An “Event” has caused rabbits to become anthropomophic. This exchange is the book in a walnut-shell:
So while we ate the excellent walnut cake that the Venerable Bunty’s mother’s sister’s daughter’s husband’s son had baked, Venerable Bunty and Connie told us about life inside the colonies, which despite the lack of freedom and limited space were the only areas within the United Kingdom that ran themselves entirely on rabbit socio-egalitarian principles.
‘It’s occasionally aggressive and often uncompromising,’ said Finkle, ‘but from what I’ve seen of both systems, a country run on rabbit principles would be a step forward – although to be honest, I’m not sure we’d be neurologically suited to the regime. While most humans are wired to be reasonably decent, a few are wired to be utter shits – and they do tend to tip the balance.’
‘The decent humans are generally supportive of doing the right thing,’ said the Venerable Bunty, ‘but never take it much farther than that. You’re trashing the ecosystem for no reason other than a deluded sense of anthropocentric manifest destiny, and until you stop talking around the issue and actually feel some genuine guilt, there’ll be no change.’
‘Shame, for want of a better word, is good,’ said Finkle. ‘Shame is right, shame works. Shame is the gateway emotion to increased self-criticism, which leads to realisation, an apology, outrage and eventually meaningful action. We’re not holding our breaths that any appreciable numbers can be arsed to make the journey along that difficult chain of emotional honesty – many good people get past realisation, only to then get horribly stuck at apology – but we live in hope.’
‘I understand,’ I said, having felt that I too had yet to make the jump to apology.
‘It’s further evidence of satire being the engine of the Event,’ said Connie, ‘although if that’s true, we’re not sure for whose benefit.’
‘Certainly not humans’,’ said Finkle, ‘since satire is meant to highlight faults in a humorous way to achieve betterment, and if anything, the presence of rabbits has actually made humans worse.’
‘Maybe it’s the default position of humans when they feel threatened,’ I ventured, ‘although if I’m honest, I know a lot of people who claim to have “nothing against rabbits” but tacitly do nothing against the overt leporiphobia that surrounds them.’
‘Or maybe it’s just satire for comedy’s sake and nothing else,’ added Connie, ‘or even more useless, satire that provokes a few guffaws but only low to middling outrage – but is coupled with more talk and no action. A sort of . . . empty cleverness.’
‘Maybe a small puff in the right moral direction is the best that could be hoped for,’ added Finkle thoughtfully. ‘Perhaps that’s what satire does – not change things wholesale but nudge the collective consciousness in a direction that favours justice and equality. Is there any more walnut cake?’
‘I’m afraid I had the last slice,’ I said, ‘but I did ask if anyone else wanted it.’