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Visually dumb

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Michael Vick killed dogs.

No, wait. He electrocuted, then killed. That means the dogs suffered intense pain before their premature deaths. But not as intense as the dogs he drowned. When you drown, well, it’s supposed to be unbearably horrific. Your lungs expand and expand and expand until …

Death.

Michael Vick now plays quarterback for the New York Jets. He lives what seems to be a normal athlete life, making good money, signing autographs, jogging this way and that way. I have no problem with this. Vick served his time, suffered public humiliation, hit rock bottom, then returned. That’s the way it should be. Fine.

But here’s the thing …

There’s no video of Michael Vick killing the dogs. We are left to our imaginations which, over time, tend to fade. Once, long ago, many of us pictures dogs being electrocuted, drowned, burned, bruised. It was a visceral experience.

Ray Rice has no such imagination-based luxury. He slugged his wife, then dragged his wife, and it’s all there, forever and ever and ever and ever branded on YouTube. One hundred years from now, should someone choose to investigate, he/she will be able to find the clip, perfectly preserved in all its awfulness.

If there were no images, Ray Rice would be, eh, free to play football. Even when we knew what he did—but didn’t see it in full—he was free to play football. It’s strange. We, as a people, don’t merely need proof. We need visual proof.

Michael Vick, dog killer, has an NFL future.

Ray Rice, woman puncher, might not.

All because of a camera.

5 replies on “Visually dumb”

The first expression of human art was painting c. 25000 BC. The first written words appeared 20000 years later (and they weren’t literature; they were receipts). Visual imagery’ gestalt cleaves much more closely to our souls. Always HSS. Always will. An image is instant when it hits your heart. The written word will never threaten it for emotional power. That’s endemic to the species.

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Wasn’t Vick banned indefinitely at first until the legal worked itself out? If Rice is found guilty of a crime and serves some time or some penalty then my guess is he would be able to play again.

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Vick committed and condoned unspeakable acts on dogs. But we haven’t seen any pictures. Had there been graphic pictures, which could be trotted out whenever he tried to come back, I think there’d have been no comeback, even though he did pay his debt to society, which included prison time. As horrific as Ray Rice’s battery of his fiancee was, it would have been all but forgotten absent the video evidence. Heck, there’s a Federal Judge in Alabama who committed on his wife a beating far more brutal than what Ray Rice did on his fiancee — and is almost certainly retaining his position, ’cause it’s “just a family thing.” The callous and casual indifference in this country toward domestic abuse is mind-boggling.

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Any thoughts on the country’s latest war, specifically POTUS’s speech and plans for the new war? Usually the kind of thing you weigh in on.

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