Man, the Forgotten Animal

Monday, April 18, 2011

As I was in the process of looking for blogging fodder this morning, a Carolyn Hax column, addressed to a vegan in a tizzy over her husband's newly-acquired taste for meat, caught my eye. Not only is Hax's advice generally in the right direction, amounting to something like, "respect his right to make up his own mind," but the reader may enjoy, as a bonus, seeing a "compassionate" vegan having her own head handed back to her on a platter:

I can point out, though, that for all your reverence for animals, you're not showing much respect for the mammal you married. With my emphasis added, I'm going to give your words back to you: "How can someone I love not see the cruelty." Your love determines how someone else thinks?

I appreciate your passion and sympathize with your predicament -- dramatic change in a spouse is difficult, no matter what form it takes -- but you need to take a couple of rhetorical steps back to your side of the personal responsibility line. He is entitled to his own principles, which includes the right to revisit, revise or reject them. [bold added]
While just the question would be a thin reed on which to base the conclusion that the advice-seeker explicitly holds that all animals have rights, it is probably a safe bet that she does.

The notion that all animals, rational or not, have rights requires that anyone holding it regard something other than reason as the basis for rights. This notion is fundamentally at odds with consistently respecting the (actual) rights or rational judgement of others. Is it really any wonder this couple is now having problems?

-- CAV

----- In Other News -----

My desire to close some browser tabs will benefit any fellow egg lovers: Here's a definitive guide to boiling the perfect egg, and here's one for poaching. I have an egg poacher, but find cleaning it to be a hassle, so I might revisit the second link the next time I want Eggs Benedict.

No, I haven't seen the Atlas Shrugged movie, yet. SB likes it, with qualifications. Roger Ebert pans it, but, to his credit, restricts his criticism to the film's artistic merits. On HBL, Harry Binswanger has reviewed it a couple of times, once from the standpoint of having just seen it with expectations lowered to account for the context of the making of the movie -- and again more on artistic merits. I'm leaning towards viewing it on DVD at some point, but feel no strong urge to do so right away.

This blog posting on "Living in the Zone" brought back the amusing memory of how the drawing on my blog's masthead came into being. (Hmmm. Need to update the old FAQ since I retired Mo from the address bar and the submarine being torpedoed from my comment posts some time ago...) But, yes, I, too am "a total jerk when I'm interrupted."

Ugh! Seeing Arsenal's last-second collapse against Liverpool yesterday was like watching an encapsulation of this season in one game: Promising start. Entertaining soccer. Too many passes and not enough goals. Mental weakness snatching a draw from the jaws of victory. Some worry that the team's new American owner might change the culture of the club too much, but given that the object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent, would that be such a terrible thing? I'd like to be able to watch a game without screaming, "Think of the goal as a passing target!" at the set...


Vladimir said...

I think you are right to wait to see Atlas Shrugged on DVD. I saw it the other day, and it struck me as far less of a theatrical release than it was a made-for-TV affair.

Not as bad as I expected it to be, but artistically quite dull. It's a bad sign when the previews for the throwaway romantic comedies that preceded your movie looked like they had better production values.

Overall, very much a "neither fish, nor fowl," or "the best of times, the worst of times" situation. It never was quite bad enough to be horrible in an amusing Battlefield Earth sort of way. At the same time you never forgot you were watching a movie and got drawn into the world. At least towards the middle of the movie the actors and director seemed to settle into a rhythm that works well enough to advance the plot without too many distractions.

Remember the early computer and video games that first introduced (and overused) loads of lived-acted full-motion-video? Atlas Shrugged has that sort of feel.

Gus Van Horn said...

I did, in fact, decide to see the movie on DVD after a participant in the HBL mailing list said it seemed better suited for television than the cinema.

In addition to the "feel" of the action you describe, a reviewer I trust compared the difference between movie's projection of the "sense of life" projected in the novel to that in the original -- to that between watching a child pretend to read a book and actually seeing an adult read one. That is, you know what the kid's pretending to do, but it isn't very convincing, given that he's holding the book upside down.

I think that, despite a movie and a book being completely different genres, one could project the same sense of life in each. Just watch the vastly superior movie version of We the Living and then read the book to see what I mean.

Chris L said...

Gus, I enjoyed the movie a great deal despite the various flaws. I chanced to see it again and was surprised to find these blemishes fade into the background. The characterizations are largely decent and the fairly intricate plot makes sense.

It's something unusual to see on a big screen heroes who are actually heroes and villians who are actually villains. Another little joy: the name "Ayn Rand" in great big letters.

Go see it if you get a chance.

Chris L said...

Here's a clever Atlas Shrugged mashup from FreedomWorks:

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for your recommendation (and link to the mash-up), Chris.

I'm watching what people say about it, mainly on HBL, one of whose members pointed to a review I have only skimmed so far, but which seems like it will carry lots of weight with me.

Here's an excerpt:

"[T]he production hobbled itself by creating a foolishly short hour and forty-two minute runtime. They're adapting a beast of a book, and didn't even shoot for a full two hours. It's baffling. A healthy portion of these plot moments exist in the movie, but the connective tissue isn't there. Just one example is shoving a never-before-seen-character into Dagny’s office, calling him Owen Kellogg, and having a confusingly vague conversation about him quitting near the midway point of the film. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything in the movie, but it's an important early moment in the book that partially acts as foundation for the Galt mystery."

I'm simply not too sure I'm going to be able to get enough out of a movie whose plot I will understand mainly on the basis of having read the novel, regardless of the initial thrill of seeing Ayn Rand's name on the big screen.

kelleyn said...

Nice post you linked to on "the Zone." I enjoy the validation I get from hearing others describe that mental state. I collect bookmarks to those posts and articles in a folder called "Self Defense" in case I ever need to make the case that I am not the only one who does that.

My loved ones understand that if they enter my "cave" under the wrong circumstances, they will find a roaring beast in there. They have moved beyond taking it personally, through thinking I am mentally ill, to accepting that that's the way it is.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for sharing that with me. It likewise makes me smile to know that there are others out there like me, and who have also seen those around them go through similar stages of coping!