Earlier this month, Cecil, a Zimbabwe national park’s beloved friendly lion, was killed in a gruesome fashion by what everyone assumed at first to be a Spaniard, presumably in a sexy crime of passion taken too far. But, it turns out it was an American dentist named Walter Palmer, because of course it was an American.
But, while there has been large-scale uproar online both in the form of innumerable social media posts and countless thinkpieces, most calling for Palmer’s shaming, some for far nastier consequences, there has been very little support for the poor dentist at the heart of this whole firestorm. But I think we need to consider his side.
Now, just hold on a second, before you go screaming for my flaying and beheading for even suggesting that maybe we go easy on the guy, hear me out. But he killed an innocent lion, you all say. A lion that everybody loved, you go on to say. A lion who saved my aunt from a burning building once, you continue. A lion who lent me $300 to cover my rent last month, you’re still arguing. Well, just wait a minute.
You didn’t know who Cecil the lion was before this. You’d never heard of him. Cecil the lion is like some obscure indie band, named Cecil the Lion, whose frontman killed himself or died of an overdose, and suddenly they’re all over the news and everyone’s like, “I’ve been a fan since that first EP. They’ve been real game-changers in pop music for years, and the world is only now starting to catch up. Yeah, I totally heard of them before this. I read about them on… uh, Pitchfork.”
And another thing. I’m not so completely sure Cecil was as great a guy as the media and public seem to be portraying him. Even a cursory Google search will tell you that he was kind of a jerk. More than that. Cecil was an agent of the patriarchy. He was the leader of a pride that included six lionesses whose only roles were to bring him food and bear his offspring. A fact which Cecil never publicly denied.
Yet we fault Palmer for having virtually the same macho hang-ups. Yes, perhaps the most important argument for the defense of Mr. Palmer, is that as a white, middle-aged American professional, he is entitled to go to whatever lengths he needs to feel that his penis is as normal-sized and functional as anyone’s.
For a guy to travel halfway around the world, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and murder a majestic symbol of virility and strength, he must have some serious cock problems. And, hey, I get it. All us guys get concerned over our size once in a while, or have the occasional misfire.
If I had a tiny dick and the only way I was able to get it hard, even for twenty seconds, was to kill a wild animal twice the size of me, I’d cut a swath of death and destruction through the Serengeti so big you could see it from fucking space.
I’d wipe out entire endangered species just for half a minute of the ability to penetrate a woman successfully, if only any woman would want to come anywhere near my horrible hate-engorged genitals. And I’d expect all of you to support me. After all, what’s more important than my fragile male ego? Certainly not some lion’s.
Besides, are we even sure he went in there with the intent of killing Cecil? How do we know he wasn’t there to give him a root canal, or do some bridge work, and things went terribly wrong? Accidents happen. Cecil was 13, that’s a lot of wear on a lion’s teeth. If Palmer had been the guy who paid $50 000 to go into Zimbabwe and give ol’ Cecil the lion a set of beautiful new crowns, we’d all be hailing him as a hero.
But just because he dragged the carcass of one animal behind a truck to lure another animal out of its safety so he could shoot it with an arrow and spend the next two days waiting for it to bleed out enough to catch it and shoot it with a gun, then skinned and beheaded it and left most of its corpse to rot, we brand him a “monster.”
My, my, so quick to judge, aren’t we? Well, if you can take a good look inside yourself and honestly say that you, too, have never done that exact same thing at one time in your life or other, then congratulations, I guess you’ve earned the right to call Walter Palmer a complete psychopath (and sign the petition).
But if you’re just a regular person like the rest of us, who routinely murders magnificent, irreplaceable, endangered animals, well, maybe think a little harder next time before you open your big fat mouth and start spouting criticisms all over Facebook.