Two New York dominatrixes flogged a fiberglass cow in New
York City. The cow -- which cost $10,000 -- stands at the
center of a raging controversy...and a big lawsuit.
The New York Postattributed the whipping to
"Peeved PETA 'Cow' Girls." ("Parkgoers stopped in their tracks and stared like
mindless cattle...") PETA is suing New York because the city rejected their cow
from an ongoing exhibit of several hundred other fiberglass cows. The
cow-whipping was a publicity stunt
to publicize the suit -- and the stunt was apparently successful. "It's very
enjoyable," one Queens spectator told the paper. "Especially with the whips!"
PETA's cow was covered with slogans like "Eating meat causes impotence..." And
their web site argues they
performed a public service. "As someone struggling with prostate cancer, Mayor
Giuliani should be thrilled that PETA is educating New Yorkers about meat's
connection to fatal diseases."
Instead we're living in a world dominated by a few powerful players. To
display a cow, a group has to pony up $15,000. A similar exhibit in Chicago
resulted in lame corporate press releases like "Ameritech Employees Unveil Latest
Addition to Cows on Parade" -- the "people make the difference" cow. PETA's
lawyer told the Post that the government-sanctioned cows in New York
represented mindless art.
The episode shows the emptiness of feel-good civic art projects. ("Buy the book
today!" one site urges.) The
official Cow Parade site
says the hype has spread to cities in Connecticut and New Jersey, all
apparently inspired by Chicago's earlier
exhibit. Though 262 cows appear on its Cow Master List,
some of them areprettyweird. Celebrate the
Fourth of July with the red, white and blue cow -- a blue cow covered with
white stars, and red and white stripes leading down to its udder.
Vandals in Holland are already vandalizing
the city's "Pigs on Parade" sculptures. But the greater danger lies in
distracting citizens from important and overlooked issues of the day. The Roman
philosopher Juvenal warned that democracies which once bestowed power now
wanted only bread and circuses.