Love your neighbour as yourself

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I love dogs and little children. It’s an old line. I used to include it in biographies to people who have to introduce me at conferences and the like.

It’s meant to impress on people who don’t know me just what a great guy I am. How wonderful, they all think. He loves dogs and little kids. A man like that is worth listening to, worth knowing.

“Your Honour,” defence counsel says, emotion almost choking his words, “I know my client has been convicted of horrible crimes against humanity in the writing of this column. However, I beg you to remember that he loves dogs and little children.”

“I hear you, I hear you,” the judge replies, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief. “Mr. Smith, I am sentencing you to several weekends of supervising high-class call girls in Las Vegas, Nevada, together with $10,000 spending money for your own pleasure.”

Aside: “What a man! He loves dogs and little children.”

Then, some years ago, I realized to my horror that I didn’t love all dogs. There were dogs, and then there were dogs. There are Labrador retrievers, which are absolutely beautiful animals, and then there are pit bulls that only a mother pitbull could love.

I stayed quiet about pit bulls for some time, not wanting to upset the general belief that I was a dog and children lover par excellence.

But before long, I discovered that an adolescent pit bull could bring down a rogue elephant with one leg tied behind his back while holding off a Siberian tiger with the other. Me being the passive individual that I am, I couldn’t relate to that kind of naked aggression.

The final blow came last week in the person of one Honey Boo-Boo.

Honey Boo-Boo isn’t a child, she’s a caricature of a child. The whole family (God bless them everyone) is a poster family for “poor, white trash.” If you watch them for more than 10 minutes, you can feel your IQ dropping like the temperature in St. John’s East when the fog rolls in off Signal Hill.

If sweat houses in the Third World are immoral, if forcing adolescent boys to become soldiers in civil wars in Africa is totally obscene, if forcing female children into prostitution is beyond our ability to find words to express outrage, then putting that family on display for the world to laugh at and ridicule has got to be worthy of a first-degree homicide indictment with the appropriate punishment waiting in the background.

Perhaps now you’d like to ask me what I think of that show.

Actually, it’s a roaring success. People I ask say they really like it. When I ask if it’s because they like that unfortunate little child, they say “Heavens, no.” When I ask if they admire the family, they burst out “Hell, no!”

So, what do they like about it? “It’s great entertainment! It’s as funny as the devil. Those people are weird beyond belief. You never know what they’re going to say next.”

Question to viewer: So, do you think they’re ignorant in the narrow sense of that word?

“Lord, yes, in both senses of that word.”

Question: Do you think people ridicule them?

“Absolutely!”

Question: Do you think they know they’re being ridiculed?

“No way. No sensible person would subject themselves and their family to the ridicule of millions of viewers.”

Question: Do you think they’re acting the part of ignorant, illiterate hillbillies, and not really like that at all?

“If they are acting, there is no question but that the family, in whole and individually, should receive Academy Awards!”

I asked these and other questions of people who watch television. These were 99 per cent of the responses I got. Some thought Honey Boo-Boo was a beautiful child with a sweet personality who was perhaps a little advanced beyond her years. In short, she’s somewhat precocious.

Right. Precocious. Right.

The people who enjoyed and appreciated that child were also those who enjoyed the

“Diapers and Tiaras” shows where they push protesting and crying little children into a “beauty pageant” as though they were 18 or 20. It’s unbelievably cruel and an outstanding example of child abuse.

To pinpoint poor Honey as not being the kind of child you’d like to find in your Christmas stocking, is totally unfair. She’s a product of her environment, and, O man! What an environment!

Take a good look at the loins from which she sprung, or as they might say, sprang. What may be the value of the genes contributed by Papa Bear? (I think that’s what they call him.) Would you take the Missus to a meeting of your card club, or your book club or your gym class or your food bank group or your — I think you get my drift.

Perhaps if you were having a meeting of the “Flatulence for Freedom” group, she might feel right at home.

You may have seen the clip where the family is being photovideo’d and Mother decides to let one rip. This isn’t the softer, subdued, excuse-me kind of gentle release which many people can’t control due to an intestinal disorder.

This was the full-fledged, down-and-dirty intestinal explosion that one often hears in a boy’s bathroom, usually following the words, “Hey boys, can anyone here match this one?”

The real villains in this piece are the producers who are exploiting these people for every cent they can get. I wonder what Honey Boo-Boo and her family are being paid for this “reality TV” series.

It’s beyond atrocious when people are taken advantage of to this extent. I have enough problems with the toddler beauty pageants, but when children like Honey Boo-Boo are being raised in this climate, someone needs to have a good look at the definition of child abuse.

The whole group may well have a future as the poster family for Beano.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.

His email address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.

Geographic location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Africa, Springdale.His

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