Monday, September 03, 2007


This is my friend Alexandra. Lexie for short.

She's not my dog, but we're pals. She belongs to friends who travel frequently and sail, activities at which she does not excel. So, on those occasions, she stays at my place. I refer to this as "joint-custody". Her owners say she's "sleeping over with the boyfriend".

Lexie is a very well-trained animal.

I'm not.

Therefore, when she's around we do the stuff she's not allowed to do in her properly domesticated home life.

I've always owned or been around dogs, so I long ago learned that they're intelligent, sentient beings capable of many of the interpretive processes and emotions you and I share. I'm sure we don't think or feel in the same way but I'm not prepared to say whose version is the best.

I'll never forget walking her in the woods one afternoon after a week of heavy rain and coming across a massive mud puddle. We shared a look and I swear the same simultaneous thought -- then we dove in to splash around and get absolutely filthy.

It's an amazing feeling to sense you've communicated with another species, getting a window, even for a moment into how they might perceive and relate to the world.

On another walk, Lex and I came across a very bored horse grazing alone in its paddock. The horse took an immediate interest in us and the dog in particular. They sniffed each other, followed one another along the fence line, each making feints and dodges as if wanting to play.

Along with the bales of hay and water that had been left for it, the horse's paddock included a large heavy rubber ball. As we turned to leave, the horse kicked it through the fence rails to us. Lexie corraled it and I threw it back in the paddock. The horse kicked it back to us again.

We spent a long time repeating the process.

If you can understand the thrill of communicating with one species, consider interacting with two, who are also interacting with each other...

This is Michael Vick. Scumbag for short.

Michael used to be an athlete I admired, easily the most exciting player in the NFL and maybe all of professional sport.

Michael will not be playing in the NFL season that opens on Sunday because he's going to jail for participating in dog fighting and killing many of his animals.

If Michael and Lexie had ever met, I'm certain she would have seen him as a creature she should befriend and he'd see her as one he could brutalize, turn into a fighting dog and then enjoy watching as she either tore apart another dog in the fighting ring or was torn apart herself.

If she had survived the ordeal, but not shown the agression that would win her the opportunity to fight to the death again -- Michael would have taken her for a walk in her beloved woods and either hung her from a tree or held her under that mud puddle until she drowned.

A lot of people are wondering how Michael Vick could have thrown away the $130 Million dollars he was being paid to play his sport and his once respected reputation as the new face of the NFL for the transitory thrills of a dog fight.

Others analyse the aggressive, competitive nature and elite status of professional athletes, attempting to unearth the source of Michael's downfall.

The answer to all those questions is simple. Residing in Michael's magnificent athlete's body is the mind of a twisted little fuck.

Something in Michael enjoys seeing other sentient beings suffer. The sight of another creature in agony or desperation gives him a woody. In short, some part of him is just plain evil -- and I'm quite happy that he'll never play football again.

I long ago learned to trust the art not the artist and that many of the people I admired for their work in movies and on television are not the people you want close by in the flesh. But few of them repeatedly sink to the level of depravity that Michael Vick practised.

Talent can buy you incredible privilege, but it also comes with enormous responsibility. Many choose to ignore those responsibilities. It doesn't deminish their talent, but it certainly removes them from the list of those we should emulate.

There are those who claim Michael will be back one day and people will cheer for him again, but I doubt that will happen. In the funny way our world works, he'll do most of his time for gambling, a crime nobody really thinks of as major and not much for the acts which truly sicken most people.

Therefore, the basic concept that if you've done the time you're done with the crime won't come into play here. If Michael isn't seen to be doing time for abdicating his humanity, (as well as making a few bucks off it) then people just aren't going to forgive him.

I'm not a fan of life sentences or eternal damnation, and god knows there are things I wish some people would forgive me for -- but I also believe that you're not totally off the hook until you can convince those people the demons that got you in trouble in the first place have been finally dispatched.

Please, please, please do not click on the link I'm about to post if you are easily shocked or harbor even the slightest homocidal tendencies. But this is what Michael did to his dogs. Forward it to Michael's apologists, the moral relativists who insist there are 'worse' crimes he could've committed and all those other sports fans who can only get a woody from watching guys like Michael play football.

Unlike the whack-jobs of PETA and their ilk, I know there's a difference between us and the other species with which we share this planet. But when we choose to torture and degrade them for sport, we degrade ourselves and any claim we make to being superior.

Perhaps Michael Vick will realize the error of his ways and find a path to redeem himself. I truly hope that ending awaits him. But that achievement won't encourage me to watch him play again and I hope he does both of us the favor of directing his talents elsewhere.

Now excuse me while I go and scratch this silly old dog's belly.


Anonymous said...

You're a great blogger, Jim. Your stories always have beginnings, middles, ends, and not always in that order, not always predictable, and they often end in a surprising and enlightening opinion.

wcdixon said...

That's cuz he takes at least a week to write each one...whereas I only take 5 days per, 6 MAX. Seriously. Ruff.