A Commonplace Cruise.

Rejoice, for I have slept through the night! Recently, a combination of our Offspring and my hacking cough have been waking me throughout the nights, and I’m definitely over it. But last night, I got almost six hours’ solid sleep. As a result, I felt like Superwoman and went out to pull weeds and plant seedlings this morning, and now, I’m about to bake a cake. Hooray, sleep!

I hope you all have an enjoyable Sunday, and that you get enough sleep.

I knew the answer to the question raised by the title of this article, before I read the article. It’s talking. They don’t. Not only is it tremendously sad that so many men are dying in this way, but at that age, imagine the people they leave behind. Many of them still have parents and siblings who are alive. They often have partners, children, friends, colleagues. We need to ensure communication between men and their partners, but there also needs to be more emphasis on men talking with each other. Programs like Men’s Sheds can help, but I suspect a wider cultural shift is also necessary. Our openness about emotions is better than it was, but many men still suffer in silence.

* * * * *

Earlier in the week, Woolworths, one of the two major supermarket chains, got into trouble for using the ANZAC branding in its advertising. Specifically, they were trying to use their own marketing to link to the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. I’ve always found ANZAC Day to be sad, but I think more and more, I just find it a shame that we celebrate the myth of a glorified war, all while we still send people off to fight more of them. And in the end, how odd that one of the apparent defining moments of our nation is a failed invasion of another country.

* * * * *

Given the number of recent shooting deaths we’ve heard about in the media, it’s surprising to hear that fatal gun violence is on the decrease (yes, even in the US!) What I thought was most interesting about this is the way in which Canada and New Zealand approach this. Looking at the gun violence issue as part of a symptom of many different social issues perhaps doesn’t provide as immediate an effect as, for example, a ban on certain types of guns, but long term, I believe it would work very well. The trouble is that in most of these countries when there is a mass shooting, the community wants an immediate response, and discussing disenfranchised youth and issues of culture shock is not what they want to hear.

* * * * *

I’m really in two minds about this. We sometimes love animals to their detriment, and to the extent that we don’t always see that death can be a merciful end. And we are quick to grieve over pictures of dead giraffes or lions because these creatures are steeped in legend and we hold a romantic ideal of them. We’re less bothered about the millions of farm animals that live in terrible conditions, or the fact that we kill them everyday for food. So the fact that the woman in question killed an animal which was then eaten and whose parts were then used is not really so upsetting. I think what gets people upset is that she takes such happy pride in it. The taking of an animal’s life, so that you and your family or friends might have food, should not be entered into lightly. It certainly shouldn’t be a moment where you take a picture of your grinning self, next to your conquest. However, the abuse and hatred the woman is receiving is also not helpful. Could we please just all take a breath and talk about this calmly, like adults? Telling someone what an idiot she is is probably not going to endear her to your point of view.

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3 thoughts on “A Commonplace Cruise.

  1. Pingback: A Commonplace Cruise. | ugiridharaprasad

  2. Finally catching up with a couple of months worth of blog posts!! I read with interest the article about the hunter killing the giraffe. I have a professional interest in this as I’ve conducted anthropological research with big game trophy hunters, and once spent 16 days at a polar bear trophy hunting camp in the Canadian Arctic with five US hunters and their Inuit guides. It was one of the most difficult pieces of research I have ever done. By then I had already a number of years of hunting with Inuit under my belt and had participated in hunting seals, beluga whales, and caribou. So, while I don’t take hunting lightly (I’d been a vegetarian for 14 years before I started this research back in 2000), I understand the motivations and the feeling that Inuit hunters have for the animals they harvest. I learned about hunting from people I like (in some cases love) and respect. The US trophy hunters, on the other hand came from political, social and religious standpoints diametrically opposed to mine. In other words they were, without exception, right-wing, Republican, conservative, Christian, alpha males who ostentatiously displayed their wealth (which I found uncomfortable, given their Inuit guides were mostly poor). This was back when Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton were running for the Democratic nomination and the things they said about Obama (because of his skin colour) and Clinton (because of her gender) made me sick and I sometimes had to leave their company so calm down. It made being a dispassionate, non-judgemental anthropologist very difficult. But it would be too easy to say that these were nasty men who liked to go around shooting cute animals. Life is far more complex than that, thank goodness. Towards me they were kind and funny and helpful. Most of the time I got on really well with them and I enjoyed their company. They were open and honest. And they had very complex motives for big game hunting. These men had hunted big game all over the world and they were motivated (or so they told me) by conservation (following the model set by Theodore Roosevelt), by rural development, and by a desire to see the world. To this day I have never got an answer to the question that most troubles me about big game trophy hunting, which is this – why would you rather have a dead polar bear or elephant or giraffe in your trophy room than running around free and alive in its natural habitat. None of them were able to answer that question for me. So, while the woman who posted photos of herself beside a dead giraffe (setting up poses of dead animals is something I could write about length…maybe I should..) is not necessarily someone I imagine wanting to hang out with, she is most likely a very skilled outdoorsman and she probably has quite complex reasons for choosing to do what she does. There are strong arguments for the conservation value of big game hunting…but that’s a conversation for another day.
    Martina

    • Thanks for such a thoughtful comment and talking about your interesting experiences. I can imagine how difficult it would have been to be involved in discussions with people from such different political and social backgrounds… I have had conversations like that too, and have, like you, had to walk away to calm down!

      I agree that there is an argument for the conservation, but I still feel a deep sense of sadness about those animals that die to be trophies… I don’t know. I guess if you’re going to take an animal’s life then there should be a sense of gravity to that. I don’t see that in these pictures. But as you say, there are complex arguments for these people doing the things they do, and judging them based on one image frozen in time, seems a little unfair. But then, the internet loves extremes :/

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