Friday, January 12, 2007

she picked him up by his fin??

Reading about Dooce's surprise betta makes me want to weep. There are so many things wrong with the way she is treating him, from the food she's giving him (flakes don't have enough nutrition -- dried blood worms are good, and there are special betta pellets that don't build up because the anorectic little dudes only eat one or two a day) to the container he's living in (too small! too small! Sebastian and Thelma [the snail] share a large tank, one that is somewhere between two and five gallons; also, she's provided no gravel or plants or anything for him to hide in) to the awful picking him up by his dorsal fin to move him from one container to the next. Probably she is using water that they haven't even bother to de-chlorinate. I won't be surprised if he dies within a month if this keeps up. I am horrified, and I'm no fish saint -- it's been a year and two months since I tragically killed Laertes in an accident too horrible to talk about, something I can only live with because my first fish, Finnegan, lived to a fine old age.

My lord. The woman practically lives online, and yet she can't even do the most basic research? I spent several days reading about bettas before I decided to get one, and I was a flaky fifteen-year-old at the time. Sure, he's an accidental fish, but that is no excuse -- the first site that google spits out covers every single thing she is doing wrong and then some.

I used to be regularly amused by Heather Armstrong and anthropologically and psychologically interested in examining the fun Freudian subtexts of her posts, but more and more I come away disgusted, questioning her popularity, her fanbase, and the character of the woman herself. I wonder if she realizes how awful she seems in a lot of these recent posts. I can't imagine she does because why post them? But at the same time I can't fathom such a serious lack of self-awareness.

Sometimes I would like to email her and try to kindly (as kindly as I could manage, which would probably sound more curt than courteous) inform her of how shallow and entitled she comes across (see: New York Post) or how appallingly ignorant she is being -- but I don't feel like courting the possibility of ending up on one of her email posts.

*edit* Okay, so I joined the ranks of the other fish owners who are probably recoiling in shock from that post and sent her a quick email with just a few links to betta care websites and a sentence of goodwill towards Lou. I now wash my hands of the issue. You can lead a horse to water, etc.


Additionally, I am wild with the stress of packing and the horror of snow. We leave on Sunday. I hope.


mrschili said...

Yeah, well, sometimes it's best to just let other people's shit go. MOST of the time, it's best to just let other people's shit go, actually. I wish I could give you better advice than that, but I really can't.

It's pretty easy to see where others haven't quite got something figured out, and the hardest part of YOUR having figured it out is in NOT pointing out to them that they have some growing/learning/smartening up to do. You're dead-on with your "lead a horse to water" thought. I bump up against that ALL THE TIME as a teacher...

feather said...

One of the only things that I ever get seriously riled up about is animal abuse or mistreatment. Really! Well, that and hurting my friends, but it's rather different, that's quite personal. I can let just about anything go from strangers. But picking a fish up by his fucking fin? That is so obviously wrong that it hurts. I'm just glad it didn't tear.

Just 'cause he's a fish doesn't mean he's not worth being upset about. I really like fish. It's not the same as a dog, but still, it's quite upsetting to me. People can do whatever they like to themselves or each other, but I can't just pass up obvious animal mistreatment with a shrug. I won't be upset about it for weeks to come or anything, but it troubles me.

(And it isn't true that they don't feel pain, by the way.)

mrschili said...

Oh, I'm totally with you on ALL of this and never meant to imply that I wasn't. We judge who we are as a society by how we treat the weakest among us, and I think a lot of who we are can be gleaned by looking at how we treat animals in particular.

I do wonder, though, how much of Dooce is exaggerated and / or fictionalized for the purposes of her blog?