Sunday, 6 April 2008
Posted by Dave
BBC tonight, Louis Theroux was on doing this documentary called African Hunting Holiday. The premise is pretty simple, essentially a whole bunch of South African farmers have binned the cleared bush cattle paddocks and put back natural scrub and raise lots of different sorts of native african game. Lions, impala, monkeys, warthogs and even rhino. You name it.
Yank cowboys then pay to go over there, kill the animals (they pay by animal, rarer/larger, the more it costs), take photos with them and then take home a trophy head or whatever. Brings in serious money to South Africa and is basically putting bush land back and native habitat for these animals. Good stuff. Now hunting, at least in this form, is something that's not for me. Sitting in a hide with a crossbow picking off random animals come to the watering hole... Where's the challenge?
I'd do it for tucker no mistake. I wouldn't do it just because I wanted to kill it or have a photo taken with it. It's an entirely manufactured easy hunting experience. I don't, however, begrudge the yanks doing it. I think it's a bit weird, it's not really my bag, but it's got tangible benefits in South Africa so knock your socks off.
The thing is, I had a hard time with Louis Theroux's attitude. I mean he was a constantly whining touchy feely liberal cunt nugget. There was even a nauseating sequence where he had a crossbow lined up on warthog and decided he couldn't kill it. Oh for fuck sake, behave. At one stage this hunting operator really lost his rag and I don't blame him at all - Theroux just needeled away with the same pointless liberal soul searching. Is being raised to be killed hunting any kind of life at all? Jesus wept.
Now I like Theroux normally, he basically makes a living out of getting into out-there scenarios and gently sort of putting to people how wide of base they may be in some people's eyes. It's useful and interesting but it only works, I think, if at some point you accept what you're seeing and the viewpoints and just move on rather than constantly questioning and hamming it up via contrived circumstances to ask the same questions repeatedly.
In that respect I was infuriated by this show.
This is where I'm having a hard time. It's not just Louis really, it's an attitude I seem to have run into a lot in the UK. People obviously happy enough to chow down cheaply produced meat in attrocious conditions but heaven help anyone if they actually kill an animal for sport. It's a cultural thing I guess. It's not like I'm from the bush or anything but my old man took me fishing as a kid, showed me the grisly process of gutting a fish. Then when I was a teenager I shot a cow for a BBQ and then later did a bit of bow hunting.
Nothing hard core but I've killed animals. For nosh and for sport. I enjoyed the sport aspects. Fighting a Barramundi on a fishing rod is pretty much my idea of a great time.
So I guess maybe I'm the other end of the scale culturally (from the UK at least) but I feel I sort of shouldn't be. We're all enlightened now aren't we? We watch nature shows with horrific stuff going on in the wild. Everything is televised, we see it all but as soon as an actual human being makes a choice to kill an animal it's now some sort of abhorrent thing.
It's some kind of re-writing of the rule book. It's uncivilised to be a predator. Well, a killing predator. It's okay to be a farming predator and eat little red chunks that come off the shelf cling wrapped off the great Tesco meat-tree. However it's not healthy to enjoy what you are, a predator. You must empathise with the doe-eyed animal. You must project your human emotions and wonder at the suffering it must endure.
I watched this thinking fuck me wont Theroux appear to be some massive sap in this? He wont. I think most people like that, in our cities, are carbon Theroux copies.
"anyone who gets pleasure from killing animals is sick in the head in my opinion" - where does this shit come from? I mean, are we suggesting, for example, that it's wrong to enjoy fishing? That's killing animals. No wait, can't empathise with a fish very well. Better narrow it down to mammals.
I think there's at least some argument to be made that it's 'sick in the head' to deny the food chain and to some how revile the natural process of death and predation purely because you haven't had to do it personally. What do you think?