Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cruelty Is Not Entertainment

I saw this today and it struck a chord. It was an NPR story about Peta celebrating the closing of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
I am not an animal activist or a vegan or even a peacenik but I do try and treat others with some respect and care, including our furry neighbors. I’ve had a few critters in my life and have tried to understand and provide the best for their lives shared with me. I’ve been a hardy beef lover but the taste just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I find myself shopping the natural aisle and by passing the butcher. I have my own political thoughts but believe others have their own opinions.
I don’t believe in what I see as a basis for entertainment today.
Beyond the cruelty to our animal friends, who on one hand treat kindly as pets and then abuse as sport or murder them for sustenance or trophies, we entertain ourselves with our obsession to treat each other so badly.
The past election and reactions of social media has confirmed we are not a very nice species. In reflection we have always enjoyed being cruel to each other. Through our history we have entertained ourselves with the suffering of others.
Maybe a lack of empathy or education or just outright anger we tend to make movies and write books and perform physical feats that may and often provide harm to others.
At the end of the day we wipe the blood off and walk away appreciated that it didn’t happen to us. There is no thought of the affects of our words or actions against another.
I went to the circus once. I remember sitting on folding bleachers with the smell of sawdust, stale popcorn and animal waste filling the air. Barkers kept distracting the action with promises of thrills but I found it boring. Why would any sensible person want to walk across on a thin wire? Why would anyone but an idiotic person want to walk into a cage of wild cats that were large enough and powerful enough to kill and eat you while we all watched? Why would small people be so humiliated to wear crazy outfits and do stupid slapstick to the laughter of the crowd? Why would people pay to see animals perform unnatural acts to amaze the observer?
Not a saint, I’ve been on both sides of the subject but perhaps with age I’ve decided to avoid acts of cruelty and try to restrain from responding to stupidity or bigotry or whatever kind of ‘try’ that comes along.
So the Ringling Brothers Circus is gone but there are other events that pitch animals and humans against each other and the humans will always win. 

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