Archive for February, 2010

Stupid Human Tricks

February 27, 2010

When Tilly the whale drowned one of his trainers during a show at Sea World Orlando, he became the latest animal demonstrating what might be called frustration with being held in captivity. 

Tilly’s attack brought to mind Montecore the tiger.  Montecore attacked and nearly killed Roy of Siegfried and Roy during a stage show in 2003.  No one gave much credence to Siegfried’s claim that Montecore nearly severed Roy’s jugular because he was trying to save him.  The public was more in agreement with Chris Rock’s assessment: “That tiger went tiger!”  The attack left Roy permanently disabled.

Captive killer whales — which are actually dolphins — live shorter lives in captivity than in the wild, and are known to attack their handlers.  That hasn’t stopped Sea World from insisting that Tilly is harmless, even though Tilly has been implicated in at least two other human deaths.  Officials at Sea World were quick to assure the public that Sea World would never knowingly put its trainers in harm’s way, and that keeping Tilly in captivity is important to avoid paying a huge wrongful death claim to the family of the trainer, since euthanizing the animal would tend to prove that it was too dangerous for animal research. 

Since the attack, the following theories have been put forth about Tilly’s “intentions”:

1. The “Long Hair Don’t Care” Theory:  Tilly was distracted by the trainer’s long blonde ponytail, so he grabbed it.  

Why, to give her a scrunchie?  This sounds a lot like the claim that Montecore the tiger got “distracted” by something in the audience just before he grabbed Roy by the neck.  In both cases, the distraction theory makes no sense.

2. The “I Get Lonely” Theory: Tilly was bored and lonely in captivity, so he wanted someone to play with. 

If an orca was bored and lonely, wouldn’t you think he’d seek out another orca, rather than a human female?

3. The “Me So Horny” Theory:  Tilly was trying to get his freak on with the trainer.

Tilly is quite the swordsman — having sired 14 calves, he is Sea World’s top stud.  By now, you’d think he’s figured out how this whale sex thing works.   Besides, have your naughty parts ever tingled with excitement after watching a whale or dolphin show?  We don’t excite them, either.

4. The “I’se Ti’ed” or “Going Postal” Theory

This one says that the whale was pissed off because it was tired and overworked, and just snapped.  No duh.

5. The “Did I Do That?” Theory:  Tilly intended to pull the trainer into the water, but he didn’t necessarily intend the result. 

Supporters of this theory point to the fact that a killer whale can “tear apart a blue whale.”  Well, that may be true, but this trainer was no blue whale.  Killer whales are not known to prey on humans (perhaps because humans do not live in the icy waters of the Pacific), but killer whales in captivity– including Tilly himself — have been known to attack and kill their handlers.  Killer whales use a variety of techniques to disable and then destroy their prey.  No doubt orcas know that humans can’t breathe underwater. 

6. The “Because It’s a Freaking Killer Whale” Theory

This, of course, is the only theory that makes sense.  Why did Tilly kill the trainer?  Because he could.  As columnist Mansfield Frazier said on The Daily Beast:

“They are supposed to be swimming free in their natural environment, not imprisoned in a tank and reduced to mere things that folks pay to gawk at. And no matter how much ‘training’ they receive, their nature can never be changed; they can always, like lions and tigers and bears, revert back to their instinctive behaviors, where anything that is not of their species is either a threat … or lunch.”

We don’t know if Tilly would have eaten the trainer if left to his own devices.   He may have been hungry.  He may have just been tired of performing tricks and having the trainer shovel dead fish into his mouth as rewards for performing some tricks.  It doesn’t matter.  Orcas are wild, predatory animals, and their reasons for killing are not our reasons.

At some point, one hopes that people — and by “people” I mean the owners of zoos, aquariums, aquatic shows, circuses, and the public that keeps these venues in business — realize that capturing wild animals for display, breeding them in captivity, and training them to perform tricks, is wrong.  It is wrong because it is against the animals’ nature, and forcing them to do things they were not born to do will eventually backfire. 

Tigers do not want to perform on stage in Las Vegas, chimps do not want to live in houses and drink wine, and killer whales do not want to swim around in large swimming pools and be ridden by women with long blonde hair.  Until humans figure this out, it is only a matter of time until we learn the “name” of yet another animal who has attacked or killed its human captor, to be followed by completely idiotic excuses for why the animal behaved like an animal.


John Mayer and the Magic Vagina

February 11, 2010

By now, John Mayer has been hashed and re-hashed to death, his “David Duke cock” and “nigger pass” comments analyzed from nearly every angle.  Except one.  While most people have focused on the racial aspect of Mayer’s statements, few have focused on Mayer’s remarks about women, sex and relationships. 

Take, for example, his comments about Jessica Simpson, his off-and-on companion for 10 months.  Mayer spoke at length about having sex with Simpson.  He referred to sex with Simpson as “a drug,” specifically “crack cocaine,” and said that their sex was “sexual napalm.”  

Strikingly, although he said a lot about having sex with Simpson, he said nothing about her.  Although it was a bit déclassé for Mayer to expose details of his sex life with Simpson, it wasn’t shocking — it’s a Playboy interview, after all.  And almost everyone I know has some sexual napalm in their past.  The problem is, in reference to Jessica Simpson, Mayer spoke about nothing else.  It’s as if she didn’t exist for him as a person beyond the amazing sex.

This is nothing new for the juvenile and emotionally stunted Mayer, who once listed “a vagina you can just camp out on…the Joshua Tree of vaginas” as one of the key qualities in a potential mate.  His remarks about Simpson reminded me of a comment (from a man) that showed up in my Twitter feed well before Mayer’s Playboy interview became public:

“Once a weak brother gets a taste of some powerful punanny, his ass will kill 4 his next hit.. Its Heroin 4 his ass.” 

Like Mayer, this man used the language of addiction to describe the power of a woman’s sexual attractiveness.  And as Mayer said, “drugs aren’t good for you if you do lots of them.”  Addictions are unhealthy — scary, dangerous and life-threatening.  Addictions make people weak, because they will do anything to secure their next fix. 

But according to the tweet, only a weak man is unable to resist becoming addicted to the powerful punnany.    By likening the vagina to a drug, a man can enjoy getting high off the good stuff, as long as he doesn’t form any lasting emotional attachment.  In fact, objectifying the vagina makes it easier for the man to insulate himself from emotional attachment.

Women tend not to understand that (some) men think this way.  Ashanti had a song, “Good Good,” where she boasted that her man would never leave her for another woman because she “put it on him right, every night.” 

I wouldn’t suggest any woman take relationship advice from an Ashanti song.  Having that good good, or as I like to call it, the magic vagina, may keep a man coming back for sex, but not much more.  If  the sex is habit-forming, a man who’s addicted eventually may decide he needs to break the habit.

Several years ago, I was involved in a brief but intense relationship.  The man was my sexual napalm and I was his crack cocaine.  He also had all the qualities — looks, intellect, sense of humor, shared goals and outlook on life — I wanted in a partner.  We got along great, in and out of bed.  I didn’t start ring shopping, but I did start thinking this man and I could have had a future together.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.  For years, I wondered why.

I ran into him again a few years ago.  The attraction was still there, dangerously so.  But he was married, and rekindling the old flames was not an option.  Nevertheless, we met for drinks, and finally talked about our past history. 

He was kind, but spoke of our sexual chemistry with a mix of awe and fear.  I suddenly understood why he hadn’t viewed me as a potential partner.  For him, I had been the magic vagina.  And he had been addicted.  The lies and half-truths he told — including the “I love you’s” — were his way of paying the dealer (me) to maintain his supply.  He had enjoyed using, but was now happy to be clean.

He made no mention of any of the things that I had always thought made us so compatible.  For me, the great sex was a sign of compatibility, reinforced by the time we spent together.  For him, the wining and dining and first class treatment were means to an end.  I was the Five Star Jump Off — the one you take to restaurants with Michelin stars instead of McDonald’s, but a jump off still the same.  I was grateful to know why it hadn’t worked, but saddened at the same time.

Mayer touches on how good sex can lead to misguided feelings in his Playboy interview:

MAYER: Here’s what I really want to do at 32: fuck a girl and then, as she’s sleeping in bed, make breakfast for her. So she’s like, “What? You gave me five vaginal orgasms last night, and you’re making me a spinach omelet? You are the shit!” So she says, “I love this guy.” I say, “I love this girl loving me.” And then we have a problem. Because that entails instant relationship. I’m already playing house. And when I lose interest she’s going to say, “Why would you do that if you didn’t want to stick with me?” 

There are lessons for both men and women in all of this.  No one, especially women, should mistake great sex for love.  A guy who can make you come five times in one night is . . . a guy who can make you come five times in one night.  If he makes you the best spinach omelet the next morning, that just means he can cook.  Even if he says the “L” word, be careful — if there are other warning signs, he may just be loving you loving him.  If it’s just great sex without any real commitment, it’s probably best to leave the great sex alone.

Easier said than done, I know.