A couple of weeks back news leaked out about a farm, a supposedly 'ethical' duck farm, where – along with many, many breaches of various animal cruelty laws - one of the employees was caught on camera punching out one of the ducks. I've seen the video; a sweet left hook, right on the side of the beak. The result was never in question after that, although I believe the duck took it to a points decision, with the twelve-toed Norfolk farm goon coming out on top. The East Anglia Human/Duck fist fighting belt is safe for another year. Some say that the ref should have stepped in sooner, that this kind of negative publicity does the proud but misunderstood sport of duck fighting no favours at all. They may well have a point.
I shouldn't laugh really. The video is horrible, like a waterfowl version of Belsen; huge, stinking sheds piled high with dead and dying birds, beakless, featherless and maimed. You know the sort of thing. But I'm ashamed to say that when I heard about this I pissed myself laughing, and subsequently spent an entire afternoon giggling away like a twelve year old who has just heard someone say the word 'beaver'. Because, honestly, who punches a duck?
It's not the obvious method of subduing them. They're not a particularly punchable animal, seeming altogether too weak and thin in the neck for a punch to be any real use. Wring its neck, hit it with a brick, run it over with a quad bike and you're laughing. Punching it is just going to piss it off, not that it can do much about that because IT'S ONLY A FUCKING DUCK, YOU MONO-BROWED HILLBILLY FUCKWIT! JESUS!
Maybe it said something about his mum. Maybe he just likes tormenting animals while his mates film it and somewhere there's footage of him giving a donkey a Chinese burn or kicking an otter in the bollocks. We just don't know. But oh, how I tittered.
The best TV experience I ever had happened on a Tuesday, at about 11:30PM. All the good programming had finished and we'd reached the stage of the evening where I was inevitably handed the remote and told to find something worth watching. I chose a channel at random and we were confronted by a shot of a group of sheepdogs racing around a track. But here's the good bit...each dog had a monkey in a tiny jockey outfit strapped to his back. BAM! Televisual gold! It was only a little clip, no more than a minute in length, but if you can think of anything that will amuse a group of stoners more than sheepdogs being raced by monkey jockeys then please let me know. And I'm sure that those monkeys were terrified. Imagine: strapped to the back of an animal that every instinct it has will be telling it to get the hell away from, careering around a track in a stupid outfit while hundreds of pissed Japanese salarymen place bets and scream blue murder. Terrifying stuff, and I bet they don't have a great life away from the track either. Still, it kept me entertained for a whole minute so hey, fuck it.
Of course it's not just animals; cruelty to people can be just as amusing, as evidenced by websites like Steak and Cheese and Consumption Junction. Most people don't have the stomach for the sort of outrageous and callous brutality displayed on sites like that but it's a sliding scale; everyone has their own line. Even Lisa, a committed veggie, laughed at the monkey thing. So at what point does comedy become cruelty, or vice versa? Maybe it's just me being a wronghead and the right-thinking majority are appalled and horrified at all of this but really... I'm not so sure. Admit it: you love it too. The misfortune of others has been the very soul of humour since one caveman laughed at another caveman for getting hilariously eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger. And that was thousands of years ago; these days we're so divorced from the reality of the things that we laugh at, and so hungry for amusement and diversion, that it's a bazillion times easier to raise a chuckle. So we do. And then we forget about it.
I like ducks. I like monkeys. I like people too, most of the time. But I also like comedy and unfortunately it seems that, at least in the first instance, comedy wins.
So I'm probably not a very good person.
But seriously: who is?