PopMatters: 'Trash Animals' Reveals the Endearing Traits of Snakes, Coyotes, Cockroaches, Pigeons and Others

Review of the compilation of essays in PopMatters.

nagy_trash coverAmericans love their animals. On YouTube, videos of dogs welcoming their owners home and videos of baby pandas, leopards, and seals garner thousands if not millions of hits. We cry over sappy ASPCA commercials (or just change the channel because they make us too sad), cheer on the underdog Budweiser Clydesdale, and fall in love with Lassie, Dewey the Library Cat, and Black Beauty.

Generally speaking, though, only adorable, cuddly and nonlethal animals are portrayed so lovingly. If we want to see snakes, bugs, or cockroaches front and center, we look to horror films (or really bad sci fi). And this isn’t rocket science. The fact that cute animals are usually more popular than the not-so-cute variety is hardly headline material. Post about dog or domestic cat abuse on Facebook (ferals, as the book notes, are a different matter), and the public outcry will be swift and loud. Post about cockroaches, and people will offer thoughts on the most effective way to kill them.

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Published in: PopMatters
By: Catherine Ramsdell