A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Westminster Porn Show

Westminster: a Pageant of Pornography

The Westminster Porn Show
A pageant of objectification and commoditization.

Best in Shoes, 2016
The judge’s blue, knee-length skirt really showed off the muscle tone of her legs.

The Freaks of Westminster
No, not the dogs, but the people who turn them into deformed shadows of their true canine nature.

Best in Glow, 2011
Big Mama Jubilee, a rescued pit bull mix, takes our prize!

Westminster Dog Show Nixes Adoption Ads
Dog food company gets axed for promoting adoption.

Today Show Investigates Puppy Mills
Their interview with the AKC’s communications director is priceless.

The BBC Investigates Dog Show Breeders
How spaniels, bulldogs, pugs and others are deliberately bred for distorted features that cause lifelong sickness and pain.

… and just for fun:
Top Ten Signs You Got a Bad Judge at Westminster
10: He keeps saying, “There’s hardly any meat on this one.”

Tweet 20

Dog Show
Hard on the heels of Valentine’s Day, each year, comes the Westminster Dog Show, one of the world’s few remaining pageants of objectification and commoditization, and, at root, just another form of pornography.

“Oh, c’mon,” you say. “It’s just a bit of fun.”

The L.A. Times would agree with you. Rolling its eyes at the spectacle of animal rights protestors routinely disrupting the show and parading outside, the paper has written that:

“even if you’re made a little queasy by the way humans have shaped the dog gene pool, and even if you’d never dream of not adopting from a shelter, you’d still be hard pressed to find … anything but animals that are deeply loved and responsibly bred.”

Deeply loved and responsibly bred? We’re talking about the kind of endless inbreeding that produces Pekingese with faces so squashed they can’t breathe properly, and King Charles spaniels with skulls too small for their brains so that they live in excruciating pain, and dozens of other breeds of dog born to suffering and deformity.

In Europe, it’s now illegal to go on producing some of the most troubled of these breeds. As Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, describes it:

“People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals. In some breeds they are paying a terrible price in genetic disease.”

But here in the United States, with so much money on the line, just about anything goes.

None of this should be news. It’s all been said and written about before. A few years ago, the BBC produced a devastating report on the health problems suffered by these inbreeds. Even NBC News did an investigation into puppy mills. (But that doesn’t stop that same network from acquiring broadcast rights to the Westminster show and having Today host Matt Lauer suck up to the sponsors without ever daring to ask even a single uncomfortable question)

So yes, if that’s what you mean by “deeply loved and responsibly bred”, the folks at Westminster certainly love their dogs. But viewed from the point of view of the dogs, a great and ancient species inbred into a human toy and commodity, a parody of its true nature, primped and powdered and paraded around a ring before a crowd of fatuous people, all in hopes of winning the “owner” a chance to sell the dog’s stud services at a much-improved price, it’s hard to see this as anything but abuse. Primped and powdered and paraded around a ring before a crowd of fatuous people

Ultimately, the whole show is just another form of objectification and commoditization, where all you see of the animal is something utterly foreign to her true nature.

It’s no different from any other circus, where the audience gets to cheer at a tiger leaping through a flaming hoop, and to congratulate the trainer for demonstrating our superiority, as humans, over this once-majestic and terrifying force of nature.

So, too, have we subdued the wolf – to the point, even, of turning him into a carry-around fashion accessory for ladies’ purses.

Speaking of women in pageants and pornography, former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges writes that in our globalized, capitalist economy, women have become more objectified and commoditized than ever. The same is true of how we relate to the business of dog shows. Hedges writes of women in porn that they are “packaged commodities.” And the same goes for dogs in shows (as is the case for all animals in circuses and zoos):

They are pleasure dolls and sexual puppets. They are stripped of true emotions. Porn is not about sex, if one defines sex as a mutual act between two partners, but a solitary auto-arousal devoid of intimacy and love.

The cult of the self, which is the essence of porn, lies at the core of corporate culture. Porn, like global capitalism, is where human beings are sent to die.

And Westminster, ultimately, is where dogs, too, are sent to die.

Tweet 20