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Opening Arguments

A pig too far

They must be kicking themselves in Delaware County. Imagine, giving in to the fear of the social media mob, which we know from experience in Indiana can whip up a fine froth of outrage, and then finding out that, oops, you're all alone out there in the PC outfield:

After an early success, a push by animal rights groups to ban pig wrestling at Indiana county fairs appears to be losing steam.

 The Delaware County Fair Board voted in May to cancel pig wrestling at this month's fair after five years of holding the event. But at least five other fairs have moved forward.

 An electronic petition drive on change.org zeroed in on Whitley County and collected 23,000 signatures, but the event took place as planned Monday night. The Monroe and Allen County fairs will follow suit next Wednesday.

 Or maybe they went out and found a pig to kick.

I make fun of PETA all the time because it's absurd to argue that animals have rights.  But we should not abuse them for our own amusement. How decently we treat them is a measure of our humanity, and as we become more civilized over time, it is natural that some things once considered acceptable fall out of favor. Bullfighting, cock fighting and dog fight rings come to mind. And good arguments can be made against some things that are still acceptable, like the way elephants are treated in the circus and the animals consigned to rodeos.

But c'mon, pig wrestling? It's kind of out there in PETA territory to even think it rises to the level of animal abuse. I mean, it's not like they kill the pig in some stupid ceremony the way the matadors do with bulls. I don't think there are a lot of pigs out there wandering around with post-wrestling stress disorder.

Oh, well. This is my opportunity to relate two of my favorite sayings, both relating to pigs, that are essential to the thoughtful  rhetorician.

The first (sometimes attributed to George Bernard Shaw) is, "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it." It's a reminder to stay on the high road and not stoop to the level of the name-calling insulter you find yourself arguing with. It's very hard to live up to that high standard, as regular readers of this blog will attest.

The other, which I saw on a plaque in Brown County that I bought for my office, is, "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." That reminder, even harder to live up to, tells us not bothering to argue with people who aren't going to change their minds no matter what you say to them. In these days of Red State-Blue State polarization, most people are pig-stubborn about their beliefs, so debates often end up with opposing slogans being shouted across the dive. Quite discouraging for someone who went into the opinionating business with the firm belief that most people are open to good arguments based on solid facts.

Dear, dear. I've probably offended pigs and pig lovers everywhere. Heaven knows the emotional damage I have inflicted.