A little bit of internet history.

The rabbit Oolong, is probably known to at least a few of you. You recognize him from this image.

Posted by Hello

His photograph was used as a visual weapon-of-war in forum discussion to shut down people who began babbling incoherently on a topic.

What many of us (including me, until today) didn't know was that this wasn't a spontaneous picture. This was one picture from an entire portfolio of Oolong's work, much of which focuses around the strange (to us westerners) Japanese entertainment genre of "head performance." It's the process of recording images of animals that have been trained to balance items on their heads.

Back in May, 1999, Oolong balanced a 35mm film canister on his head for a picture (you can still find it on this page--last picture). Previous to that Oolong had been photographed following his owner about house, garden, and parks and engaged in more normal rabbit activity. Namely sitting still and looking vaguely nervous or sleepy.

But after that breakthough picture, most of Oolong's posing became head performance related, and he expanded his repetoir to include lots of object. CDs, Cookies, and Tomatoes were soon balanced on his noggin. And eventually, one of his images (not of a simple pancake, as we westerners thought, but of Dorayaki--a Japanese pastry filled with bean paste) was captured, captioned, and became a common weapon in the war against incoherency and mindless chatter on forums around the world.

Oolong died on the 1st of January, 2003. His dignified final moments were recorded by his owner as he was cared for, so that he died as he lived, a performer. I hear that his owner is now raising a new rabbit that he hopes to train to follow in Oolong's footsteps.

I think that Oolong, who made sacrifices of privacy and simplicity of life to eventually ridicule foolishness in all its forms was pretty cool. There are few more noble endeavours in life, I think, for a rabbit.

For more facts and information about Oolong, check out his Wikipedia entry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


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