How Netflix’s “Tiger King” Illustrates The Predatoriness Of Whacky Animal Abusers
Why did I watch this shit?
Like most folks who are weathering this season of great uncertainty in the midst of a life-altering global emergency that shows no signs of mercy, the need to be fully immersed in activities that transport you away from our grim reality has become the standard default.
There are a handful of viral options that have gotten out of hand, like most well-liked tweets and shares tend to do. The dance challenges and group serenades featuring random celebrities are headache inducing. The selfies inspired by mandatory confinement or demonstrations of “social distancing” are also aggravatingly unoriginal.
I’ve settled on a slight increase in my streaming habits, which translates to indulging in anything that can adequately numb by frazzled nerves.
And so when I chose to screen Netflix’s Tiger King: Mayhem, Murder and Madness, a seven-part docuseries that didn’t seem nearly as crazy as it turned out to be — I wasn’t prepared for the emotional rollercoaster ride that left me seething with anger and regret.
Tiger King is a rude awakening about the nefariousness of unhinged exotic animal lovers, who wildly showcase the unhealthy extremes of this ugly obsession to the point of exhibiting, and in this case almost following though with plotted schemes aimed at equally vile competitors.
Filmmakers and co-directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin have unleashed the evidence of unrestrained pervasiveness in sweltering territories of expansive kingdoms, that are permitted to indulge in open criminality based on themes that give whacky animal abusers the lawful pass to fuel their predatoriness.
Viewers are introduced to a handful of slave owners and their scrappy minions, who have mastered the art of compensating for their crippling shortcomings with the assistance of a sprawling alternate realities, that sub as hell on earth for helpless animals who are forced to bear the punishment of catering to specific fetishes of their captors.
The crux of this terribly offensive and downright intolerable offering is centered around the animalistic antics of a rebel without a cause, who parades around his hideously mounted fortress with a gang of misfits, and the ever-trusting companion of weaponry, which he uses to gleefully threaten the lives around him.
Joe Exotic is disgustingly romanticized by the media and filmmakers alike, and it’s not hard to conceive of why that’s the case when he first leaps onto the screen.
His “rough around the edges” persona is heightened by the otherworldly theatrics that are seductive enough to downplay the eye-popping foolery on display. His symbolic regimen pays homage to the durable currency of white privilege, and the supremacy that doesn’t exact “the long arm of the law” on lawless heathens, who are secured in love affairs spurned by venomous narcissism.
None of these delusional makeshift “zoo keepers” deserve the spotlight or celebrity treatment that’s garnered from the adventurous nature of documentarians, who are easily wooed by the shit that should inspire the ire of law enforcement. As well as the immediate imprisonement of wrongdoers who trick the public into forking outlandish amounts of money for a brief tour of kooky-land.
Joe Exotic is embroiled in a longstanding, bitter feud with a self-righteous, self-inducted hippy, and seemingly even-tempered woman with a questionable past named Carole Baskin. The docuseries revolves around the nefarious pursuits of these individuals, and how the notable collisions grow more frequent and violent, thanks to Joe’s paranoia and savage competitiveness.
For those of us who can’t even fathom a world where lions, tigers and bears are sold, widely distributed and even used as collateral, the visual confessional of Tiger King graphically reveals the dysfunctional transactions between avid consumers and the suppliers who will do whatever it takes to keep the money pumping.
And it you’re squeamish about references to cruel tactics that are employed to keep evil empires afloat at the expense of members of a birthed tribe, that didn’t ask for profitable oppression, then you must refrain from this illustration of animal cruelty.
As a Nigerian-American, who grew up in Lagos, and now resides in the States, I can’t honestly say that my “Africanness” didn’t endear me to develop an unyielding affection for wild animals. And despite the biting stereotypes that enveloped Q & As with impossibly curious Americans back in the nineties when I was considered fresh blood, I was never treated to a day trip to the zoo during my childhood.
Modern day slavery takes on various forms under the spiteful watch and delegation of over-powered, self-implemented gods, who have a history of reducing innocent lives to rubble.
There’s a murder mystery stuffed into this uneven documentary that woefully fails to target the “elephant in the room,” and instead meekly dances around the glaring issues of animal abuse, and the combative perpetrators who hide behind their faux-activism as creators of sanctuaries that qualify for mandated extinction.
I absolutely regretted watching Tiger Kings, because there was nothing remotely royal about the soberingly uncouth actions of low-level bounty hunters, who gain fame and fortune from the sport of dominating their prey to the extent of death-defying stunts.
The viewing experience prompted me to rely on expletives more than usual, and reignited my resent for the built-in biases of our judicial system, that continues to practice the scornful vilification of communities of color, but has no issue reactivating the permits of white evildoers.
Carole Baskin, the so-called “Mother Teresa of Big Cats,” who weathered the dramatic ire of Joe Exotic because of her never-ending quest to publicly demonize him for the exact same shit she’s guilty of, inexplicably enjoys a humanized assessment for reasons that may hinge on the lethality of her white feminism.
Both Goode and Chaiklin recently divulged to Vanity Fair that they are privileged enough to gather enough empathy for these trashy characters, which helped to produce a sedated portrait of a lifestyle that robs from the poor to feed the victimized.
Goode: “I think obsessions can be very joyful…whether it is art, painting, music. [With the large-cat owners, however] their obsession is sadly affecting another living creature.”
Chaiklin: “These are people who work incredibly hard. They’re up at the crack of dawn. They’re working all day to care for these animals even if the animals are suffering. Nothing is black and white in life.”
It was nauseating to observe the collective of big cat owners, who harbor a mobster mentality, and exhibit signs of what can be categorized as debilitating tendencies, that are shrouded in the deadlines of the “white savior complex” that historically terrorizes the colonized and caged.
Carole Baskin may have been murderously targeted by her infamous foe whose outlandish skits ultimately delivered his fate, but her “holier than thou” mantra only exaggerates her traits as a greedy businesswoman with an angelic outer shell, that protects her audacity to charge $50 per visitor, despite the illegality of her ledger.
Who can forget the tragic circumstances that befell a Connecticut woman, Charla Nash, back in 2009 when she was left bloody and mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee, owned by the neighborhood friend that she was casually visiting.
All hell broke loose when “Travis the chimp” and former TV star, who had no business being barricaded in a house, against his will, fatefully decided to take matters into his own hands by acting out his animal instincts.
His jailer tried to sedate him with stabbing wounds, but it took gun shots by the police to finally silence the chimp, who died as a result of being too stubborn to play the role he wasn’t born to embody.
If any good can come from this disturbing and triggering docuseries, it has to be the ordered crackdown on the scattered litters of these illicitly implemented compounds and burial grounds for the flock that don’t make the cut.
Common sense explains why not every animal is supposed to be petted and propped for human consumption, and the term “exotic animals” should be retired because there’s no such thing.
This extended cult that has been nationalized for far too long, needs to be swiftly disbanded.
It’s very black and white, and very wrong.
These abusers shouldn’t be given permission to install their predatoriness against caged victims that have to endure the unnatural to please the stupidity of entertained gawkers, who are enriching the lowest form of humans.
The documentarians refused to register this ongoing criminality, accordingly, which is a testament to the epic failings of mankind.
But at the end of the day, I never should’ve watched that shit!
Update: This article provides useful insight regarding how the co-directors manipulated the narrative of Tiger King and left out vital information regarding Carole Baskin’s ongoing efforts to stop breeders from selling big cats as pets.