Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick and hypocrisy

As my favorite professor Gary Francione wrote last week, "We're all Michael Vick," and he has a point. Despite three years under his tutelage, I have not become a vegetarian (I am selfish and like cheeseburgers too much) but I can't help agreeing with the substance of his argument which is that Americans are hypocritical about animals, artificially separating them into species which can be exploited and species which cannot. As he has reminded me, this results from the fact that dogs are cute and cows are not (admittedly, pit bulls are not cute but they are still dogs, hence the national outrage).

However, what really seemed ridiculous to me was that the Pittsburgh reporter who said that Michale Vick would have been "better off raping a woman" than being charged with dogfighting was forced to apologize and will no longer appear on the sports show where he made the remark. Surely no one can really believe the reporter was advocating rape. What Paul Zeise meant - and no one seems willing to admit it is true - is that celebrity athletes (and non-athletes) appear to be condemned less for violent crimes against humans than for violent crimes against dogs. Obviously both deserve our outrage and swift punishment. Zeise may well have been accurate when he said a rapist "might have been suspended for four games and he'd be back on the field" as opposed to Vick's being suspended from the NFL indefinitely.

While Zeise's comment was unfortunate and poorly phrased, he invoked (less articulately) the "moral schizophrenia" in our society Professor Francione laments. However, there is a silver lining - Vick said today that this situation has helped him find Jesus. I assume Jesus is running as fast as He can in the opposite direction...

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