Saturday, December 27, 2014

I do not understand trophy hunting

A legendary buck killed in Minnesota.

A legendary bear killed in Wisconsin.

A legendary wolf killed in Minnesota, or perhaps elsewhere - - prior to a Federal judicial ruling that wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin be returned to protected status.

I'd have thought it would be enough of a thrill to simply see creatures like these, then go on your way and leave them to live their lives.

I do not understand it. Serious comments welcomed.
gray wolf


Linda Spice said...

I don't hunt any more, but I grew up in the culture. I get it. Might I suggest Moby Dick?

James Rowen said...

Thanks, Linda. I have read it multiple times as a focal point of my MA. Thanks for the note.

Tommy Lardner said...

Trophy hunting is kind-of-like posting inane and crazy praise of milwaukee journal sentinel.

Each involves something that is entirely dead and that no longer serves a useful purpose to anthing other than putrification.

And each is a sick attempt to hold up shamefully dead entity as somehow "proof" of greatness.

Tom Oelhafen said...

I definitely agree, I enjoyed small game hunting and fishing when I was young, but also felt ashamed of killing these creatures when it was for no other reason than sport. I now enjoy photographing wildlife. I have wonderful pictures of elk, deer moose, mountain goat big horn sheep etc. It is just as sastifying and I get to hang my trophies on the wall as well.

James Rowen said...

@Tom - - Thank you for the note. I do think aging gives perspective and appreciation for living things.

jimspice said...

The "Linda Spice" above should actually be "Jim Spice." Apparently I was logged in as her.

lufthase said...

James, I share your lament, but I'm afraid I do understand it.

Trophy hunting is a symptom of simplistic, self-centered, zero-sum, chauvinistic thinking. It's what happens when one doesn't develop or reexamine one's thinking or place in the world after about the age of eight, and doesn't put in the uncomfortable work required to cultivate empathy or critical thinking abilities.

The logic of the trophy hunter goes like this:

1) Trophy Animal is great/special/noteworthy/[other superlative].
2) I killed Trophy Animal
3) Therefore (by some magical bastardization of the transitive property), I am as great/special/noteworthy/[other superlative], or moreso.

Replace the word "killed" with some other form of dominance, and this is the thinking behind a whole slew of bigotries (notably, sexism and homophobia).

Throw in just a tiny wrinkle, and you've also got the underpinning of identity politics and American Exceptionalism:

1) At some point in the past, the United States and/or its people did something outstanding/virtuous (defeated the Nazis, landed on the moon, pioneered various technologies, etc.)
2) The United States has the most large/powerful/influential military/economy/culture/etc.
3) I happened to be born in the US and am a US citizen.
4) Therefore, (even though I personally had nothing to do with #1 or #2, and had no control over #3) I am outstanding, virtuous, powerful, influential, etc.

None of this would fly in a 100-level "Intro to Logic" course (note that logic generally isn't taught in high schools anymore), but it all feels good and deftly skirts around potentially uncomfortable/complicated truths and conflicts, and that's good enough for a distressingly large number of people.

Old Spice said...

jimspice/Linda Spice: We knew you were the Spice girls, just not that you were one spice, not two.