Jeremy Clarkson and Dumping Animal Carcasses: we just don’t do that shit anymore.

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So Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson was in the news the other week – in hot water, again –  for being Politically Incorrect. Being a wanker, is the term he’d understand. Being more than normally so, that is. We all know he likes to poke fun at Mexicans for being lazy. He apparently used the N word when saying the old rhyme to choose between two things.

This is Clarkson’s apology:

“Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word. And as I’m sitting here begging your forgiveness for the fact that obviously my efforts weren’t quite good enough.”

He actually said that.

What a wanker. If he knew enough to not say the word aloud, he knew enough to not actually say it at all, and to replace it with anything else. “Tiger” is the word I heard in Boston when I lived there. If he said it, he meant to say it. End of fucking story.

Reading another article about his apology, I saw Clarkson had plenty of fans and others supporting him. I was a little concerned at one quote saying he got away with such indiscretions because he was too powerful to get rid of – it reminded me of a certain ex DJ who was very popular and had the BBC fixed just the way he liked it: too scared to stop him doing his despicable things.

I was temped to comment on that, but I have decided that commenting on newspaper articles is like trying to have a rational discussion in the middle of a Jerry Springer show (or a Spanish chat show, on occasion): it’s fucking pointless, because nobody else is there for a rational discussion, just a shouting match.

Anyway, back to Clarkson. Aside from whether he is or isn’t a racist, and the notion that all such Englishmen who believe in the superiority of their former Empire being intrinsically racist, he thought he could get away with it, as a joke. While Jeremy might really believe it was only a joke and not meant to offend, I’d love to see him say the same thing where I used to work in the South End of Boston, or in the South Bronx of NY, or South Central LA. Anywhere outside the South Bank of the Thames.

And as for those people who claim we always said such things, well, yea, I remember saying it before I ever understood what the N word meant. But it ever entered my head to say it in company once I was an adult – even in the company of people of Jeremy’s generation and attitude.

What Jeremy and his ilk need to understand is that you can’t do or say certain things nowadays, despite the fact that you or me or everyone always used to. We just don’t do that shit any more.

As a kid I used to call people a faggot or a fairy with impunity. I didn’t know any better, but nobody would catch me saying it now – even those, like Jeremy, who might laugh as if it was funny. Fat people were an easy target to poke fun at, but that’s just not funny anymore.

It’s not so much setting an example, as adhering to a set of guidelines that I believe should apply to everyone, in a society I would like to see. Like not littering, even though I know I could get away with it; teaching my child not to litter, and having to explain to her that there are indeed people in the world who throw their cigarette butts on the ground, and having no answer to her question: “What we going to do?”

“We’re going to wait till such dickheads grow a brain, love,” is, unfortunately, the only answer.

Even dickheads like Jeremy Clarkson can grow a brain, I believe.

The world has changed; in many ways for the worst (and Jeremy no doubt has many opinions about this as he pisses around the countryside in fast cars – full discloser: I sometimes drive, and I sometimes enjoy it; I watched a few episodes of Top Gear and I did enjoy it, especially the actors doing laps. But do I give a fuck about the difference between a Lamborghini, a Maserati and a Ferrari? No. Do I care what size the engine is? No. Would I prefer to be able to either cycle or travel by jet pack? Yes.)

In many ways, though, society – even our shitty parasitic Western one – has changed for the better. We’re a lot more civilised in some respects, and humane.

Perhaps being civilised creates some minor inconveniences. Since smoking was banned in bars, we all like not smelling of smoke after a night out. Do I like having to go outside on the street to have a conversation with my smoking buddies? No. Do I disprove of my mates who throw their butts on the ground? Very much so. (And your time is ending, littering cigarette smokers, very fucking soon. Before my 3-year-old is allowed to read this blog, you won’t be flicking your butts with impunity – just like the shit-leaving dog walkers’ time ended [and I was one of them back in the day, we all were]). There are more rules to living in a globalized world with going on 8 billion people. Get used to it. More rules are coming.

Which brings me to farmers. The dumping of carcasses a few weeks back at the bottom of a scenic cliff in Ireland is a symptom of someone who doesn’t really care about animals, who views them as objects. While I am a hunter and have no problem killing animals, I am not callous about how they die, and I don’t condone the dumping of useful animal carcases. (It is a pity that there are few birds of prey that could have availed of the meat. Perhaps when the kind of farmers who say that his or her forbearers always shot and poisoned raptors just like they still do to foxes, have ceased to do such things, there will be.)

Perhaps the owner could not afford to feed the cattle and horses. It’s better to kill the horse if you can’t feed it than let it starve. Of course, a little bit of swallowing pride might let you spend your last dime on a fucking phone call to the ISPCA (shout out to all the good men and women there!). But even if you are going to kill it, a quick death, rather than pushing it off a cliff would be more humane. The removal of ear tags suggests that the animal was dead before going off the cliff, but the presence of a live horse on the top and absence of machinery tracks pushing the carcass off the cliff (nobody has the strength to do it by hand) shows the animals were probably alive, so the ears were cut off while they were alive. A horse trusts its owner, knows him or her, and damn well knows it’s about to be pushed to its certain death. It’s less humane than borrowing your neighbour’s shotgun, or bolt gun. (What farmer can’t afford a blot gun?)

The farmer who did this obviously sees nothing wrong with what he did. Like the people who still drown puppies and kittens rather than get their dogs and cats spayed (cheap in Ireland if you’re a pensioner).

But we just don’t fucking do that shit anymore.

We don’t allow people leave children unattended in their car, or anywhere else. Not even for two seconds while they run into a shop for a pint of milk. You can’t have your kids babysat by anyone under sixteen. We don’t have kids in cars without child seats and booster chairs, don’t drive ourselves without seatbelts, and certainly don’t drink and drive anymore. We don’t leave our dogs in the car in the sun, or chain them up in our garden. We don’t shoot them when they’re too old to be useful. You don’t leave sheep ignored for months on the hill, or have horses unshod because it’s expensive to shoe them.

Sure, there are some folks who still do all these things, including let their kids bounce around the back of the car (which some of us reminisce about, having 8 kids in the car: two in the front seat, one in the back window). There are people who ignore their dogs’ shit, who still dock their dogs’ tails and who get their ears pinned. In Spain there are yet many hunters who shoot their dogs at the end of the season rather than spend the money feeding them till next year – and fuck me blue but do those cunts (sorry Maia, a very bad word, but it was the only apt label) make me mad for giving other hunters a bad name.

The point is that though a few idiots linger in their insistence that they should be allowed to do what they’ve always done, nowadays the rest of us disdain those people.

The rest of society has shifted around such people. Just like it’s shifted around Clarkson and he’d better move soon, too, or his popularity will shift. Because if he doesn’t, then before my 3-year-old can read this blog, even if she were let, it will be politically uncorrect to like the clown (read wanker).

 

 

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About davidjmobrien

Writer, ecologist and teacher

Posted on May 28, 2014, in Ecology, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’ve been in Ireland for 17 years now and have seen a lot of what you mention a number of times.

    Farmers here treat their dogs like their tractor. When it’s no longer of any use, get rid of it. They don’t believe in rehoming or adopting, for various reasons, most of them invalid.

    Our two collies are adopted. Daisie and her three sisters were thrown into a plastic fertilizer sack the moment they were born. It was tied with bailing wire and thrown into a brambly ditch in July during a summer when we had a lot of heat and little rain. Someone walking by heard the cries and suffered many lacerations when they crawled down the ditch to rescue the puppies. 8 weeks later, we adopted Daisie. She’ll be 12 this July.

    Similarly, a bitch was dumped into a walled garden with her two newborn collie puppies on January. Fortunately, that homeowner kept them for a while. When the pups were weaned, the bitch took off. The man continued caring for the two pups until it was painfully obvious a) they were very sick and b) his pet fox kept trying to eat the pups. Long story short, we took possession of the pubs and got them medical care. The vet wanted to put them down because they were so ill. We refused and they got well again. We placed the male with a newlywed family who’s neighbor trained him to work cattle. We kept the female, Poppy, who will be 10 at Xmas.

    We met a woman in the vets one day with her year old collie. A geologist, she told us the story of being out one day surveying and hearing screaming. She followed it to a farm and into a barn where the farmer was drowning 6 month old dogs. She caught him with the last one, the one she took home. He told her that none of them were taking to the sheep and no use to him. It was too much hassle to try finding the dogs homes and felt the most ethical way to get rid of them was doing the job himself. Better to drown them in a bucket then to throw them into the river and suffer. As if the dogs in hand weren’t suffering. He was too cheap to have them euthanized.

    There are thousands of these stories all over Ireland,and not just with the collie population. Greyhound racers are just as bad. They tattoo the dog’s ear for identification, and when the dog has outlived his usefulness, or won’t win, the ear is cut off and the dog is dumped in the woods, or rural community where it might be taken in. If they resorted to using the ISPCA, the shelter would be overrun with greyhounds.

    Then there are well-meaning parents who buy a puppy and raise it, then breed it before getting it fixed . . . ‘so the kids will experience the miracle of birth.’ Good plan, but what about the tragedy of not being able to place the dogs and you dumping them in the river, or into a ditch, or sending them to the shelter and making it someone else’s responsibility to take care of your mess?

    I was in the pet business back home for years. Part of the reason I left is because there are SO many stupid people out there who shouldn’t be allowed to have pets. Not even goldfish. Let alone kids, but that’s another topic. When I came to Ireland and Daisie came to live with us, it became quickly and painfully obvious it was just as bad here. And in some cases worse. It’s heartbreaking and needless. But as you say, it goes back to an older culture. When cows and sheep are raised for the dinner table, and with a religion that says animals don’t have souls, therefore can’t feel anything emotional, then it become okay for those people to exact cruelties on all animals.

    As for language, I’ve never seen a culture anywhere use the F bomb as much as in Ireland. Granted, it’s mostly within the 14-24 age group, but it continues on as those kids become adults and mature adults. But they don’t have any problem dropping F bombs in front of their grannies. I’ve been in nice restaurants where people behind or beside us liberally use the F word in casual conversation. I’m not a prude. I drop F bombs occasionally, but usually only when I’m so angry that I can’t think of anything else to say. Kind of like your post here. And we’re not talking about the quaint use of feck either but the full-on F bomb.

    The N word? {cringe} I’ve mostly heard that from older people. Not so much the younger generation, and by that, I use my own age as the demarcation line. This behavior goes back to the old charity appeals for African babies. African is my word here. The N word was used in those appeals. I got into a slightly heated argument over the N word with a couple of those older generation people. I had made an innocent comment about a troop of girls learning Irish dance in a low income community in NY. They had been sponsored to come to Ireland some years ago and gave performances which aired on RTE (news items). I remarked how cute they were in their fake curls and traditional dresses, and giving it loads. They seemed to really enjoy it. The comment I received back was “Those N’ers think they’re Irish.” I was floored, especially as I’d never heard that kind of language from these people before. I calmly said, “I don’t think they’re trying to be Irish. They’re learning Irish dance so they’re wearing traditional costume, just like any other person who has learned Irish dance. And I find the N word offensive so please don’t use it around me.” I said N word, not THE N word. I was then lectured about the baby appeal and that everyone called them N’er babies . . . and not to tell them what to say in their own home. So I said, “As the host, don’t you think it dishonors your guests by using language like that? I honor your home by behaving respectfully. I would hope you would honor your guests with the same respect.” They have never used that word before, but then again, I walk on eggshells with most people these days. One never knows what will set someone off. Even just having an American accent here gets me into deep doodoo. Especially around US election time o.O

    • Thanks for the great comment Kemberlee. Here in Spain I think it’s even worse than in Ireland, but then I lived in the suburbs there and I am more exposed to the rural here. I have no personal experience of hunters killing or abandoning their dogs here, but it’s so rife that it’s on the news.
      As for language, well, I have to admit that I am a prolific user of the F word! I have toned it down in recent years, and I can control myself when there are children in the room. Actually, working in Boston where I would have been fired if I’d said it in the classroom helped! I have been told that it doesn’t sound so offensive with an Irish accent, too! When I learned Spanish I made a point not to learn the swears until they eventually seeped in, but the Spanish swear as much as the Irish. The equivalents are not quite the same, though, which makes it confusing – like mierda is shit, but not offensive to say, so even kids say it. Makes it hard to decide what is acceptable in class and what’s not.
      Anyway, I have never said the N word aloud since I was a kid saying that (I almost wrote “Nursery”) rhyme. I don’t even write it. But I had a similar battle with some students in Boston that mothers in Ireland have, when the kid says he/she said feck instead of fuck, so they can’t be punished. Lots of kids said nigga, to one another and saw no problem with that because they were black – they distinguished between being African American, actually African (Nigerian, Sierra Leonian, etc.) and Haitian etc. I had to explain that it was racist to say it was ok for them to say it but not me, just because I wasn’t white, and that they should try to let the word die out, like, I dunno, whoopee, or cooper or stuff they used to say in the old days. Didn’t work much!

      • I was raised by men. I have a mother, and a sister, and aunts and other women in my life, but essentially, men raised me. My family had an automotive garage and I was there practically every waking moment. I can swear like a sailor, and can really get ripping if I’m really annoyed. But I’m very conscious not to offend any race of a person, or anything personal about them. Probably because I was bullied in school, and because I’m not ‘white’ in the ‘white man’ sense. And because there are just some words that are so offensive that you can’t match it when swearing back at a ‘white’ person. The N word is pretty bad. So is the C word. Most other ethnic slurs are pretty tame compared to the N word, or the C word for women.

        I think it takes a few things within a person before they cop on. Getting older and hopefully wiser. Learning we all have choices, and verbal abuse is a choice. Learning that every person on the planet is individual and we all have feelings. And life is freaking short. Why waste it degrading others when all it really does is degrade yourself.

        I’m a firm believer in Karma though. I’m not religious by any stretch, but Karma lives and breathes inside me. Do good and good comes. My late great aunt told me when I was young, “Steal a nickel, lose a dime.” It applied to everything, not just money. I valued her advice. She had been born in 1889 so she’d been around the block a couple times.

        The other mantra in my life is the Golden Rule — Do unto others and you would have done to you . . . or something like that 😉

      • sometime’s Karma’s all you got. I hope it works out for all the people making money off a messed up planet. I had a brush with Karma back in the day – a real C-word of a bloke decided to punch me (looong story) and I got 7 stitches when my canine (it’s pretty sharp) went through my lip. anyway, there was no point pressing charges cos he was already only out because of a lack of space in juvie (he was a year or so younger than me) and he didn’t know who I was, so it was best to do nothing but leave it to Karma. I used to tell my students this story – I got out of hanging around the same places when I went to college and I never saw me again. But I have a few friends in the Guards, and they’d keep me informed of what he was doing. Going from bad to worse, of course. But then he went missing, presumed dead. When he was found in wicklow (kinda like your book, perhaps!) they had to get an entemologist from england to figure out how long the fly/maggot cycle had been going on to estimate date of death. There’s a memorial to him on the side of the road where he was found up from roundwood. I smile whenever I pass by going hiking or hunting.

      • Goodness! There’s a story!

        This is what I mean about choices. We all have them. We all make them every waking moment of the day. It started as soon as we wake up — do I get up or do I stay in bed? Well, my bladder says I need to get up. If I do, I can ‘go’. If I stay in bed, it’s liable to get wet and that means changing the sheets . . . or not. So you get up and head to the loo for the next choice — sit or stand. Then what do I wear, what’s for breakfast, when to leave for work, etc. It’s all mindless. We mostly don’t even think about it. But subconsciously, we’re rolling through the choices at rapid pace.

        Bigger choices — do I remain a doosh all my life and possibly start pushing up daisies before I’m meant to, or do I stop messing about and do something positive with my life? You made the right choice. He made his.

  2. You’re a good man David J. Mobrien. Even if you are a hunter. And you are right. And this IS progress, despite all the rules. I remember much of what you say here in my own experiences…including driving myself places at 14 years old (with permission of course) because it was ‘easier’ and ‘just a quick run’. Crazy.

    Sometimes rules are a good thing. And the observance of rules an even better thing.

  3. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/top-gear-jeremy-clarkson-gets-done-for-speeding-1.1968903
    seems Jeremy and his cohorts keep doing that shit – protests in Argentina, complaints about racially-offensive term during a show in Burma (Myanmar) and of course, him showing his contempt for the laws of his own land.

  4. It was only a matter of time before he went too far. I hope he didn’t step over the line to physical violence… http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31824040

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