14 November 2002
Cocks and other American oddities
Yeah, I know: The Guardian. But Matthew Engel actually manages to make some sense of the Oklahoma cockfighting dust-up:
[L]ike certain Oklahoman sheriffs who have grumpily muttered that they have better things to do than deal with damn fool stuff like this, I have severe doubts about this particular law's enforceability....As thousands of years of trying to ban prostitution have shown, it is mighty difficult to make anything illegal where cocks are concerned. And as the US draws in more and more migrants from countries such as Mexico, where cockfighting remains part of the culture, this will get harder, not easier.
And a point I myself made somewhere along the way:
A cockfight is a bloody business, involving tying knives to the birds' feet to make it even bloodier, but they are pampered until they get into the pit and how come this cruelty is a political issue, and the treatment of our dinner is not?
Then again, it wouldn't be The Guardian without a shot at what's really bothering them:
This is not, however, the prelude to a ban on shooting, the more so as the infinitely richer and more powerful gun lobby has been greatly strengthened by the Republicans' successes last week....Personally, I feel a lot less alarmed by the atavistic rural barbarism of cockfighting, than by the shooters' insistence that, in order to preserve their sports, it is necessary to veto any laws that might make it easier to prevent murderous maniacs terrorising millions for weeks on end.
Somehow I have a feeling that if there had been a cockfighting referendum in, say, Gaza, there wouldn't be any snide references to "murderous maniacs".
(Muchas gracias: Andrea Harris.)