If, as part of a fraternity in college, you got drunk silly and participated in, say, the TP’ing or egging of someone’s house, or smashing mailboxes, or some other immature act, people would likely pass it off as a stupid youthful indiscretion. While it won’t be the best thing on your record, it wouldn’t look outright ludicrous either. If, however, you did the same thing when you were 50 years old, you would look pretty ridiculous and it would be safe to say that something was not quite alright in your head.
The same act is viewed differently depending on when it was committed. Things that are excused in infancy or adolescence are not accorded the same indulgence in adulthood. And correctly so, as one is expected to mature with the passage of time and one is expected to exercise better judgment with maturity.
The same should be true of the human race and the human experience as a collective, but this is, sadly, often not the case.
Last Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, a filly named Eight Belles made a strong charge, finished second, unfortunately snapped both her ankles immediately after, and had to be killed right there on the track (Does “put down” or “put to sleep” or “euthanized” make you feel better? Then by all means use those terms; but the fact is, they had to kill the horse to put it out of the misery they had put it in). Expectedly, this raised a bunch of discussion and debate, much of it over the public airwaves. Many people criticized horse-racing as barbaric. And many other people defended it as a ‘noble sport’, ‘grand tradition’ etc, and with the “They love these horses and treat them like royalty” argument----all I’ll say about this latter argument is that the folks at the FLDS church loved their children too, but nevertheless adhered to the practice of having them ‘married’ and raped as soon as they hit the teen years. People routinely exploit the ones they love, often in the name of tradition; in the immortal words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”
So anyway, whenever someone mentions ‘tradition’ my bullshit-meter starts working overtime because ‘tradition’ has been, far too many times over our history, a prime excuse to exploit and discriminate against women, colored people, poor people, disabled people and, really, all kinds of life forms. I know there are some traditions that are good but, for the most part, when I hear “Hey, we’ve been doing it this way for X-hundred years!!” my reflexive reaction is “That’s reason alone to stop it or change it”.
We live in great times. The variety in entertainment/recreation options is incredible and the access to them is easy. We now have video/simulation games that can get your mind racing and heart beating faster than many actual physical activities. Technology has made the world small enough that it is easier than ever to network with people and set up groups/clubs etc for all kinds of regular activity--- outdoor, indoor, you name it. Basically, between the virtual and the real worlds as they are today, one should have no problem finding entertainment and recreation options that don’t involve harming, exploiting or destroying other life-forms. But, as a species, we still love to hang on to our ‘traditions’.
Horse racing is just one example of people unwilling to let technological progress relieve them of their penchant for exploitative or destructive pursuits. Boxing is another good one. A couple of centuries ago (while it was still barbaric) I can see how it became popular---there was little else to do, and beating people--your wife, your children etc--- was not only accepted, it was encouraged!
---Hey, let’s get a couple of guys to get into this ring and beat the living shit out of each other!
---Seriously? Why? What’s the point?
---THAT’S the point, stupid! The object of the whole thing is for them to inflict physical harm upon each other till one of them literally beats the other into submission or senselessness!
---Cool. Although I’m sure that that guy will easily beat that other guy.
---Hey, wait a minute! That gives me another degenerate fucking idea…..how sure are you? How about a little wager?
So anyway, with all that we have at our disposal today, particularly the accumulated knowledge of all this time, it is freaking inexcusable to still have a ‘sport’ where the sole point and the whole point is to inflict physical harm on the participants.
And don’t even get me started on hunting. It is sad that someone should find relaxation and recreation in shooting, say, a bunch of flightless birds raised in captivity expressly for the purpose of being shot by impotent old farts that get off on killing things. It is downright pathetic when old farts who are fabulously wealthy and powerful, and have access to virtually anything this world has to offer, find relaxation in watching living things die by their actions. It is totally fucking tragic when such old farts, who are so fundamentally fucked-up in their heads, are allowed to make policy, start wars and send your children to fight them. Your ‘patriotism’ is their R&R, get it?
But I digress---the point is that even if one is not rich and powerful, today one should be able to find good entertainment options that don’t involve killing other things; one should get past deriving pleasure from seeing something die, especially by one’s hands.
The urges to exploit, harm, dominate or destroy, the primal urges of bloodlust, are all the equivalents of teenage hormonal surges of the human race when viewed within the frame of reference of time; they were never honorable pursuits, but could be rationalized in the context of an earlier, immature time. We now need to get past these infantile and adolescent ‘traditions’, to adopt progressive thinking and to mature into the responsible-adult phase of our species’ existence./ Print this post