The Death Of Cecil The Lion And Group-Think Moral Hysteria

Once upon a time, there was a lion. ¬†This lion was named Cecil, and frolicked in the tall grass in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. ¬†Cecil was a “famous” lion, and a star attraction. ¬†He was the king of the pride and a majestic animal, the pride of the park.

The sexy majestic beast.

The sexy majestic beast.

One day, an incredibly douchey guy nobody had heard of named Walter Palmer, a dentist, went on a hunting exhibition.

A man with a small penis.

A man with a small penis.

 

Most people know hunting is for people with small penises, and being a rich guy makes you even more of a douchebag.

While derping around, Walter came across Cecil The Lion. ¬†Having a very small penis, and seeing a very big lion, Walter thought, “ok, I’ll have me some o’ that”.

He shot it with a bow. ¬†Cecil was like, “wtf?!?” and ran off. ¬†“Hmm”, thought small-penised Palmer, “that’s no good…it didn’t die”.

After 40 hours of stalking the wounded and horribly suffering lion, Walter caught up with it. ¬†He then shot it, and just for small-penised kicks, cut it’s head off. ¬†What a fucking prick.

When I first heard this story I had a similar reaction to everybody else: hunting is cruel and stupid, Palmer and his ilk are disgusting human beings, that lion was a great animal and he should be punished for this.  They should ban hunting.

That was it.  Reaction had.  Those that felt the same could take action based upon this, raising money and awareness to do something for these animals being hunted to extinction by men with small penises.

Enter: a massive shitstorm of indignancy, a cavalcade of disproportionate moral outrage, streaming forth from the internet and celebrity Twitter accounts like a fire from hell.

The condemnation was fast, broad, and extremely vitriolic. ¬†PETA released a statement saying Palmer should be hung. ¬†Death threats towards the man flooded in from all over the world.¬† Just now Sharon Osbourne called Palmer “Satan”, and Mia Farrow tweeted his address (later having to delete it).

As mainstream media ponders and analyses in detail the actions of each officer and victim in every cop shooting of an unarmed black person, exploring the context, trying to figure out if the cop was right or the victim had it coming…the entire world wants the head of the guy who shot Cecil the lion.¬† They want him skinned alive, burned at the stake, nailed to the cross.

Even a non-political relative of mine commented: “I hope he (Palmer) gets killed…I hope he dies!!”. ¬†She didn’t even say that about the previous story, about a man who raped and murdered someone after running them over.

Lions are seen as innocent so anyone who kills them unjustly is condemned by the entire world.

Black people are seen with suspicion so the tragedy of their deaths is debatable.

Muslims are highly suspicious as well, so a Muslim security guard’s murder at the hands of the (also Islamic) murderers of cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in France…was scarcely noted amongst the victims.

Muslims killed in the towers during 9/11…who knows, maybe they were terrorists too? ¬† Who cares. ¬†They were Muslims.

All the civilians killed in drone strikes while trying to take out terrorists? ¬†That shit’s “collateral damage”…and they were Muslims too, I bet they would have grown up to be terrorists anyways with that violent Quran!Savages! ¬†Whatevers, lol!

We have a lion to obsess over. ¬†Suspect human lives clearly don’t matter so much. ¬†They might have had it coming

Then there’s this. ¬†On Jimmy Kimmel’s show, Jimmy Kimmel live, Kimmel reacted to the shooting of the lion.

He made points I agree with, excoriating Walter Palmer, pointing out the lack in Walter Palmer’s manhood, noting the senseless cruelty of hunting, and guiding the audience towards a wildlife charity’s website (Wildlife Conservation Fund).

But at the very end of the monologue, for a very brief moment, Jimmy Kimmel choked up slightly: ¬†“I’m sorry”, he said.

I thought ok…now, we’ve gone too far.

Crying For Cecil The Lion

Crying For Cecil The Lion

On July 19 in Cincinnati, Samuel Dubose was pulled over by an officer by the name of Ray Tensing. ¬†After a brief and fairly benign exchange, in which Dubose handed an unopened bottle of gin to the officer, and failed to find his driver’s license, Tensing moved to open the door.

In reaction, Dubose put his hand on the door, holding it shut, and started the car, reaching to his right. ¬†“Stop…STOP” screamed Tensing. ¬†He whipped out his gun, and shot Dubose in the head, killing him instantly.

The period of time between the escalation of the situation and Tensing’s fatal gunshot was approximately two seconds. ¬†Watch here:

Now.  That story is a bit more recent than the lion one, but it still speaks to the priorities of mainstream American media and citizens, not to mention the rest of the western world.

As #blacklivesmatters struggles to gain traction against criticisms of their tactics, and daring at actually focusing on the lives of the actual people being murdered every day, Jimmy Kimmel goes on TV and cries over the death of a lion in Africa.

Did he cry after Sandra Bland died in police custody after being arrested for a traffic stop?  Did he cry for the estimated 1147 additional people murdered by drone strikes while attempting to eliminate only 41 terrorists?  Others killed in the hunt for 42 terrorists.  How about the thousands of injustices committed all over the world in the name of religion?

No, he cries for Cecil the lion.

I’m not saying he doesn’t care about those things, nor that if you cry for one, you can’t cry for the other. ¬†Maybe he did, and I just missed it. ¬†But I’m talking about the value we place on the life of an animal over countless miseries we inflict upon ourselves with bigotry, sexism, racism, religious persecution, intolerance and so many others.

On Ricky Gervais’s Twitter feed, he created an impromptu poll to what I see as somewhat appalling results:

“@rickygervais: ‚Äú@SABERBUCS: You’re saying that a lion is more beautiful than a newborn human?‚ÄĚ < RT for Yes, Favourite for No.”

 

I voted no, but I couldn’t turn the tide. ¬†Thousands voted for lions being more beautiful than human babies.

You know what? ¬†Yeah, I agree, lion cubs are cute. Babies are kind of gross. ¬†But I wasn’t really voting just for how they look, but in solidarity with how humans suffer. ¬†The question is loaded, pitting one life against another.

When did our standard for the value of life become how good it looks?  How much we relate to it, how much we like it?  The inability to empathise with humans that have different beliefs and views to ourselves is already at epidemic proportions, and we are now putting animal deaths in a category above some human deaths.

That strikes a discord with me.

You might be passionate about animals, but do you eat meat?  If no, good for you.  Ricky Gervais for example is an animal rights campaigner, and a vegetarian (possibly vegan?), so his reaction is fair enough to me.  His followers are also likely to react more strongly to this kind of occurrence.

If you do eat meat, are you saying, if he had just cut up and eaten the lion, it would all be fine and dandy?¬† No…but…lions are endangered!!

Ok, so you’re saying they just need to breed more lions to hunt, then it will be ok? ¬†And cows and chickens and lambs, they’re not endangered, so go nuts killing them. ¬†The layers of hypocrisy are stunning to me.

On humans. ¬†Humans are not endangered, there are many many humans, too many humans! ¬†So a human death…not such a big deal compared to a lion? ¬†How does being endangered automatically elevate the life of one creature over another?

We all know humans can be bad, ‘evil’, cruel and ugly…but that’s all the more reason for us to preach that human lives matter, not to devalue them further. ¬†Especially not by wishing death upon life’s offenders such as Walter Palmer. ¬†The irony there should be obvious.

What it boils down to is…I like cats, dogs and horses because they are cute, or interesting, and I can play with them, or ride them…but cows and chickens and lambs, they’re dumb, so just go nuts. ¬†I’m off to Burger King.

Shootings of human beings? ¬†Yeah they suck. ¬†But they happen all the time. ¬†Excuse me, I’m going to go cry on TV now.

Let me make my message clear; I am not pro-hunting, I think it is a cowardly and pathetic sport.  I think Walter Palmer should be punished, and face the consequences of his actions.

But I don’t think he should be demonised, or threatened, or hung. ¬†Palmer is a symptom of a larger problem of exotic animal hunting, poaching and the corrupt black market…not to mention American hunting culture.

My kitty-cat, Leo.

My kitty-cat, Leo.

We all love our pets. ¬†I love my kitty-cat, you love your dog. ¬†But don’t the people love their own children ever so slightly more?

Why don’t they want to see a police officer stalked and murdered by the enraged masses after they shoot a civilian, or generals and leaders put in prison when their actions kill civilians, or go down to their local chicken farm and scream bloody murder at the workers there?

Because the warm and beautiful and fluffy gets our attention and makes us cry, but the ugly and the unwanted and unrelatable?  It probably did something wrong, so it can fuck right off then.

So goes our collective moral outrage.

 

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