Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Animal Cruelty: Not Cool Man (even when it's really, really funny)

"You are a pathetic loser. Get a fuckin life dude. Anyone who even jokes about animal cruelty is a poor excuse for a man."
-Anony Mous, Esq.

(Okay, I added the Esquire.)

Latigo Flint does not receive a great deal of hate mail, either privately via his email account, or publicly in the form of posted comments.

This is no doubt due to Latigo Flint's unholy skill with a six-gun. Men who can slap thigh and shuck iron so fast that somewhere Doc Holiday's headstone wiggles a bit in applause, tend not to have nasty things said to them very often.

Nevertheless, there comes a time when one’s deepest held beliefs are maligned so severely that there can be no recourse but to defend those beliefs with righteous fury and a well placed cuss word or two. Even at the risk of angering the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known.

Today I salute such a person for having the courage and strength of conviction to stand up for what he or she knows is right.

Several months ago I posted a short children's story titled: Nerkles The Silly Mountain Goat. It was about a typical, everyday average young mountain goat named Nerkles who liked doing typical, everyday average young mountain goat things--climbing up and down mountains for instance.

The story takes an unconscionably cruel turn when Nerkles tries to eat Al Pacino and Al Pacino beats him to death with a chain.

This ending was bittersweet. Bitter because it portrays an act of wanton cruelty to an animal. And sweet because the way it unfolded was really, really funny.

But with keen insight and an empathy the rest of us would do well to emulate, Anony Mous peers past these callow cacklings and notes that any story which holds the notion of Al Pacino beating a mountain goat to death with a chain up as one of hilarity, runs the very real risk of desensitizing and perhaps even encouraging similar acts of cruelty. And I for one am deeply ashamed to suddenly find that I seem to be so bereft of compassion that it must surely call my very humanity into question.


The above is obviously sarcasm, but here's the odd thing: In writing this public reply to a private, (and perhaps cowardly person) I found myself thinking back over all the horrible things that have happened to animals in my stories and actually started to feel a bit bad: Dolphin killing, owl smashing, skiing in the summertime on millions of live, white kittens. I wrote a series of westerns in which each installment opens with the protagonist fatally shooting his horse in the eye. The list just goes on and on. I once described a nervous character as "tight and twitchy, like a kitten on a paintball range." I've made light of hydrophobia too many times to count--I once compared rabies to crack and implied Old Yeller was an addict. I wrote about a pair of endangered condors named Pretty Molly and Captain Chortlebeak frying themselves on a power transformer. 75% of the time if there's an otter in my story, that otter is going to die. Hell, I even proposed an alternative energy source in which high frequency sound is used to herd whales into underwater pens where in their panic they bump into turbines and power a generator. I once advocated shoving kazoos up a mule's nose. I once wrote about keeping an adolescent tiger shark as a pet in my bathtub, and described, in some detail, its accidental death from eating a bar of soap shaped like a turtle. I'm tellin' you, it just goes on and on and on.

And so I went from feeling snarky and sly, to a genuine moment of self-doubt. Is that a monster in the mirror? Fortunately it quickly passed when I realized this person was either someone I know playing a joke, or just some humorless human scab of unfounded indignation--smart enough to read, too stupid to know what it really means.

And then I felt much better. And I wouldn't have even wasted our time with all this except that it gave me the chance to type: "tight and twitchy, like a kitten on a paintball range" again. And sometimes that's all the reason you need.

Good night.


At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Solace Layfield/Wes said...

Latigo, I would really, really, really like to know where this story about skiing on white kittens could be found.

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous ATD said...

Oh, it's back there somewhere. It's a Kid Relish story, obviously.

I think that 'anonymous' should have been brave enough to put his or her own name or handle there. Since they hide behind the veil of 'anonymous' there's no way to truly address this person's wrongdoing.

I reckon it's about as low-down and tinhorn a move as shootin' a man's cowboy hat off his head from 20 km away with a self-guided cruise missile.

I reckon that in a one-on-one with that yeller-bellied varmint what calls himself Anonymous, he'd be on his knees begging for forgiveness even before you even began to THINK about slapping thigh and shucking your authentic Colt replica Peacemakers from their hand-tooled elk hide holsters.

Animal cruelty in real life is a heinous and terrible thing; animal cruelty in absurdist, bizarre, humour stories told by a modern-day gunslinger born 150 years too late, is an entirely different ... animal.


At 7:33 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

The world is cruel. We are all animals. It's a metaphor.

Those of our who sign our names (well, at least our pseudonyms) get it. Only those clueless must resort to the Anony Mous handle. Stupid anonymice--too dumb to think up a cool web name.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I once advocated starving my children on my blog, with, what I thought were pertinent and well-reasoned arguments.

Someone felt moved to ask me if I was joking, probably with one hand on their keyboard and the other on the Child Protection page of the Yellow Pages. I soothed their worries away but was left with the disquieting sense that the ironyless live and walk amongst us and probably look much like us too.
Creepy but tragic too. God knows how a person can get through life like that. Life who's gang name is, as we know, Mister Life "Irony" MacJokesonyew, or "William". And, who's pornstar name is Sugarlips Venereala. And who's Mafia name is Vito "The Fist" Shortancurlione.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Life's a bitch. Anony Mous, Esq and the fuzzy animals should get a helmet if they can't handle it.

Hey, let's trace his IP and kick his door in! Road trip!

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

You know what really bothered me? The trampoline cruelty you wrote about once. That's not cool either.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

"whose", of course, I meant to say "whose".

My shame is a boiling thing.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Ari said...

I figure animals can't be hurt by your stuff since they can't read.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Ari said...

Also, it's been a long time since slapping thigh and shucking iron appeared in these pages. It was good to see it again. I promise to stop double posting sometime soon.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous gael_cee said...

I guess if you're an enviro-terrorist or a PETA whacko you just can't understand good humor.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Noir Muse said...

I would think that anyone who would heckle the writer of a fictional blog is wasting precious time and effort that could be used for true animal activism. Obviously the pathetic loser who would rather heckle than DO something is either a lazy clod or a coward. Possibly both.

Congratulations Mr. Latigo - you've inspired passion in a cowardly and lazy clod. After all, the opposite of love isn't hate but instead apathy.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

I happen to think that you are among the foremost of animal writers. That old yeller squirel anus story was written as if shakespear had been born a dog and then learned to write. Only someone brought up by wolves could write animal stories like Latigo Flint. Anyway, boys tend to get it worse, and by standers always bubling blood into milk and stuff.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Hello Solace Layfield. How have you been my friend? It's back there somewhere, as ATD notes. Google The Mewling Moguls, that'll turn it up.

I reckon I adore you for that defense ATD.

I'm not entirely certain we are animals Slarrow. We have souls. We ponder whether to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But the world is cruel, of that I am certain.

Well Sam... were you? Were you joking?
(My Mafia name is now most certainly Vito "The Fist" Shortancurlion. See, 'cause that's just the greatest Mafia name ever!)

Indeed Amandarama, a meat helmet! (I didn't make that up, I don't remember who did.)

You're right sweet Cindy-Lou. It wasn't cool at all. That wretched trampoline has tried to kill me, so many times now. And where are my activists I ask you? Where are those who would act on behalf of my preservation?!!!

Ari, you get to double post anytime you want. And know this: Even if I'm not talking about slapping thigh and shucking iron, I'm still doing it. I may go to sleep but my song won't stop--my song is going to continue.

I just reckon there are so many shades of grey Gael Cee, that one would have to be a fool to scream "Black!" or "White!" without first studying on it a bit.

You speak Noir Muse and I am redeemed. Your grace is the only character witness I need. Thank you.

Oh Helga Von Porno, you're gonna disarm me forever you keep talking such sweetness.


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