Cute kittens being petted by their foster parent

Wisconsin Doublethink

In his prescient political novel, 1984, George Orwell writes that “doublethink” is the “power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . .”

Here in Wisconsin we are in the middle of deer hunting season. On the front page of last Saturday’s Janesville Gazette, the local newspaper, two stories were featured. Above the fold was a story celebrating the killing of a two hundred pound, eleven point, buck by a twelve year old boy. The story points out that it was the boy’s first kill, and that he brought down this magnificent animal with only one shot.

Below the fold appeared a story documenting the progress of the local Humane Society’s effort to expand its foster care program for homeless animals.

Cruelty toward the first group of animals is socially approved, while cruelty toward the second group will likely land you in jail.

Thank you, George Orwell, for helping me understand this feature of Wisconsin culture.

Janesville Gazette - Frontpage, November 22, 2014

5 thoughts on “Wisconsin Doublethink

  1. Interesting indeed. Our polity is filled with contradictions. For example, the officially-sanctioned war on smoking, alongside federal subsidies for tobacco farmers. But the one you point out is especially ironic. Cruelty to animals targeted for food or sport, loving care expected for species we think of as pets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another interesting contradiction…The mourning dove is the Wisconsin Symbol of Peace…and one of the most popular birds to hunt and kill in Wisconsin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The other irony is the mourning Dove being a ‘symbol of peace’ at all. You don’t have to spend much time observing how these birds treat each other to have a much different view of their suitability as such a symbol. Buzzards are a far superior example of peacefulness and general amiability.


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