The Thinking 

Woman and Dog

February 20, 2013



The women with whom I work are all a-buzz over the recent suicide of country singer Mindy McReady. Aside from their predictable and tasteless jokes at the dead woman’s expense (“I guess ten thousand angels really weren’t watching over her after all!”), the most notable thing these television addicts have been discussing is the fact that Miss McReady apparently shot her dog before taking her own life. “OMG! Can you imagine? Why would she hurt that poor dog?”

I’ve noticed this sort of behavior before, though mostly in movie theaters. I recall when my wife and I went to see Gods and Generals on the big screen several years ago. During one of the scenes of a battle’s aftermath, the crowd was silent as the camera panned across the field of blood and destruction, sweeping across scores of gray- and blue-clad bodies. Then the camera lingered on a dead horse, and I heard more than one moviegoer whisper something along the lines of, “Oh, no! The poor horse!” These people were quite numb, it seemed, to the fact that countless human beings were being represented as having died for a cause in which they believed. No, the important thing was that a poor horsie had been harmed. And I’ve witnessed a similar reaction many times since.

There is something deeply perverse at work here. This age has done something unspeakable to the human heart’s mysterious abilities.

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