Song gains satirist signs of outrage

Humane Society decries `Kill a Kitten'

April 18, 2003|By Meagan Dilks and Anna Kaplan | Meagan Dilks and Anna Kaplan,SUN STAFF

Stephen Lynch's show starts tonight at 8:30 at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, but people will be lining up around the block long before the doors open. Not only is the show sold out, but the Humane Society of Baltimore County has organized a protest against Lynch's song "Kill a Kitten."

The Michigan-born, New York-based folk singer/comedian released the satirical song on his first album, A Little Bit Special. He is currently touring to promote his sophomore effort, Superhero, released in January on the What Are Records? label.

The song suggests that killing a kitten will make you feel better if "life makes you feel like quitting," then offers several ways you could go about finishing off a feline. "If the one you love isn't quite as smitten, she'll like you better if you kill a kitten," he sings with the accompaniment of a guitar.

The Humane Society has encouraged people to call the venues where Lynch is performing and complain. It is also leading tonight's protest from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. outside the Rams Head during Lynch's performance. A similar protest is scheduled for his appearance at Towson's Recher Theatre tomorrow night.

Frank C. Branchini, executive director of the Baltimore County organization, insists that the song is inappropriate because the singer doesn't condemn animal cruelty in the lyrics. He also insists that this show should not be held at the Rams Head or the Birchmere, a Virginia venue where Lynch has appeared. "These are classy places that target people like me, and people like me will not come back," he said before finding out the show is sold out.

According to Eda Kalkay, Lynch's publicist, this is the first time the lyrics were taken seriously enough to merit protest. She referred all further questions about the controversy to a statement Lynch issued on his site, www.stephenlynch.com.

"It seems that the lyrics have been circulating on the Internet with the misunderstanding that the song is to be taken literally," he writes regarding the Humane Society's reaction to the song. "No intelligent person could think that harming an animal in any way would accomplish the goals stated in the song. That's the joke."

But Branchini was not appeased. "This is the last thing we need right when we're making progress," he said, referring to the Humane Society's recent victories in a campaign for stronger anti-animal-cruelty laws in Maryland. In his view, animal cruelty is nothing to joke about.

"Nearly all mass murderers start out abusing animals," he said.

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