Anthony Weiner, Jon Stewart share a good teehee over animal abuse.

February 5th, 2010 by

The Daily Show logo

“For my next bit, I shall kick a puppy. Bolstered by your applause, I may urinate on it as well.”
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Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) appeared on The Daily Show last night, ostensibly to discuss health care reform. At one point, the conversation turned towards politics, with Stewart referencing Weiner’s failed 2005 mayoral race against Bloomberg, as well as his decision not to run in 2009, after Bloomberg successfully petitioned the NY City Council to extend existing term limits. The conversation quickly devolved, with two generally progressive men comparing Bloomberg to an enslaved animal, and snickering over animal abuse culminating in murder:

Stewart: Are you – uh – running for mayor? My feeling was you could have defeated Bloomberg in this cycle – uh, but, you did not run. Are you gonna run the next time

Weiner: I could have – I would’ve beaten Bloomberg like a rented mule, [cue raucous audience laughter] but I decided, I uh…[pause for audience cheering; Weiner laughs, Stewart nods head in agreement]

Stewart: Okay, how much does it cost to rent that mule? Because…

Weiner: It’s an expensive mule.

There’s so much speciesism packed into these four (three, really) short sentences; where to begin?

– Mocking abused and enslaved animals? Check.

– Making light of animal abuse? Check.

– Intimating that you yourself would like to beat an animal to death? Check.

– Objectifying a sentient being by referring to him/her as an “it”? Check.

– Unquestioningly referring to an animal as rentable property? Check.

As much as I dislike similar expressions (e.g., “I don’t have a dog in this fight.”; “Let’s kill two birds with one stone.”), comically joking about “beating a rented mule” has got to be one of the worst of the bunch. The image conjured up by this phrase – that of an exhausted, elderly “pack” animal, already worked to the brink of death, being bought, paid for, and used like a punching bag on which to take out one’s frustrations – is pitiful and sickening. To laugh at such misery and suffering is…well, it’s fucked up. Serial killer fucked up.

To be fair, I doubt that Weiner, Stewart and others who callously employ these phrases spend much time deconstructing the comparisons they’re making. But ignorance isn’t an excuse. And words matter.

Video after the jump (fast forward to 4:30 for the fauxgressive bravado):

 

 

Alas, Jon Stewart/Comedy Central/the Daily Show interns found this “punch line” so hi-larious that they actually featured it on the video blurb and description.

After watching this interview, I find myself wanting to hit someone, but it sure as hell isn’t an innocent mule, rented or otherwise.

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Videos in this post

The Daily Show – February 4, 2010
Anthony Weiner: If Anthony Weiner had run for mayor of New York City, he would have beaten Mike Bloomberg like a rented mule. (6.52)

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One Response to “Anthony Weiner, Jon Stewart share a good teehee over animal abuse.”

  1. “Beating a(n almost-) dead horse” in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. » POP! goes The Vegan. Says:

    […] banter with Congressman Anthony Weiner about “beating” Michael Bloomberg “like a rented mule,” I haven’t been able to distance myself from the images evoked by this phrase. While […]

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