Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pigeon Problems

Sonny Valerio: Where's he live? (regarding Ghost Dog)

Louie: That's the next strange thing. I mean, I can't just call him up. Instead, he contacts me every day through a bird.

[pause] Sonny Valerio: Did you just say he contacts you through a bird? Did I just hear you say that?

~Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

I don't know where to categorize this in my mind. "Hollywood turns to birth control to clean up its (pigeons') act". I admit that I did not particularly care for the pigeon poop raining down on me in Amsterdam so that I was forced to raise my sweatshirt hood. I, too, have called them "rats with wings." Then in 2005 I met a woman whose husband breeds show pigeons. ("You can show pigeons?" I asked. "Yeah, there're all different colors and types," she answered) Then I saw the Forest Whittaker movie, Ghost Dog, and started thinking about the services pigeons can provide, as he used them to deliver messages. In the movie, and this just might be Hollywood, the pigeons seemed to show some sort of affection or at least loyalty to Ghost Dog. Then I read the article on forced pigeon birth control. I don't know how to feel about this. OvoControl P is basically a poison that they are putting in the pigeon feed. It is supposed to just interfere with egg development. How they're going to make sure only pigeons eat it is beyond me. What they will do if it completely sterilizes the pigeons is also beyond me. I know there is a difference between pigeons and humans, but it still brings to mind what hospitals used to do when undesirable women gave birth-- they would birth the baby by c-section, then just take the uterus while they were at it.

The first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics was the United States. The principal targets of the American program were the mentally retarded and the mentally ill, but also targeted under many state laws were the deaf, the blind, the epileptic, and the physically deformed. Native Americans were sterilized against their will in many states, often without their knowledge, while they were in a hospital for some other reason (e.g. after giving birth). Some sterilizations also took place in prisons and other penal institutions, targeting criminality, but they were in the relative minority. In the end, over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.

~"Compulsory Sterilization" on Wikipedia

I know this isn't the same, but it still strikes me. I still feel like something bigger or more metaphorical might be being said, but I'm not sure what. My feelings on pigeons are somewhat nebulous at this point, so I am seeking more knowledge. I ordered Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird. Perhaps it will help me process this.

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