FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MARC BEKOFF
1-Please, for the love of all things good, beautiful and true–end this debate between me and my fiancee (who is a zoologist no less, so I realize I should defer to her authority). Which is cuter? Baby rhinos or cuttlefish?
Instead of asking “Which is cuter?” I’d ask “WHO is cuter?” for a starter, and you know why I’m making this change! Both rhinos and cuttlefish are sentient beings, so they’re “whos” not “whiches” or “thats”. Now that the mini-academic lecture is done, I’d say they’re both cute and that cuteness is surely in the eyes of the beholder.
2-If you were to do a revised edition of The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding our Compassion Footprint, and decided to add a 7th reason, what would it be?
We’re screwed if we don’t.
3-Jane Goodall wrote a foreword for one of your books (The Emotional Lives of Animals), and you wrote a foreword for one of my books (A Faith Embracing All Creatures). Does that mean Jane and I are now good buddies?
For some reason this reminds me of the fallacy of the undifferentiated middle: All dogs are mammals, all cats are mammals, therefore, all dogs are cats. Now, being serious for a millisecond, if you’re a nice and compassionate person, then I’d imagine you and Jane could be friends, but that would, of course, be up to her.
4-Speaking of Jane Goodall, you co-authored The Ten Trusts with her. Do you consider this book to be a “decalogue” of animal ethics?
In many ways I do. Just like the six reasons I offered for expanding our compassion footprint in The Animal Manifesto, the 10 trusts we offer set the stage for a more compassionate and peaceful world for all beings.
5-Since you’re an ethologist, I was wondering if you might answer this particularly perplexing question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because it was there!
For some reason, I just can’t get away from placing hardcore tunes with these kind of interviews. To quote Ian MacKaye, “And why not?”
This one was tricky. I could have chosen any number of bands with a love of all creatures big and small. Bands such as: Good Clean Fun, Earth Crisis, Propagandhi, Gorilla Biscuits, Oi Polloi, Goldfinger, Anti-Flag, Chokehold, Good Riddance, Citizen Fish and freakin’ Youth of Today (ah, “No More!”). After much inner debate, I finally went with the little ditty below. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of Rise Against. They are just too darn pretty for me. Pretty. But, in their defense, it is a lovely video. And the three seconds between 2:35-2:37 helps me with my own weakness. So, here you go. And maybe, with any luck, Christian theologians/ethicists (or whatever silly titles they assume for themselves these days) will actually do some work in an area of which they could make a difference. An actual substantial, tangible difference.
(I’m trying. I’m really, really trying. I’m not sure have the necessary imaginative capabilities.)