Consider the lexicon of hunting. Humans walk into “the wilderness,” sneak up on critters, and blow them away with high-powered machinery. The inequity of our actions, however, in no way prevents us from glorifying hunting as a noble endeavor—a culture— that meaningfully binds us to the natural world. Words allow us to create and celebrate that unreality.
Language– in particular the ability to harness it’s power to tell stories—is arguably a phenomenon that makes us unique as humans. Whether or not this ability confers upon us special moral status is a topic of debate, but as as I see it, while the ability to forge narratives enriches life in an essential way, language also serves to undermine our humanity as much as deepen its worth.
Violence, for one, thrives on the distortion of language. When we harm others we account for it by twisting language to articulate a legitimate culture that excuses that harm. Consider the lexicon of hunting. Humans walk into “the wilderness,” sneak up on critters, and blow them away with high-powered machinery. The inequity of our actions, however, in no way prevents us from glorifying hunting as a noble endeavor—a culture— that meaningfully binds us to the natural world. Words allow us to create and celebrate that unreality.
To grasp how unreal reality can quickly become under the influence of language melded with a predilection for savagery, it helps to check in every now and then with the Texas Hunting Forum, where language renders violence the norm. Pour a stiff one, because here’s what’s happening:
Erich: “i’ve heard that you can castrate feral boars and then either raise them or turn them loose and that they will put on a lot more weight and will improve the quality of the meat. is this true? has anyone done it? any advice on how to do it? does it do any good to castrate one that is already an adult age animal? or does it have to be done when they are young. seems like it’d be a difficult task, but seems like there’s enough folks out there that do it. was just wondering if it was worth the hassle.”
Big Tuna: “yeah they call those barr hogs. When they are castrated they supposedly loose interest in mating and just eat so they get massive. Not sure about how it affects the meat. I guess you would have to use a tranquilizer to neuter them but not sure.”
Texaswolf: “It gets their mind of @ss and puts it on Grass…..I knew a guy on our old lease who would catch them and put a tight rubber band around their Nutz and they would eventualy fall off due to poor circulation…..????? Not sure because I never saw it done but at the time, it made sense…..”
elliscountyhog: “We cut 4 boars this weekend and yes it will cause them to grow faster and bigger with bigger tusk and most of all it shortens there home range up. Just make a small slice and pop em out and cut off then use cut and heal and they are good to go.”
dwayne2003: “This would turn the hog into a ‘barrow’ hog which is what pork producers do; it is best done at a young age if you are gonna feed them out for pork. Texas A&M is doing a study with boar hogs in the TDCJ hog farms to see if they can castrate mature boars and see if it will improve meat quality of those boars so they can then be slaughtered.”
ccbaseball: “haha sounds funny but then again point of getting rid of them is so they are destructive and dont compete with deer.cool info tho.”
CFR: “A common practice here in Florida is to trap them, cut them, and then let them loose. The result is a better quality meat, bigger hogs, and bigger teeth, as they do not fight as much and break them off.”
It goes on.. But if anything here is clear it’s that language is all too easily used to forge sick cultures of hatred under the guise of normal. People who speak this way about sentient beings who, for all their power, lack the ability to fight narratives with counter-narratives (and thus have no truck in our big verbal mud sling), should have their right to use their words severely curtailed. Their hatred and insensitivity is that blatant. It has no place is civilized society.
Like so much of our language, it’s hate speech. And I hate it.
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