I am a little obsessed with the Eos Talking Tree. For one thing, it is a spimey little object that tweets. For another, I keep misreading its Twitter username (@eostalkingtree) as “Eco, Stalking Tree”, which makes me laugh every time.
But I am also a little disappointed by the talking tree, as I am by all the objects that tweet. The main problem I have is that the voices they are given are all so human. Worse than human, they are inhumanly pleasant. As if the world is secretly populated by greeter spirits; Walmart animism.
This does not in any way match with the world of trickster spirits, malevolent forests, and deep old wise nature that makes up our rich history of myth. We know that trees live and communicate at a different speed and using different means that we do. What would it mean to have a tree speak in its own voice instead of having a cutesy PR-speak voice foisted upon it?
What would a tree actually say? Born to live in society in a forest, trapped alone in the concrete jungle, driven half made by isolation from its peers. Full of hate and venom? Perhaps slow and patient, weathering the human storm. Tweeting trees should be ineffable, perhaps even hostile. They have fought for their survival. They scream with chemicals. They murder their competition with shade. No more friendly trees.
If trees could scream would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason.
Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey on Saturday Night Live