Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Poor Michael Vick. Like Hitler and Nazis, he's become a gold standard by which all crimes are compared. Your boss wants you to pick up his drycleaning? He's a tiny crewcutted Hitler! Your best girlfriend demands that her bridesmaids wear purple? Christ, the woman is Goebbels in Vera Wang!

Michael Vick joined this illustrious crowd as the go-to metaphor for prison terms. He was railroaded! It's a travesty! The man served eighteen months in jail for dogfighting. Dogfighting. Anybody who's ever owned a dog knows they love fighting. In fact, for dogs, it's almost like dancing, except they don't get slapped when their paws touch butt. Hey, my Snowflake snarls whenever a leaf drops in the yard: are the brownshirts going to turn up at my door?

It's an alleged travesty, and now it's a cliché. Whenever a short prison sentence is handed down, Vick is dragged in for comparison. Somebody got drunk, ran down a granny in a crosswalk, and only got a year in jail? Yup, that's proof positive: old people are worth less than chihuahuas in America today.

Yesterday's news gave us a bit of trivia we didn't know about egg factories. They pop out hundreds of millions of baby chicks every year, and use the females for egg production. The males? They're tossed into a meat grinder. Like, a day after they're born, still wet, pre-cheep. See, nobody wants the males. You can't them; they can't wash our cars. They're done away with without even a "Sorry!" or a bon voyage party. No tiny watch or "World's Greatest Chick" mug for them. They zip down a conveyor belt, some guy with a practiced eye scans their genitals, thinks "Dude!" and then flicks them like a marble into the grinder.

Two hundred million times a year.

And here's the weird part: it's all perfectly legal. Call your police department and ask. Hell yeah, they'll tell you. We got no probs with that. Poke a dog with a stick, though, and all of a sudden every granny on your block is reaching for her gun.

See, cruelty to animals is illegal. Strap razor blades to the feet of a pair of chicks and toss them in a pen to fight, and you'll end up in the slammer. But kill them so fast they supposedly don't feel anything, and everything is cool. Even if they're a day old. Even if you yourself shot rooster semen into a hen to make them.

The police and the newspapers are quick to label: people who torture animals are sadists who frequently go on to do far worse things. But people who kill two hundred million baby chickens a year? They're fine, upstanding businesspeople who serve a need.

Because, you know, the end justifies the means.

Without them, we'd all have to eat French Toast for brunch.

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

EXCEPT, oh dear, you can't make French toast without eggs.

I knew some people in Hawaii, living in a remote part of Kauai, who had lots of the beautiful Hawaiian wild chickens living around them. They'd feed them and name them, but eventually some of them would grow up into roosters that would start crowing about 3 AM and keep it up till oh say 10 AM or so. So, Kris would catch the males and take them a few miles away and let them go. But, there never seemed to be all that many fewer. You think maybe someone on the other end was doing the same thing?