It’s times like these I really wish Mike Royko was still alive and writing his columns about Chicago politics.
Royko, with an eye both cynical and sweet, saw politics as something of a patriotic three ring circus with charlatans and crusaders vying with criminals and reformers for money and attention, all hoping the ringmaster in the person of Mayor Richard J. Daley (his son is Richard M.) would cast his baleful, hooded eyes in their direction and thereby bless their efforts. Since the charlatans and criminals were usually pretty well connected, they always seemed to come out on top, leaving the crusaders and reformers to fight another day.
The reason for the reverie about Royko is that he would have had an absolute field day with this bit of nonsense passed by the Chicago City Council:
Chalk up another first for Chicago, which on Wednesday became the nation’s only combined nuclear- and foie gras-free zone.
After passing a sweeping ban on public smoking in December, the City Council has now followed up with a more exclusive bit of lifestyle policing. On a voice vote, aldermen outlawed the sale of the fatty delicacy made from goose or duck liver, settling a months-long culinary battle between goose huggers and gastronomes. (Aldermen declared the city a nuclear-free zone in 1986.)
Foie gras isn’t made in Chicago, only eaten here in a handful of posh restaurants and sold at gourmet food shops. But ban supporters claim its production is barbaric, with tubes jammed down the gullets of ducks and geese to force-feed them until their livers swell to 10 times normal size. At a council committee hearing, actress and animal rights activist Loretta Swit likened force-feeding to the torture of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Swit, you may recall, played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the Korean War TV series M*A*S*H which I guess makes her an expert on the torture of both POW’s and mass television audiences. Now that she mentions it, I seem to recall those gruesome pictures where we stuck tubes down the throats of those jihadis and force fed them pork and beans. Otherwise, I can’t for the life of me understand what torturing human beings at Abu Ghraib has to do with goose livers.
That is, unless the aldermen are preparing a Manifesto that would free all animals from the drudgery of serving humans. They might want to start by closing the world famous horse racing facility Sportsmen’s Park (not before they give me back all the money I’ve lost there over the years) and then move on to freeing all the exotic beasts trapped behind bars at Lincoln Park Zoo. Freeing them might be a problem because being exotic beasts themselves, the aldermen might not appreciate the competition from other ravenous predators prowling the city.
Or perhaps that as long as we’re equating humans with animals, they may want to emulate the Spanish socialists who are calling on granting human rights to…APES!
The Spanish Socialist Party will introduce a bill in the Congress of Deputies calling for “the immediate inclusion of (simians) in the category of persons, and that they be given the moral and legal protection that currently are only enjoyed by human beings.” The PSOE’s justification is that humans share 98.4% of our genes with chimpanzees, 97.7% with gorillas, and 96.4% with orangutans.
The party will announce its Great Ape Project at a press conference tomorrow. An organization with the same name is seeking a UN declaration on simian rights which would defend ape interests “the same as those of minors and the mentally handicapped of our species.”
According to the Project, “Today only members of the species Homo sapiens are considered part of the community of equals. The chimpanzee, the gorilla, and the orangutan are our species’s closest relatives. They possess sufficient mental faculties and emotional life to justify their inclusion in the community of equals.”
Talk about socialism appealing to the lowest common denominator…
The socialists see great apes possessing “sufficient mental faculties” only because they follow Lenin’s dictum “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” although no one has checked recently to see how well the socialists can draw termites from a piece of deadwood using a broken reed or whether they’ve forgotten how to use a rock to crack hazelnuts.
Our simian friends have a lot to teach their socialist brothers. After all, how much worse could being ruled by Chimps and Gorillas be than having socialists run a government? I’d bet there would be a lot more lying around building nests out of grass and a lot fewer executions.
Quite an improvement, no?
Tom Elia had the story before I did and quotes an Agence France-Presse report that refers to Chicago as “hogtown,” referencing the slaughterhouses that haven’t been a large part of the city of more than 40 years. Quoth Tom:
Maybe if the Agence France-Presse reporter expanded his or her reading list beyond, say, books by Upton Sinclair, he/she might know this.
Maybe it’s time for this reporter to try out some Nelson Algren… ya know, stuff like dat…
They probably think Al Capone still runs the liquor business…