Stephen Colbert on Temple Grandin : “It’s really a pro-business story.”

February 23rd, 2010 by

On Notice (but really Dead to Me) - ASPCA, PETA & HSUS

Though it’s taken me far too long, here’s the promised writeup of Claire Danes’s February 10th appearance on The Colbert Report.

Seeing as Danes was making the rounds in support of her new biopic, Temple Grandin, I expected to come away from this interview with a knot of frustration and anger in my stomach. In fact, I actually put off watching it for this very reason. (Which is no small feat for a fangirl of my caliber, I tell you what!) Happily, as with the Foer interview, I was pleasantly surprised by Stephen’s treatment of the subject matter.

As you can see in the video (and partial transcript) below, Stephen plays the devil’s (animals’, really) advocate, maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism in the face of claims about Grandin’s “affinity” for and “love” of nonhuman animals. He equates killing and eating cows with killing and eating dogs, to horrifically comical effect. And, best of all, the phrase “animal rights” is not uttered once, in contrast to reports of previous appearances in which Danes praised Grandin as an “animal rights advocate” – and, likewise, described herself as a supporter of animal rights (their right not to be killed and eaten seemingly aside).

[On a side note – Dear fluffyfun “green” and/or vegetarian celebrity gossip sites: can y’all please stop referring to Grandin as an “animal rights activist”? She is no such thing, and to refer to her brand of “advocacy” as rights-based is to shift the entire debate towards the exploitative. And your thoughts on welfare reform? Totally irrelevant. This is a factual dispute, not a matter of opinion. Thanks much!]

While I hadn’t intended to write such a lengthy transcript, once I started typing, I couldn’t stop. Stephen’s quips – and Danes’s reactions – are just that good. If you can, you really need to watch the video to fully appreciate Danes’s flailing responses to Stephen’s gentle-yet-snarky nudging.

It’s all after the jump, yo.

Danes: “[S]he’s also really interested in animals and animal science and designed a system in which cows would walk calmly to their deaths – so they wouldn’t be mistreated and prodded and it was also really economically efficient for the cattle industry.” […]

Colbert: “So I have her to thank for my constant intake of beef.”

“Yes, you do! You do!”

“So it’s really kind of a pro-business story, isn’t it?”

“Exactly, yeah. It is, is it.”

“Does she – does she – does she…empathize with the cow?”

“Yeah, I think to a certain extent…[in response to audience laughter]…well, yes, she wants very much for them to have a good experience while they’re alive. She doesn’t want them to suffer.”

“Yes, ‘a good experience’ until it becomes ‘the worst possible experience.'” [Here, Danes laughs along with the audience, seemingly at the absurdity of her own – and/or Grandin’s – logic.] “Because I empathize with my dog, and I’m not sure whether my idea of expressing my affection would be to open a puppy slaughter house.”

“Yeah, I know. I mean, I know it seems kind of paradoxical, but, but, yeah, she believes that while they’re here, we have a responsibility to make sure that they have…a good time.”



Videos in this post

The Colbert Report – Wednesday, February 10, 2010 – Claire Danes
Claire Danes describes her role as an autistic woman who designed a system where cows can walk easily to their death. (05:51)

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2 Responses to “Stephen Colbert on Temple Grandin : “It’s really a pro-business story.””

  1. Mark Hawthorne Says:

    So, Claire Danes imagines that animals raised for food are having a “good time” before reaching a slaughterhouse? Apparently, she’s never visited a feedlot or been to one of the dairy industry’s mega-farms. Yes, it’s a laugh riot in there.

  2. Kelly G. Says:

    Danes mentioned that she spent a day shadowing Grandin, but I doubt that included a visit to a feedlot or slaughterhouse. Or if it did, there’s some major mental gymnastics going on. Either way, her attitude is nauseating.

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