Today this Dead Dog Prop went viral:
We got a lot of angry e-mails from people who were “disgusted” that we would promote animal abuse and profit from the sale of such a sickening object. I was asked by a blogger to write up some quick thoughts on this type of uproar.
Here’s what I had to say:
We didn’t sell any of the Dead Dog props due to the additional attention, but our supplier went from having 12 available at the start of the day to having 6 left at the time of this writing. We stuck that note on our page mostly as a semi-sarcastic jab at this sort of uproar, which is almost always misdirected and misinformed. At the end of the day all the fume and vitriol just brings more attention to the object these people find so offensive. WalMart, Amazon and the manufacturer of the prop (Distortions Unlimited) have all stopped offering the prop for sale and it will be discontinued going forward. It just seems to me like the wrong way to spend your energy and time if you really care about animals (actual real, living, breathing animals as opposed to fake latex ones). How many of the people posting frothing rants on FaceBook today are also meat-eaters who wear leather clothing? And yet a cartoonish and completely fabricated depiction of a wounded animal is enough to drive them into a frenzy.
We sell a wide range of creepy, grotesque and ostensibly “obscene” items. We sell mutilated human corpses, rotting skeletons, bloody body parts, and severed heads. The same people who are having seizures over their keyboards regarding this Dead Dog prop aren’t batting an eyelash at the eviscerated human torso next to it. Why is that? Most people seem to imply that it has something to do with the innocence of the creature being depicted. They claim they would also have a problem with a dead baby prop (which also exist!). So if you’re an animal that isn’t cute or innocent or loyal or loveable enough, you’re shit out of luck? Do these same people get sick to their stomach in the grocery store when they are surrounded by the pulverized and processed remains of big-eyed cows and goofy-looking chickens? Real, actual dead animals ground up into paste and packaged for resale. Or did they spew their moral certainty out onto the internet and then waddle to the next room to eat a hotdog? Do they think that Christmas ham they eat every year was dug out of the ground like some big juicy tuber?
Anyways, who’s ranting now? Haha. I guess my point is that if you really do love animals, as these people obviously do, spend your time and energy actually helping the thousands and thousands of animals who need our help. It’s easy to post on the internet about how sick and wrong a Halloween prop is. It feels good. It makes you feel like a good person. I understand that. But it’s just a superficial image. It’s not a real abused dog. And saying that it encourages or glorifies animal abuse is just stupid. it’s like saying allowing gay people to get married will turn people gay. I have watched horror movies my whole life. I love blood and gore and everything gross. I even create zombie taxidermy animals from roadkill I find. But I would never, ever purposefully abuse or harm an animal. I’ve been an animal lover all my life and had dozens of pets I cared for with passion and tenderness. Because I’m not a monster. Any person who can willingly witness the abuse of an animal and not feel empathy is just that, a monster. They aren’t abusing animals because they played too many video games or went to a Haunted House and saw a plastic dead pig.
What these people really are is offended. They don’t like seeing the image of an animal in pain. That’s understandable. But does that which offends us have no right to exist? Should art never depict anything that makes us feel sadness or pain? We’ve actually sold props similar to this one to PETA for use in their add campaigns. Yes, they are offensive, grotesque and might make you feel sad when you look at them, but does that mean they shouldn’t exist? I guess that’s the real debate.
So what do you think?