Justify Your Existence

This is a new game in which you gain or lose points depending on what kind of earth citizen you’ve been.  The questions are very like the ones you’re asked when you sign up with the Quebec government’s eco-agency–you know, questions like:  “do you recycle? do you compost? do you car-pool? do you wash your clothes in cold water?”…that sort of thing.  The more points you accumulate, the better, and you’re on your way to winning, to having “your existence justified”; the winner becomes the owner of our planet until a challenger knocks him off his pedestal.  It reminds me of that bio-clock craze a few years back.  The bio-clock measured your lifespan in nano-seconds and kept ticking away as you were going about your business.  Its purpose was to remind you that human life is finite (really?) and one should be as productive as possible.  No daydreaming for you, Einstein.

What I like about this new game Justify Your Existence is how it crystallizes virtually the entire cultural shift that we’ve witnessed in the past two or three decades.  And for those of you who snort “pshaw, nonsense”, let me quote Jonathan Safran Foer:  “if nothing matters, then there’s nothing to save.”

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What’s so Special about Oregon?

The furor over the couple in Oregon killing their own horse then taking pictures of themselves smiling through the horse’s abdomen and appearing to eat its heart while naked baffles me.  Respect for life means RESPECT FOR LIFE…in what way does this event differ from the horrifically cruel ways horses are slaughtered every five minutes all over the world (just view the youtube video made in Argentina and see which makes you sicker).  I can understand the anti-slaughter movement in the US hitching onto this particular, but certainly, not unique incident because Sue Wallis revealed just how profound her pathology is by publicly supporting the couple’s behaviour (it takes one to know one, or two, in this case).  And I can understand why the incident has gone viral; after all, I’m sure that the friends and neighbours of the couple could do follow-up interviews, looking mildly bewildered and saying things like, ‘I don’t understand it…they seemed like such a nice couple.’  You know, similar to what people said about Ted Bundy.  We just don’t expect evil in someone’s own backyard even though, if you expand the geography of your own backyard by just a bit (and those of you who live in Massueville need only add a very little bit of yardage), this level of cruelty happens everywhere.  If you have no respect for life to begin with, what does it matter if you carry that disrespect to extremes like that psychopathic couple did (in fact, that’s probably why they published their video:  even they know that the world has no respect for life)? In for a penny, in for a pound.  I don’t think what they did was any worse than the testimonial of an abattoir worker in Jonathan Saffran Foer’s book, Eating Animals. Foer cites this testimonial from Gail Eisnitz’s book, Slaughterhouse.

“Down in the blood pit they say that the smell of blood makes you aggressive.  And it does.  You get an attitude that if that hog kicks at me, I’m going to get even.  You’re already going to kill the hog, but that’s not enough….[I] split its nose…a live hog [would just be looking at me]…and I would just take my knife and…cut its eye out while it was just sitting there….One time I took my knife…and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna….I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose…[then] I stuck the [rest of the] salt right up the hog’s ass.”  (p.252, Eating Animals, quoting Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz)

Now I don’t think measuring levels of pathological behaviour as it pertains to no respect for life would be useful here:  is this abattoir worker less cruel because, unlike the Oregon couple, he didn’t bother making a youtube video out of that incident…an incident which hundreds of abattoir workers have admitted is no different from what goes on all the time, by everyone?  

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