31 October 2007

'Tis the season to NOT be jolly

It's open season on squirrels (or so it seems). I don't mean just for hunters.

Today's New York Post featured, in one of its upfront pages, a huge photo of a cute, fat squirrel with the headline "EAT ME." It included a recipe for preparing and cooking 8 unfortunate rodents.

It echoes a movement right now in Britain, which is seeking to solve its crisis of red squirrel displacement - yes, caused by non-native greys - by urging loyal Britons to capture, cook and eat the greys.

Here in the States, newspapers and Web sites abound right now with stories about hunting season in various parts of the country and about squirrels causing municipal blackouts in some of those same states by biting into power lines. One such story gives details about how one such squirrel fell after biting a power line in New Jersey and blew up a car parked below because the squirrel had ignited somehow. This was presented as being funny and the squirrel was called a "suicide bomber."

It's a pretty sad commentary on our society when incidents like these are considered comic. They're actually quite tragic because not only is suffering involved but the reaction mirrors indifference to that suffering.

I'd hardly call that gallows humor. It's bad humor. And, recipes notwithstanding, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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