests, is sometimes dismaying and weirdly reassuring.
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