Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Surprise! Jezebel's Anna North defends Sarah Palin's hunting

If you're a meat-eater like Sorkin, quit wringing your hands over Palin's hunting trips
We can't remember Jezebel, the gossip site for leftist women, ever defending Sarah Palin on anything. But then again, we don't pay close attention to any of the gutter gossip websites that are under the Gawker Media umbrella until one of them gives us good reason to. Gawker's big fail of posting photos of some pages of Gov. Palin newest book (which a judge decreed had to be taken down) before its release was one of those occasions. Now Ana North, a writer for Jezebel, has given us reason again with her unexpected defense of Gov. Palin.

Make no mistake, North doesn't like our Sarah much at all, and she manages to get her little digs in at the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate. But North at least has the intellectual honesty to admit that the attacks on Gov. Palin and her hunting episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" are unwarranted and hypocritical. North singles out screenwriter/producer/cocaine connoisseur Aaron Sorkin, who slammed Gov. Palin for hunting in a recent HuffPo hit piece:
Everybody has a different moral compass when it comes to food. But does feeling a little bit bad about the animals you eat make you superior to someone who feels cool enough about the whole thing to flay a reindeer on television? Sorry, it doesn't.


Sorkin also says to Palin, "for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing." But famed ethicist (and vegetarian) Peter Singer made just such a distinction in a 2007 interview: "the aim of a hunter is to kill the animal with as little pain as possible — or it should be. [...] It seems pretty clear that the dogs that didn't fight well that Michael Vick and his associates killed were not killed instantly at all." Singer also says that dog-fighting and hunting "are both really very minor cruelties in the terms of the scale of things. The big thing that is going undiscussed here is the industrial raising of animals for food."

You can talk all you want about how gross it is to butcher an animal on television, or how unseemly it may be to celebrate when that animal dies. But squeamishness and decorum don't help the billions of animals killed in slaughterhouses every year.


Hunting has its problems too, but if you're going to eat meat, there's something to be said for eating an animal that got to live in its natural habitat and eat its natural diet (rather than, say, the corn-based cattle feed that may be contributing to antibiotic resistance). And while Palin may intend to make political hay out of her caribou kill, she's also clearly planning to eat the beast — she and her dad skin it carefully and she explicitly states that it's going to feed her family.


But if you're meat-eater like Sorkin, getting your meat in a package from a slaughterhouse is no better than shooting it yourself (provided you hunt in a legal and sustainable way) — and really, it might well be worse. So to anyone who eats factory-farmed meat, quit wringing your hands over Sarah Palin's hunting trips and find something better to criticize her about.

Related: See also Gov. Palin is a Real Hunter, the most recent in a trifecta of excellent posts by Ron Devito on Sarah Palin and hunting.

- JP

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