The power of language: “pets” vs. “companion animals”  »

The Journal of Animal Ethics may be a new publication, but it’s already raised an intriguing issue: What should we call other animals?

Domestic dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters, snakes, and what-have-you shall henceforth be referred to as “companion animals” rather than “pets,” while the humans formerly known as “owners” ought to be called “human carers,” the academics say. To do otherwise is insulting, they say. While “critters” and “beasts” are understandably decried, even the term “wildlife” is not safe. WHAT. 

From the article:

We shall not be able to think clearly unless we discipline ourselves to use less than partial adjectives in our exploration of animals and our moral relations with them.

I agree that certain widespread language used to talk about animals (“crazy like a fox” and “eating like a pig”) could be both a symptom and a cause of animal abuse, and I call the cat who lives with me by her name, but come on, “wildlife”? Is this going too far? Is it not far enough? Is it just right? What do you think?

[photo from the Telegraph]


Demetri Martin schools us on vegan vocab!  »

You guys! Demetri Martin defines “Strict Vegetarian” for us: “That’s someone who eats only fruits and vegetables that have been disciplined in some way—like, for example, corn that was grown in a perfect row, or grapes that were stomped by someone in uniform.”

Finally! We know what a strict vegetarian is! I’m sure it counts for “strict vegan” too. If you don’t know who Demetri Martin is, you are probably over 25. Well, Old Person, he’s a hilarious comedian! And we’re kind of lovers because I saw him at a comedy show once and I told him he was funny and he said “thanks” and I ran away. What I’m trying to say is yes, I’m pregnant with his baby (at least I think it’s his baby. Fingers crossed!). As the mother of (maybe) his child, you can imagine I was a little hurt he didn’t give me first dibs on this exclusive but I guess this will do: Esquire has posted an excerpt from Martin’s book, This Is a Book.

What’s more, the excerpt is for some reason all about vegans and raw food and whatnot! This is my favorite diet phase he enters: “Then I decided to eat only raw foods that had the letters from the word ‘vegan’ in their name (like ‘agave’). I was, at that point, what they call a ‘Literal Vegan’ (a vegan whose diet is based on wordplay).”

See, he’s funny. I like that for his book, he probably just sat down and shat onto a page and then Random House was all, “HERE’S A MILLION-DOLLAR ADVANCE AND SEVEN GIRLS IN TOMS SHOES.” Ugh, our lives are so very different! And by different, I mean his life is considerably better! Large-nosed-white-men-who-tell-jokes-in-the-style-of-Mitch-Hedberg-but-who-aren’t-quite-as-funny-as-Mitch-Hedberg-RIP, I salute you. You have really “gotten one over” on America. Good job, dudes!

Now, buy his book so all the underrated white men in comedy can finally get their day in the sun!

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