What the man with everything does with his time

Posted: July 29, 2015 in Opinion piece
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


As the world is dragged by its fingertips into the Neoliberal abyss, it’s heartening to think that the internet can still fight to shape a better world, even if it is by virtual mob justice.

Like most, when I read the story of Walter Palmer, my head was spinning with the most unusual narrative. We’re all used to the poor falling from what little grace they have, with reports implying their poor lifestyle choices or lack of aspiration probably led to their downfall. What we are not used to reading is the story of a successful upper-middle-class guy living the American dream being portrayed as a sadistic coward using the developing world as his playground. Perhaps the reporters didn’t realise what they were uncovering, which is a world we don’t like to speak of, particularly the Establishment. It’s a world that unfolds when the rich become beyond comfortable; where their wealth burns a hole in their vaults, and they seek to do what the privileged have done since the dawn of civilisation. They seek to usurp natural conventions with money, in order to fulfil their ‘conqueror’ fantasies.

This is a sense of entitlement fostered through centuries of plunder and colonisation. Not so much the White Man’s Burden, as the rich white man’s yearning. When men (or women) become so separated from those around them by wealth, there are limits to what they can do with so much money, once the foreign jaunts, mansion, fancy cars and yachts are taken into account. Faced with the peak of their existence, they may compare themselves to other similarly rich folks. Some crave ‘money-can’t-buy’ accomplishments such as scaling mountains or swimming with dolphins. But then you have others, whose inclinations tend to be more sordid, and for whom extreme wealth has allowed them to believe they are in fact above not only the common law, but accepted moral standards others abide by.

The part of this story that is most abhorrent is not that Palmer will most likely be punished for poaching, or that he did it before (convicted of the murder of a bear in the US some years ago), but that his ‘hobby’ is the pointless slaughter of majestic wild animals for nothing more than a weird kick, and compensation for his perceived inferiority complex.

Perhaps he fits the stereotype of a weedy, successful bookworm whose career success has protected him from even the slightest danger, and now craves the primal urge that comes with stalking an apex predator, only his money again shields him from any real risk, so he feels the need to murder and pose with his victim; basking in his perceived machismo for the act. The fact he is now instead reviled may at least warn others to take heed from engaging in this pathetic, cowardly display of desperate showboating, and hearing some defend his ‘hobby’ by suggesting that poverty-stricken countries rely on rich white men with undersized phalluses pouring money into immoral bastards’ pockets for the privilege of hunting ‘their’ animals, and therefore somehow being an act of perverse charity, shows how far the Establishment will go to suggest that even when they are joining in the public pelting of one dopey rich white man, it’s him that was wrong, not the system, because the system provides a way to lift the desperate out of poverty, much like Madonna buying their kids does.

Whether it’s Tories hunting foxes, rich Westerners hunting African ‘game’, or US cops hunting African-American men, it is a reprehensible notion of superiority that we should have progressed from decades ago. Remember, according to the media, the only problem with his despicable pastime was that he didn’t shoot the ‘right’ animal.


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