May 02, 2005

An Aborted Attempt at Reading the Rags

I don't know why I started reading this piece in the New York Times magazine. I knew beforehand what to expect, and the author delivered:

How has it come to pass that outfitting a dog with a $1,380 Hermes crocodile-and-calfskin leash-and-collar set doesn't seem too absurd -- too shameful?
It does seem shameful--outside The Center of the Universe Manhattan.
How is it that our sense of humanity has been transferred to members of the animal kingdom -- the domesticated and overbred as well as the wild and exotic -- so that we lavish affection, money and moral outrage on them while we gripe about the homeless instead of empathizing with their plight and ignore our elderly altogether?
Because when a dog pees on the grass, it's because he can't use a toilet? Because dogs don't grab your arm as you walk by and spray you with MD 20/20-flavored spittle as they beg you for "bus fare?" Because dogs don't write hectoring how-can-you-be-happy-when-the-children-are-starving-in-India pieces like this one? Am I getting warmer?

I read this after an article in the same issue about Karl Lagerfeld's diet. Sadly, that was the better article. Re-read that: An article about the hassles of ordering powdered protein sachets from Paris to mix up into diet drinks--vive L'Slim Fast!--was better than the article about fools who spoil their pets rotten.

After those two treats, I was a little gun-shy about reading the feature: "The Way of the Commandos." But it's not bad and I got a kick out of this:

A couple of hours after [Iraqi Special Police Commandos leader] Adnan issued his AK-47 threat, I sat with him watching TV. This was business, not pleasure. The program we were watching was Adnan's brainchild, and in just a few months it had proved to be one of the most effective psychological operations of the war. It is reality TV of sorts, a show called ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice.'' It features detainees confessing to various crimes. The show was first broadcast earlier this year and has quickly become a nationwide hit. It is on every day in prime time on Al Iraqiya, the American-financed national TV station, and when it is on, people across the country can be found gathered around their television sets.
Reality television: Is there anything it can't do? Posted by Ilyka at May 2, 2005 10:50 PM in news