Friday, February 5, 2010

the rules of the game

It's not my place to criticize football, since I don't understand the rules. And I like it that way--every now and then someone decides to correct this defect and begins the Lecture, but I don't listen. I'm 58, and life has gone pretty well up to this point without understanding football. Why risk it?

But I've been on a little jag lately, looking at the things people do to their animals that do not need to be done, and I'm disturbed by this. I do know enough about football to know that they are a common target for a well-placed kick. This outfit has a subtext.

I am not now, not have I ever been, a member of PETA--from reading what the PETA people write, it's obvious that most of them have never had prolonged or meaningful contact with the animal world, and most have no grasp of the important difference between a wild animal and a domesticated one. The difference matters, but we won't go there--it's a good idea not to pick a fight with people who buy ink by the gallon.

It's tempting to wonder, "What were they thinking?" But the real question is "What were they not thinking?", since putting a football outfit on a dog is more about mindlessness than its opposite. People who do things like this invariably insist, sometimes over and over, that the animal "doesn't mind." But the lack of minding isn't coming from a compliant and dependent dog, but from an owner whose neurons aren't firing correctly. After the requisite Super Bowl beers have had time to work their magic, what's the outcome? And what's the dog's position about that?

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