Thursday, March 15, 2007

"cock block"

So acs (well, me) got a little pub today courtesy of the Dallas Observer. Actually, it was quite the shocker to see because I wasn't expecting to be quite so...prominently featured in the article. (And a very special thanks to a really cool guy, Jesse Hyde, for all the effort he's put into exposing the cock fighting issue lately.) Totally weird to see my name in print like that. Freaky, actually...like I was reading about another person. (I'm not an "executive" by the way, but I'm sure it works better in an article than "marketing dude.")

You can see the story here, but I'm actually posting because I wasn't able to add my follow-up comments at the end...presumably, because they were too fucking long (big surprise). So instead I just posted a link to this blog in case anyone wanted to see them. And here they are...

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Well, I’ll give you “hypocritical jackass,” because I don’t doubt that I am at times.

It’s definitely a slippery slope and I don’t presume to have all the answers. There is definitely a fundamental difference between material like this being intended for educational or entertainment purposes. Educational…I have no problem with. Entertainment…I have a HUGE problem with. But then, who am I to determine the difference between the two or even “intent” for that matter? We have judges and attorneys who fight over that shit all the time and they’re just as stupid and biased as the rest of us are. It’s a touchy subject and not one that I approach lightly; I have always thought of myself as a staunch civil-libertarian and consider the First Amendment pretty much the holy grail of U.S. history.

I keep coming back to a couple different analogies. First, why doesn’t Amazon sell snuff films? (I asked them this repeatedly and they avoided the question every time…mostly because that “response” that Jesse refers to was nothing more than an auto-response they were sending to everyone who emailed about this subject. I had plenty of friends who got the exact same response to their emails, but with different customer service names attached to them.) To my mind, this is no different. Murder, rape, torture, child pornography…all are illegal acts in this country. We can read about them for educational purposes or read and watch fictionalized accounts of such things, and those materials are perfectly legal…as well they should be. But materials that show or promote actual, real-life incidents of those same subjects are illegal. Legitimate retailers in the U.S. cannot sell materials which promote the exploitation and abuse of non-consenting victims. And while I’m not trying to get into the whole “equating humans with animals” argument, the fact is that cruelty to animals and animal fighting is illegal in this country.

The second analogy is one I’ve taken to calling The OJ Scenario. We all remember when the news came out about OJ Simpson’s “hypothetical” confession in book form, right? To me, if OJ wanted to publish a book that detailed how he killed Nicole and Ron, he should be allowed to under the First Amendment. (He shouldn’t be able to make any profit from it, but he should be able to publish it.) But what if OJ wanted to release a DVD with actual footage of the murders? There’s no way in hell that would be legal. And that’s where I think the line is drawn with regard to educational versus entertainment.

I could definitely be wrong about both analogies. I’ve had a few pretty intense disagreements about this whole thing with people I’m very close to who happen to have politics and philosophies that are pretty similar to my own.

But all my ranting and raving aside, the HSUS is suing Amazon on the grounds that it’s violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. From that standpoint, the issue looks pretty cut and dry to me. And, in fact, it’s not just Amazon that sells the stuff. I’ve found plenty of other online retailers who do too. I guess I just want someone to explain to me why it’s legal to do so…or start prosecuting those companies who sell these materials if they can’t.

When I mentioned that Amazon intentionally chooses to sell this stuff, it’s because they do. Unless I’m mistaken, there’s quite a bit of hardcore adult pornography that is legal in the U.S. Why in the world would Amazon or any other online retailer choose to sell materials that promote animal fighting but NOT sell porn? I’ve got to be overlooking some sort of legal hurdle because you can’t tell me there’s not an instant, bazillion-dollar market for porn as compared to the few remaining idiots in this country who consider dog fighting and cock fighting anything other than barbaric. (Then again, Jeff Bezos has people living in Van Horn, Texas right now working on his own private spaceship, while I in comparison may as well live in a van down by the river.)

I could go on and on (obviously). But that’s why I’m pissed. If I could figure out a way to confront Jeff Bezos and ask him face to face to justify this TINY segment of Amazon’s catalog of products, I would. (If anyone happens to have him on speed dial, I’ll buy you a beer if you’ll pass along his number.) And the only part of my morality that I’m trying to encourage other folks to recognize is that intentional cruelty to animals as a form of entertainment is illegal and should be enforced. Period.


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Anyway, a very big thanks again to Jesse for all the work he did on what's otherwise a totally ignored issue. And to Merritt for hooking me up with him in the first place. Hopefully, it will generate some more negative publicity for Amazon and all the other online retailers who sell this shit.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful, Danny. Watching you...

7:23 PM  
Blogger rama666 said...

Like, right now?

This isn't Dick Cheney, is it...?

1:56 PM  
Anonymous fg said...

How come "anonymous" gets a response to his comment and I have not received even one? Am I not the person who reads every one of your blogs in its entirety? And comments on most?

I feel rejected...

1:26 PM  
Blogger rama666 said...

Mostly because it was a cryptic comment. And you are not a cryptic person...one of the many reasons why I love you so much.

So there.

2:37 PM  

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