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Michelle Tea’s “Pigeon Manifesto” March 24, 2009

Posted by yakshi in cyborgs.
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After our recent assignment to write a manifesto, I remembered Michelle Tea’s “Pigeon Manifesto.” You can find a copy of it here <http://tinyurl.com/ch63t3&gt;. Her manifesto is written for the pigeons, addressed to the people who live in cities with unconventional backyards. It begs for them to look past the filth, and “love the nature that does not make it onto the Discovery Channel.” Tea describes pigeons as unusual heroes, triumphing over human attempts to kill them with chemicals and grains of rice. She explains that pigeons are a reflection of the city, and that to hate them is to hate our own dirt. Reclaiming the name “rock dove,” she remarks that “the pigeon was once a dove, and then we built our filthy empire up around it.” Tea recognizes that the pigeon represents every part of the city. 

Tea approaches the pigeon-human conflict from an alternative perspective. She celebrates the a pigeon’s filth, poetically describing its foul appearance as “the city coating [its] feathers, having the streets gunked up in the crease of [its] eye.” What a sentimental approach to such a disgusting visual! The manifesto is surprisingly successful in turning a frequently neglected subject into a platform for the humane treatment of animals. Perhaps we can apply the same pathos that Tea used to the manifestos we completed for class. Her “Pigeon Manifesto” proves that a good writer can engage with any topic, no matter how standardly silly or unimportant.


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