“I think it goes without saying—which is, of course, ever and always a lead-in to saying what the speaker has just told you didn’t need to be said in the first place—that it is the unvarnished tooth that draws our attention. Am I right? Of course I’m right.
“Sometimes, I’ll be the first to admit, it is “tooth and claw” (italics mine) that rivet us. “Red” said Tennyson and he was occa-sionally on point, but I submit it is the tooth that most bemuses us. As I faithfully recorded in “Jack,”1 when I was on that rocky ledge looking down and the bear was looking upat me the claws were an afterthought.”
1See Fifty Wheys to Love Your Liver, p. 59 (Fiction, yes, but faithfully recorded.)