A Little Bit of Everything

Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

‘Domestic?”Wild?”Tame?”What?’

Okay guys, a while ago I made a post about my thoughts on the misuse of the words ‘wild’ and ‘tame’.  I decided to redo that and here you go;

 

‘Domestic’, ‘Wild’, ‘Tame’? – What do these words mean?

Every time an animal rights activist makes a statement attacking exotic animal owners, you often hear the same words being mentioned over and over again; ‘Tame’, ‘Domestic’, ‘Wild’.  This is because the general public tends not to know the exact definition of these words and so AR groups capitalise on this and lead people to believe the simplistic meanings they have attached to the words.  They then use them as inflammatory words, evoking emotion, rather than logic, in their listeners.  As a biologist, I will start by explaining the word ‘Domestic’ as that is the one word that has a scientific basis.

The word ‘Domestic’ describes animals that have been domesticated.  The process of domestication is fairly simple and straightforward; it does not take thousands of years as some people would have you believe.  The process simply involves breeding several animals of the desired species, picking the offspring that are most friendly to humans, breeding them, and repeating this until you get the desired results.  It’s human-influenced selection as opposed to natural selection.  Granted, this process can last for a couple decades but the domestication of Russian foxes[i] shows us that the process need not take more than 50 years.

Now, what is often done in the media and by AR groups is that, the words ‘domestic’ and ‘tame’ are used interchangeably.  This is a problem due to the fact that, as I have just said, ‘domestic’ has a scientific, quantifiable meaning.  In comparison, ‘Tame’ does not have an exact meaning and therefore can be thrown around subjectively.  Generally, the term ‘Tame’ is used to mean ‘not wild’, which brings us to the last term, and the one that I think is the most grossly misused; ‘Wild’.  This term can be used as both a noun and an adjective and both uses are wielded as swords by the AR groups, media, and other misinformed individuals.  I will first tackle its use as a noun.

Probably the most common sentence spoken by people who oppose exotic animal ownership is “These animals belong in ‘the Wild’!!” Well, what is ‘the Wild’, anyways?  I will choose to interpret it as land untouched by humans.  Unfortunately, there is less and less of that available.  Of course, we should be acting to stop that but there’s only so much we can do.  Personally, I think ‘the Wild’ is becoming somewhat of a myth. In addition to that, It is strange how people are convinced that ‘the Wild’ is this magical, happy place.  It is most definitely not.  The average animal will spend its short life constantly looking over its shoulder for predators or rivals, constantly worrying about getting enough food and water, and finally dying a most likely, very painful death due to disease, starvation, or being ripped apart by a predator or rival.  There is no chance to enjoy the freedom that AR activists tout as being vital to an animal’s happiness.

Used as an adjective, ‘Wild’ is applied like a stamp, marking certain types of animals as being impossible for a human to have a relationship with.  Well, that would suggest that these same animals are also impossible to domesticate which is disproven by the aforementioned Russian fox breeding project.  The only difference between animals that are domesticated, and animals that are not, is the inherent friendliness towards humans that is shown by the domesticated animals.  This does not mean that it is impossible to form a good relationship with a non-domesticated animal, but simply that it is more challenging.

In conclusion, the three words that are the subject of this article are words that unfortunately, have been badly misused for a long time and are really at the root of the misconceptions about exotic animal ownership.  If the public’s knowledge of these words and their definitions can be corrected, then it should be fairly easy to convince them that exotic ownership is just as valid as ownership of domestic dogs and cats.


[i] In 1959, Dmitri Belyaev started a breeding project at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk.  It continues today.  The project was to selectively breed foxes in the hopes of getting a fur animal that was easier to handle.  Unfortunately, the objectives had to change as the domestication process caused the majority of the foxes to lose their solid colour and show spots, which is not desired in the fur industry.

 

Why I think the ‘Severus being in love with Lily’ thing in Deathly Hallows is complete bull

Hey guys.

Again, it’s been a while since I last posted; I guess I’m waiting for topics that I know I can write a lot about.  So, even though I finished the ‘Deathly Hallows’ a long time ago, and doubt I’ll read it again- due to the fact that reading it made me cry the whole way through- whatwith the new movie and all, I have gotten back into the fandom ie. reading fanfics, looking at fanart etc.  From the time I read the chapter that detailed Severus’ supposed love for Lily, I didn’t buy it, and now I think I’ve gathered my thoughts enough to explain why.

There is absolutely nothing in the prior books that suggests that Sev was in love with Lily; in fact, after the fifth book, I was under the impression he loathed her almost as much as James.  This seems really out of place since pretty much everything that shows up in the seventh book is hinted at in the previous books.  One of my favourite part of Rowling’s writing is the fact that there were so many little things in the previous books that seemed insignificant enough for the reader to forget but then proved to be important by the end of the series.

So, why does Sev’s ‘great love’ for Lily come as such a surprise? Personally, my thought is that Rowling was halfway through writing DH when she suddenly realised that she still hadn’t given Sev much of a backstory.  So then she decides, why not insert a little twist and say that he loved Harry’s mom all along?  Wouldn’t that be shocking?  Now, I’m not trying to disparage J.K Rowling or anything-I still think she’s a brilliant writer- I just think she did that particular part of the story hastily and poorly.

Now, looking past the fact that the only prior depiction of an interaction between the two is negative, let’s actually analyse the interaction.  The explanation for what happened in the memory is that Severus had just been tortured by the marauders and so was lashing out at the first person he could, namely Lily.  Most people accept that explanation. I don’t.  Not for a second. Here’s why.

The term ‘mudblood’ is considered an extremely insulting, derogatory term in the wizarding world, somewhat similar to the word ‘nigger’ in ours but in some ways worse because whereas some people actually use the word ‘nigger’ as a term of endearment, or ‘cool’ term, the term ‘mudblood’ is always considered offensive in the wizarding world.

So why, pray tell, would somebody who is supposedly ‘so in love’ with somebody else, call them such an abhorrent name on a whim?  Well, somebody might say that he said it out of anger and he didn’t really mean it.  Again, I beg to differ.

Anger is an emotion that, like all emotions, when felt strongly, can loosen one’s inhibitions.  That is to say, anything a person says while angry; that person truly believes at some level.  Another way to explain it is; when people are really angry, they tend to just spout things off, right? So, how could they possibly have time to make anything up?

This is why I think that the fact that Sev called Lily a mudblood belies the fact that at some level, he truly believed she was.  And now, I must ask, how on earth could somebody be as ‘in love’ with somebody as Severus claims to be with Lily in DH, and still think of them as being deserving of a derogatory, offensive name? I don’t believe they can be.  As much as the idea is kind of nice and fits in with the majority of the plot, I just don’t think it’s realistic in the slightest.

So there you have it; my thoughts on why Severus couldn’t have been in love with Lily, or at least, as in love as he suggests he was.

Catch ya later!

-Daine

George Carlin on saving the planet

Blah, it’s been too long since I’ve posted on here. I’ll probably make a longer post in the next couple of days, after my first midterm. I just wanted to post this video because it has to do with some of the posts I’ve made. I like his view on things and think it aptly describes my way of thinking about the idea that vegetarianism will ‘save the planet’

Hope you enjoy it!

-Daine

Abortion in the Media

Occasionally, when there’s nothing else on, I’ll watch ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ and there’s one thing about it that really bugs me.

That thing is how abortion is depicted.

Throughout the whole series, abortion is treated like this horrible act that people should be ashamed for even thinking about.  One of the characters in the show did everything right; she was on birth control, her partner wore a condom, etc. It just so happened that some things went wrong; the condom broke and because she was on a new birth control pill, it wasn’t yet effective.

Things happened that were totally out of her control and she didn’t want a baby…so why shouldn’t it be okay for her to have an abortion?

Well, she was planning to but there was suddenly a shitstorm from all around her.  Her friends, family, and partner were all adamantly against her having an abortion and they made her feel like a horrible person for wanting to do what she wanted to do.  She is a teenager, extremely susceptible to social pressure, so of course she felt like she had to have the baby.

What pisses me off so much is that the whole show treats that like the opinion all people should have of abortion, not like the individual opinion of one person.

What the hell?!

Thousands of teenage girls are probably watching this show.  Like it or not, a lot of people (especially young people) interpret television as a reflection of the real world so television shows have a responsibility to provide a balanced outlook on life, not propaganda.  Yes, I realise that science fiction and fantasy shows do not reflect real life but they make it pretty clear that they don’t.  Shows that don’t feature superpowers, robots, or anything else that cannot be found in modern civilisation, are automatically assumed to reflect real life.

People should just learn to get a grip and stop trying to control other people’s lives.  If you don’t want an abortion, fine!  We’re not making you have one.  But let us make our own damn decisions about how we want to live our lives!

– Daine

Pop Culture Interlude

Okay, most of my posts are about topics that entail a lot of thought.  Today I feel like commenting on a bit of pop culture so bear with me.

1) Kate Gosselin.  I saw her on the cover of a magazine today with her new hairdo.  She annoys the hell out of me.  I used to watch Jon and Kate plus eight but stopped because of her.  She was just such a hypocrite. 

She would yell and shout at Jon all the time but if he dared to do the same, she’d flip her shit.  In the same way, she would hit him a lot and pass it off as ‘good fun’ or something but I bet, if he tried that with her, she’d call it abuse and call the cops or something.  She can dish it out but can’t take it.

Because I’m a woman, people expect me to be on Kate’s side, but I am firmly on Jon’s side.  Good on him for getting out when he could.  Kate’s a jerk.

2) Evan Almighty.  I saw the last third of it on TV the other day.  Although I realise there are tons of jokes, I just can’t bring myself to laugh.  Why? The story of Noah’s Ark.  I just have a lot of difficulty deriving amusement from a story that is about an entity that suddenly decides that it has the right to decide that certain lives should be destroyed.  I find this very sad.  Why is this story featured in Sunday School?  Why are children being taught that it’s okay to decide who lives and who dies?

I just find the whole thing slightly disturbing.

So there you go.  Next post should be about another topic that requires more musing, I just don’t know what it is yet.

– Daine