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On the Subjugation of Pit Bulls

On the Subjugation of Pit Bulls

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Published by Kelly Jolley
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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kelly Jolley on Sep 28, 2011
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OntheSubjugationofPitBulls
l
Weneedtodothreethingswherethepitbullisconcerned.Ifwearegoingtomakeacaseforhim,wemustrecognizewhereweare;wemustunderstandhowtocopewithwhereweare;andwemustfindnewvisionsforour(hisandour)future.IhavemodeledmytitleonthetitleofJohnStuartMill'swonderfulbook,OntheSubjectionofWomen.Mill'sbookisonethatshedsbrightlightontheconceptof'subjection'orof'subjugation'.
WhereWeAre:Facingthe
Trenchworks
Ifwearegoingtothinkclearlyaboutpitbulls-ifwearegoingtolearntoseethem,reallytoseethem-thenwehavetounderstandwhatcloudsourthought,andwhatobscuresourvision.J.S.MillbeginshisOntheSubjectionofWomenbyexplainingtheparticulardifficultofhistask:TheverywordsnecessarytoexpressthetaskIhaveundertaken,showhowarduousitis.Butitwouldbeamistaketosupposethatthedifficultyofthecasemustlieintheinsufficiencyortheobscurityofthegroundsofreasononwhichmyconvictionrests.Thedifficultyisthatwhichexistsinallcasesinwhichthereisamassoffeelingtobecontendedagainst.Solongasopinonisstronglyrootedinthefeelings,itgainsratherthanlosesinstabilitybyhavingapreponderatingweightofargumentagainstit.Forifitwereacceptedasaresultofargument,therefutationoftheargumentmightshakethesolidityoftheconviction;butwhenitrestssolelyonfeeling,theworseitfaresinargumentativecontest,themorepersuadeditsadherentsarethattheirfeelingsmusthavesomedeeperground,whichtheargumentsdonotreach;andwhilethefeelingremains,itisalwaysthrowingupfreshintrenchmentsofargumenttorepairanybreachmadeintheold.Mill'scommentsherecaptureexactlytheproblemthatfacesanyonewhowouldcontendforthepitbull.Whatwearecontendingagainstisamassoffeeling-not,touseadistinctionofLudwigWittgenstein's-amistake,butratherasuperstition.Thepitbullisnolongeradog,notinthepopularimagination.Heisinsteadacreatureofmythand(urban)legend,madeofsomenetherworldstuff-notacreatureofflesh,acreature
1
Thispaperiswritteninhomageto,andundertheheavyinfluenceof,thewritingsofVickiHearne.
1
 
thatbleeds.Whenpeoplelookatapitbull,theydonotseehim,reallyseehim;insteadtheyimaginizetheirperceptionsofhim,and"see"somethingthat,intruth,isnotthere.Atsomelevel,Ibelieve,theyknowthat-theyknowthat
seeingtheydonotsee.
Butthatdoesnotpromptasecondlookorasecondthought:itinsteadincreasestheirfearofthedog.Here'smoreMill.Ineveryrespecttheburthenishardonthosewhoattackanalmostuniversalopinion.Theymustbeveryfortunate...toobtainahearingatall.Theyhavemoredifficultyobtainingatrial,thananyotherlitigantshaveingettingaverdict.Iftheydoextortahearing,theyaresubjectedtoasetoflogicalrequirementstotallydifferentfromthoseexactedfromotherpeople.Inallothercases,theburthenofproofissupposedtoliewiththeaffirmative.Ifapersonischargedwithmurder,itrestswiththosewhoaccusehimtogiveproofofhisguilt,notwithhimselftoprovehisinnocence...Again,inpracticalmatters,theburthenofproofissupposedtobewiththosewhoareagainstliberty;whocontendforanyrestrictionorprohibition;oranydisqualificationordisparityofprivilegeaffectingonepersonorkindofpersons,ascomparedwithothers...ButofnoneoftheseruleswillthebenefitbeallowedtothosewhomaintaintheopinionIprofess...BeforeIcouldhopetomakeanyimpression,Ishouldbeexpectednotonlytoanswerallthathaseverbeensaidbythosewhotaketheothersideofthequestion,buttoimagineallthatcouldbesaidbythem-tofindtheminreasons,aswellasanswerallIfind:andbesidesrefutingallargumentsfortheaffirmative,Ishallbecalledupontoproveanegative.AndevenifIcoulddoallthis,andleavetheoppositepartywithahostofunansweredargumentsagainstthem,andnotasingleunrefutedoneontheirside,Ishouldbethoughttohavedonelittle;foracausesupportedontheonehandbyuniversalusage,andontheotherbysogreatapreponderanceofpopularsentiment,issupposedtohaveapresumptioninitsfavour,superiortoanyconvictionwhichanappealtoreasonhaspowertoproduce...Igoonaboutthis,andIquoteMillatsomelength,becauseweoftenthinkthatmakingthecaseforthepitbullisreallyjustamatterofshowingthatthepitbulldoesnotgotoandfroontheearth,walkingupanddownonit,seekingwhomheshoulddevour.Wethinkthatifwesmileindulgentlyandsay,"Butmydog'sasweetheart,aclown",wemakeargumentativeheadwayagainstthosewhofearthepitbull.Butallwereallydois2
 
persuadethemthattheyseebetterthanwedo,thattheirfeelingsaboutthedoghavereachedtosomegroundthatwecannotorwillnotreach;andtheirmassoffeelinggetsreinforcedbytheirsuspectingthatwearenomoretrustworthythanourobviouslyunstabledog.Weshouldrecognizethatthereisadeepergroundfortheirfeelings.Thosewhofearthepitbullarereactingtosomethingreal,eveniftheyreactinappropriatelytoit.Again,theyarenotjustmakingamistake.Thepitbullwasbredtobegame,andhisgamenesswasestablishedbybattle-testinghim,byranginghiminthepitagainstanotherofhiskind.Sinceitishisgamenessthatisthegroundofourownfeelingsforhim,weshouldrecognizethat
it
istheveryfeatureofthedogthattheirfearisrootedinthatistheoneinwhichourrespectandloveforhimisrooted.
Gameness
Gamenessintimidates.Thegamedogisnotadogthatcanbeeasilytypified.Thegamedogis,preciselybecauseheisgame,unspecialized,indeterminate,inawaythatpeopleareunusedto.Peoplewantdogstobespecialized,determinate-theywantdogstohaveamanifestdestiny,ateleologicaldoghouse.Adogwhosedestinyisnotmanifest,adogthat
hasasayinitsowndestiny,
--that'sadogthatdiscomfortspeople.Butagamedogisexactlysuchadog,adogthathasasayinitsowndestiny,adogthatcancommandagreatershareofdignityandagreatershareofourlivesthandogswhoseonlylogicisbiological.Thepitbullisadogthathasasayinhisowndestiny;hecanbeinitiated,
hecaneveninitiatehimself,
intosignificantstretchesofourformoflife.Hecanalso
refuse
initiation.Thismakeshimmorethanapet,evenifitleaveshimlessthanfullyoneofus.And,whenheisinitiated,ashealmostalwaysis,heisfarlessbotheredbyhissameness-in-differencethanweare.Heismoregraciousthanweare-andgraciousnessisaspecificformofgameness.
It
isherethatwehavefullyinfrontofustherootofpeople'sfearofthepitbull:heisgamebuttheyarenot;or,iftheyaregame,heisgamemoredeeplyandexistentiallythantheycanbeorimaginebeing.Letmebeclearer.Tobegameistobefully,absolutelyfully,committed.SorenKierkegaardwroteabookcalledPurityofHemiistoWillOneThing.Tobegameistobepureofheart.'Thepitbullispureofheart,absolutelypure.Hemeanswhathedoes,andhemust.Heisalwaysingoodearnest.Heoftenplaystheclown-butwhenheplaystheclown,he
clowns,
fullstop.Hedoesnothinghalfway;hedoesnothinghalf-heartedly;heisincapableofdouble-mindedness.
3
2
VickiHearnesaidthisbeforeme.Shewasright.
3
"Purityofheart:
itisafigureofspeechthatcomparesthehearttothesea,andwhyjusttothis?Simplyforthereasonthatthedepthoftheseadeterminesitspurity,anditspuritydeterminesitstransparency...Astheseamirrorstheelevationofheaveninitspuredepths,somaytheheartwhenitiscalmanddeeplytransparentmirrorthedivineelevationoftheGoodinitspuredepths."Kierkegaard
3

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