Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing

A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing
(c) Bob Perrin 3.30.07

As is my usual custom, I was thumbing thru the books at the local bookstore on my lunch break ( I try to get there at least once a week) and I happened to momentarily glance out the front window.

Across the street from the bookstore were two people holding a huge bright yellow banner about twenty five feet long that read "SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, ON YOU". with no other words other than a small communications company name in small letters in the lower corner, and since it was directly across the street from the bookstore pointed in the direction of it, I thought it may be a protest of some sort against the bookstore itself.

I walked over to the pimple faced teenaged clerk behind the counter, paid for my magazine and as he was ringing it up I asked him "whats with the banner across the street?". His reply was "Oh its probably some kind of stunt or something". Well, one sense that I have that overshadows all my others, is my sense of curiosity, and today it got the better of me. I walked out of the bookstore and crossed the street and asked one of the people holding the banner what it was for.

A man approached me and handed me a flyer and said "you have to read this". I folded the paper in half without really looking at it I and asked the man if he could tell me what it was all about?. He said I'd have to read the flyer and he didn't really know what it was all about, he was just getting paid to hold the sign.

Wow I thought, this is pretty strange, these people are holding a huge banner in the middle of the busiest part of town at lunchtime with hordes of people passing by, and don't even know what the sign means? Pretty weird Heh?. Well I just couldn't let it go, so I asked the man one last question. "Ok let me get this straight, your'e getting paid to hold a sign and you haven't got a clue what it means". He replied "yup". I thanked him for not punching me and walked back across the street to the bookstore, and thru the window, I watched the man walk over and pick up one of the flyers and start to read it.

Now to most people walking down the street at lunchtime it wasn't even a blip on their radar, but to me it was a monumental moment in time. The message on the flyer was just some more union dribble about a company not providing proper benefits to its contract workers ( the kind you see all the time around town). But the real message for me was that some company could get people to hold a sign for a few bucks and not even care if the people even knew what it was advocating.

I''m going to use the experience I had today as a preface to a much larger, much more controversial issue on my mind so bear with me for a moment.

I recently ran across an article on the web about Dr.Charles Roselli, a genetic research scientist from The Oregon Health and Science University studying the mating habits of sheep. Ok, now stop laughing, I'm trying to be serious here. P.E.T.A. as we all know by now as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is objecting to the research. Why? well, it seems that Roselli's research has uncovered some interesting facts about the rams in the herd. About 8 percent of the rams aren't interested in mating with the opposite sex sheep, the rams are gay, and P.E.T.A. was really quick to pounce on the fact that Roselli was euthanizing sheep and looking at their brain tissue to understand why. Not exactly catch and release kind of research. Roselli uses about 18 sheep a year in his research, a far cry from the 4 million or so cultivated wordwide for food and wool.

Why would P.E.T.A. zero in on Roselli?. Maybe this will explain it better. P.E.T.A. asked its membership to write this letter to the university president. "I find it appalling that experimenters are cutting open and killing gay sheep in an attempt to 'cure' homosexual tendencies in animals. These experiments also carry the insidious implication that homosexuality in humans needs to be cured."

Roselli's research is really more about understanding animal populations and saving endangered animals from extinction rather that trying to stir up the gay rights pot as P.E.T.A. apparently is. The Image of a fuzzy, helpless animal getting ripped apart by a mad scientist is a powerful one, and I guess P.E.T.A. needs more sheep stories to feed to its own sheep like followers.

The Honorable R. Albert Mohler Jr, President of the Southern Baptist Seminary enters the room about this time, throws his card on the game table and spews out his version of the now infamous Roselli research.The plot thickens. Mr Mohler supports Rosseli"s research because he thinks it could lead to the ground breaking discovery that being gay could somehow be reversed before birth. And I thought the people holding the banner were weird. This guy has a whole flock of potential banner wielding sheep at his disposal if he can drum up a good enough argument and then "bang" before you know it we could have designer babies popping out all over the place. Just choose your colors and a sexual preference and its on its way in only nine short months.

I guess I'm in the wrong business or something, sitting here at the computer while these brainiacs are pulling in boatloads of cash.

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