Today’s blog is all about magazines.
This may seem like an odd topic, but please bear with me. There’s a cute chimp video at the end. I promise.
As one would expect, a quick dive into the various Wikipedia pages for the term “magazine” is quite enlightening. The modern English version of the word derives from medieval predecessors like magasin (French), magazzino (Italian) and makhazin (Arabic) all of which were generally used to refer to one or more warehouses or storehouses.
Essentially, a “magazine” is just a place to put stuff. Hypothetically, a pantry could be a magazine for food, a garage could be a magazine for vehicles, and CSNW could be a magazine for rescued cattle and chimpanzees. However, for some strange reason, humans in English-speaking cultures stopped using it for almost everything except firearms, artillery, ammunition, film cameras, and periodicals. Huh?
It wasn’t until the 1700s that the term was first used to describe a collection of printed articles published on a regular schedule and distributed for a fee. It’s easy to confuse magazines with journals, although the latter are usually peer-reviewed and typically feature some sort of academic content. Since the earliest versions appeared on street corners, these printed “magazines” have become a widespread cultural phenomenon. Current variations range in scope from celebrity gossip to international affairs. Although the era of print journalism has been cut short by social media, magazines are still ubiquitous in some corners of society; they can be found in dentist’s offices, airport bookshops, and even your grandparents’ coffee table (next to the bowl of hard candies and the cookie tin that actually contains knitting supplies).
Ironically, everyone seems to have collections of magazines but few people have a good place to store them.
Fortunately, we at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest make good use of donated magazines by giving them to the chimpanzees as enrichment. Usually, we smear peanut butter or mashed banana in between some of the pages, leading the chimps to flip through the periodicals in search of an unpredictable treat. Sometimes, they shred the magazines and use the scraps as nesting material. Eventually, they all get destroyed, but it’s nice to see them have a second purpose instead of immediately going in the trash.
It’s one thing to skim a magazine in search of peanut butter and another to genuinely peruse the imagery inside. Of all the sanctuary’s resident chimps, only Jamie has ever appeared to enjoy flipping through books and magazines for entertainment’s sake, so we don’t expect the others to follow suit.
However, we were intrigued when one of the new group’s former caregivers told us that adult male Cy loves to look at magazines. Shortly after they arrived and began settling in, we were able to give his group a whole stack of publications, ranging from sensationalist tabloids to issues of Popular Science and National Geographic. His response was overwhelmingly positive, to say the least. The embedded video shows his reaction, including some of the funniest little chirps I have ever heard from a chimpanzee. Cy was so excited that he kept gesturing to his caregivers to reassure him and even asked us to add more magazines to the pile.
Finally, at the end of the day, Cy threw some magazines in his nest and settled down for the evening.
Note: We’re all stocked up on magazines at the moment (our magazine magazine is full), but we’ll let you all know if we have a need for more!