An "artist" (who shall remain nameless, both because I can't remember a name and because s/he doesn't deserve to be remembered) recently exhibited goldfish swimming around in a set of blenders, those electrical mixers with blades at the bottom of a pitcher. Viewers were offered the opportunity to turn a blender on, thereby liquifying a living creature --- rending a carp into instant fish frappé. A few people pressed the button and did it. (Carpe mori?)

This "art" was mainly grandstanding cruelty-for-publicity, sure, and it semi-succeeded ... as so many scandalous acts have always done. But the experiment was woefully incomplete. A real artistic statement about the value of animal life could have been made by a simple extension: electrify one in every N blenders, so that instead of the fish being pureed, the human who clicks the switch gets fried. Zzzzaapppp!

What value of N would make the situation a toss-up for the button-pusher? Is the thrill of whipping a fish worth a one-in-a-billion chance of electrocution? And extending art to everyday life, how does the joy of eating cooked beast-flesh compare to the risk of catching mad-cow disease, or salmonella, or a host of other parasites? And that's just looking at the human side of the equation. Does suffering of an animal count for anything compared to pleasure of a person? Where's the balance point?

Saturday, June 24, 2000 at 10:16:17 (EDT) = 2000-06-24

TopicArt - TopicJustice

(correlates: OutOfSync, Financial Planning, LeetSpeek, ...)