Monday, April 28, 2008

Super Cat

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by a grant from the Jimmy B. Whatagain foundation. "Your name is what again?" "Yes!"

I'm a fan of animals of all sorts (with the possible exception of humans) and I enjoy exploring in cartoons the differences between cats and dogs. I used to consider myself a "dog person," but now, after living with cats for a number of years (a much easier pet in NYC because you don't have to "walk" them) I like them both equally. They are very different, however, sort of like comparing drama with comedy. Not "apples and oranges" different, more like Shindler's List and Meatballs different.

We have two cats who list this address as their own, but still regularly foster dogs. So we get both experiences, without committing to 15 non-stop years of walking a dog three times a day. Plus, we travel a lot and dogs shouldn't be left without their family too often or for too long. The cats, on the other hand, can't wait for us to leave and sometimes even change the locks.

There is a movement among animal rights folks to expunge the word "pet" from our vocabulary in favor of "companion animal." The feeling is that "pet" is a derogatory term. It is also suggested that we replace "owner" with "guardian." I personally find PC language to be suspect because most attempts are erroneous. In the case of race language (i.e. Oriental/Asian, black/African American, etc.) the term to be replaced only seems derogatory when racists utter it with disdain. "Oriental" is not an innately derogatory term – it means Eastern. Why is "Asian" better? Making a racist switch words, won't change their bigotry. I am, of course, not talking about obvious racial slurs or slang.

Regarding the "pet" and "guardian" issue, I agree with one but not the other. I don't find pet to be a derogatory word, in fact, quite the opposite. "Pet" denotes "favorite."

"Owner," on the other hand, I have given up. I don't think one should "own" a sentient being, so I say "guardian." As anyone with pets knows, they own you more than you own them.


Tone said...

Take the pet means to "take offense" according to the Etymology Dictionary. The history of words is littered with interesting word origins. Negationism (historical revisionism) seems to be creeping in every aspect of society as of late. That is a pet peeve. Will that be corrected also? History is revised to shape the events of the moment to fill the pockets of money hungry investors. To deny your past is to repeat your mistakes. The origin of words have a rich history even if they harm overly sensitive groups.

Jezzka said...

did you just call me oriental?? sometimes i consider myself to be dis-oriental (especially when lost), BUT never oriental!! piff poff! ;)

Garrett Williams said...

I find it hard to keep track of what the new politically correct forms of "midget", "retard", and other minority designations are because people keep adopting the new word as an insult. I try not to refer to anybody's nationality in case I use the wrong term.

Penny Mitchell said...

I apologize for crashing the party, but we lost our beloved ancient Border Collie mix/mutt/former stray to cancer last week. Please pat me on the head and tell me it will be okay.

And yes, dogs and cats couldn't be more different, but we love them the same, and they love us the same. Actually, that's a lie. They love us better than humans are apparently able to love. I haven't seen any animals bombing the crap out of innocent people who never harmed us.

Ramblingly yours,