Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Katie enslaves her dog!

Katie got wind of an initiative to ban at least some circus animals, i.e., elephants and the big cats, in Minneapolis; she wrote about it yesterday:

One of my great childhood memories is a visit to Ringling Brothers Circus when I was 7. My kids loved the circus, too: the colors, the smells, the thrills. They watched it all with breathless excitement.

The highlight came when the elephants stood on their hind legs. No Game Boy ever produced an enchanted reaction like that.

Of course, when you grow up in Fort Dodge, a trip upriver to Algona is a great childhood memory. And admit it Katie: no child of yours ever had a Game Boy so you have no basis for comparison.

We'll let Katie ask and answer the next question:

So who wants to bar the pachyderms? A Minneapolis group called Circus Reform Yes, for one. Where you and I see magic, they see animals maltreated and "forced to perform unnatural acts," spokesman Nick Coughlin told the Star Tribune.

The organization's website features a quote from comedian Richard Pryor: "The animals in circuses are held against their will by chains and domination. ... They can never choose their own partners, their own homes, their own food. ... I don't care how this is dressed up, ... it is still slavery."

Gee, by this standard, my dog is a slave. He's chained in the front yard, and doesn't get to choose his own friends, or home or food. I've tried unsuccessfully to train him to do a most unnatural act -- to heel. By this standard, the animal control officer should haul me in.

Dog? Chained? What kind of a hellhound have you got, Katie? Oh, and Katie, don't give up hope. Spot is sure you'll whip that dog into shape eventually.

It is interesting that Katie picks out elephants to discuss in her little diatribe. Indian elephants are pretty clearly capable of domestication. Spot even wanted to be a mahout at one time. But the big cats are another matter. They can't be domesticated; they do seem pretty miserable.

The great thing about Katie's column is its illumination of the quality of empathy. Most conservative like Katie don't have much capacity for empathy. Katie's delighted squeals versus the welfare of a bunch of caged, wild animals? To Katie, it's not even close. Don't believe Spot? Recall this sentence:

Where you and I see magic, they see animals maltreated and "forced to perform unnatural acts."

Which group has the capacity to empathize, to at least consider that there might be a problem? It ain't Katie's crowd.

The dead empathy sensors affect how conservatives feel about other people, too. They can't get out of their own skin. Spot has noticed that when a conservative gets behind efforts or legislation to, say find a cure for a disease, it's usually because that person is afflicted with or has a family member with the disease.

Katie just laid it out for you.

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