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David Normal:


Ostriches with human heads. Well, these ostriches needed to be revised quite a bit in order to be proper ostriches since the original illustrator was evidently ignorant of a crucial fact of the bird's anatomy: They only have two toes! What he drew appears to be a gaggle of emus, who, though similar to ostriches, have three toes.

Why bother to carefully correct this if you are going to drastically alter there anatomy with an addition of pure fancy (i.e.; a human head)? Very simply because it simply would not be "Ostrischizocracy" if the birds were emus.

Emus, you see, have no reputation for foolishness, because they are not believed to hide their heads in the sand.  Actually, ostriches do not hide their heads in the sand, it only appears so from a distance when they have their heads down and are hunting for things to eat on the ground.  However, be that as it may, the image salient to the metaphor - that of a "government by schizophrenic ostriches".



Image taken from page 357 of 'Fra det moderne England. I Dansk bearbejdelse ved A. Ipsen. Med talrige illustrationer, etc' Collection of the British Library.

View illustration on British Library's Flickr Photostream


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