They Shoot Horses, don’t they?
A few hours ago, I returned from…bowling. Yes, you read right: bowling. To a second-wave feminist, an activist, a boomer who was going to change the world (again)–the type who threw linen over the lampshade and thought Pier 66 wicker was boss–the very idea of bowling was anathema. Imagine renting used shoes–yes, wearing footwear probably full of fungi and other contractable foot disorders–to participate in a game once imaged in full crinoline skirts and innocuous suburban flirting, slinging a small ball against pins shaped like old coke bottles. JMJ…preserve me! Eww! Well…I had a blast! Extremely friendly people, from all walks of life; of all ages; some extremely gifted at targeting even a single coke bottle standing in a remote corner, and others no better–and sometimes worse–than I was, just having fun, canoodling for seconds at a time, pressing the flesh with high-five’s (with nary a worry about germs, not an antibacterial in sight), and enjoying a two-hour reprieve from daily life and its many burdens. Even five years ago, if you’d told me I’d be bowling, I’d have laughed (ha!HAH!) in your face. But the foreshadowing was receiving a gift sub to Reader’s Digest about five years ago. The woman who subbed to Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue and Cosmopolitan now kept Reader’s Digest in the, um, restroom just as a, shall we say, quick and dirty read.
A very serious academic once told me that there was no shame in suburban living or its lifestyle. He said that “people like us” could change and help evolve the suburban lifestyle to make it into something else…something more cultural, socially active…bringing a consciousness to it which would alter it forever, make it into something else altogether. I thought he was a self-important snob at the time, but at the time, I also thought he had a point. If…IF it could be done at all, I thought. Yet after all, haven’t all the changes brought forward in the past 30 years been grassroots movements? Was Rosa Parks an academic or an activist–or Friedan? No, Parks was someone who took the bus everyday, and the other was a housewife (and Nelly, well, Nelly was a woman who had a point to make). The women’s rights and black american rights movements began not in some rarefied, Ivory Tower environment, but rather, right on the ground, here among us plebes. Even our obsession today with green, environmentally conscious living–didn’t that begin with commoners (the so-called unwashed masses) learning about, and being revolted by, practices that put the planet we live on in harm’s way? It’s always been about degrees of information, which, once sifted rationally, leads to a folk wisdom which then grows, aggrandizes into a global value system which next becomes the cutting edge of culture. And of course, with the internet and social media, this level of the socio-cultural transcends nations and national boundaries…perhaps for the first time in recorded history: it constellates into a value based solely on global/planetary salubriousness that subsumes anything prior to, or before it; it subjects national agendas to greater, more pressing overall concerns. National prejudice becomes fatally jingoistic in the face of it.
The same can be said of individuals who persist in littering; refuse to recyle; have no idea of, and no time for, recycling or re-using; are, simply put, not interested in change per se, change which improves, change based on new information. In short, individuals who still live (in) the culture of narcissism and are deaf, mute and blind (metaphorically speaking) to the face of reality. One such a one posted on the CHDC (see links). Clearly, he was attempting to bait an organisation which has as its mandate the termination of horse slaughter. He was fishing; perhaps because it amuses him to do so; using baiting phrases like “your perverse love of these creatures” and “oddball collection of horselovers and/or vegetarians (what vegetarians have to do with it is beyond me)”. Whatever. Horse slaughter today isn’t what it might have been a few decades ago–one cannot know for sure (although in Quebec, ‘l’abattage au bout de la pelle’ is a dire indication); something he cannot know for sure (since he clearly hasn’t researched it), except to say that it is and has been a “legitimate” food source. It could be that he’s thinking about “shooting a horse to put it out of its misery–the movie, Marnie, directed by the great Hitchcock, starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren (who now runs Shambala, a wild-animal refuge) comes to mind wherein the heroine, a great horse-lover, shoots her horse dead to save it suffering from a broken leg (vet care at the time understood to be less than what it is now). One isn’t sure at all about what this man is thinking because none of what he says (writes) is based on anything except personal animus. As to his final comment that he will continue to ”enjoy” horseflesh, I say ‘have I got recipes for you!’ Bute a l’orange. Bute flambe. Ingest as much as you can; the lean meat harbours phenylbutazone (bute), banamine, steroids and other drugs which will make you shudder, shiver and shake with contentment. It’s to die for, I tell you. They don’t shoot horses anymore, btw: they torment them until their only reprieve is death. Enjoy.