Yeah, I don’t agree with this.

May 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which there’s a screen shot.

This is from an article in The New Yorker about terrorists:

The mania that goes along with falling in love? No, that’s not love. It’s lust, or possession, but it’s not love. Everyone should be taught this, even girls.

…self-actualization and the unashamed consummation of certain lustful desires. No. No, that’s not self-actualization, it is literally the opposite of self-actualization. It’s hedonism. Teach it as a philosophy along with other philosophies. Do not teach girls that life is about satiating every desire that comes along, because that does not create happiness.

What the fuck. If you wonder what the Right is on about sometimes, it’s this shit. It’s this utter glorification of base desires, and the seemingly unaware admission that girls have to be taught to be this way.

While I’m completely cognizant that all organized religion attracts, like the presidency, only people who shouldn’t be involved in it, I can’t help but think society would do well to stop thinking sex and indulgence is healthy and harmless, because it’s neither. ESPECIALLY FOR GIRLS. The birth control revolution may have removed the burden of unwanted pregnancy (it didn’t, not entirely, but we’ll pretend it did), but it cannot protect females against the emotional repercussions of context-free sexual activity.

“Girls are rarely taught to think this way; watching a figure near their own age oblige and accommodate her hungers can be profound.” Seriously. How tone deaf can the modern feminist be? If you have to teach girls to be sexually voracious, maybe they’re not intrinsically sexually voracious, and maybe telling them they are does them a disservice. Maybe. I dunno. Maybe women are brittle and pissed of for no reason at all.

Dear girls, while it is, under certain circs, possible to control men with your sexuality, briefly, you should not do so, as there’s no good reason to, beyond feeding your ego and making enemies. Dear girls, while you have desires, you probably do not have the same desires as men, and this is okay. If you want to say no, say no. You’re not frigid, you’re just female. Dear girls, sex is fine. Have if you want to. Don’t have it if you don’t want to. Your intrinsic worth is there either way; you’re not a hole, and any friendship that hinges upon you putting out is not a friendship. Dear girls, blue balls is not your problem. Dear girls, your value is not in being horny or dressing like you’re a sex worker. Dear girls, the girls who base their psychological worth on their fuckability are likely to encounter a lot of woe; sex and sexuality are a facet of human experience, and not by a long chalk the most important or meaningful…

On the crushing stress of debt.

May 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Finance | Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I lecture.

This article advises you to immerse yourself in all the miserable details of your debt, and feel how bad you feel for an entire week, because apparently remorse and guilt will somehow magically attract money into your life. Because your debt is the result of your own terrible emotional flaws, and not a system set up to put you in debt.

“Unconscious spending habits”? Like you’re somehow not aware your outgo is higher than your income? “Messy money practices”? How is being poor in a rich society a messy money practice? Don’t spend any money for a whole day! Fuck you, person who wrote this article who has obviously never been broke a day in her life. Poor people tend to have to buy every day, because they can’t afford to purchase in bulk.

When you’re living hand-to-mouth, you tend to buy food and gas daily, in small increments, with the ten bucks you have to your name. You can’t go buy $150 worth of sensible groceries to last you for the next three weeks of frugal meal-planning, because you don’t have $150. You can’t cross town and fill your tank at the one gas station with the lowest prices, because you don’t have enough gas to get over there, in the first place, and even if you did, you have to eat so you couldn’t even buy a quarter tank anyway.

These sorts of articles about debt, about writing it all down in excruciating detail, living cash-only, really getting a handle on it… they’re all bullshit. You fuckheads have literally no idea what you’re talking about.

To fix debt, you need money. That’s it. Emotionally torturing yourself with your poverty, in minute detail? For an entire week? Is just weird. You already know you own more than you can pay. You’ve already tried to earn more. This isn’t psycho-fucking-therapy, it’s math.

I repeat: only money fixes debt. Nothing else. Not guilt, not self-recrimination, not even more austerity. Just money.

Odds are you’re not in debt for making extravagant decisions. You’re probably in debt because you were given a line of credit you could not support, by a greedy corporation eager to exploit human nature, were or are un- or underemployed through no fault of your own, or went to college to get a degree that doesn’t boost your earning capability (because that’s what they said you were supposed to do and you were compliant).

Very, very few people live beyond their means in the sense of buying too many extravagant things. Paying rent and bills, buying food and clothes, and having the same sorts of extras everybody else in your class has (like vacations and iPhones) is not extravagant.

Most people in debt are in debt because their employers don’t pay them enough to live like the rest of their class lives, or because they can’t get any or enough work. Not because they’re greedy or lazy. The numbers show most poor people actually work more than full-time.

Wages have remained stagnant for the past thirty years. You’re not earning what your parents earned at your age, and yet society expects you to do what they did and buy a house, get married, have two cars so you can both get to work, have new cell phones every two years, own a sufficiency of linens and dishes and furniture and be able to afford hobbies and toys.

Having to choose between groceries and the dentist is bullshit, but being told to take better notes and avoid spending for an entire day to get out of debt isn’t advice, it’s abuse.

In which there’s a screen shot.

THIS IS A TWEET FROM THE WHITE HOUSE ACCOUNT: “During the last 8 years, Americans have been under attack from the federal government for following the tenets of their faiths.”

Wait, what?

Oh. No. No. No, no, no. Christians are not under “federal attack.” Trump’s basically agnostic, so this is about money, power, “winning.” He’s sucking evangelical dick, too. Not just Russian.

“If you still want to quote from Leviticus, despite Jesus’ doing away with Mosaic law, then you better be prepared to enforce the whole thing, not just the parts you like. This includes not only the injunction against shellfish and mussels and such, but also against wearing fabrics made of blended fibers, cutting or shaving your beard, sowing mixed seed in a field, and a slew of other things nobody but Orthodox Jews take seriously anymore.”

http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/

In which I’m just going to go right ahead and say that maybe the reason women didn’t traditionally run universities was because everybody knew we’d start giving out PhDs in queer vegan comic blogging.

This is another anti-feminist rant. I know, I know, nobody cares. I get that. It’s fine. Listen, I know I’m a bossy, frequently abrasive little twerp, but this?

THIS is a motherfucking DOCTORAL THESIS:

Interviews? COMICS? HOW IS HAVING YOUR FRIENDS DRAW COMICS ANY SORT OF “DOCTORAL RESEARCH”?

Do I care about animal welfare? Fuck yeah, I absolutely do. I “came out” as vegetarian at 19 or 20, and am proud to have not eaten hundreds of entire beef cows, chickens, pigs, and goats in the decades since. Am I aware of the life cycle of the commercial milk cow? Yes, I am, and it’s crap, and don’t even get me started on the calves. But I’m also aware that people in those industries aren’t all brazen assholes, and that we’d have an awfully hard time producing dairy products at current volumes from low-yield, hand-pastured, hand-milked Imaginary Idyllic History cows.

Note how the author writes “twelve (12)”, as if there were a real danger that we, as readers, would be overwhelmed by THE ONLY NUMBER ON THE PAGE. Autoethnography sounds like a nifty science-y word… if you’re an idiot who thinks writing about your subjective feelings is some form of scientific research. It’s not. It’s a diary.

And I’d wager you did little to no historical research into vegetarianism, veganism, and the moral and ethical issue surrounding meat-eating, or, you know, actual ethics, let alone any past or present scientific research into diet and metabolism. If you’ve ever even heard of Jain Dharma, let alone possess an in-depth understanding of their philosophy and the ability to speak intelligently about the meaning of “harmlessness” and renunciation, I’d be pleased for you.

But I’m guessing you chose to turn your diary into comics because you didn’t, don’t, and haven’t.

I’m not anti-diary. I majored in English and I’m very interested in diaries, journals, experiences, inner voices, growth and change. And I’m not anti-blog, either. I’ve been blogging since you were in grade school, and there are some insightful-as-fuck pieces scattered in amongst the self-indulgent, whiny crap on this domain, and I wrote IT ALL.

I’m just pissed that I didn’t get a doctorate for it.

THE POTENTIAL USE OF COMICS IN RESEARCH.

I do not think “research” means what you think it means.

And what the fuck does queerness have to do with diet? I’LL TELL YOU. It informs your choices and causes you to avoid certain foods, increasing your chances of self-inflicted malnutrition, but it does not have any impact whatsoever on what nutrients you actually need to thrive. Digestion doesn’t give a FUCK about how you identify, because it’s an actual thing you could study if you weren’t trying to get a PhD in vegan comics blogs.

I’ve been letting my feelings inform my diet for a long time, way longer than you, so I’m an expert in this shit. I get it. The very concept, the very idea of animal suffering is nearly paralyzing. I remember feeling that way, too. It’s the normal tenderness of youth, for some of us. But with perspective there comes an understanding that everything suffers, everything dies, animal products have always been in our species’ diet, and nobody cares if you do or don’t have some cheese, and even you won’t care about such trivial shit when something truly transformative finally hits your life.

I have no issue, honestly, with people who want to study twee shit like gender theory, and hang out in their little enclaves. Knock yourselves out. But it is not academia. The person who wrote the captioned thesis is obviously not equipped to tell the difference between a feeling and a fact, and yet will believe they’re scientifically qualified when they receive a doctoral degree. Meanwhile, in truth, the one single skill they’ve learned is useless: how to torture the language of the diarist into some ersatz, technical-sounding, empty jargon. This is an absolute failure of education. In a decade, when that candidate realizes they don’t actually know anything, they’re going to be furious, and rightly so.

When a person leaves university they should know facts, actual facts, like how things work and where various things come from, and they should be equipped with the ability to learn more things. They should be able to effectively self-educate, to discern between hard and soft sciences, they should have an understanding of human and natural history, and they should be capable of problem-solving. A PhD in blogging is bullshit, and according to Based Mom we can thank third wave feminism for this cloistered, self-obsessed pseudo-scientific bullshit.

Academic feminism co-opted the language style of scientific papers in order to give their own “research” more gravitas and cachet, and all it did was teach a generation of students how to write impenetrable, unreadable crap. As a life-long reader and a regular writer, seeing so much noise in the signal, in an effort to emulate science, and, by extension, men, just bugs the shit out of me.

As an equality feminist from the 1970s, I am dismayed by this new craze. Women are not children. We are not fragile little birds who can’t cope with jokes, works of art, or controversial speakers. Trigger warnings and safe spaces are an infantilizing setback for feminism—and for women.”

– Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Honestly, if this is what women-run education looks like? I’d rather put those horrible, oppressive white men, you know, the ones who gave us medicine and food preservation, back in charge.

Can you even? I mean, like, the logic is so circular it blows the mind.

In which I’ve read so much socially acceptable male-bashing bullshit online today, I just can’t even.

But I’m going to anyway, and it’s this: what if society was structured with women’s and men’s spheres mostly separate… for a reason? Maybe women domesticated ourselves, just like cats, deliberately.

Also, I’ve been out of school a long time, and don’t really remember how to structure a thesis, so this is a sloppy-ass brain dump.

It started with this diatribe (go read it, and come back) this morning, from a woman who appears to blame men for the fact that she’s never won an award for any of her books? She doesn’t say exactly, but random entities tell her ‘no’ a lot, and ‘sexualize’ (or gender) her, so I assume they’re men, because women are never imperfect unless a man makes them that way. The piece is well-written, quite, but I’ve never heard of her nor any of her published works, and as cream does rise to the top, couldn’t it be possible that she’s just not award-winningly brilliant? It’s not like women don’t get Man Booker and Pulitzer prizes, you know.

Then there’s this next one (click the image to read it). I generally like McSweeneys, but if you’re a man and you ever speak to a woman, compliment her, disagree with her, stand when she enters a room, hold a door for her, or ever make any social judgement mistakes, you’re a fucking monster:

The best thing about feminism right now is hating men and brutally mocking men and all things male, like when men hold open doors or breathe or make mistakes or exist, because by merely existing they’re ogres and hideous, and to brutally mock them is acceptable and widely celebrated and witty and clever, and it’s their fault that we’re not exactly like them with their qualities and leanings and abilities and ambition, because men and women are identical in all ways!

Oh, and the fact that women appear to be less ambitious in the workplace? MEN’S FAULTS:

Alert! It’s entrenched, systematic sexism that women don’t care as much about devoting life and self to work, that we don’t have the identical values as men, that we make different choices and have different goals. Because companies make women less ambitious over time!

There’s no possible way that maybe we just don’t care about work like men do, oh no: anything men can do, we can do better. And if we don’t, IT’S THEIR FAULT, it’s their SEXISM that stops us from being exactly like them!

The pervasive, endemic male-hating is astonishing. Even from males. Here are two males discussing economic policy, taking a break to dis men:

The alt-right unequivocally hates women? Because it’s impossible that A.) the alt-right doesn’t hate women, or that B.) they treat women as equals, and bitch at them and berate them right back because women demanded equality, and they’re giving it to them?

I mean, I’m not defending the totality of “the alt-right,” whatever that really is, but if you want all the rights, risks, and responsibilities men have, it means you do not get preferential treatment because of your sex. It means when you fuck up, they’re gonna treat you like they treat each other when they fuck up. Because that’s what equality is. When you do dumb shit, they’re gonna mock the shit out of you, and you’re not gonna get a pass for being a girl.

And if you’re going to say that “the problem” is, in fact, in the way males treat each other, you’re still male-bashing. Men didn’t demand entrée into womens’ space, we demanded entrée into theirs. Now that we’re here, we don’t get to whine about how male society error-corrects for wrong behavior.

(I begin to think, here. Men didn’t demand that they be allowed to leave their work and come do ours, but they did engineer us out of it. They gave us stoves, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, laundry machines, easy-care fabrics, dry cleaning, blenders, microwaves, preservatives, and the pill. They basically took our work away from us, or at least reduced it a great deal — keeping a home is not trivial, but it certainly isn’t a dawn-til-dusk proposition anymore. They basically drove us into their sphere. So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we do get to emasculate them so we feel more comfortable among them. Shit, I don’t know, but I’m betting compassion and accountability are probably key, rather than victimhood-as-identity, derision, and rage.)

It’s embarrassing that women demand rights but reject responsibilities, and yet bitches be doin’ it ALL THE TIME. This whole imbalanced, irresponsible, male-bashing ideology is part and parcel of the social fabric right now, and it’s driving me nuts. (Last night I told a male feminist that when a woman puts herself in a dangerous situation and something bad happens it’s her own fault more than anyone else’s, and he said he was too uncomfortable to discuss it. Just the idea that a woman could ever be responsible for her own choices freaked him out, and he’s a feminist. This is how insane it’s getting: to be a feminist is to demand to be absolved of responsibility for their own choices!)

Paglia — love her or hate her, she is a pretty solid thinker — talks about fighting for equality in college in the 70’s. The girls’ dorm had a curfew, girls had to be in by 11PM and girls were looked after and protected not only from the big bad dangerous world, but also from themselves. The boys could do whatever the fuck they wanted because, assumably, they’re hard to traumatize. Paglia says those girls, those women, wanted to take responsibility for themselves, wanted to make their own decisions and accept their own consequences. Wanted the right to make their own decisions, come what may.

Today as you read about the male gaze, and the modern feminist’s discomfort being looked at or spoken to, the vast number of consensual hook-ups she realized in retrospect were rapes, her perpetual fear of society, of being hurt, of being objectified, and her desire to be in spaces free of men, you can’t help but wonder if maybe this is why society was structured that way in the first place. Men and women for much of history had mostly separate spheres. Women had their power, men had theirs; women were spared putting up with masculine jock bullshit, and men were spared getting endlessly bitched at about hurts women inflicted upon themselves.

I did my fair share of fucking around, but now that I’m older, I’m no longer ashamed to say that I know very few women with truly high libidos. Most of us have very little if any use for dick that isn’t attached to a decent human being who is capable of feeling love and keeping his word. The sex positive movement sold me a crock of shit when it told me that I want and need and enjoy sex exactly like men do, because I don’t. I’m thankful for contraception, yes, but not for sex for its own sake on a grand scale. Out-of-context sex is, for most women, satisfying only on the rarest of occasions.

The rest of the time, it results in disappointment, heartbreak, and fatherless children. And these things foment a culture-wide, seething hatred for men because the assholes took our word for it that the sex had no strings attached.

Isn’t it possible that maybe, just maybe, it’s not that men are universally hostile and predatory, so much that women are just not that into living in their sphere with them? Sure, we can have commutes and be head of household and earn a living and work for the weekend, but where’s the evidence that we’re thriving? Mostly we’re just doing it because we have to; and most women are saying that they feel unfulfilled, unhappy, and unsafe.

There are outliers, naturally. Always were, always will be. The Joans of Arc, the women physicists and researchers and astronauts and warriors and firefighters and visionaries. But when basically every female you know, just, you know, kinda feels like shit all the time? Maybe it’s because most of us don’t like living like dudes, doing dude stuff, having dude responsibilities. Being the breadwinner sucks ass, as far as I’m concerned. Let him do it.

We all know at least one man who is neither hostile or predatory, not under any conditions. So it’s easy to extrapolate that to say that most males are just normal human beings who’d love to protect and care for you, if you’d just stop telling them they’re all just one dark alley away from committing the brutal rapes they all carry in their souls.

Just stop it. If soldiers can be socialized to rape, then civilians can be socialized not to. Men, as a group, are no better or worse than women. Some are psychopaths, some are geniuses, most are normal and common and not about to rape you.

I know that for every woman who’d like to stop working, there are a dozen who can’t, because they have to pay the rent and the bills and keep the children well, and still others who enjoy — or believe that they do — their jobs and responsibilities it the public realm. I get that. But if women were happy with their lot in life as it is, why would there be this deep need to vilify and denigrate males?

…Now that men have basically engineered/invented us out of our sphere’s previous domestic work, maybe we should invent another one for ourselves. Running a household doesn’t take much time these days, since “a household” is rarely more than a few people and we have wall-to-wall dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, electric cookers, and can buy canned food from the store any day of the year. So maybe we should focus on, I don’t know, philosophy. Altruism. Eradicating world hunger. Maybe instead of living separately in little homes stuffed full of meaningless shit, we should all live together with less.

Maybe “women’s work” isn’t making dinner, maybe it’s figuring out how to make the most people fulfilled and happy on a global scale, rather than being as “ambitious” as men in corporate settings.

I really enjoy cooking, though.

Dip

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Soapbox | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I don’t understand.

Why do store-bought dips suck?

I bought a huge container of artichoke-jalapeno dip last weekend, and while it isn’t exactly inedible, it’s really not good.

You can safely buy salsa — well, many of them, at least — and those sort of 70’s-style chip dips (like French onion or whatever), and a few bean or cheese dips, from, like, Tostitos.

But guacamole? Awful. Creamy spinach or artichoke dips? Bad. I’ve never bought a hummus that wasn’t mediocre at best, and bitter at worst.

Which is so weird, because it seems like pre-made dips would be really easy to get right. Especially hummus! Or spinach and/or artichoke dip, or guacamole!

Hating holidays is juvenile

February 14th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I lecture. (Because fuck it, I pay the hosting fees here AND I CAN.)

You hate holidays. I get it.

You’re woke and clever and can’t be taken in by money-making corporate holidays. You’re totally too smart to fall for any of this shit.

So you reject the few celebrations your culture observes, and deliberately alienate yourself from one of the easiest ways to feel connected with other human beings.

You trot out childish tropes about how giving someone flowers is only meaningful if it happens randomly, rather than on a specific date. You blow off eating celebratory meals with your family. You can’t be bothered to make it to a friend’s birthday party. You think Christmas is too commercial and that decorating as an expression of celebration is tacky.

Well, guess what: you misunderstand human nature to a fantastic degree. Celebration has existed in every human culture ever. We need to celebrate. We’re hard-wired to celebrate.

Are holidays perfect, ideal, without flaw, impossible to improve? No, of course they’re not. Nothing humanity does is perfect, and we all know this. Stop being a twat.

Buy her some fucking flowers. It’ll make you both happy.

On the incoming POTUS

January 15th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I make political commentary.

I try to do my research. Even if I really, really don’t want to.

I’ve read several long-form think pieces about this man’s upcoming presidency. And the weird thing is that they exist: there are persons, educated persons, DC insiders, who are writing long-form think pieces about this man’s upcoming presidency as if he were just another incoming POTUS, and not the shrieking shitshow that he is.

It’s mind blowing. They talk about his indications of future policy, as if he had ANY policy. They talk about his cabinet choices as if the choices were made by a person who had any motherfucking idea of what he was doing.

Conclusion: there will be enough press behaving as if he weren’t a rolling goddamned disaster that he’ll be able to get all the attention he wants without ever having to acknowledge the massive preponderance of press calling him a moron.

It’s fucking insane, basically.

Vaccine safety deniers are weird, man.

January 14th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which Facebook gets far too much of my good material, so I’m cross-posting some here as well.

My original post, on Trump’s appointments, and specifically about his meeting with Kennedy:

Now we’ve got anti-vaxxers, climate change denialists, a rich bitch who has a weird hatred for schools. Absolute opposite of ‘brain trust.’

It received several responses. In one, somebody (from Fairfield, naturally) tried to call me out, as it were, on labeling Kennedy (who still believes in the thoroughly-debunked Thimerosol-autism theory, fer Chrissake) as anti-vax, because nowadays they call themselves “pro-vaccine safety.”

My response:

My interest in “debating” so-called “vaccine safety” with anti-vaxxers is zero, because one cannot have meaningful exchanges with conspiracy theorists. But what the hell, once more into the breach!

Your posts are just like every other anti-vaxxer’s posts. I never claimed to be an expert. I never claimed to be an expert. I tell you three times: I never claimed to be an expert. I claimed to accept the consensus of current scientific knowledge, which tells us that vaccines are reasonably safe and effective and do not cause autism.

And no, there are not “plenty of experts who disagree”: there are a few persons (every single one making money off of their anti-vax fame in some way or another) and a few papers that have been (or will be) retracted, upon which your movement bases all of its provably and measurably harmful views.

In the real world, the preponderance of evidence and the majority of experts all say the same thing: vaccines are safe and effective and do not cause autism. Vaccines are safer than cars by orders of magnitude, and yet none of you are lobbying to have cars banned.

As for being invested emotionally: I don’t sell any product or service that claims to help the so-called victims of vaccines or persons with autism. As they say: follow the money. You’re the one with a horse in the race.

I’ve read your site. You claim that the glorified hammocks you manufacture and sell are nearly panacea. Your idea of “research” that “proves” that motion while sleeping has any measurable, non-placebo, non-subjective effects on any condition is weak, and utilized specifically to earn yourself income.

Your beds are cool, absolutely, but there is no proof they’re medicine. Implying otherwise makes you no better than the charlatans who sell chelation therapy or chemical castration to the parents of autistic children! (Therapies that are effectively abuse, I must add, as there is no evidence the theories behind them are at all relevant or sound.)

A big round bed is far less abusive to an individual than chemical castration, clearly, but you’re still at least attempting to accept money from people on false pretenses. You may have anecdotal stories from mums who say the beds eased symptoms; I have anecdotal stories from people who swear that Rescue Remedy cures their panic attacks. These claims don’t mean that Rescue Remedy isn’t just water, which it is, or that the results aren’t placebo, which they are. Placebo is profoundly powerful. As is the mind.

And as far as Kennedy: I mean, come on. Thimerosol! That horse has been dead for a decade now. Autism continued to happen after it was removed from vaccines. Ergo Thimerosol is not implicated in autism.

Finally, experts agree that the phrase “pro-vaccine safety,” in the mouths of persons who do not work in applicable fields, equals being anti-vax. Your movement thinks it sounds more reasonable and less crack-pot (now that so many people frown upon being “anti-vaccine”) to be “pro-vaccine safety.” But if you’re merely a layperson, the distinction is merely a semantic ruse and nothing more.

My only interest in the anti-vax movement is this: kids are getting sick and dying again. Diseases that were under control are resurfacing in the general population. I myself am aging, and will one day wake up as a member of a vulnerable population.

And if I die from something PREVENTABLE because of the ignorant, fact-denying, anti-vax hysteria of persons like yourself, I’m going to be seriously pissed off.

I won’t be reading any replies, because there’s no point in engaging. But damn, just… damn. Climate change is real, vaccines are safe and effective, Big Pharma not only bilks us all out of billions but also keeps countless persons alive every single day, and humans have walked on the moon!

“Gut-churning sanctimony.”

January 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (2 Comments)

In which I’m a vegetarian, but not an idiot.

Click on the image below for a really great #longread about zoo animal management, that really makes you wonder how anybody can get so fucking freaked out and upset about professionals doing their jobs.

Professionals. Experts. People who know way more than you do about managing animals. (It’s especially, uh, poignant, when considering that these same “protesters” probably had factory-slaughtered dead animal on their plate at their most recent meal.)
 
zoo

Go read it. They take animals they were going to cull anyway, and turn them into science lectures. It’s fucking great, is what it is, rather than hiding the facts of life to placate a ridiculously emotional populace.

…. … .. . .. … ….
Back now? Good. Great read, wasn’t it? Real reporting. Balanced and neutral. Loved it.

Well, if you care, which you shouldn’t, here’s my hippie, vegetarian, pacifist rant:

Billions of perfectly healthy, viable animals are killed every year to fill plates. And how many death threats does that generate? A few, I’m sure, but nothing like Harambe, or that dentist and his lion, or this giraffe.
 
Everything dies, people. Everything. I put my dog down after she’d had a few dozen heart attacks to save her more suffering; this zoo put down an extra male — and then used him for education and lion food — to save him being savaged by other male giraffes and for the ultimate genetic diversity of the herd.

Like most of us, he was neither special nor rare. The zoo declined to rehome him because the outcry was fucking absurd and they refused to buckle… and to avoid “what Holst likes to call the ‘Disneyfication’ of nature.” I applaud.

“An editorial in the Los Angeles Times argued that Copenhagen had broken an “inviolate if unwritten contract” prohibiting the killing of zoo animals.”

What the fuck? One, the LA Times knows shit about zoo management, and two, there’s no such ‘contract;’ anybody managing animals at an expert level culls. And if you’re, say, a backyard chicken-keeper who is too squeamish to cull, well, nature culls for you. Usually after the animal has suffered more than it would have had you manned up and killed it. I once let a terminally savaged duck die slowly under a tree, bleeding and broken and in horrific condition after a dog attack, because I was too much of a pussy to put her out of her misery. I still regret it.
 
“Denmark’s largest pig slaughterhouse is open to the public, and a hundred and fifty visitors tour it each day.” I can’t even imagine what would happen if some American city kids were bused to a slaughterhouse for an educational field day; the press would probably explode! CHILDREN EXPOSED TO REALITY, the headline would read. SOME ATROCIOUS ASSHOLE SHOWED THEM WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM. COMPLETELY HYSTERICAL FILM AT ELEVEN.
 
American zoos freqently “send surplus animals to roadside zoos,” where the level of care is unknown. Is that really better than just culling them? Sometimes, sure. Others? Fuck no. Caring well for animals, especially exotic animals, requires expertise. Merely thinking you love them is not expertise.

America’s folksy model is symbolized by Jack Hanna, the former director of the Columbus Zoo. He noted that he’d made six hundred television shows about wild animals and had never shown a kill. “There’s enough going on in the world — I don’t need to have a family with children sitting watching a lion take an animal apart.”

How is this anything but bullshit? Animals kill and eat other animals. Humans kill and eat animals. This is a fact. Pretending otherwise is weird.
 
And this little gem:

Tom Stalf, Hanna’s successor at Columbus, suggested to me that the children who viewed the autopsy at the Copenhagen Zoo “might be horrified but unaware of it.” He said that they might realize their distress only in middle age.

The fuck? They eat chicken nuggets for lunch, and seeing an animal autopsy will cripple them for life? If it does, we’ve utterly failed to teach them rationality.

I was disgusted at frog dissection in school; I’m still squeamish handling the meat I cook for others because I see it as body parts rather than food; I’ve turned away from kill scenes in animal shows. But I know that my feelings don’t alter the reality, which is that animals die and others eat them. I also know that humane animal handlers cull. (My aunt, who is the softest of softies, will have her vet come out to put down a horse in terminal distress, because that’s what ranchers do. It makes her cry, but she does it anyway. Because she’s not a cunt.)

We have a touring museum show that is nothing but human bodies. If you see that, will you be “distressed” for life because you find reality unpalatable?
 

“Asked several times if culling occurs in American zoos, Rob Vernon, a spokesman for AZA, said, variously, “No,” “Yes,” and “That’s a good question.” He made the candid observation that his own discomfort reflected the industry’s discomfort.” 

American zoos do cull. They’d be remiss if they didn’t. And yet, in American zoos, the preferred term for culling is “humane euthanization.”

Because we’re pussies, apparently, in spite of our Wild West ancestors.
 
I mean, shit, human beings in multiple enclaves world-wide are fighting for the right to euthanize themselves. Everything dies. Killing an unnecessary animal, or a food animal, or a suffering pet: it’s unbeautiful, yes, but it’s a fact of life.

Pretending otherwise is ridiculous.