Nellie McKay was in town last night, performing at House of Blues. I loved her first disc, which I discovered after hearing her perform "Dog Song" on TV. Of course, it was "Dog Song." And I interviewed her a few years ago when she was about to open for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall.
She's had some troubles with her label lately, but her new music is finally coming out on Halloween, so she's doing a little advance tour--or maybe she thought it would be out when she booked these dates. In any case, she was a little shakey on the new stuff, but charming as always. But introducing a song she recorded with kd lang, she went on and on about the fact that kd won't have anything to do with PETA. I wanted to shout--and almost did--"MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE SHE KNOWS PETA WANTS TO KILL ALL PIT BULLS." But I held back.
Saturday night, in the middle of a great little party put together by Satya Magazine, PETA sent a representative to speak to me. "Ingrid is worried about you," the woman said. This startled me. "Why?" I asked. "Because you never responded to her offer to send you food for your dogs." Right. The offer, some readers may remember, came after Ingrid Newkirk challenged me to compare checking accounts with her. Actually, I may have witheld that bit earlier, because I was so embarrassed for her and her organization.
At this party, the PETA rep said, "We know that 99% of all pit bull owners are abusive." This stunned me, because it is so idiotic. "You know that? How?" "From the phone calls we receive," she said. "You know that doesn't make any sense," I said. "Well, let's talk about the things we agree on," PETA said.
I continued to express my concern that they present their case against pit bulls by using invented facts. "It's not just that I like pit bulls and want to defend them, its that your manipulation of facts is a symptom of something that concerns me about our country."
Among the other PETA claims about pit bulls: They were always bred to "be used as weapons." And, more significant, they insist that pit bulls owners are almost exclusively drug dealers and gang members. This last bit is, I think, perhaps most telling, because it reveals how they not only stereotype pit bulls, but also the people who own them.
Eventually, I said, "Tell Ingrid I said hello." And our conversation came to a close.
At Nellie's show, she came out from behind the stage to meet with her fans. Since we had spoken before, about pit bulls in fact, I considered introducing myself. But then I realized that I'd rather just go home to the dogs.