“Opposable Thumbs” – link to violence?

Via Roger Wolsey
on May 3, 2010
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Opposable Thumbs

And now for something completely different…

This is a mime piece I performed at the Laughing Goat Coffee House on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO.  The performance was at a “C.R.A.B.” event – a feeder for the Boulder International Fringe Festival.  I originally wrote the sketch in the summer of 1994.   I recruited the multi-talented Jose-Maria Ramas to be my partner in the  duet.  Unfortunately, people’s heads block some of the action in this video.   In those moments, I’m either looking at my thumb or discovering ways to use it (the first being self-pleasuring).  Also, the people in the audience “jumped the gun” and clapped too early.

The piece is a sort of morality play and parable intended to explore some of the roots of human violence.  Our capacity to inflict harm on each other is greatly enhanced by our having evolved opposable thumbs.  With that development in our hands, we have the increased ability to use and manipulate tools – and tragically, weapons were apparently among the first tools that humans created.

I’m curious what you all think about the role of opposable thumbs in human violence, potential links between male sexuality and violence, and/or the role of mimesis (“monkey see, monkey do”) in teaching violence.

Note: While I received 3 weeks of training at the Goldston School of Mime in the summer of 1994, I’m not a professional mime or performance artist by any means.


About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


3 Responses to ““Opposable Thumbs” – link to violence?”

  1. Roger Wolsey says:

    … a mime is a terrible thing to waste. ; )

  2. Roger Wolsey says:

    on a related note: see this article about chimps using tools to enhance their love lives. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/science/04tier….

  3. rogerwolsey says:

    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." – Albert Einstein