Friday, August 19, 2005

Another humane society endorses breed extinction...

Yesterday the Times-Picayune ran a story about a Louisiana Parish that has implemented one of the most idiotic pit bull bans I've ever seen--and since I think all breed bans are idiotic, ineffective, lazy ways of avoiding the real issue, saying this is the worst of them is saying a lot. The story is here. My response:

It is interesting to note that the authors of the Plaquemines pit bull
legislation refuse to talk to the press. I'd be embarrassed too. Their
new laws are a perfect example of the kind of loophole filled rhetoric
that clogs our legal system. Rather than addressing responsible animal
care directly by enforcing laws regarding the breeding and care of all
dogs, the parish will spend its resources driving illegal activities
with pit bulls and other dogs underground. They've even worded the
regulations in such a way that pit bull breeders may be able to
continue doing business as long as they transport the puppies over the
parish line.

Yes, pit bulls can be vicious. So can beagles--I was mauled by one.
Even Pomeranians are capable of killing children, as was tragically
reported a few years ago in California. The problem is not the breed,
but the owner's irresponsibility and law enforcement's reluctance to
charge humans with crimes against animals. Until we are able to deal
directly with the human behavior that guides these dogs, the problems
will continue, whether with pit bulls or another substitute "brand."
But it does no good to perpetuate the myth of the pit bull's jaw
strength--there is, in fact, no known test of dog's jaws.  Nor does it
make sense to ban a breed rather than address the problem.  If that
kind of thinking made sense, we would ban marriage as a cure for
divorce, and outlaw children as a way of protecting them from abusive
parents.  Perhaps we're not that far off.

It is also interesting to note that in New York City, with close to
one million dogs, many of them pit bulls, cases of dogs attacking
people are virtually unheard of.  Why? Perhaps because the close
quarters there inspire dog owners to be more responsible--as we all
should be, even in Louisiana.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Six Feet Under: Nate still annoying from beyond the grave

Okay, one more episode to go, and I'm thinking that like the characters caught off guard by Nate's demise on the show, my own feelings of loss will suprise me once this is all over.

But, my feelings are mixed. Once again last night I found myself skeptical about the scenes created for my favorite characters. Claire becomes a hysterical alcoholic pot head, but we don't actually see this happen, we have to take her annoying co-worker's word for it. Then she makes a scene in the driveway of the funeral home, not thinking for a moment about the fact that the owners of a car with a military sticker are there because their son is dead. She grew up in the business...I think she'd get this at some point. And once she is told, the scene ends without any chance for her to play off this sudden understanding of her own inappropriate behavior.

Brenda gets an inane incest fantasy--thank god it was a fantasy but stil...what the ??? And she decides to let Ruth keep Maya temporarily as if there is some black and white custody issue to resolve. Why not point out that Ruth needn't feel left out since Brenda is about to give birth to Ruth's second granddaughter and will surely be called upon to be involved with BOTH children. And what inspires this behavior? Nate's inane badgering from beyond the grave! Why would she listen to this ridiculous figment of her imagination after his heinous advice that she sleep with her brother? Even Brenda isn't that crazy.

But, I must remind myself that the reason I love this show is that is does drive me crazy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

March of the Digitally Enhanced Penguins

Last night I finally saw March of the Penguins, and as much as I loved some of it, and was heartbroken by some of it, and was lulled to near-napping by some of it, what I came away from it thinking was this:

How much of a documentary can be digitally animated before it no longer is really a documentary? There were sequences and gestures that struck me as a bit too convenient or impossible to capture--or in some cases just fake--and in the closing credits there were plenty of digital artists credited with helping create this true story of brave penguins. There were also foley artists credited--which answers my question about the authenticity of their emotional, sobbing wails at the loss of their children.

I guess if the purpose of this documentary is to educate us about penguins, the whole thing could be constructed of line drawings and it wouldn't matter. But since it is being sold to us as the true story of a very particular group of penguins, I feel a little bit like the victim of an elaborate hoax.