MAN BITES DOG! A Tale of Reverse Discrimination

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by Robin Banks

"In journalism school we learned that it's not news when 'dog bites man,' but it is news when 'man bites dog.'" -- Carole Simpson, ABC News

A long time ago, in a land far, far away -- a land so far away that it could not possibly be relevant to our land, "our land" being a funny way of saying "the land that we stole from the natives a long time ago, so long ago that everybody has pretty much forgotten about it and all the natives are nearly wiped out anyways" -- there was an epidemic going on.

An epidemic of men biting dogs!

Now, the dogs had been biting the men for years and years. But that was the way it had always been, and so people really didn't think too much of it. It wasn't news, really -- dogs had always bitten men, and that was just the way it was, nothing you could do about it, and so on.

But now that men were biting dogs, it was definitely news. Heck, everybody was talking about it. At the office, on the shop floor, at the concession stand, in the bathroom, standing in line for tickets ... people were shocked by it. In a way it sort of reaffirmed the fact that dogs continued to bite men all the time because a lot of people kept referring to that fact -- "sure, dogs bite men sometimes ('sometimes' meaning 'hundreds of instances on a daily basis'), but it just goes to show you that men are just as bad as dogs, because men bite dogs too!"

The media ate it up. 72 point headlines in the papers, red-faced pundits on TV taking calls from outraged dog-lovers, political candidates solemnly swearing to put an end to this outrageous epidemic of men biting dogs.

Meanwhile, dogs continued to bite men. Every day men would get bitten by dogs and rushed to the hospital. The national cost of dogbite treatment was sky-high. Men lived in fear of dogs and frequently hated them. Sometimes men would kick dogs that bit them and some people would shrug and say "sure, that dog deserved it, I guess -- it was a rather nasty bite after all" while others would snarl "sheesh, get over it -- men are bitten by dogs all the time, get used to it."

At some point a few men got fed up with getting bitten by dogs all the time and so they decided to form a group whose primary purpose was to deal with the trauma of dogbites. Immediately this group was criticized as being "anti dog" and numerous doglovers, incensed beyond reason, quickly formed "pro dog" groups in which the topics of conversation frequently included "how to train your dog to really bite the hell out of somebody" and "why dogbite victims are big whiny babies."

Needless to say, the public tension between men and dogs increased. Dogs continued to bite men at will, while men who discussed the problem of omnipresent dog attacks -- or, heaven forbid, discussed ways to stop dog attacks, or ways to separate rabid hostile dogs from men -- were mocked, reviled, and slandered.

Often when police were called because of a dog biting a man, they would try to separate the two and ask the man what he did to provoke the dog. But when they encountered a man who had bitten a dog, their reaction was swift and brutal. "Just goes to show you ... these men are crazy," the cops would mutter, confidently hanging their thumbs in their gunbelts. "Man bitin' a dog ... now that ain't right."

As time passed, more and more people started to realize that it really wasn't OK for dogs to bite men, and the number of dogbites decreased somewhat. This really gave the doglovers something to howl about -- "Why aren't you happy now? There are hardly any dogbites any more, especially severe ones! You just want to have something to complain about so you can increase tension between dogs and men!"

MORAL: We can all agree that biting others is wrong. But when the incidences of dogs biting men outnumber the incidences of men biting dogs by about, oh, 20,000 to 1 or greater, then we can quit pretending that the latter is as significant of a crisis as the former. Thank you.

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