I've been saying it for years
A panda vendetta validated: The Animal Review gives the bears an F
Shortly after I began working at CultureMap (perhaps too soon), I revealed that I had a deep-seated resentment for panda bears.
The things are always the subject of so much ooh-ing and ahh-ing, are constantly being protected and protested over, and it seems to me that they don't do much besides sit around and suck at survival.
They only eat one thing (isn't that breaking, like, the first rule of Darwinism?) and they're even bad at having sex.
It wasn't a very popular view, but I'm happy to say that I finally have some support. Jacob Lentz and Steve Nash started a blog called The Animal Review that has now become a book.
The concept is pretty straightforward. Lentz and Nash review animals based on their awesomeness and commitment to survival, and give each a letter grade. The panda, not surprisingly, earns an F. (An octopus, by contrast, receives an A grade for its intelligence and ability to contort its strange body. By the writer's estimation, an octopus would make an excellent superhero.)
I'll leave you with this excerpt of the entry on the panda:
"Pandas' problems come from their basic refusal to act like real bears. First of all, real bears like to mate. Real bears also eat things they're supposed to eat. But pandas, despite having the digestive tract of a carnivore that cannot effectively digest cellulose, nevertheless insist on keeping to a diet that is 90 percent bamboo. This means that they have to feed constantly, subtracting from time that could otherwise be spent at least pretending to care about mating.
While everyone worries about the panda's future, any objective observer is led to the conclusion that perhaps its time has passed. Maybe Nature is trying to give them the hint that they need to go the way of the dodo, and maybe we should spend our time on a species that at least wants to survive. In the meantime, pandas occupy valuable zoo space and consume prodigious amounts of bamboo that could otherwise be used to produce offbeat furniture. Way to be, Gao Gao."
Loves it. The book is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, or any indie retailer worth its salt.