36 Comments

  1. I’m not entirely sure what the joke is supposed to be, but this happens to a friend of mine all the time. His name is Bill Hassan, as his dad is Middle-Eastern but his mum is from the UK. He grew up in Hull, and a more Northern “lad” you are unlikely to ever meet. Still, he is the subject of ‘random’ searches about 95% of the time he passes through a Western airport.

    He always asks why he gets targeted, and the answer is always, “It’s just random sir, sorry for the inconvenience.” “Nothing to do with my last name?” he replies. “No sir,” comes the answer, but he’s sceptical as the frequency of these random checks don’t seem all that random.

    He might enjoy this comic.

  2. You know how in our world, authorities do profiling based on race? Wouldn’t it be funny if, in a world with a variety of sentient animals, the authorities profiled based on species?

    AFAICT, if you don’t think substituting animals into human situations is funny, you’re very rarely going to enjoy Tundra.

  3. Yeah but at least Kevin and Kell would use an animal that had a particular reason to be searched more thoroughly.

  4. The brown bear is put off that the polar bears don’t have to put up with this. Not really that complicated.

  5. What’s not to understand? The bear is being pulled aside because the security people think bears are more likely to maul people. This is species profiling akin to racial profiling.

    It’s not *funny*; but it’s not perplexing.

  6. I was thinking that the bear was being pulled out of line because he couldn’t fit through the metal detector, and was blaming it on profiling. Or it might be bad artwork.

  7. Having a polar bear saunter through unmolested when the brown bear gets searched would certainly be a more cutting commentary. Perhaps too much for this type of strip.

  8. Brown bear versus polar bear doesn’t work because that would be racial profiling. Typically, most people would say if there’s any profiling at an airport, it would be of the ethnic variety. But with all the stories we hear of small children and elderly women getting “randomly” selected, that’s probably not a common viewpoint either.

  9. Winter Wallaby, I profile based on species. I pet dogs and kitty-cats. I don’t try to pet badgers or skunks.

  10. Okay – in the silly, imaginary world of my teddy bears and the teddy village – they call this specieism.- teddy bears are not treated the same as people due to their “species”.

  11. @Mark in Boston: “Winter Wallaby, I profile based on species. I pet dogs and kitty-cats. I don’t try to pet badgers or skunks.”

    I used to see a commercial on (and, if I recall correctly, for) public television that spoke to that — we watched a skunk wander into a house, through some rooms, up the stairway, into a bedroom. onto a bed where a guy is sleeping. At each point members of the household turn a trifle too late (appaently) to notice it, and the viewer is assumed to be waiting for a skunky catastrophe to suddenly explode, especially when the half-asleep guy on the bed reaches over and pets it.

    Then the camera pans over to a family photo on the dresser, with all the family gathered around the guy, who is holding the family pet — that skunk — in his arms and smiling. And a caption/moral shows up on the screen saying something like “Be more open-minded.”

  12. Re: skunks: I wasn’t clear how unreasonable the “speciesism” was in Zootopia. The movie acts like it’s unreasonable bigotry, but then shows that, e.g. sloths really are all slow. (Or at least implies it. Perhaps there are some very fast sloths in the Zootopia world that the movie producers never showed, in which case they should feel bad for perpetuating speciesist stereotypes in their movie.)

    Singapore Bill: People can’t generate good random numbers on their own, but TSA could easily have a program to select passengers randomly if they wanted to. Presumably, it’s just that they don’t want to.

  13. WW: That’s the point of the link. “Random” screening isn’t random because they don’t have any randomizing device that takes the clods in airport security out of the equation. It’s all theatre anyway. Does so little that it is effectively useless.

  14. “Brown bear versus polar bear doesn’t work because that would be racial profiling.”

    Or it would if brown bears (Ursus arctos) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were different races of the same species, rather than different species. Since they are different species, it would be species profiling, not racial profiling.

  15. Singapore Bill: Sure, I think we’re on the same page. I’m just saying the lack of randomness is by design.

  16. “ Or it would if brown bears (Ursus arctos) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were different races of the same species, rather than different species. Since they are different species, it would be species profiling, not racial profiling.”

    Since there is no polar bear in the strip, I assumed you were implying that the artist was using a metaphor where the white polar bear has more privilege than the brown bear, in other words, racial profiling . If that’s not what you were saying then I would say the strip really is “that complicated”.

  17. “Since there is no polar bear in the strip, I assumed you were implying that the artist was using a metaphor where the white polar bear has more privilege than the brown bear, in other words, racial profiling ”

    If a polar bear gets different treatment than a brown bear, that’s species profiling. Just as it is if the brown bear is surrounded not by polar bears, but by human beings. Different species, not different races. Not complicated.

  18. Well it’s complicated if introducing a fictional polar bear into the strip is required by the reader in order to get the joke. Why not a black bear? Heck why not a rabbit?

  19. @Mark M: The black bear (a heart surgeon) was pulled over by the cops for driving a BMW in the expensive neighbourhood he lives in while he was on his way to the airport. He was shot 18 times when he rolled down his window.

  20. “Well it’s complicated if introducing a fictional polar bear into the strip is required by the reader in order to get the joke”

    Then don’t insert one. Problem solved.

    “Why not a black bear?”

    The colorist chose brown for bears (and white for people)

    “why not a rabbit?”

    Or, conversely, why a rabbit?

  21. It turns out that grizzly bears and polar bears can mate and produce fertile offspring. They never did this in the past because climate kept their habitats separate, but now they are meeting up. Pizzly bears are not nice bears.

  22. Pizzly bears? That doesn’t sound like an awesome, unfriendly bear… Now, Grolar bear, that name sounds better!

  23. MiB: When I originally saw your comment, I assumed you were joking, because it sounded sort of implausible, and “pizzly bear” sounds sort of funny. Just did a web search and was surprised to find out it’s not a joke.

  24. According to Wikipedia (usual caveats): “The number of confirmed hybrids has since risen to eight, all of them descending from the same female polar bear.”

    It’s not clear if it’s a general case of range overlap, or a certain bear’s . . . er . . . proclivities.

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