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Dog Daze

These are indeed the Dog Daze of August. After a brief weekend respite from the heat when temperatures plunged to a bracing 92, local forecasters inform me and everyone else that we are due for another bout of triple digits. Only the arrival of football season tickets offers any kind of hope for respite for not only the dog days of August heat, but that other dog-related news cycle.

The odious media spectacle that is the Michael Vick situation has popped back up. There seems to be no rest for the weary, especially those very tired of this whole sordid mess. Mike seems to be learning that not only is it lonely at the top, there is precious little companionship when one is hanging alone from the end of a tree branch, either.

The other two of MV’s co-defendants joined the third in copping a plea with the feds, hoping for judicial restraint in return for promises of gruesome, inflammatory and incriminating testimony against the center of the target. It would seem the law of omerta is not held in high esteem in the 757 hood, particularly when one’s own neck is on the line.

There are now many news reports circulating that, faced with the inevitable, attorneys for Mike are now attempting to negotiate a plea deal with the feds that would finally put an end to this mess. Apparently a guilty plea would head off the RUTS the feds are planning in the form of additional charges. I suspect most of those involved want this over with.

Well, maybe not everybody. No doubt that legion of so-called legal ‘analysts’ now commenting, for a fee, on various television news outlets about criminal proceedings are positively crushed at the possibility of lost television face time pointing out the legal minutia of the Vick situation. Soon enough some celebrity will get them back on the tube.

Executives at that cable channel that has turned this nation’s system of crime and punishment into a spectator sport are also in all likelihood aghast at the notion there would be no Vick trial they could sensationalize. I’m certain their advertising salespeople were already out pitching to sponsors an opportunity to peddle their product or service during court recesses. Those ubiquitous Betty White ads would seem a good choice.

Then there are the folks at ESPN. What will all those talking heads prattle on about if not the ‘barbaric’ Vick? Well, these are the people who in a couple of weeks plan to milk the Virginia Tech shootings into a ratings bonanza, no doubt interspersing footage of the campus tragedy with shots of that number 7 jersey hanging in the NEZ. Since they seem to regard the movie ‘Network’ as an instructional video, I’m sure they will come up with something.

Others who would seem to have a vested interest in dragging the Vick thing out as long as possible would be those responsible, level-headed folks at PETA. They have turned this into a cash cow, uh, make that cash soy-based protein burger. They will have to go back to such run-of-the mill activities such as dumping the contents of lobster tanks or tossing vials of blood at those wearing fur or leather. Not only are there far fewer monetary donations to be had, few television camera crews show up, either. Hopefully, some of the more attractive PETA-affiliated young ladies will return to protesting the wearing of those items while naked. While it doesn’t deter me in the least from wearing leather, I do enjoy the scenery.

One does wonder how PETA’s attempts to parlay the demonization of Vick into a campaign against the eating of any meat, not just that served in some Vietnamese restaurants, has been working out? My guess would be not too good. A recent visit to my friendly neighborhood watering hole found me sitting in close proximity to a young lady who expressed her profound disgust in Vick, pondering aloud how someone could possibly be so cruel to animals. She did pause long enough in her Vick denunciations to praise her server on the high quality of the hamburger she was consuming.

George Orwell was in indeed correct in that some animals are more equal than others. If cows were sentient, I imagine they would spend their time while waiting in line at the slaughterhouse plaintively wailing, “Why couldn’t WE have been man’s best friend?” As most animals seem to be aware, the food chain is a bitch.

Despite the special interests whose chief aim in dragging the Vick situation out into a lengthy trial is so they can make money, I still suspect most want this ended. That would include the NFL.

I imagine by now Roger Goodell is aware of what most anybody that spends much time in inner cites knows, that the fighting of dogs for sport is widespread and popular among certain demographic wedges. These demographic wedges also happen to be huge fans of the NFL. They view the prosecution of Vick quite differently than do those in the upscale suburbs who regard the family dog as a cherished member of the household brood. Those contrarian views have already found their way into the media and the longer this drags on, the more there will be.

Goodell has probably also been informed that dog-fighting among NFL players does not begin and end with Mike Vick. Does he really want a widespread investigation into the activity, one that will increasingly anger a large element of his fan base? Better to quietly get Vick out of sight and out of mind while adding pre-season lectures to players about the evils of dog-fighting to those concerning gambling and steroid use, for all the good they do.

In the return of the media frenzy about Vick, there have been many claims that MV will never again play in the NFL. That summons forth more than a fair amount of incredulity, about as much as registered during a recent ESPN broadcast when some on-air babbler condemned Vick in the strongest possible terms and then immediately began singing the athletic praises of Ray Lewis. Huh?

There are football players who have committed most every crime mentioned by Arlo Guthrie in ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ playing in the NFL. They are welcomed back, provided their sentences don’t run completely concurrent with their years of being able to produce on the field. Even Pacman Jones, who bankrolled a night on the town with his posse that resulted in gunshots that produced paralysis, will be allowed back on the field after a season, maybe even not that long. These were crimes against people, not dogs. It boggles the mind [mine, at least] that the NFL or anybody else would hold animals in a higher regard than they do the people who ended up victims of actions by league players.

As the Vick situation hopefully lurches to an end, it is hard to find much good that has been or will be accomplished. MV will likely spend a year or so in the slammer for his crimes, provided he admits his guilt to the charges and spares us the televised spectacle of the government attempting to prove them. Will this make any appreciable dent in the practice of fighting dogs? Doubtful. As soon as most any drug dealer is locked away, someone else emerges to pick up the slack and no doubt that is the case here, too. Some bureaucrat has an impressive dread-locked scalp to wave when attempting to move up to another rung on the governmental ladder, but dog-fighting will continue, just without the active participation of Mike Vick. It is the nature of things.

Perhaps, however, there will be at least a bit of good accomplished. A lot of elite athletes who reach fame and fortune after growing up in the inner cities defend their habit of associating with people from the old neighborhoods as ‘keeping it real.’ The boyz that Vick kept around him certainly did not ‘keep it real,’ especially when the hammer came down. They dropped Vick like a scrawny pit bull in order to look out for themselves. Perhaps there are some other high-profile and very rich athletes out there who will take notice of what seems likely to happen to Vick and decide that these people who congregate around them like a pack of wolves around a fresh kill are most interested in what the athlete can do for them, not the other way around. They are not your friends.

If indeed the Vick situation is coming to an end, good. I would imagine by now MV has discovered that there is finally something out there that he cannot smile his way out of and if not, he will have some time in a prison cell to ponder it. For the rest of us, just get it over with, both the dog daze of August and those of Michael Vick.

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