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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Day 955 - Blame the Parents

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extras, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.


I was inspired to post Larkin's famous poem today after yesterday discovering the above photograph on the internet. I found the photo whilst researching Gail Shea and her involvement with the Canadian seal cull, which Morrissey has recently brought to the world's attention with a couple of statements on his True-To-You website. The photograph was taken by Canadian singer Tanya Tagaq, and it is of her beautiful looking baby son, next to a beautiful looking, but dead, baby seal. Tanya initially posted the photograph as a tweet with the hashtag 'sealfie', which if it had been a photo of an alive seal, would have been quite funny.... but it wasn't, so it isn't!

 A number of questions came racing into my head when I stumbled across the photo, with the main one being why? Why would any parent place their baby next to a dead seal, and then photograph them? After a little more research, I discovered that the tweeted photo was Tanya Tagaq's way of showing support for the Inuit hunters, in the place where she was born.


It would appear that Tanya has received an awful lot of criticism for her photo, but it is all too easy for us living in Europe or America to just call Tanya Tagaq a disgusting human being, and it isn't fair, I don't think for one minute that she is disgusting, and in fact, it would appear from what I have read and heard, that Tanya Taraq is an unbelievably talented throat singer, who has worked with Bjork:

I believe that Tanya Tagaq is simply the product of circumstance, just as we all are. If Tanya hadn't been born in remote Cambridge Bay in Canada, but instead had been born next door to Morrissey in grey slated Manchester, the killing of seals would NEVER, EVER have entered her head. Tanya Tagaq thinks it is perfectly acceptable to photograph her beautiful baby next to a dead seal because she was fucked up by her parents, not intentionally or maliciously, but none the less fucked up. In turn, Tanya is already doing her utmost to fuck up her newborn child, again, not intentionally or maliciously, but because she knows no different. In fact, since I started writing this piece, Tanya has confirmed this, by tweeting me with the following message:

I assure you with truth that there is no malice in this photo, no terror in it. Our land provides and we exist.

From the day Tanya was born, she would have been told that seals are vermin, and that killing them is a good thing to do. The reason she will have been given by her parents is that the seals eat all the fish, thus effecting the livelihoods of virtually the whole of her community; which actually isn't true, but that's not the issue here, the issue is initial parental education. Ironically, indigenous Canadian women are seen as vermin by some Canadians, and are being murdered, leading Tanya to campaign against it. There has been particular outrage recently after a campaigner called Loretta Saunders was found murdered, but is there any difference between the murder of a beautiful inuit girl and a beautiful baby seal?


If seals could talk, I'm sure that the answer to my question would be "no, there is no difference", but seals can't talk. Murdered indigenous Canadian women can't talk either, but hopefully the likes of Tanya Tagaq can make enough noise to stop any further killings.

Unfortunately for the indigenous Canadian seals, they don't have a prominent local like Tanya to speak up for them, in fact I doubt they have ANYBODY from the area at all to speak up for them, but luckily for the seals (although not the one pictured with Tanya's baby), there are people like Morrissey who can speak for them, and offer a voice... but will the right people listen? People like Tanya could make a change, but as Tanya wrote in her tweet, "our land provides and we exist". Tanya is basically saying that they CAN'T change, or perhaps they just don't know HOW to change.... their inuit forefathers fucked them up, and that is that.

I should point out that I am not writing this from a moral high ground, I EAT FISH, but I DON'T murder seals. Murdering seals is wrong, EVERYBODY outside Canada can see this. When Morrissey makes his statements where he compares animal killings to human killings, he is making the statements as though he were an animal. Think of Morrissey as an animal that can talk.


I have no doubt that Morrissey would be appalled at the murders of the indigenous Canadian women, but in his 'animal' eyes, the deaths are NO DIFFERENT to the deaths of the seals. They are both death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder.

The Canadian federal fisheries minister, Gail Shea is responsible for the murder of thousands of seals, but Gail, just like Tanya Tagaq, Philip Larkin, me, Morrissey, and everybody else in this world, is only the way she is because of her parents and circumstance. Gail knows no different, and is not intelligent enough to see that all that she stands for is wrong..... or perhaps she is intelligent enough, but fears that she would lose her job and livelihood if she were to admit she is wrong.... no, I still think it is more likely to be the former rather than the latter. Gail was fucked-up by her parents.

So, we are all start life fucked up. The day I was born, through no choice of my own, my parents decided to make me English, made me a God fearing Christian, made me a meat eater, chose for me to live in a community of all white English people, informed me that German people were bad (it was fall out from the war), selected a poor area for my education, oh the list goes on, but I for one am managing to un-fuck-up things as I go along. I will always be English, but would rather be Italian, I have worked out for myself that God doesn't exist, I have given up all red meat (and will hopefully one day wean myself off chicken and fish... one step at a time, it's difficult to break an addiction), I no longer dislike Germans etc etc. Hopefully Tanya Tagaq can un-fuck things too, but perhaps Abraham-Hicks is right, and that we all want different things. "World peace is none of your business."


  1. This woman actually tweeted the same exact photo two years ago, so this was obviously for attention. It worked: she was covered by local news. That being said, I cannot look at that photo without feeling completely sickened. She may have been born into that culture, but that's no excuse to club an innocent being to death. I was raised on red meat until my mother came to her senses and I am now a vegan. The only good thing that has come of this is that Morrissey has the guts to come out and bring attention to the cause. The statements were covered by many press outlets and opened people's eyes to the massacre happening in Canada.

  2. It would be a folly to think that Jesus himself was a pescatarian although no evidence supports it, no evidence( other than he was a Jew) denies it.
    I don't know what to tell you about God and my beliefs so I will keep it very vague Have you ever heard of the theory that somewhere in the missing chunk of Christ's recorded life he traveled to Tibet and learned from the Buddhist monks there
    Which to me doesn't sound that far fetched Did he not say "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is that not the underlying theme of Karma and why does it have to be about human beings only should this concept not cover all species? To kill and eat is to be eaten and killed in other ways besides literal bludgeoning? So no I don't eat animals other than fish and even that makes me feel bad, God lives in your heart and through your actions not in a book or a building.
    Morrissey has an unalienable right to say what he pleases about whomever he pleases and for whatever reason he pleases just like the masses will either choose to listen or ignore, I will tell you that every time I hear Meat is Murder It is a reaffirmation of my commitment to not eat meat to have compassion to resist the death of others for consumption Thank you Rat for the invitation to comment on my beliefs

  3. Ok, so I'm an imperfect near-vegan (I will have some dairy products and eggs when eating out - it's hard to avoid - but I'm vegan at home). I'm also an atheist, so I wont get into any discussions about God because I just don't get it.

    Re "Our land provides and we exist." I don't think that Tanya was told that seals were vermin, but that are a natural resource for her indigenous culture and that seal hunting is valid cultural practice. I have a theory about why folks like Morrissey and I are vegetarian, which goes that we are alienated from the culture of meat production through urban industrialisation. It's remote, alienating industrial slaughter for profit. And we are repulsed and sicked. In many indigenous cultures, there are ways of dealing with the guilt of animal murder through ritual and belief; these things have been stripped away by capitalist food inc. They also tend to "harvest" sustainably, which is a foreign concept in supermarket culture. Echoes of cultural and identity-based justification for the murder of small animals can be seen in the satirical, vile and unfortunately successful Sam Kekovich series of advertisements promoting anything but lamb consumption as un-Australian

    Of course, rifles are a foreign introduction to Inuit culture. The seal hunt can no longer be justified on the basis of need, for the provision of protein and clothing in a harsh environment where there are few alternatives. Today, the hunt is done for export and profit. It is a modern perversion of a tradition.

    The old ways are passing and so, hopefully, our humanity, ethics and empathy for other creatures are evolving. I do not romanticise indigenous cultures. There are things to learn from them, but there is also much to be repulsed by.

    We cannot cling to the old dreams anymore.

    1. A further thought: when I first saw the #sealfie, I thought that it was an anti-sealing statement. I was wrong, but it would make a good PETA-style billboard with the appropriate slogan.

    2. As with C Harp, when he saw the #sealfie, I too thought it was for anti-sealing--a sort of human baby vs seal baby. As for the seal hunt or slaughter, it is no longer needed for survival and even if the Inuits deemed it necessary r/t their culture, seals would not be slaughtered in the quantities they are now.

  4. Being unaware of the 'sealfie' movement, I found it helpful to read this article to put Tanya's photo in context:

    My response comes from the words of Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man"

  5. As children we are of course influenced by the likes our parents, culture & religion. It is my belief then, as adult human beings we have a responsibility to protect those without a voice & the vulnerable.
    You can't dress it up, there are no excuses for such cruel actions towards innocent animals.


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