Messenger Archives - January 2006
Sometime in May, a dog underwent $45,000 worth of medical stem-cell treatment on Bainbridge Island. The story in the Seattle Times was of the affluent couple who loved him.
Around this same time there was an article about Sudanese children being fed leaves by their mothers so they wouldn't starve to death. I wondered if every child wouldn't have been saved had that dog died and the $45,000 given somehow to the children eating leaves.
I loved my cat of 12 years, more than I loved some of the people I've been close to in my life. And my dog Speedy (of seven years, who chased cars), well, I would've paid anything to save him after he chased that last car. But I've gotta be honest here folks. Animals aren't more important than humans (even after post-post-industrialism, even after when you look at who raised you in the '80s.)
Although, shockingly and contrarily, I do agree with Claude Levi-Strauss (the structural anthropologist, not the jeans maker) when he says, "we've gotten to the point that we have to say animals are more important that people" (though I have to stress he's talking about humpback whales and other such free and endangered species, not the little foo-foo dog Paris Hilton carries around like a child's teddy bear).
Also, I'm really torn when I see this new human-animal bonding. What is the word when people make an animal have human qualities? Is it the personification of animals? I think we need a new word for it when you have things like," 'replacement gonads' for dogs which have been neutered", and bakeries for just for dogs seem inappropriate in Seattle, where there are so many hungry homeless people walking around. How far have we bought into capitalism? Really, is a dog owned by a rich human so much more valuable than a human that is free? Because I have to stress, I'm not against animals being treated fairly and kindly, I'm against the rich people's desire to see their pets fare better than their fellow humans.
This brings to mind the park in Belltown, which was home (to homeless), a site for dope-dealing employment (to many), a waiting spot (for bus-takers), and a basketball court (God damn it).
But, of course, it was mostly a city park. A park is a public place for all people. This gets very tricky to the wealthy crowd who haven't got the slightest feeling for the homeless people, and couldn't care less about where they go as long as they go away. One brainstorming idea to get rid of the homeless was to take down the statue where they all sat. But that would be taking down public art, and even the wealthy couldn't agree with that. So what happened was the public art is now surrounded by a fence and there is a sign which reads, "Do not enter unless you have a dog" or something silly like that. Technically this means that a poor person with a dog can use the park, but the poor people with dogs all live in Burien. The homeless people and the people of the hood who hung out there moved to a rained-on bus stop, where just as much drug trafficing occurs as before, just "away" from the wealthy.
I still do not know how this happened. We need more city parks, not less. I don't think the rights of dogs to shit are in the Constitution. But this dog park isn't about dogs. It's about the wealthy people who own them and how wealthy people in America have more rights than the poor.
© 2006 Belltown Messenger