Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin and Matthew Scully

I've been reading a few articles online wagging fingers at Matthew Scully for having written Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention. For those who may not know, Scully wrote a book a short while ago called Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, which I've yet to read, but have been told presents strong arguments in favour of animal welfare -- for the merciful treatment of the animals we use, but not for the cessation of our usage of them. Maybe someone who's read it would care to comment about it? Anyway, long before publishing this book, Scully was a speechwriter for various Republicans, most notably while special assistant to President George W. Bush and as deputy director of presidential speechwriting.

So? So now he's still doing what he's always done, but what's got people's ire up is that Sarah Palin has been standing out more and more as someone whose view of animals is deplorable. And Scully wrote a speech for her. The San Diego CityBeat, for instance, recently published a piece about Scully's having written Palin's speech, calling Scully a hypocrite for having done so. I understand where they're coming from, but the thing is that he's a speechwriter and not an animal rights activist. I doubt that many speechwriters have the luxury of being able to pick and choose for whom they write according to whether they agree or disagree with that person's opinions, beliefs or actions. It's speechwriting and not endorsement. As heinous as I think Palin's record is concerning animals, I'm not so sure if picking on Scully is where energy and effort would be best spent. Of course, I haven't had my morning caffeine yet...


Anonymous said...

I'm reading Dominion for the second time. I struggled with some of the ideas about mercy versus use, as well as some of the religious aspects, but overall felt that the exposure he gave to the horrors of factory farming, canned hunts and so on was a wake-up call to readers.

I don't know how he balances what he does for a living against his beliefs, but I guess most of us do the same to some degree. I doubt that some of us could sleep soundly if we wrote speeches for Bush and Palin.

Natalie Angier at the New York Times wrote an extensive review of Dominion.

Time Magazine also ran a piece about what Scully was trying to accomplish with the Palin speech.

M said...

Thanks for the input. I should pick it up and give it a read at some point.

Thanks for the links, as well. I'll go take a peek.