Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Don't hate me because I spread disease and leave leftovers for rats"

We went to NYC yesterday and I noticed this sign at Greeley Square (Broadway and 33rd Street). What struck me was the old-school discriminatory tone. Pigeons, it seems, are one of the last groups on earth that it is acceptable to publicly deride, as a class. Pigeons are, the reader learns, disease-spreading vectors that while away their days digging up lovely flower beds, while leaving behind snacks for their un-winged (and therefore less fortunate) doppelgangers- RATS.

I suppose, in a world where we can no longer publicly discriminate against hobos, fat people, or a laundry list of formerly-acceptable targets of public derision, this sign just struck me as a bit mean-spirited. And I don't know what to make of the fact that the tiny Square was populated, it seemed, exclusively by homeless people on the day we walked past. Is the sign, which we haven't noticed at any of the many other public spaces around Manhattan, intended to protect the acknowledged homeless population that uses the Square? Or is it hoped that there will be some ripple effect in people's minds, so that the reader subconsciously inserts "homeless" for "pigeon."

Public feeding ordinances have been a very controversial issue in Los Angeles (where in 2002 a city council woman proposed a law against offering food to the public on a large scale) and NYC (where in 2007, the City proposed a ban on feeding pigeons)

Turns out, OF COURSE there is a pigeon rights group in NYC- PHEW!!- it's called Pigeon People, and it was formed to "offer people understanding so they will appreciate & respect instead of fear or hate" pigeons. In short: All you pigeon-haterz, listen up! Your days of ignorance-fueled discrimination against our ubiquitous flying friends are numbered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

cool cool cool