“God is too good to be unkind and too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we have to trust His heart”.
Prof John Lennox -Prof Emeritus Oxford University. Excerpt from his book,
“Where is God in a Coronavirus World”.
John 14:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I had wished it was happier times that I send this out to you but maybe, it actually IS the best time! Wishing everyone here comfort and assurance of better days to come. Meanwhile, enjoy some sweetness that I made here: some eye candy and the joy of dogs! Do drop me a line, please?
We’re Loving Our Pets, But Not Each Other
Millennials are struggling, people are starving… yet we have doggie bjorns
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Nothing symbolizes the crises of our times quite like the doggie björn. Modeled on the Swedish front-facing over-the-shoulder baby carriers, the doggie björn is how doting pet owners with disposable income transport their fur babies in comfort and style. In its Instagrammable marriage of pet-owner consumerism with the psychosocial substitution of a pet for a child, the doggie björn puts the ironies of modern intimacy on full display. The pets of the “haves” live better than the children of the “have-nots,” while everyone senses something amiss in our intimate lives. Pets are the family we can afford—both financially and emotionally—amid our collective crises of inequality and intimacy. How did we get here?
Pets essentially made the internet. Pet memes and clips went viral before going viral was a thing. Pet content (as well as porn) pulled audiences online, and adorable animals remain a widely popular internet genre. The advent of social media amplified the likability of pets and transformed particularly photogenic ones into veritable Instagram celebrities. Pet ownership has become an important dimension of identity and has even been incorporated into fashion trends. Single people use pets as date bait and a criterion of romantic selection, determining long-term compatibility based on pet preference. Politics and pets are the romantic deal breakers of the day.
The anthropomorphism of pets seems to have intensified in the last decade. The animal welfare movement that emerged in the 1970s has undermined speciesism to some extent. Pets have become much more integrated into society and are now widely accepted in public places, such as stores, restaurants, and transportation systems. We speak to our “furbabies” with reason, as if they “get” us. We chat about their social skills with fellow pet owners and sternly reprimand pets for embarrassing us with their behavior. We casually diagnose them with post-traumatic stress disorder and abandonment anxiety and treat them with cannabinoids. We’ve grown co-dependent on emotional support animals. We throw birthday parties for pets and even marry them. Our pets are our children, friends, and life partners.
Against all this insecure, anxiety-ridden backdrop, pets provide the warmth of the familial in a world of work that devalues us.
The growing importance of pets in our lives is reflected in the average 5.4 percent year-over-year annual growth in the pet industry from 2007 and 2017, as calculated by the American Pet Products Association. We spent almost $70 billion on pets in 2017, with $30 billion of that on pet food alone. To put that sum in perspective, the largest domestic hunger relief organization, Feeding America—a national network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs—spent $2.7 billion on hunger relief programs that helped provide 4.2 billion meals in 2017. I never let my own pet miss a meal, while 12.9 percent of my fellow Americans are food insecure, including 12 million children and 5 million elderly in every part of the country. Meanwhile, artisanal dog bakeries do a good business, with a leading chain boasting nearly 50 locations across the U.S. and two other countries.
Pet culture has grown alongside metastasizing inequality in the United States. Economic inequality is now at historic levels, as is a sense of precariousness and diminishing opportunity.
Young people have been told the ticket to a good job and good life is a college degree, so they’ve attended college at record rates. Yet the explosion in student loan debt and housing costs undermines the ability of college grads to form independent households. They end up living with their parents or fellow college kids for much longer, which seems to have infantilized a generation. The failure of the labor market to generate good jobs and rising living standards for the college-educated and non-college-educated alike prolongs their search for workplaces that support stable personal lives. It’s not that they can’t commit to jobs; rather, employers have gotten away with slashing the incentives, benefits, opportunities, and reasonable work demands that tied earlier generations to employers. As a result, young people spend more of their lives than ever stuck in the turmoil of emerging adulthood—a time of tenuous and fluid ties to identities, jobs, and romantic partners.
Meanwhile, elite professionals are driven haggard by the pressure and anxiety of six-plus-figure/60-plus-hour-a-week jobs. Corporate executives, lawyers, financiers, software engineers, and consultants are the supposed winners of this new Gilded Age. They won admission to a good school, then landed a coveted job, which it turns out, is just a different sort of bad job. In exchange for high incomes and prestige, these elite professionals submit to the endless demands of their firms, grinding out work of questionable social impact in a high-stakes culture. Their jobs are only as secure as their current reputation and standing with influential colleagues—which is to say completely insecure. The cost of housing, anxieties about educating their children, and the golden handcuffs of an affluent lifestyle lock them into spending the majority of their waking hours doing work they don’t necessarily like in order to commute in a fancy car to and from a nice neighborhood with good schools. Unsurprisingly, many elite professionals are miserable.
These manifestations of inequality—frustration, pressure, and anxiety—corrode our intimate lives. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, but what little we do gather is unsettling. According to the Atlantic, Americans are in the midst of a full blown “sex recession” despite popular perceptions to the contrary. More worrisome than the foregone sex is the arid state of intimacy. People hold intimacy at bay as they focus on their educations and spend their twenties and thirties chasing careers across jobs and cities. Inequality warps dating in subtle ways as socioeconomic status aspirations distort perceptions of romantic compatibility. Work and financial anxiety injects added friction into relationships, exacerbating conflicts over couple time, emotional support, sexual attention, the division of domestic labor, income, spending, whose career takes precedence, and whether there is too much or not enough ambition in a partner. Add to this turmoil the on-demand, avatar-based nature of dating and sex enabled by smartphones, and it becomes all too easy to avoid the sacrifice and vulnerability demanded by lasting intimacy. The awful irony of the technologically driven dating revolution that put limitless romantic options within reach is that we now avoid intimacy en masse.
Pets square the circle of intimacy amid inequality. Against all this insecure, anxiety-ridden backdrop, pets provide the warmth of the familial in a world of work that devalues us. Pets offer companionship without complication and, unlike a significant other, allow us to keep our options open—not only romantic options but where and how we live, what we do, and even who we are as we grope for stable adulthood. In loving our pets, we simulate and satisfy a deep yearning to belong with others as mother, father, or friend. Hence, the doggie björn.
Please don’t misunderstand: A society that cares about animals is a better society. My pet has soothed the wounds of inequality, and as I like to remind him, I literally saved his life by rescuing him from a shelter. The problem isn’t that we love our pets too much, but that we love each other too little.
Truth, Justice, and the American Way || Based in the City of Angels
…….to get you into the fun of all these! Do watch this lightening video.
MOVIE “LASSIE & THE DOVE” CHRISTMAS 1967
Posting an ageless vintage movie of Lassie to you and your family. Cherish those days of wholesome values and attitudes…..can we ever be able to turn back the clock? I truly believe we can. Go ahead, spend some time enjoying the antics of a a much loved-dog and his “acting”: my staples during the 60’s when I was growing up with Bobby, my yellow buddy-mutt fren. I daresay Lassie played a part ( so did Bobby) to make me the wholesome person that I am till today. Hugs to all and grab some popcorn and a soda and get a front seat (sofa)………..
I’ve always knew that there can be love and understanding with Interspecies relationships. Let’s watch now……
Do watch this movie with friends and family during this novel coronavirus period:
“TOGO”, a true story about the heroics of a sled dog who made the difference against wintry icy mountainous odds to save a community thousands of miles away from death of an invasive disease. Togo did what humans were helpless to do…….as if he knew the task and tackled the odds with a big courageous heart. When other compatriots fell, succumbing to inclement hardships, he kept going. Movie already out in 2019.