Monday, August 31, 2015
"What made the real blues singers so great is that they were able to state all the problems they had; but at the same time, they were standing outside of them and could look at them. And in that way, they had them beat."
>> Sleevenote, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - May 27, 1963, Columbia.
This summer's news stories on Cecil the Lion and the Internet/Social Media "backlash" of public opinion about his death, causes us to think about things we might not usually think about, and to see various sides and aspects to --
trophy hunting of exotic animals in Africa
general hunting in America
And also -- people's ability to understand one another.
And also -- the fact that most people don't have a thorough understanding of ecology and wildlife management.
People who opposed Cecil's killing could be organized into categories, such as the following:
1. People who believe animals in a wildlife preserve
are not for hunting and were shocked and disgusted by what they saw as a breach of ethics -- some people in this category are hunters, some are not hunters.
2. People who don't hunt and have little knowledge of wildlife management, who eat meat, but are shocked and sickened by the idea of any kind of hunting if it's brought to their attention by an incident such as the one with Hwange's Cecil. (Most of the time these people are not thinking about hunting.)
3. People who are strict vegetarians & members of PETA or similar organizations or movements who are anti-hunting along with anti- other things as well. (Hugh Grant, to wild bear: "My wife is a member of PETA. ...I have been meaning to join..."
Some of the people who have Twitter accounts and "Followers" got emotional about Cecil, and animals, and -- Life -- in general and went spinning into Emotional Excess -- such as the Hollywood producer who pronounced all hunters "mental" ...
I think we have to have patience and understanding with such moments -- people can get carried away.
Some people who hunt might have felt they were being beat-up-on by the Social Media Opinion that was pro-Cecil and anti-Palmer.
But I think most of the people adding their voices to the earth-wide Discussion on behalf of the slain Cecil, were not wanting to criticize deer hunting, duck-hunting, pheasant-hunting, walleye-fishing, etc., etc.
It was just that the Cecil incident provoked a flashpoint where people were really thinking about that particular incident, and it made them question and wonder about other things as well.
I think most people have some kind of sketchy, peripheral concept that if there was no deer-hunting allowed, deer would overpopulate and many would starve.
I think this is typical -- many people might have this sort of general idea about wildlife management, but they're not thoroughly knowledgeable about it, they don't study it, and get all the facts because -- they're busy with their own lives and activities, just like everyone else. Then an emotional incident occurs, & there is some outraged ranting which is not all strictly fact-based, or understanding-based.
Then you have another aspect to the Cecil-debate which has nothing to do with lions, or with hunting: what I see as the simple inability, or effort-made, to -- understand and accept, rather than deride, the free-time activities chosen by other people. ("How can you go hunting it's horrible???!!!")
Like anyone else, hunters don't enjoy being picked on... and any of us -- I wouldn't want people "hacking-at" me because I want to read a book, or write a book, or ride a bike ... We work hard enough for, and wait long enough for our Blessed Free Time and when we get to it, we want to "do our thing," un-picked-on...
In Jane Austen's novel Emma, there's the famous quotation, "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."
But we can try.