Thursday, April 7, 2011

Take Your Choice

It's a big, wide wonderful world out there, filled with many delights for all, young and old.  And the great thing is, it's like a cafeteria: you can oftentimes pick and choose what you like, and follow that choice.

Take modern dance.  Please!  Or modern art, or modern furniture.  "Modern Family," now that's OK.  

But many visitors to Florida are enchanted by this Sea World place where one gets to see giant oceanic mammals jumping around.  Last year, as you'll recall, this whale "Tilikum" killed a trainer when he grabbed her pony tail and dragged her below. All this happened in front of a crowd of what could only be described as horrified onlookers.  And then this week, "Tillie" was back out there, performing.  

news-national-20110330-US.SeaWorld.DeathAnd the people who run the place said it was the 12,000-pound whale's "choice" to perform in the "Believe" show.  They went on, appearing to be quite serious, to say that none of the park's whales are coerced to participate.  In a statement, SeaWorld executives defended Tilikum's getting back into the show business, saying it "is an important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment." 

"Arrived Venice, streets flooded, please advise"
Can we stop for a minute here?   People have their choices in all this.  If you want, you can save all your money and plan for a fabulous family getaway to Twitty City, the erstwhile home of country music's Conway Twitty.  The park is now Trinity City and is part of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which I think is the channel with that woman with the gigantic head of hair.  Or you can all pile into the Family Truckster and go see Hoover Dam or the Longaberger building that looks like a basket, or maybe you'd rather go to Venice and have one of the strombolis take you on a trip through the city, floating in one of those colorful ricottas.  

The point is,  we are humans and we have choices.  In my humble opinion, I think that whales, birds, foxes and snakes might have opinions, but they really have no way of communicating them.  I don't know if this anthropomorphism elevates whales or relegates mankind, but until I see a talking whale, with union representation and paid-up dues, I'm not sure that we can say, "it was his choice."

And I say this, knowing that PETA is in town along with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, Stills and Nash Circus.  People get a thrill seeing the elephants get off their railroad cars and then stomping through the downtown section on the way to the Civic Arena, where the performances are held.  Suburban gardeners drive downtown to scoop up elephant dung, the best type of manure for roses.  (Think of that the next time someone hands you a dozen long-stemmed American Beauties!)  And PETA says the elephants are mistreated and forced to perform in the circus. 

And the elephants say there are worse ways to make a living.  And they get better accommodations than the clowns who all pile out of a small car, and they make more money than the guy selling cotton candy. 

It all comes down to choices.


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