The Loop: Tigers or wolves?


Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's letters column, including the best of your thoughts from Twitter and Facebook.

Would wolves or tigers make better dining companions?

At least as far as Judith's Kerr world goes, tigers - though greedy - do have manners and even wear clothes. She is the author of the children's classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a book that generations of parents have read countless times to their children.

The re-reading (again and again and again) will have led many parents to invent their own subtexts to the story. What, exactly, does the tiger represent? He comes uninvited to the family home while Dad is out at work. He helps himself to whatever he wants - drinks all the water in the tap and even Dad's beer - then leaves.

Kerr herself says it's just a story, of course. Fellow author Michael Rosen told us that her family history of escaping Nazi Germany could well have influenced her: "Judith knows about dangerous people who come to your house and take people away... So I don't know whether Judith did it consciously or not - I wouldn't want to go there - but the point is he's a jokey tiger, but he is a tiger."

Magazine reader Richard Davies, is clear about the hidden meaning. "Don't trust tigers," he tweets.

So if not tigers, how about wolves? The amazing story of Marcos Rodriguez Pantoj, who was just a boy when he started to be raised by wolves in Spain, inspires much admiration but some incredulity too.

Mr Sirett, a teacher at Burnside College in Wallsend, tweets that he is sceptical. "Why does no one ever claim to be raised by something more interesting? Like a badger?"

Sendrel ‏asks: "Have humans ever been raised by sloths?"

But kgcentral has a degree of admiration for Pantoj: "Once feral boy, now an elderly Spanish man, names reasons he does not to return to wild: music & women. #rocknroll"

"Is he from Colchester" asks Mark Solomons, tweeting from @specialistnews, following coincidental reports of lupine escapes in Essex. (We were, we confess, distracted by another of his tweets: "Next time Starbucks asks your name, say Spartacus. When they say 'who's Spartacus' wait for the reaction.")

We reported this week that the fist bump, as practised by the US president and first lady, could - according to reports - be more hygienic than shaking hands. But could it catch on? Geoffrey Beattie, professor of psychology at Edgehill University, told us that regardless of hygiene, a handshake was a lot more telling. "How many shakes, the duration, the pressure, whether the palms are sweaty. People give lots of information about themselves," he told us.

Lee 'Budgie' Barnetttweets that the question, "Can the fist bump replace the handshake in the UK?" is a #QTWTAIN (question to which the answer is "no").

But don't be so sure, Budgie. Alison Hardy sees an ecclesiastical use for it: "The church could really get this going at the Peace," she tweets. Karen Breene writes that she is planning to "freak everyone one in work doing it". And according to Kara Van Park: "Nothing is friendlier than saying 'I don't want to touch your filthy hand'." Which might, of course, be exactly the message you want to send.

Image caption Peace be with you

Last word this week, which started - you may remember - with much talk about Doctor Who, goes to Tracy Broomhead who emails, presumably from a time where CAPS LOCK still exists:


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