Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt defined "the banality of evil" as the acts of someone ordinary who is not a sociopath, but just an individual who accepts a premise as it is presented to them - even if it's an evil and terrible one - and behaves as though and believes that the premise is normal.

Later, her work was criticized by psychologists, who believe that evil cannot be banal - that in fact, anyone who condones something terrible is aware that it's terrible, but they justify their actions because they are, in fact, evil.

I have always thought that evil is rarely presented to us on silver platter, but rather is offered subtly, liberally peppered inside an ordinary meal. Evil lives and breathes beside you; it sits next to you on the bus, it offers you a breath mint, it may even pay for dinner.

Watch out for evil, dear readers, for it catches you unawares. Its countenance is benign. Its acts are shameful. It believes in itself. This makes it dangerous.

To evil, Lexi Chihuahua says:

Lexi Chihuahua knows not evil, and is the product of Good. One of our volunteers, Dove (the owner of Happy Dogs Walking, a very excellent dog walking company - please check them out if you are looking for a dogwalker in the Lower Mainland) was in California recently, and had an extra crate in her van. She rescued Lexi from an overcrowded and underfunded animal control shelter and brought her back to Vancouver to find a better life, instead of certain death.

Lexi Chihuahua is The World's Cutest Chihuahua.

Good in this world may stare you down. It exists apart and beyond the reaches of both banality and evil.

For many years, I thought I lacked confidence because I question my own motives at every turn. Now I know that when people want to be Good, when people care about the consequences of their acts and when they genuinely desire to achieve Good for themselves and for others, they must question their motives. They have no choice. Because otherwise, they may fall victim to evil. Good people are not saints, they are just ordinary people fighting the banality of the evil that wants them on their side.


Learn it, live it, embrace it.

And by doG, support the people who do Good.


On a less-than-3-kilometer piece of paradise called Corn Island exists a living contradiction. The Island is Eden to the tourists that visit. But it’s Hell for dogs.

Amid the pristine shoreline of the Atlantic Coast and swaying palms live countless mongrels with countable ribs, lacking energy as they wander aimlessly about the Island in a constant state of hunger.

For the most part, the Islanders are poor. Most make a marginal living by diving for lobster or catering to sun-worshipping tourists. Others wish they could make a living.

Health care for their dogs is way down the list of life’s necessity. Besides, there are no vets on Corn Island, so animal health care is wishful thinking, if it's thought about at all.

This is a forgotten, neglected area of Nicaragua, even by its own country, and the Islanders are isolated by water and jungle from their Nica brothers. Rather than speaking Spanish like the Pacific side of the country, Corn Islanders speak a lilting petois much like Jamaicans or Dominicans.

When Casa Lupita committed to an invitation last year to stage a spay and neuter mission on the Island, we realized that we would be entering a region where few veterinarians had ventured before. While no permanent vets are currently there, none are foreseeable in the future.

The sad state of the animals because of over-population, disease and malnutrition defied description. It was deplorable enough to shock even our seasoned veterinary team, most of them veterans of various animal care missions in developing countries.

But nothing stopped them from sterilizing over 200 animals that week, reducing the future animal population immensely while improving the quality of life for everyone on the Island..

While our initial worries were whether or not we would be accepted (would the people of Corn Island want their dogs “emasculated”?….would they be suspicious of a group of gringos in green “scrubs” messing with their pets?) we were pleased to be wrong. Casa Lupita was lauded by the Island elders who noted that finally someone cared to help Little Corn Island…a place usually last in line for any kind of help.
We closed our final day of surgeries to their invitation to return the next year.

“Next year” is now here!

We plan to make good on our promise to Corn Island .

We are now assembling and organizing the team, a group of 13 eager participants that includes veterinarians, vet techs and coordinators.

Once again, the mission will be led by Casa Lupita's Dr. Tom Parker, DVM. In addition to being a guiding force behind the development of Casa Lupita, Tom has participated in many missions in developing countries as well as continuing his support here in Nicaragua.

There is only one way to get to Littls Corn Island. By air, then boat. As always, funding is our biggest challeng. we are reminded that our biggest challenge is funding....for air transportation at a cost of just under $2000 as well as a large supply of medicines and clinical supplies for sterilization surgeries and other treatment. THe participants are covering their airfares from the U.S. to Nicaragua. They are pure volunteers and will receive no pay.

Once again we are grateful for free accommodations of lodging by Casa Iguana, a guest house on the island..
Last year, Building New Hope was able to support the trip because of generous donations from those of you who believed in the importance of our community effort. Hopefuly your belief in us is still strong and we hope that we can count on your generosity once again.

Scott and Christine Smyth, U.S. citizens who are constructing an ecolodge on the island are donating half the cost of our airfare bill....a gigantic help in reducing our costs.

We estimate the cost of $25 -30 US dollars for performing one sterilization surgery. This year we hope to exceed our last year's total of 200 spay and neuter surgeries. This is where we need your help.
We hope that those of you who realize the immense value of this project will offer a contribution for one (or more) sterilization. Your contribution will be a giant step toward creating a healthier environment for the people of Little Corn Island and for their animals.

Donations to New Hope can be made by mailing your cheque to:


106 Overton Lane, Pittsburgh PA, 15217

Or by paypal on their website.

Don't forget to read Finn's blog as she travels to the Corn Islands to do some Good.

And if you want proof that there is Good in this world, all you need to do is visit a poodle puppy.

That's Blackjack. He is The Cute. 14 weeks of pure awesome. For realz, yo.

This weekend I got to canoodle with the poodles, the very very famous poodles ... including this year's AAC Regional 10" Veterans Champion, ABIES.

For years Tracey has been telling Tweed to "run like a poodle." Looks like he should have listened!!

Shut up Food Lady. You bore me.

Oh, you're bored? Can I solve this problem for you?

If you like, I can make Miss Piper *extremely* angry.

OR I could torment The Woo

For his heroic efforts, the Sofa received a Poodle Blessing.

And as reward, he was given a Mini Me. Which promptly ran away. Even his own Mini Me finds his relentless enthusiasm kind of annoying.


Was someone philosophizing on evil? I felt summoned.

As for your Food Lady, she has been very busy, but promises to try to to update the blog more often. There are many photos in the world that are begging to be taken.

And there are fat orange dogs begging for snackies.


nickelsmum said...

Love the Poodle blessing!

Anonymous said...

Woo may be a little overweight but he still makes for a beautiful photo!

pam said...

The 'shut up food lady, you bore me' made me spit coffee onto the monitor. Thanks, I needed that!

The Border Collies said...

"Woo may be a little overweight but he still makes for a beautiful photo!"
To be fair, Wootie is not *actually* fat - he has a beautiful tuck and a sexy hourglass figure. But he has the barrel body of an Aussie, and the dainty paws and face of something else that is mysterious, so he always looks like he is carrying a little sumpin sumpin extra around the middle. Poor Noodles!

Tammy said...

I was wondering where your dogs sleep at night? Love all the pictures, that poodle puppy is adorable!

PoochesForPeace said...

I tried to follow Finns blog but i cant figure out how...suggestions?

ann-and-partner said...

Hi, I tried to make a donation to Build New Hope, on the paypal web site but they wouldn't accept the name and address they wanted an email address. Paypal is easier for me, could you tell me how to do this? Thank you, and thank you for the joy and laughter your blog gives me.

Brown Girl said...

Love the poodles, my mom has a tiny one that we call ugly. He's really not ugly at all though, he's quite cute and very smart! Love reading about the woofs and the woo!

PoochesForPeace said...

I figured it out.... :)

Sweet~Ceana said...

Um... who took the sofa puppy and replaced him with a dog??!!!

Anonymous said...

You've been watching Dexter haven't you?

Seriously, *evil* is so insidious...the scariest part for me is people genuinely believing in their actions (PETA comes to mind right now.) People who are 100% sure they are RIGHT. Those are the folks that worry me. Those that question their actions are (hopefully) thinking rational beings who don't take the world at face value. And if you are constantly questioning yourself ("is this going to hurt anyone?" "what are my real motives" "what are the repercussions of my acts?") hopefully this will keep you honest, so to speak.

Sorry about the philosophizing: couple glasses of red wine and off I go. Love the pics as always and I noticed you haven't been taking as many pics of Piper lately and since she looks so much like my Kat, I am missing seeing her evil little face!!!