Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friends in high places

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A common sight in major cities like New Orleans, Chicago, and New York is carriages full of camera-toting touristas being towed by sad-looking horses that never get to move at more than a slow gait. (WB admits to being pulled around the French Quarter by a pizza-eating mule named Louis who ran several red lights, but that's a separate story for another day.) Another common sight is people dressed in rags and sleeping on steam grates, inside ATM booths and bus shelters, and begging for quarters outside Walgreen stores — you know, those wretched bums who ruin a perfectly fun time by imposing their poverty onto an otherwise idyllic scene.

Horses, people. Which ones get the celebrity spokespeople?

According to the Times Online, the horses of NYC have not one celebrity champion, but three. Chrissy Hynde of the Pretenders has led the PETA petition asking the city to ban its iconic tourist buggies around Central Park, even though they've appeared in hundreds of movies and travelers from around the globe come into town to relive those cinematic moments for themselves, and even though Hynde herself was married in one of those same horse carriages. Taking the other side is Liam Neeson, who we know from the trailer for Taken is prone to speechifying, and who is "deeply disturbed" by the potential ban and urges the NYC City Council to reconsider this "unnecessary and misguided political and extreme rhetoric.” Enter Alec Baldwin, who supports Hyde's/PETA's position and says the horses will be happier not lugging tourists, which technically puts the animals on the unemployment line... where, coincidentally, all of the people are who have no celebrity advocates.

Oh, and the Wall Street parasites who crashed the world economy have given themselves billion dollar bonuses, and the new superhero president of the U.S. says that's "shameful," but the bonuses will still stick, and next week there'll be a new story to make that one fade, and no celebrity voices will take up this cause, either.

Priorities. Fascinating studies in abnormal psychology.

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