Ernest Hemingway, Elephants, and E-Commerce

Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the greatest modern writers of the Twentieth Century. His prose has been accused of creating a whole new way to write novels, or a whole new way to ruin them. Either way, Papa Ernie is a literary giant.

Hemingway kept an elephant gun on his mantle, and he wasn’t afraid to use it. In fact, one of Hemingway’s favorite pastimes was visiting exotic locales and shooting large animals; creatures we now consider endangered and in need of protection. One of these animals is the African elephant.

Hemingway killed himself in 1961 with a gun. In his day, there wasn’t such a huge stigma about shooting rare animals. Hemingway liked to pose with his recent trappings. He would crouch down, bend at the knees, prop himself against his large-caliber gun, and smile while the animal lay bleeding and dying behind him.

Things have changed. Hemingway knew this. He may have naturally lived another 20 or 30 years, but he knew his era had come to an end.

Today, it’s almost universally condemned to shoot and kill an elephant. These large, graceful animals are quickly becoming extinct. Humans who once hunted these animals are now charged with protecting them.

GoDaddy Founder and CEO Bob Parsons posted a video on the web in late March, 2011, showing himself killing and posing with the body of an African elephant.

It didn’t take long before protests erupted. Blogs railed against Parsons. Animal rights organizations put out information on how to boycott or cancel subscriptions to GoDaddy within hours of the posting.

Now, I truly believe Parsons is an intelligent man. He must be to create an easy-to-use and successful internet product such as his.

The strange part is he was not able to predict the backlash against his company. I’m sure GoDaddy will survive the incident, a little tarnished. This occurrence demonstrates a larger truth. Having intelligence does not mean you have foresight, but lack of foresight is never intelligent.

By the way, Hemingway’s elephant gun is up for sale. I would encourage its new owner to keep it on the mantle and not point it at any endangered species.


About Blog Boss

Jim MacKenzie and Sarah Giavedoni are the creators of the blogs Stuff Monsters Like, the Incredible Vanishing Paperweight, and more. When they are not blogging, they are devoted to managing the Asheville Blogger Society, watching movies, running a completely unrelated nonprofit, and making money at their paid employment.
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3 Responses to Ernest Hemingway, Elephants, and E-Commerce

  1. John says:

    If you did your home work, you’d discover that a trip to the Mayo Clinic showed Mr. Hemingway’s liver and some other organs to be in rather bad shape less than a year before his suicide. He did not commit suicide because it was the end of the elephant murder spree era. He did it because he worried all the time about having any fear, such as a fear of death. I believe it started in the first world war. He was very brave in that war, yet I know for a fact that it shook him up pretty bad, as it would most anybody, and certainly me if I had survived it.

    When he was 18-19, he would sleep in the stair railed hall way with the lights on and asked his sister to stay with him incase he woke up frightened. Even though he said he did not fear death, he did, and it bothered him he did because that damn war tore him up. He was still a good man in a lot of ways and true and good to his friends. He had a talent to see people, and fought for freedom when it was threatened. One can sit all day talking about his mistakes, or things he did (like challanging people to fight “for fun” at parties) that many today wouldn’t understand- or would just pretend not to to be assuredly “correct”, but honestly there is a lot of GOOD GOOD GOOD things about Ernest and I feel in our cowardly little squalid age that’s being forgotten.

    That said, I could never, or at least would never want, to shoot a Elephant. I do love to fish and love hunting deer, and would love to go to Africa and hunt antelope. I agree, there’s just something magical and majestic and noble and ancient about a elephant. They’re so intelligent, it’s not something I’d feel good about. I believe from what I’ve read Hemingway sensed this, as he used some of these very words to describe the animals. In one of his short stories, a young boy sys, “Fuck Elephant hunting”, only to be challanged by his father and repeat the same again. So why did Hemingway kill them? Who knows. I believe he may have been afraid NOT to do something out of sensitivity, that which he may have found “reservation” or “hesitation.” I don’t know. At the end of the day, he was his own worst critc, always looking for the next big thrill to battle his depression. He did push the envelope sometimes, and somtimes I wish I could just go back and convience him he was ok. Still, he wasn’t just some jerk of a show off. This was just a part of him. In his relation to his sons, with his friends, in his writing, in his fighting of nazis with grenades IN A DAMN FISHING BOAT off the coast of cuba during WWII, he proved himself to be a good man in many ways. In the end, he was caught in a battle trying to prove himself to himself.

    • MonsterStuff says:

      John, I can tell you’re passionate about Hemingway. We have that in common. I like your last sentence about being caught in the battle trying to prove himself to himself. Good line.

  2. Rara says:

    Really interesting article.

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