Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ugly dogs, Dutch tulips, Heirloom tomatoes

I'm sorry if I offend any pug/bulldog/squish-faced dog lovers out there, but my personal opinion on dogs with squished faces is that they're ugly. Even more so than poodles, whose coats (when not cut ridiculously and floofed into enormous afros) are at least functional. And ditto for cats. I don't doubt that such dogs are just as loveable and lovely as my parents' Doberman (adopted from the animal shelter), but I don't think I'd ever willingly acquire one. I'd never be able to deal with all the respiratory and skin issues--if you aske me, a breed that needs a c-section to give birth simply has no business existing.

Now, most dogs are the product of either human need or human vanity, but few are such an extreme case of vanity as the bulldog. Originally bred for the bloody business of bullbaiting and dogfighting (those who think it's some kind of ghetto thing and gangsta-cool need to read up on the history of this atrocity), and then later prized for its tenacity and guarding nature, the breed, like many others, fell victim to the whims of kennel clubs which heaped praise on the very features that make the dogs inherently unhealthy.

Why do we prize diseased flowers and sickly tomatoes? Why do we breed cats that can't move (in a way that my cats would call "moving"), and goats that "faint"?

There is no purpose to any of the modifications these creatures have undergone, except to give us pleasure. We choose to keep these traits around simply because we like them. They are often detrimental to the survival of the individual; indeed, one must wonder, if it weren't for humans, would there be any bulldogs left? In this context, one must question how splicing a fish gene into a tomato plant so that it can survive a frost could possibly be "inherently evil".

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