Friday, October 31


There's an ongoing slow-motion shift in news coverage of circus visits which is fascinating. Years ago, of course, news stories would contain nothing whatsoever about the pain and suffering the animal "acts" had to endure for this wholesome family entertainment. Then about 10 years ago, as activists made a point of protesting every visit, the headlines remained the same - "THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN!" - but there would occasionally be one activist quote deep in the story. Lately, as the phenomenon of forcing large wild animals to do idiotic tricks has become even more evident to the mainstream, the two sides are getting represented more equally, and now we even see headlines like this one: Circus Life: Anything But Fun For Animals? - and, here's the kicker, that was the day before it emerged that Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus is facing fresh animal cruelty charges. So, how long before that question mark in the first link's headline is removed?
UPDATE 11/4: "As families mill about they see posters describing Ringling's efforts to protect endangered Asian elephants. The tagline reads: 'Endangered species? Not if we can help it.' But later, "asked why Ringling doesn't redirect its efforts from breeding elephants to habitat conservation, Pflughaupt replies: 'Habitat is another thing. We're not a conservation organization. We're a circus responsible for the care of our animals.'" So, where does that "if we can help it" come in?
UPDATE 11/5: New Zealand columnist says Time to free animals from circus - "Far from teaching children about the evolution and ecology of animals, circuses offer an anachronistic vision in which the will of animals is bent to the demands of their human owners. And all for the sole purpose of entertainment." That pretty much sums it up, all right.
UPDATE 11/6: Headline: Circus is in town, with a chip on its shoulder. Last line: [Animal-based] "Circuses are on their way out. No amount of PR is going to change that."
UPDATE 11/7: "Yay, it's the circus" angle completely gone from headline in this circus-comes-to-town-story: PETA, VAL protest circus visit. And here's the new cliche lede that seems to start every circus-in-town story now: The circus is coming to town, but not everyone is happy about it. Nope, not everyone...

No comments: