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If you’ve never paid much attention to the credits of movies you may not know that there is (or at least used to commonly be) a disclaimer at the end of Hollywood films that said something like, “No animal was harmed in the making of this film.” As the result of pain-in-the-ass-animal-rights-advocates (like me) at some point in the late 1900s, Hollywood passed “laws” that you couldn’t injure animals to make a movie. Up until then, directors could be pretty ruthless when it came to battle scenes, stampedes, chariot races, etc., and would routinely trip horses with wires to make them look as though they’d been shot, and so forth. Lots of animals were killed making movies in the old days. Once, Timmy threw a tantrum and strangled Lassie, causing a nationwide search for another dog that looked just like him to finish the film. In another famous incident, during the making of Ben Hur, Charlton Heston was being such a horse’s ass that one of the horses from the cast mounted him. Heston mowed the horse down with a semi-automatic rifle, of course.
Meanwhile, the same people passing rules about not injuring horses or dogs in the movie business were eating steaks, pork, and chicken. Humans easily turn a blind eye to “food” animals and forget that they have the same qualities of the animals we deem worth protecting. How many people would think it hypocritical to serve meat at a fundraiser for dogs and cats? Not many. Humans have certain “magical” species (dogs, cats, horses, anything nearly extinct) that they’ll protect from abuse and the rest are just products to make profit from, no matter the cruelty involved in the process. Our arrogance astounds me sometimes, but then, I was guilty of the same kind of double standards until my early forties when a light went on in my tiny, pointed head. So I can’t be too critical. (But claiming the moral high ground sure is fun!)
PREHISTARROS: Both of these jokes about Hollywood agents were collaborations with my good buddy, Andy Cowan. Andy has had a long and successful career in Hollywood as a TV comedy writer so he has lots of amusing perspectives on agents, as you can imagine. I particularly love this one about the film, “127 Hours,” which, if you don’t recall, is based on the true story of a hiker who got his arm trapped between a rock and a hard place and had to chop it off with a spork to save himself from dying of thirst or being eaten by monsters. Dang.