Senior citizen Dumbo, his huge ears and big smile intact, held a press conference on the porch of his Los Angeles home yesterday to announce his support of the spray-painting of elephants. "A pox on those who prevent it," he said. Dumbo complained about the actions of LA's Department of Animal Services, which ordered the scrubbing down of Tai, a 38-year-old female elephant who had been spray-painted in red and gold for an art exhibit -- an exhibit also planned to call attention to the scourge of poverty.
"Stripping a lady against her will," he said, "it just doesn't seem right. I mean, Tai wasn't complaining about the paint. Red and gold are her favorite colors." Because of their size, it isn't always easy for elephants to find clothes, Dumbo explained. Dressed quite fashionably in green-and-black striped shorts and a red tank top (emblazoned with a 'Z' in honor of wife Zumbo), he said it took him a couple of weeks to put the outfit together. "Not a lot of stores carry my size. It's okay for those folks from Animal Services; they're all slim Jims and Janes, so they don't understand the problem. Probably everything fits THEM."
But with painting, Dumbo says, you don't have to worry about the size thing at all. Aside from using more or less paint, of course. Indicating his disgust with the governmental interference, he said, "The bureaucrats had poor Tai washed. Then she was brought back, unpainted, to the exhibit! Can you imagine? First she's adorned like a queen. Then they wash it away. It's so degrading."
As for his future plans, Dumbo announced that he'd be continuing his activism on behalf of elephants the world over. In addition, he's thinking about getting back into show business. He reminded the assembled press that he got a raw deal back in 1941; in December of that year, he was slated to appear on the cover of Time magazine, but plans were changed by the events at Pearl Harbor. "I deserve another chance; it's never too late," he said, ending the conference and passing around bowls of peanuts to the assembled reporters.