I admit that pointing out the liberal bias of the Minneapolis StarTribune and its columnists isn’t exactly the scoop of the year. One could even say this news is of the “dog bites man” variety, except the paper’s newest columnist would take the position that the man had it coming and the dog is a higher being that should consider running for public office.
The Strib has started featuring a weekly syndicated column in the Sunday Variety section by Dr. Michael W. Fox called “Ask the Doctor.” (I’ve noticed the column because it’s usually on the way to the Lileks jump page.) It’s a pretty standard looking advice column where each week letter-writers ask questions about pet care. Dr. Fox’s answers start off with a pet-centered response that then often veers off into global commentary. This last Sunday, for example, someone asked whether it’s a good idea to turn a pet into a vegetarian. The answer quickly swerved (to the left) to decry the environmental abuses and animal degradation brought about because humans tend to prefer a juicy steak or nice ham sandwich to a bowl of tofu.
Really, it’s almost as funny as Lileks and I wish I could cite more examples but the Strib doesn’t archive these columns. From what I’ve read in the past few weeks, however, I think some future columns could sound like this:
My dog, Brutus, has flunked out of obedience school three times now. What can I do? First, congratulations on being an involved guardian for your pet. Due to your commitment I’m sure the fault lies with our chronically underfunded obedience schools. Really, how can we expect our dogs to learn how to sit, stay and use a condom when we only commit 60% of our budget to education? We simply have to raise taxes.
My German Shepherd is constantly licking his paw to the point it’s almost raw. What is going on? What you describe is a classic stress reaction. And who wouldn’t be stressed given that we’ve got four more years of George Bush? Iraq’s a quagmire, we aren’t any safer, and I’ve heard that Bush wants to reinstitute drafting German Shepherds into the military police. I suggest giving your pet some herbal tea, trying aromatherapy, and contributing to Moveon.org.
I think my guinea pig is gay. Is there anything I can do? Why do you think you should “do” anything? Animals have been around longer than humans and have evolved to a higher level that doesn’t worry about who you share your pigloo with. It’s only your own ignorance that makes homosexuality appear anti-evolutionary, and you shouldn’t be so judgmental. Unless your guinea pig also has a White House press pass, of course.
While I couldn’t find other “Ask the Doctor” columns in the Strib online archive, I did find the original article introducing Dr. Fox to readers, which included the following:
“Animals are more finished than we are,” Fox wrote in his book “The Boundless Circle,” which is critical of our human-centered world view. “We are the unfinished animal. We are the newest mammal on the planet, and we have an awful lot of growing to do.”
Umm, so let’s see – we’re the youngest and, by inference, the dumbest animals on the planet – yet its fate is in our hands? Cool. But wait, let’s get a second opinion and ask one of the smartest mammals, and the King of Sea, what he thinks. Hey, Flipper – do you think Dr. Fox has it right?
“Eh-eh! Eh-eh! Eh-eh, eh-eh!”
Good boy! Here’s a fish! All of this does, however, give me an idea. See, my pet moonbat has stopped barking lately, and I want to write to the Dr. and see if I should have Mikey put down.