Am I not a lion and a brother?

Reader Barry sent me a screenshot of this tw**t, which is indeed hilarious:


I’ve verified that this quote is indeed real: it comes from a Gawker article written last year by Brendan O’Connor.


  1. Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes, I recall seeing this at the time.

    In my head, I rationalized the redundancy thinking that the writer was wanting people who were unfamiliar with the story and lions having human names to not mistakenly think that someone named Jericho had been killed.

    And linguistically, I get it because if you are reading fast, brother Jericho is the subject of “killed.” The modifier, Cecil the lion, comes just earlier in the sentence and it modifies brother. The lion part is easily lifted out, especially with the human conventions of names and familial relationships:

    Essentially, the sentence boils down to “Cecil’s brother, Jericho, was killed.”

    A year later, it is, indeed, hilarious!!

    • Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Or rather I should say that “brother Jericho” was the OBJECT of was killed (not the subject)—subject of the sentence but object of the action of killing.

      It’s actually an interesting sentence cognitively and emotionally. The personifying of the lions stands out against the indirectness of the killer. The animals have more of a personhood than does the killer, who is nameless.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Me, I object to the subject of the killing.

    • eric
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for explaining. My brother, who is also a human, thanks you too.

  2. Joseph McClain
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Jericho is the mane man!


  3. GBJames
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink


  4. Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    From Gawker? Did they make sure that Jericho really identifies as a lion?

    • Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, he could be a trans tiger.

      • Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        And also, why brother. This all smells of heteronormative cis-speciesm.

  5. bluemaas
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    True ? of thus: ?

    “Male lion siblings often stay together after being forced to leave the pride by the resident dominant males, usually when they reach 2½ to 3 years old. They will then live a nomadic life as young bachelors until old and strong enough to compete for a territory of their own, where they will have the benefit of working as a team in challenging a pride’s resident male or males.”

    Kind of sad, actually, this couple of brothers, Jericho and Cecil.


    • eric
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s true. Cheetah brothers also sometimes team up and share territory. I’m not sure about leopards but I don’t think they do that as much.

      Or were you referring to them being kicked out of their birth-pride? That’s also pretty common for cats. Though I think in cheetahs and leopards the moms tend to just up and leave the territory to the kid(s) rather than kicking the kids out of the territory. But the result is the same: parents and children don’t see each other after the children reach adulthood. I think its correct to say that adult cats of most feline species don’t live with or near their parents. Solitary territorial predators tend to be solitary. And territorial. 🙂

      • eric
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        …and now I just realized that my “adult cats of most feline species” is the exact same gaffe the original post is about. D’oh!

  6. Matt Jenkins
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The legendary British newspaper The Sun supposedly once ran an article including the line ‘I could tell that underneath her clothes she was completely naked’. No idea if it’s true, mind you.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard that before too, though I’m not sure where I heard it. I think in the original context it was supposed to convey she wasn’t wearing underwear (as I’m sure you know), but obviously it rather missed the mark. 🙂

  7. nickswearsky
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    As a result of this unfortunate journalism, people who regularly read Gawker now think there is some controversy as to whether the brothers were both lions.

  8. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I suppose it’s barely possible that Cecil has a half-brother who’s a liger.

  9. busterggi
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Cecil does have another brother, Edgar who is a zebra. He was adopted but hasn’t been told yet.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      He was brought into the family in case his brothers needed organs urgently. Their parents didn’t tell him because they didn’t want him to worry they loved him less, even though the “love” was of how good he tastes.

    • eric
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      The National Zoo in DC houses its cheetahs right next to its zebras. They can go nose to nose through a chain link fence if they want. The zoo had to put up a whole big sign explaining how this is not stressful to the zebras (reason: cheetahs are too small. They don’t consider zebras prey and the zebras don’t consider them a significant threat. Though when a cheetah wanders too close, I’ve seen the zebras give’em a hoof stomp and a snort as if to say “yeah, I’m watching you, buddy.”)

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Nice Josiah Wedgwood allusion in the header!

    Lions in captivity could use an abolitionist of their own, no doubt.

  11. Max
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Apparently that trait runs in the family.

  12. bluemaas
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    re this post’s title: is it not a pastiche of the person born ~y1797, Ms Isabella Baumfree, otherwise self – designated and known as Ms Sojourner Truth of her y1851 statement: “Ain’t I a Woman ?”

    Noooo literary appropriation – worries, though !


  13. Merilee
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


  14. Posted September 23, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I could laugh at this tweet if the killing of Cecil wasn’t so sad. Jericho, who is not Cecil’s brother, is also a lion and still alive.

  15. Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t his (half)brother be a liger or a tigon?

    • GBJames
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Not to be confused with the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, Lionel Tiger.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Always loved that name!

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