Cows say moo. Pigs say oink. Raccoons don’t say any of that, unless it’s the clang of crashing lids as they’re smashing open garbage cans. This has some advantages – in general, the average raccoon spends “less than one minute” of its lifetime reading and analyzing writings about new media – but also greatly curtails raccoons’ ability to participate in the world of converged communications.
Why is this interesting? Yesterday, a raccoon exited the woods and began moving erratically around a gazebo in a neighboring (vacant) backyard. This fuzzy character was sometimes marching in sharp squares that would make a first-grade teacher happy, sometimes reversing its own course, sometimes lying down and appearing to be dead, all in broad daylight. This was cause for concern, because the raccoon is a prominent North American carrier of the dreaded disease rabies. (Converged communicators with a good memory and experience in Writing for Digital Media, or DIG3153, during the Fall 2013 semester may remember that the ever-popular World Rabies Day is observed on September 28.) In any case, I was able to snap a couple of shots from a comparatively safe distance.
This post could conclude with a profound analysis of the international business complications involved in exporting the rabies vaccine, a discussion about how rabies-spreading, trash-can-raiding mammals could improve their public image, or even a hopeless attempt to turn the two frames pictured about into a raccoon animated .GIF. Instead, though, let’s finish with a thought-provoking question at the intersection of the family Procyonidae and communications law. Can a raccoon commit libel?