Posted by: bkivey | 20 April 2012

The Dog Days of April

Nearly thirty years ago a man tied a pet carrier to the top of his car and put his dog in it prior to a family trip. This would be completely unremarkable were the man not the current presumptive Republican Presidential nominee. The opposition’s political operatives have dragged this dead horse (dog?) out and beat it repeatedly in an attempt to portray the candidate as a heartless social misfit. What’s worse than a man who mistreats a dog?

Well, what about the man who eats a dog? In a literal ‘man bites dog’ development, some enterprising soul went back through Barack Obama’s autobiography Dreams From My Father  (Times Books, 1995), and found the following passage:

“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

The whole ‘dog’ issue has now blown up in the Democratic Party’s face with military-grade force. There’s been some weak attempts at spin control by the President’s party, but the fact is that in their leader’s own words, he ate dog. Where the hell is PETA?

The joy that some are taking in riffing on this development is magnified by this President’s use of the ad hominem attack as a modus operandi. I think that we’ll now have to look at some of the President’s comments in a new light, while this story has legs, and then I’ll let sleeping dogs lie.

“I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little dog when you could afford it. Not smack, though. …”

“Dreams From My Father” Times Books, 1995

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve eaten dog in every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

8 May 2008

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat dog as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

15 May 2008

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a dog, and a fork”

13 June 2008

“A month ago, I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially had the best answers, so I know whose dog to eat. Right? So, you know, this is not theater.”

7 June 2010

4/20

Today is the stoner’s national day of celebration, when they’ll gather in parks and smoke up. The term comes from a group of high-schoolers in 1971 who used the time ‘4:20’ as a code to designate a time and place for smoking pot. I expect the demonstrations will be relatively low-key, because people who get high are generally pretty calm.

I had a math teacher in high school who started off the first day of class by announcing that if a student showed up drunk, they’d go right to the office, but if they showed up high, he’d leave them alone.  His reasoning was that drunk teenagers tended to be disruptive, while kids who were high tended to just sit quietly at their desks. My experience is that this observation holds true for the population in general.

I support the legalization of marijuana, regulated and controlled in the same way alcohol is now. Of the two drugs, grass is by far the less harmful. I’ve never heard of anyone starting a fight, or beating their wives, or throwing up all over the couch, while they were high. Sure, the probability of stupid behavior goes up geometrically when a person is high, but you could say the same about a number of legal substances.

In the interest of full disclosure, I smoked pot in my teens and twenties and into my thirties. During that time I was a fully functioning member of society. I held down jobs, went to school, and in general held up my end of the social contract. I quit smoking when I realized that getting high was expensive and wasn’t getting me where I wanted to go. I quit many years ago, and haven’t missed it. I just don’t need to do that anymore.  I don’t mind if someone else smokes a J, just so they don’t come to work or operate machinery around me.

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