I was listening to a talk show on the car radio the other day which is something I used to do a lot of, but don’t anymore. As the show went along, I remembered why and will tell you.
It’s because I used to get a lot of ideas from those shows and they’d nag at me until I wrote about them. Some of them turned into columns.
But as many of you know, and most can well imagine, writing is darn hard work. It’s not enough to get ideas by plucking them from the ether or pilfering them from talk shows.
You have to think of words to describe those ideas.
And that ain’t all.
Unless you want a readership snorting in derision, instead of guffawing at well-chosen bon mots, you have to spell those words correctly and use them grammatically. Which, u know, requires, like, thought.
And if you’re doing an emailed column AND duplicating it as a blog post - well - pity da fool. That means formatting each of them differently...and...as fellow techno-dweebs (aren’t you all?) I’m sure you can feel my pain.
So talk radio was out. Too darn much work. Now my car radio’s presets are mostly rock n’ roll on the FM band. And I like it. But sometimes all six stations are either playing a song I hate or in commercials. So I’ll check out my AM dial.
Which is where the talk shows lurk.
So (he typed, after what must be a near record-length preamble) the other day I hated four of the six FM presets and the other two were in commercials, so I punched in AM and got a talk show.
The topic was about 70 people who were arrested in Ontario because they were involved in a cockfighting ring. That’s Ontario, Canada. The Great White North. It’s a long way to Santo Domingo from here. Who knew we had cockfights? Between dueling, beer-addled, Saturday-at-closing-time Lotharios, sure -- but birds?
(For those very few of you who may not know what’s involved in this “sport,” two roosters equipped with razor-edged attachments to their feet, slash each other to ribbons and onlookers bet on which will kill the other. It’s extremely popular in many Central American, South American and Asian countries and, apparently, at least one pocket of Ontario.)
Anyway, the hosts opined, as hosts do. In this case, the hosts were Paul and Carol Mott of CFRB in Toronto. Paul usually wears the black hat of the bad-guy Conservative (kinda like Stephen Colbert is a Fox-worshiping Republican) and Carol is the white-hatted, left-leaning (but nearly-sensible) counterweight. They have a nice, easy rapport and their show must be quite popular because they’ve been doing it in the same time slot for several years.
Most folks called in to express their abhorrence and dismay at the thought of those who took pleasure in watching cocks kill each other, which echoed the thoughts of the hosts who, on this topic at least, were of one mind.
But a couple of callers said, “Who really cares about chickens? If we did, we wouldn’t stack them in crates for long drives in overheated trucks to be killed and eaten.”
Another tried to compare cockfighting with boxing and ultimate fighting but the hosts quickly, and correctly, shot that down by saying people who fought in those contests exercised their free will in deciding to do so - roosters had no such privilege.
And I got to thinking about bullfights and cockfights and dog fights and what’s common in some countries and illegal in others. I thought other things too. Like if I had my druthers I’d only eat free-range chickens, fresh fish and other game caught and killed humanely.
I have no problem with folks who put their distaste for killing animals into a life of vegetarianism. I respect and admire them. I just don’t follow that same path. I believe we were meant to be omnivorous but I also believe we must respect life. Any animal destined to serve us, whether as livestock, food, or companion, is worthy of respect in life and in the manner of its death.
One caller wanted to know if the hosts would be appalled if two cockroaches were put in a tiny arena and fought to the death. If I recall correctly, they said they wouldn’t like that either but it wasn’t as yuckifying as the birds.
And I realized that everybody has a line, a sort of “do not care” line where stuff can happen and not occasion a shrug. Offenses deemed to have crossed that line might warrant anything from a “tsk” to apoplexy.
I’m glad that cockfighting is illegal in Canada and that those people got arrested.
I’m pretty much okay with the cockroaches going at it, though.