Re: RARA-AVIS: Pelecanos on dogfighting in the New Republic

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 05 Sep 2007

Brian Thornton on training otherwise tame pets to kill for sport and butchering cattle:

I've participated in the latter, and I have to tell you, half the time the cattle didn't even know they were dead. There's a reason that a group of mindless people are frequently referred to collectively as
"cattle." Smart, they are not. They never know what's coming to them, and they have a pretty good life up to that point. More to the point it's done humanely.

***************** There are at least some subtle contradictions in the cow and pit bull discussion. Pelecanos praises the passive and harmless nature of his half breed pit bull, while the very same nature in a cow is likely to evoke disgust. So do we value this passivity or despise it? The answer lies between the pages of noir. Noir glorifies struggle, stripped of any moral content, as a bare knuckle existential celebration of life. Thus, the pit bull's easy ways are only admirable in light of its propensity towards a raging savagery. The lovable exterior is a thin veneer masking a killer. The cow is so overwhelmingly docile that it just don't get no respect. And when it does erupt into a dangerous animal, such as in a bullfight, it gets respect. So what on the surface appears to be an admiration for a passive nature is deconstructed to reveal a reverence for savagery.

The above is my pomo interpretation of the privileged passive binary over its agressive opposite. Hope you had your hip boots on.


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