As a way of introduction to this post, I’d like to first share an anecdote.
In 1982, we bought a cute little Lab mix. I named her Pepper. We were inseparable. I wrote a thorough account of her life and death here before. After she died from Parvo, my parents felt bad for my grief and bought another similar pup in the hopes of filling the empty spot left in Pepper’s wake. The new pup was also a Lab mix, and like Pepper, was black with white trimmings, and I named her Leia. We quickly vaccinated her with the Parvo inoculation, and she did fill the emptiness. Leia lived a long time and her life spanned the entirety of my 20s into my early 30s. We were very close and as I grew older and moved out, I slowly became unfamiliar with her, but still, we shared a history. In the late 90s she began to slowly falter. I think she had a stroke, in addition to a tumor that protruded from her ribcage. She was in very bad shape. We realized she needed to be put to sleep and when we took her to the vet, he quickly agreed this was the best option after quickly examining her. I was newly married and it was only my mom, Leia, and me in the vet’s office. He asked if we would like to be present and I immediately said yes. I’ve known people who take their old pet to be put to sleep and leave before it’s done because they are weak human beings who seek to segregate death from life. I couldn’t do that. The vet left the room and returned with a syringe and I held Leia’s frail body in my arms while the vet slowly injected the death potion into her leg. Within moments her body’s life slipped away and her bones slumped in a lifeless bundle of memories in my arms. Her bowels and bladder released and I began sobbing. He asked if I was OK and I nodded. My mom seemed sad but she didn’t cry like her grown son. After that, we left, and life returned to normal.
It always does.
So when I hear and read stories of modern-day animals rights crusaders and “activists” getting their panties up in a bunch over incidents like this, I must wonder: what does society’s fixation with animals and their supposed rights and welfare connote for the current state of our values? When I hear about animal rights activists (in addition to the PETA freaks) having violent mental meltdowns about benign shit like this, it becomes apparent to me that there is a phenomena playing out here that is much more complex and revealing than a simple concern for animals.
For instance, in this incident, a taco “joint” in Century City (super ritzy neighborhood, it’s blasphemy for me to refer to any business establishment there as a “joint”) called the Pink Taco parked a live donkey, which was dyed pink, outside the restaurant as a Cinco De Mayo gimmick the other day.
Harmless and humorous enough for the sane. But for the emotionally diseased animal worshipers, this was nothing less than a sacrilegious affront to the glorious godliness of lower life forms everywhere. A Facebook group sprung to life called “Boycott Pink Taco Century City” which inspired a plethora of Facebookian animal worshipers to bellow loudly in an outpouring of rage against the taco joint’s putative animal abuse.
Typical was one Facebook commenter:
“These people are just plain sick, cruel, and have a seriously distorted view of what sells and what’s supposedly funny. I hope they’re called to answer for their sheer cruelty and ignorance,” wrote Facebook user Angelique Montague.
Sick, cruel, distorted; very strong words to describe someone who has painted a donkey in a strange color it has no comprehension of, an animal that has no sense of shame or propriety or who will be harmed by the (verified) harmless dye. It’s a donkey for heaven’s sake. This misappropriated self-righteousness which some people reserve for imagined misdeeds against representatives of the animal kingdom is baffling.
If I could point the finger squarely at liberal or other upper middle-class SWPL cultural left-wing Nazi’s for all this animal cruelty hoopla, the uproar might make some sense, but the thing is that animals happen to find the most vociferous allies in groups that span all idealogical and economic spectra. Left, right, you’ll find animal worshipers dispersed throughout the political continuum. This is troubling and confusing for I find myself trying to gleen out the common denominator, the overriding motive on the part of our animalcentric society that can barely bring itself even care for members of its own species. Worship of the lower animals and the ensuing drive to absorb their well-being as a self-defined cause and rite of modern affluent passage while simultaneously treating humans like shit just tells me that humanity has lost its way and chosen instead to deify the dissociated lower existences of animal life. The sheer passion these folks conjure in response to a maligned sense of honor on the part of animals tells me there is a mis-allocated measure of passion that has no home in their empty shell of existence.
Their humanity is orphaned. Like Scientologists, simple humanness is not sufficient to achieve spiritual loftiness. They tell themselves that the mark of a civilized society is that which cares for its animals. No…the mark of a bored and arrogant culture is its refusal to trouble itself with imperfect humanity, and in fact, would rather displace energy on those who do not share this imperfection. Animals are a stand-in for their spiritual reticence.
It is arrogance.