Shmoos*... philosophers... you may think there's not much difference.
Ravetch himself brought up the Shmoos... or I would have said that the NYT was wounding their egos, likening the things they like to think of as sophisticated to ridiculous cartoon characters. But Ravetch is in on the joke, and maybe traditional Chinese philosophers would be amused as well. And the couple seems to like a down-to-earth image:
The couple... envisioned a functional space where they could not only entertain friends and have barbecues with their family... but also wash the mud off their two golden retrievers after a weekend at their home in the Hudson Valley....Visible to only people in the buildings overlooking it... What?! Is there some cloak of invisibility blocking the view of golden retrievers?
Mr. Smith... is known for juxtaposing artificial flowers and plants (not to mention things like chain-link fencing and crushed rubber) with grasses, trees and rocks. His rooftop garden for the Museum of Modern Art, visible to only people in the buildings overlooking it, for example, is what he calls “simulated nature”: boulders are hollow plastic, and the boxwood is plastic, too. But he has a deft way with real boxwood and grasses, as well as bamboo and magnolia.
Cartoonist Al Capp was already world-famous and a millionaire in 1948 when he introduced an armless pear-shaped character called the Shmoo into his daily "Li'l Abner" strip. The unusual creature loved humans. A Shmoo laid eggs and bottles of Grade A milk in an instant, and would gladly die and change itself into a sizzling steak if its owner merely looked at it hungrily. Its skin was fine leather, its eyes made perfect buttons and even its whiskers made excellent toothpicks. Shmoos multiplied much faster than rabbits, so owning a pair of Shmoos meant that any family was self-sufficient. Of course the Shmoos proved too good for humanity's sake and therein was the basis for Capp's ultimate (and tragic) satire....Come on! That's philosophy, no?
Buy Al Capp's "The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo."