Selfies with Killed Animals Show the Real Animal
Independent's Eye by Joe Gandelman
Welcome to a new chapter in our history, when we must now ask, "What is going on with these people who seem to get such a thrill out of posting selfies of themselves grinning alongside animals they have killed?"
Just in the last week, two utterly sickening examples have exposed how humans can be the most rationally inhumane species of all.
The first got widespread attention due to an angry and dismayed Tweet from comedian Ricky Gervais, who has more than 7 million Twitter followers. The second sickened and infuriated a wider group of people since it involved the brutal killing of a small cat -- by a veterinarian. Both featured smiling humans proudly posing next to the animals whose lives they prematurely snuffed out for sport and/or self-image definition.
Gervais lit up the Internet when he blasted "Eye of the Hunter" co-host Rebecca Francis for a photo she posted showed her happily lying down next to a dead giraffe she killed. "What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?" he Tweeted.
Francis then issued a statement explaining she was asked to help kill it since it was close to death and to provide needy locals with meat. She was "proud" of her role in helping them. Gervais then ran a photo of her posing with a dead lion writing: "She's so proud of herself. She probably killed this one to feed the poor locals too :)"
Next came a photo posted by Dr. Kristen Lindsey in Texas of her holding a dead, supposedly feral catshe shot with an arrow through its head. Lindsey was grinning and her post indicated pride. "The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head. Vet of the year award...Gladly accepted."
A personal note to Ms. Lindsey: My 20 (yes, twenty) 1/2 year old indoor cat Clawdette was taken in as a feral kitten.
Lindsey's photo sparked a new degree of outrage when it turned out the cat she assumed was "feral" is now believed to be "Tiger," an elderly couple's lost, 6-year-old domesticated cat. Lindsey was fired from her job at a pet clinic, had to lawyer-up, must talk with police, could face animal cruelty charges, could lose her state license -- and angry animal lovers on a Facebook page named "Justice for 'Tiger' the Cat Murdered by Kristen Lindsey" are vowing to ensure she will never work with animals again.
What's with this near glee in posing with dead animals? For years hunters (such as Teddy Roosevelt) have cherished photos of them posing with the big game they killed. But in most cases, the big, fat, smug smiles seen in today's photos are missing. And most of those trophy animals weren't endangered -- and weren't killed in a world in which the African black rhinos was officially extinct, or where white rhinos were under 24-hour guard in Kenya because there's only one more male in the world left.
Kill a giraffe? Oh, yes, it must take some skill to spot a giraffe. A whole family smiling ear to ear, sitting next to a dead elephant they killed? A tabby cat with an arrow through its head held up by a vet?
Psychologists are now doingresearch on the relationship between selfies and narcissism, impulsiveness, lack of empathy and even Machiavellianism. Last year a psychologist told The Daily Mail that excess selfie taking may not indicate narcissism, but Body Dysmorphic Dysfunction, a pervasive obsession over appearance. What's clear: selfies can define a person, some selfies and excessive taking of selfies may be linked with psychological problems -- and the increasingly shocking nature of some of them today suggests an alarming trend.
Gervais wrote on Twitter: "You don't... take a smiling selfie in a mercy killing. She wanted to murder a giraffe & she did."But writer Michael P. Naughton once nailed it: "Social media is the delusion of grandeur."
Copyright 2015 Joe Gandelman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panelsand is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. He also writes for The Week's online edition. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be booked to speak at www.mavenproductions.com. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joegandelman
This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinion are solely those of the author.
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