If you recall, last week we discussed how NBC Sports Network was airing an episode of “Under Wild Skies” that showed NRA lobbyist Tony Makris shooting an elephant in the face and then celebrating with champagne. NBC has issued a convoluted statement that promises not to air the episode but the far more interesting statement came from Makris who reportedly condemned those who object to shooting elephants for fun.
NBC seemed intent to emphasize that shooting elephants in the face is perfectly legal (at least until 2014 when a moratorium kicks in):
“We’ve listened to our viewers and will not air that particular episode of ‘Under Wild Skies’ again. We’re also taking a close look at our internal standards as part of this process because this content should not have aired . . . While this form of hunting is legal, we understand that many viewers find it objectionable. As a result we are taking an aggressive approach towards objectionable content within future episodes of ‘Under Wild Skies’ and other series.”
Well, it is good that NBC was able to listen to viewers to learn that many people would find it disturbing to see its host sneak up on an elephant, shoot it in the face, then shoot it again when it fled in pain, and then chased it down to finish it off . . . before celebrating the victory over some champagne. Absent hearing from viewers, no one at NBC appears to have had an inkling about this being somehow disturbing.
For his part, Makris, the NRA lobbyist, was not content to take his one-tusked trophy and go home. Makris insisted that he kills all animals equally: ducks, deer, elephants. That appears to make him a type of gun-toting Martin Luther King by embracing all of the beautiful creatures of the Earth and then shooting them in the face. Those who distinguish elephants from deer on the basis for their rarity or intelligence are engaging in his view in a form of “animal racism.” The only way to be a non-racist, it seems, is to kill them all.
Makris is quoted in an interview:
“And they said, ‘but [elephants are] so big and special and they’re smarter,’” Makris recalled of a recent discussion with a detractor. “And I went, ‘you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.’”
So let’s get this straight. People objecting to shooting elephants (one year before such trophy hunts are prohibited) constitute little Hitlers?
That is the man selected by NBC for its new show. In any event, if NBC wanted to hear from their viewers, they have succeeded. Over 60,000 have signed a petition to get NBC to cancel the show.
I expect that Makris may have been deliberately provocative or even humorous but it is unlikely to be welcomed by the rising number of critics for the show. Here is a fuller account of the interview:
MAKRIS: The nice ones will come up and go, you shoot elephant? Why? And I said well, the short answer is because hungry people eat them and because I’m a hunter. You know, I’m not an elephant hunter. I’m a hunter. I hunt all things. And they go, well nobody should shoot an elephant. I said, why? And they go they’re so big and kind and gentle and smart and I said, okay, let me ask you a question. Should I be able to shoot birds? Well, I guess that’s okay. Ducks? Yeah. Pigeons? Oh, they’re flying rats, okay. Rabbits? Well rabbits are cute. But yea. Squirrels? That’s nothing but a rat with a tail — with a fuzzy tail. And I said, well deer eat all my mother’s roses in Long Island and I go– so I can shoot all of those, but not an elephant? No. Do you realize that if you subscribe to that philosophy you are committing a very unique form of animal racism?
CAM EDWARDS, HOST: [laughter]
MAKRIS: And now they’re shocked. And they said but they’re so big and special and they’re smarter. And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.