Alrighty, how’s that for a title? Provocative, I know. But it’s how I feel. I couldn’t think any lower of vick for his past. In fact, you’ll notice I’ve taken a friend’s suggestion and disrespecting him by never capitalizing his name.
Yet with Sunday’s win over the New York Giants, and his team’s 3-1 start to the season, the fervor for this monster grows. To have been reinstated into the NFL in the first place after electrocuting, beating, drowning and hanging innocent lives while also forcing them to fight to the death is unbelievable enough. But how easily the Phickle Phans of Philthadelphia have been won over by his self-proclaimed “redemption” is simply maddening. I have admittedly never been a person given to the ways of faith. But I’ve always wanted to be, believe it or not. What little chance I could have had to move beyond the need for things to be scientifically tangible and incontrovertible, to believe in something greater, has been eradicated by the lack of Godly wraith or bad Karma to come vick’s way.
Sure, he spent 19 months in a minimum security prison for illegal gambling. But he served ZERO jail time for animal cruelty and abuse. The prosecutor in Virginia (from where vick hails and also where his dogfighting operation was) didn’t want to be the bad guy for going after the local sports hero. If he had his way, vick would have served no jail time or at least less than the sentence given. So the arguments I always hear of “he did his time” are extremely inaccurate.
Then Roger Goodell, the football league’s commissioner, could have set the standard by not allowing vick to return to the NFL. Goodell entered his position as a man on a mission. He fined and suspended people left and right, wanting to set the example of “zero tolerance” on behavior detrimental to the image of the league. Yet, given the chance to ban vick forever and setting the bar where he claimed he wanted it, Goodell allowed vick’s return.
Now, I will admit some bias here, but my favorite team’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has had his own legal issues: he was twice accused of sexual assault. He was never found guilty on either charge. I know it’s possible that he simply paid off the accusers as most believe. But I also know that athletes and celebrities are targets for those seeking a payday. I honestly don’t believe basketball’s Kobe Bryant raped the girl that accused him of such in Colorado. He did sleep with her, yes. And he gave a woman the best paycheck of her life as a result. So there is a 50% chance that Roethlisberger is innocent just as there’s a 50% chance he committed the crime. But the only thing of which I KNOW he is guilty is being stupid enough to put himself in that position to be accused, especially after the first accusation. I hope he didn’t do it, but I’ll never know one way or the other. vick, on the other hand, is unquestionably guilty.
I bring this up because, after the second accusation, Goodell suspended Roethlisberger 4 games for being such an awful role model and potentially tarnishing the league’s image. That same summer, vicky-boy threw a birthday party in which someone was shot. vick didn’t do it, but the person who did was one of the crew with whom he hung out during his dogfighting days. Goodell did nothing, though vick, already a controversial person, had shown an equally poor example of off-the-field decision making. There is the possibility that Goodell didn’t want to look bad for having to punish the dirtbag he just pardoned.
Additionally, upon vick’s reinstatement and subsequent signing to the philadelphia eagles, his jersey was one of the top 2 in sales. The fans didn’t care what he did. His jersey to this day is still anywhere in the top 20 in sales. I believe there are a great amount of his fans that love the fact that such a thug made good and went back to earn millions. I will be fair here and mention that he doesn’t get to keep all of that money. He has many debts to pay as part of his sentence. He has even become richer, however, by many companies signing endorsement deals with him. These include Nike, Musclepharm, and Subway. He even has his own clothing line. I and others I know have boycotted these companies, and have informed those companies as to why.
But here he is, making more than I ever will short of a lottery win, being adored by the masses (and not just in Killadelphia), and unfortunately succeeding on the field to such an extent that his inhumane and simply INHUMAN crimes are a distant memory to most.
So, if there is the God of which Judeo-Christian faith speaks, and/or there is a celestial force weighing Karma, why is this the case? I don’t want to hear that the guilty are punished in the next life. Why is he being so rewarded in this one? And I’ll make the same argument for Roethlisberger if he is, in fact, guilty of sexual assault. Why is he, too, rewarded if so?
And why does all of this matter to me so much? I often wonder if I’m wrong for fighting so hard against injustice, and for taking injustice so personally. I’d definitely be a much happier person if I could let it go. Should I just be one of the many uncaring citizens of the Philadelphia area, and only worry about the entertainment value of the game, and forget about the rest? Should I just let sleeping dogs lie, and let dead dogs die?
As I said, I believe some buy into the sick following of vick BECAUSE of his past. Dogfighting in this area has actually gone up 300% since his arrival. Maybe they figure they’ll get off with 19 months, too, should they be caught. Some truly believe that he is a transformed man, and that there is sincerity in his monotoned PSAs and court- and agent-ordered charity donations. And many, like a girl with whom I work, simply can’t be bothered with thinking about him as more than a win or a loss for her team. I tried explaining to her that I no longer support the eagles because they signed vick, and that I will never forgive him for his disgusting past. She said, “I don’t know anything about that”, and walked away before she could be educated about “that”. She knew, but didn’t want to deal with it. It was literally an inconvenient truth. I feel that this is the category in which most fans reside.
I find myself thinking that perhaps I should also ignore all of the truths and just deal with wins and losses and championship titles. But then I think about a dog being tortured in the most agonizing ways. I think of a man who admitted the pleasure he got watching them tear each other to pieces, and feeling the lives leave their bodies as he did away with those who lost fights or showed no aggression.
I also think more and more of just never watching a sport I love ever again, because it hurts my soul to watch injustices of the most heinous nature be rewarded in every possible way.
So here is my latest poem, fresh off the presses. If you want something uplifting, sorry–this isn’t the one for you. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say it’s very somber, to say the least.
Enter a dungeon, lined with cages and stink–
Prisoners await their number to be called,
These numbers replacing names and dignity.
Matts of hair and bandages line the corner sink.
If birth means promise, then theirs is forestalled.
Their eyes no longer appeal for your pity.
These sounds now defining their universe:
Yelps, and whimpers, and pale, simple breaths.
Food plates abandoned, as are thoughts of hope,
Their birth no promise, instead struck by curse.
They seem to know they’re awaiting their deaths,
Their acceptance their only means to cope.
Their final walk is to a box which kills,
Their parents still freezing in puppy mills–
An evil the lowest of men contrives–
Now they’re just disposable lives.
Once they were thought so cherished a treasure;
Once they were bought, given assurances of love.
Once they were forced to fight in a Hellhole;
Once they were worth more than sick pleasure.
Once they were thought of as gifts from above;
Once they were considered possessing a soul.
Now in this dungeon, a chamber is set;
Now in their cells they witness each drag
Of one of their cellmates into the next room.
Here, in this chamber, they defecate and wet
Before piled corpses are tossed in a bag
Because no one came dispelling their doom.
Their final walk is to a box that kills,
Air withdrawn, not before each shrills
Their own dirge like sounds of scraping knives–
All bred to be disposable lives.
© 2012 Jordan Alan Fox
Now you need to go watch your favorite comedy….
I edited my last post. How so? I changed the link I gave to my anti-Vick page. Why? I changed the NAME of the page. How come? Because the Troll Patrol was let out of their cells early. The page was rocking along, hitting 100 subscribers, and crawling towards 150. Then the assaults started coming.
Three people told me they reported the page to FaceCrook. One, and then another, told me they called the police to inform them of my page (again, titled at the time as Mike Vick should be shot, electrocuted, hung, and beaten) and that they thought it was a credible threat upon Vick’s actual person. Of course, those doing the reporting have pictures of themselves in Eagles jerseys and pictures of Vick as the banner photo. Perhaps I bit off too much, perhaps I was trying to be too cute in making my point that these reports usually fail (from reporting the obscene things I listed in my last post). Perhaps it was naive of me to not see more attacks on the page than just reporting to FaceCrook. I certainly didn’t see calls going to the police that I was an actual threat to Vick’s life.
Then the subscribers started engaging in verbal warfare with the trolls. I kept asking them to stop retorting, but they wouldn’t listen. I didn’t want to block anyone; just as I believed I was exercising freedom of speech, I wanted to be fair and let the jerks say their piece in opposition to my page. But putting up warnings that the arguing wasn’t going to help our cause wasn’t stopping anything. What could have been 10-comment posts became 96-comment posts. I eventually decided I had to block the assailants. I had to figure out exactly how to do that, since I’d never encountered trolls on my other pages, but then again, those other pages were never provocative. When blocking the comments and those posting them, a feature came up to report abusive comments to FaceCrook. It seems petty to have done so, but I guess fair is fair. They reported me for commenting that I’d like to see Vick come to physical harm (though I didn’t actually say I’D be trying to do it), and I reported them for calling my subscribers fat, ugly, unfit mothers and white-trash (insert nickname for female anatomical part that begins with “C”).
I asked the subscribers what they thought of a name change, and I was worried that it was like conceding defeat. But they were very supportive, and even suggested names. After digesting what they offered, and a day to think it over, the page is now Vick-timized: Giving Voice to the Voiceless Ones. I think it’s good timing to change it now, because I have the subscriber base to share and get the page out there now, where the title was what drew the early ones. It’s got the flavor of the original, but not the “Oh, you’re threatening my crybaby dogkiller quarterback vibe”. Now the page’s standards can do it rather than the fireworks display.
I did also put up legal-ese statements including: “This page, while educational in nature by trying to raise awareness of dogfighting and animals abuse, obviously provides some satyrical release for those that are disgusted by Vick’s actions. I am making it clear that this page is not in any way suggesting that anyone seek Vick out or attempt to harm him in any way. You may wish whatever you like upon him, but I’m not suggesting anyone actually pursues vigilante actions.”
One woman, who was actually rather sweet, eventually was able to talk to us and not have to be blocked. She said that her sister, an activist, was taking posts from my page and bombarding her with them. So that’s probably how they all found me. My own subscribers might have been hate-bombing Vick fans with my content, which was traceable back to my page. I had to put up another statement that this is not acceptable, and I apologized to the woman for her being accosted that way.
It has been crazy. What a night–I had gotten up at 4 a.m. that morning for work, and other than a one-hour nap, I was still up at 5:30 this morning. I got perhaps another hour of sleep then. It’s all so surreal.
I wonder what will come of the calls to the police (if, indeed, they were made). Perhaps the fact that the title is changed and the fact that all the content on the page is about dogfighting awareness, debunking the stereotypes about pit bulls, some non-violent jabs at Vick, and lists of his endorsers to boycott (which seems all legal to me) will save me. I guess, if the police even bother to look into it, they’ll just look at the page and see that. With the name change, they might not even be able to find it at all. I changed the link to it as well.
So there we are. Tales of censorship and love (for the cause).
Okay, so last time I mentioned my friend Marie’s suggestion that I throw my animal advocacy poems in here. So why not? As I come up with them, I shall do so.
On a different topic (slightly), there have always been pages and photos that I and other advocates (of varying causes) have reported to FaceCrook to be removed. Such includes a page called Adalia Must Die, which targets a young girl who appears to have terminal cancer. Targeting those with illness or disability and harmful or hateful speech are both reportable infractions. We’ve also reported pics of people holding up bloody wolf pelts (violence or graphic content), pics of people appearing to strangle puppies by holding them off the ground with hands around the throat (violence, harmful behavior), and pics of cats with guns shoved in their mouth or pointed at their heads (ditto). FaceCrook inevitably sends an email that the pages and photos reported have not been taken down due to “lack of evidence”. Hmmm.
This takes me to Monday. I was at work, and it occurred to me that I should create a page with the title “Michael Vick should be shot, electrocuted, hung, and beaten”. Surely this won’t be a violation of FaceCrook conduct policies if those other items weren’t. And these are the exact things Michael Vick did to dogs. He shot them, drowned them, etc., and admitted his joy in doing so.
In an interview after being released from prison, reinstated in the NFL, and signed by the Eagles, Vick was asked if he had any regrets or anything he would change in his life. His initial response was “No.” The interviewer asked, incredulously, if he was sure he wouldn’t change ANYTHING. ANYTHING AT ALL. Vick’s response was that perhaps he’d like less jail time than he was given. For the record, he spent 18 months in jail for illegal gambling. Those that like to tell me “he served his time” are errant in that he served the above sentence and NOT ONE SECOND for animal abuse or cruelty. None.
So perhaps he needs a little karma to come his way. And karma is a….female dog.
I did indeed create my page, and I’m already near 50 followers. It consists of a lot of the same things that I do on my regular advocacy page (petitions and animal rights issues), but the focus is on dog fighting, Breed Specific Legislation (the boycott of specific breeds such as Pit Bulls in certain cities, airlines, and other places), and promoting better awareness. Many folks out there have made pictures of Vick with different humorous phrases on them, and those absolutely go in there when I find them. My page link is: Boycott Vick for the Voiceless Ones. Now let’s go full circle to my first paragraph about poems. I wrote 2 for my page, and here they are. The second one references a certain STD Vick is known to have. They were meant to be silly (that’s the story I’m sticking to).
Fried Green Infrahumanos 8/27/12
I hate Michael Vick;
He should be fried like frittata,
And then hung,
Beaten like a piñata!
An Ode to Vick, et. al. 8/28/12
Working to save animals is cooler than Slurpees;
I hate all abusers (especially ones with herpes).
I’d like to see karma hit them all like a rocket;
Let’s set off fireworks in each’s front pocket.
That’ll keep each one from attempting any breeding;
They’ll get what’s deserved with their crotches burned and bleeding.
The monsters they are would be displayed by their new features,
And perhaps they’ll no longer assault defenseless creatures.
They went over well with the activists, at least!
I’ll end with a plug for the book The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant. This book is written from the accounts of the police officer and FBI officer who ran the bust on Vick’s compound, the animal forensics expert on the case, and the people that rescued the still living dogs. If you don’t understand why we activists won’t let it go, won’t forgive or forget, it is all in the book, the whole ugly truth.
Disclaimer: I’m not actually saying anyone should go and confront Vick and mete out their own justice. This is stated in fun and as a way to vent the disgust over Vick’s actions.
It’s been quite a bit of time since I wrote in here, and quite a long stretch since I regularly posted at all. I’ve mentioned numerous times that the animal advocacy eats up my time, and, well….there you go.
A friend (hi, Marie!) recommended that I regularly write and post poetry based on advocacy issues. Now, I can’t control when, if, or in what way The Muse will strike, and I want every piece to be as perfect as I can make it, especially for something so meaningful. It’s hard not to get sing-songy and cheesy when you’re chasing after something so heart-felt, at least in my experiences. And really hard not to force it out which, of course, makes it SOUND forced.
In previous posts I mentioned how seeing the cases of animals needing to be pulled from shelters to avoid euthanasia and petitions against abuse (which include photos), etc., batter the brain, leaving images burned in the mind’s eye. It is in response to these images that I wrote a poem back in April in one of my writers’ groups. We were given a prompt to use, and this prompt was “A picture is worth a thousand words”.
Here is my creation:
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Pictures of those gathered, or alone,
Beaten, abandoned, starved to bone,
With burned and scarred and ravaged hides:
A death blow thrown to my insides.
Their faces shown, which overwhelm,
Await release to another realm,
Stares unfocused, fixedly seared,
And souls that long-since disappeared.
Suffering I can’t understand,
Yet this is brought by human hand.
These inflictions: craven, disgusting,
When they were bred to be so trusting!
Relentless harm, though victims yield;
No longer shall this be concealed!
Words can’t state the horrors shown;
Of cruelties for which we must atone!
These wicked ways must be undone,
These countless pictures reduced to none.
Dedicated to those that fight for animal rights and welfare, and, more importantly, to the animals themselves.
© 2012 Jordan Alan Fox
I hope you like it, as I am incredibly proud of it. I’ll admit it’s actually hard to read it myself without getting choked up.
In other news, I was the featured poet at a coffee house near me on August 3rd. There was 2 hours of total time. I picked 18 poems out and practiced reciting them to get it to about 30 minutes, including time to give a background on certain pieces. That would leave plenty of time for the “open forum” after my “set” in which others could choose to share their work.
I believe it went well, but I have to admit that the group of 15-20 people there were friends or friends of the woman that set the whole thing up. She is the same woman from one of my groups that asked me to do the “He Said/She Said” Valentine’s reading. I’m scheduled to do another one in October, plus an open mic night 10 days later. I will read the poem above, for sure.
Lately I cry and cry. I have to admit that I’m an overly emotional person (I once had a female manager tell me I was “worse than a woman”). Regardless of the fact that I’m given to feeling things profoundly, I’d have to say that the last 6 months or so have been exceptionally turbulent with tears.
Those that have followed my post or at least read a sampling of it before might know that my hobby is animal advocacy. To all of you that have been to Grasping the Tale before, I apologize for the months since my last post, but it is my engagement in this second full-time, non-paying vocation that has kept me from blogging. In fact, I haven’t really written even my poetry/lyrics with any kind of appreciable frequency. Whichever part of the brain it is which I utilize to advocate has kept me wrapped up there so I can’t transition to the creative part.
About the tears: it is so draining to see the animals for which I advocate suffer so much, have their innocence and dependence upon mankind be betrayed so badly. It runs from the (unfortunately) typical cases of neglect to the worst possible scenarios. Two cases recently have taken a toll on those of us that dwell in the “online animal kingdom”.
One is the story of Lennox, an American Bulldog/Retriever mix that was a family pet in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lennox was seized by the Belfast City Council for violation of DDA, or Dangerous Dogs Act, which is known as BSL (or Breed Specific Legislation) in America. The Council determined Lennox to be a Pit Bull even though he is the breed mix stated above. Pit Bulls are banned in Belfast as per the DDA. Despite the fact that he only resembled a pit bull and had never bitten, attacked, or even threatened anyone, Lennox was taken. While in their custody, one member of the Belfast Council declared Lennox too dangerous to be allowed to live, even though video exists of her with Lennox stitting by her feet and at one point even licking her. The family fought through the legal system for two years to regain their cherished family member. After losing the last round of appeals at the end of June, the family’s legal counsel advised them to end the fight.
During this entire ordeal, the world became aware of the story, and literally hundreds of thousands of advocates were signing and posting petitions to free Lennox and return him to his home. Later on, well-reknowned animal behavior experts such as Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell offered to take Lennox out of the country and work with this “dangerous” dog to become a well-mannered, safe member of society (which, of course, he already was). The City Council ignored all requests. The council declared that they would euthanize Lennox at 7:00 a.m. on July 11th.
There was a flurry of activity to add even more signatures to the petitions, and media markets all over the world ran pieces about the fight to save Lenox’s life. Hoping that the negative publicity would move the Council even if the appeals to their human decency failed, the animal-loving world held its breath.
Lennox was killed by the council as declared on the morning of July 11th. So many mourn this senseless and evil loss of life, and sympathize with Lennox’s family, who were denied requests to see him one last time, to be with him when he was killed, and to at least receive his collar as a relic of him. They were told they MIGHT be given some of his ashes after he was cremated, though even that has not been provided at this point. It has of course been theorized that Lennox was either killed while the legal battle was still going on or that he died languishing in his meager cell (pictures showed it devoid of food and water bowls and even appropriate bedding). These are just theories, though they are highly likely scenarios.
The other dog’s account that has crippled me emotionally is that of Buck, a blind elderly dog that was released from a shelter to an individual that either let him free or negligently allowed him to escape. After weeks of searching for Buck, his body was found in a concrete enclosure. It has not been revealed at this point how he ended up in this cement resting place or whether he died of exposure and lack of sustenance, torturous foul play, or a mixture. The fact that he died alone and hungry, thirsty, and without even the sight to understand his surroundings is too much. I keep thinking that some SUBhuman beings might have even abused him to death, which is worse.
I sometimes wonder whether it’s worth being part of this world when such stories of incomprehensible pain and cruelty seem increasingly the norm….
I had written a poem for Lennox upon hearing of his official end (the grief being so great that the artistic flood gates finally broke), and will conclude this post with it. You’ll notice the title says “Part II”, and this is because Part I was written the night before as a sort of prayer (unanswered, obviously) for his life to be spared. I am too drained at present to write one for Buck, though I absolutely want to do so.
For Lennox, Part II 7/11/12
Belfast now a place of scorn
As countless hearts lie ripped and torn
For all the pleas you would not answer,
Your pride and ignorance like a cancer.
You could have picked another way
Yet bathed your hands in blood today.
You heeded none, for you thought best
To lay an innocent one to rest.
I hope your conscience one day wakes
And your hands shake in fits and quakes
When you see doings that you sought
Have not justice, but murder brought.
You’ve disgraced yourselves before the world;
In Hell’s fires your souls be curled
Around a spit and searing slow
For how you have brought Belfast low.
I can’t see why you’ve made this choice
Now countless cry in Lennox’s voice.