Letters

LETTERS

March 16, 2009

Providing for pets after we're gone

What a touching story about Kenneth Munzert, who made provisions in his will for his dog ("Bequest for man's best friend," March 11).

Some people may think it is frivolous or silly to provide for animals in an estate. I think it is wise that the Maryland legislature is considering a bill allowing owners to establish trust funds for their pets so their wishes are met ("Trust-fund Fidos," editorial, March 3).

Pets become like family to many people, and can be the most devoted companions. It can mean a lot, especially later in life, to have such company.

I commend pet owners who plan ahead for their pets' care and commend the legislature for addressing an issue that benefits both animals and people.

Aileen Gabbey, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland SPCA.

Thank you for a wonderful tribute to a great lover of animals.

Brought together by a shared love for the German language, Kenneth Munzert and I became good friends. He cared deeply for abandoned and abused animals, always ensuring his own aging dog's welfare.

Everyone does not have the financial means to provide for an aging pet the way Mr. Munzert did. But his efforts do remind us to be concerned with the safety and well-being of our furry friends when their better days are past.

Irene Heath, Baltimore

Simian imagery a staple of satire

The authors of "Race and the ape image" (Commentary, March 3) write that blacks have been routinely dehumanized and portrayed as more simian than human through the 19th century and well into the 20th in the popular media to justify slavery and racial violence.

The racial programming is so deeply ingrained that it is not surprising, say the writers, that The New York Post published the now infamous cartoon depicting a chimp shot dead on the street by two police officers, with the oblique caption: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." The chimp could be seen as portraying President Barack Obama.

I was astonished by the picky exaggerations of these writers, especially their carps about innocuous expressions such as "aping a victim's screams" and "an urban jungle." The sanitization of English by the politically correct shrinks the beauty of the language and chills spontaneity by leading to self-censorship by writers.

The constant search for racial insensitivity an unworthy pursuit.

It is not just blacks who have been disparaged by being likened to simians. Over the world, oppressors have dehumanized the oppressed by likening them to animals. Political cartoons have savaged people of all colors, in this country and elsewhere, giving animals across the zoological spectrum the features of various politicians.

Indeed, I have on my refrigerator a card I cherish. It shows images of former President George W. Bush and a chimp with similar facial expressions, and the caption reads: "Intelligent design or evolution?"

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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