Monday, January 02, 2012

Busy Work

Finally, tomorrow will bring an end to the much ballyhooed Iowa caucuses. Hooray. But does anyone really care what happens in Iowa tomorrow, and if so, why? We have heard virtually nothing else on television and radio for weeks, different poll results day after day, different leaders from day to day, different predictions from day to day, all of which are basically meaningless. It just doesn’t matter who is picked in Iowa. Iowa is so far out of the mainstream of American politics what happens in Iowa basically stays in Iowa. I have predicted a win by Rick Santorum on the grounds that he is the only one nutty enough to fit in well with Iowa caucus-goers. But it doesn’t matter who wins as the winner in Iowa will prove nothing. If the candidate who wins in Iowa actually goes on to win the Presidency it will be little more than a fluke, an accident, an event so rare as to be completely unpredictable. All this attention to Iowa for the past few weeks has been nothing but busywork. Thank heavens it will at least be over. Of course all the attention to this Iowa nonsense has helped to keep us from hearing other things that might actually be important, like the pending war with Iran, the objections to the pipeline, the Occupy movement, Israeli war crimes, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, etc., etc., etc. To describe what we get from our MSM as “news” is simply laughable, something between fairy tales and speaking in tongues.

I notice in an add from The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, you know, the one that shows pictures of sad looking dogs and cats, usually in cages, sometimes obviously abused, and so on, they ask for an $18 a month donation to save them from their misery. The ad is a real tearjerkers and quite effective, and does call attention to a serious problem, especially for pet lovers. When I saw this ad the other day it was followed a short time later by a similar ad showing hungry and neglected children, again with pictures that make you want to cry and reach out to help. Curiously, however, it only takes $15 a month to help children. I don’t suppose this truly represents our priorities but it does seem to me rather strange. Of course for only $8 a month you can help save the tigers. I’m certain that from time to time there are similar ads to save the gorillas, polar bears, chimpanzees, orangutans, wild horses, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and on and on. I am sympathetic to the plight of all creatures but these ads represent to me the abject failure of the human species to manage the world we are supposed to have dominion over. We seem to have interpreted our gift of dominion as a license to kill and destroy all other creatures as fast as possible (about the only thing we seem to have more or less succeeded in doing).

On the subject of animals, I see that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have requested a memorial in Illinois for some cattle that were accidentally killed on the highway. What a marvelous idea! I think we should also create memorials for the hundreds of thousands of deer, elk, moose, coyotes, squirrels, and other animals destroyed by our automobiles every year. Creating and erecting such memorials would certainly create a lot of jobs and might even remind us of our mindless attention to the needs of other creatures. This is a problem I find of particular interest as my daughter-in-law, driving my Honda Element, hit and killed a Moose on New Year’s Eve, a fine way to ring in the New Year! Of course it wasn’t her fault as the huge creature unexpectedly jumped right out in front of her. Happily neither she nor my son were injured. Anyway, to continue, I find it strange that you never hear PETA complaining much about rodeos. Perhaps they do but I never see it mentioned and certainly there is enough mistreatment involved in those revered western events. While I am sympathetic to the plight of animals (and human children) I confess I find PETA a bit extreme. I think vegetarianism is so contrary to the normal human diet as to be unthinkable, but at the same time I believe we should honor all the marvelous animals we consume and treat them as well as possible (under the circumstances). I note that people who live as hunter-gatherers often have elaborate rituals to thank the species they depend on and insure their continued fertility and well-being. Somehow I don’t think supermarket aisles would be suitable venues for such rituals. I’m also not at all certain that many of the younger generation realize that the steaks, chops, and roasts they buy packaged at the market actually came from animals, preferring to perhaps believe the “Butcher Fairy” made and brought them. I personally find it difficult to believe that calamari steaks come from squid, suspecting they may have some association with truck tire patches. Anyway, as they say in Melanesian Pidgin, “b’long ol.”

I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead- not sick, not wounded - dead.

Woody Allen

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