The BBC spends a fortune sending lipless Canadian women around the dustier parts of the world to report the wrongdoings of bourgeois imperialists like us. And yet the most popular story on its website is usually about some leathery pervert in Sudan who married a goat.
TV in Crete has found the golden section of goat coverage. It runs none of the salacious stuff that the BBC struts, nor does it openly advocate traditional Greek goat worship - simply solid updates on who's grazing what, how the latest bells sound and stuff about creepy horizontal pupils. When on holiday there I felt fully informed and yet not patronised.
William Shatner was ever the pioneer, not least in the field of goat promotion. His literally seminal film Incubus stars a goat who plays the Devil. The whole business is acted in the international language Esperanto on the endearing premise that the goat and his relatives in the audience might understand it.
Sadly the film cursed its cast with murder, suicide and French subtitles. The goat's career went nowhere, while that dog in the Beethoven films lived in a Conran kennel and dated an Avon lady.
Let us recall for a moment how William Shatner has trailed many a blaze:
- He launched the US civil rights movement with the film The Intruder, and kept it going in the dark days after the assassination of Martin Luther King by kissing Lt Uhura on Star Trek;
- He denounced science fiction as "pants" on Saturday Night Live despite the great personal risk to himself from thwarted mummy's boys and, possibly, alien beings; and
- He proved that Pulp's Common People didn't depend entirely on having Sadie Frost wander around Asda in the video, while at the same time giving Joe Jackson a break from his job at the Ramada Inn, Reading ("Your bossa favourites in a bontempi tempo").
When Shatner spoke on these matters, the world listened. Then he addressed the dignity of Man, the need to date girls and read proper books, and generally to rock out. Now he calls on us to confront the pathetic fallacy.
Animals, unlike people, do not smoke pipes or operate heavy machinery. They wander around rutting and having long naps, finding food where they may. These roles may be reversed in Wales and some parts of Bulgaria, but the truth remains that our activities bore most beasts.
God put animals on this Earthly disc to be eaten by me or filmed by various Attenboroughs, not to indulge the Neronic excess of Nubians or upstage terrorists. Let us follow Shatner's example and accord animals the respect they are due.
The BBC could take the first steps by screening Incubus, perhaps with an introduction by the late Welsh naturalist Johnny Morris, and scheduling a run of Chania Kydon TV's "Η Ώρα της αίγας" goat-focused chatshow and cookery programme.
We owe much to goats, especially Val Doonican. Let's give a little something back.
NB This web blog is openminded in every sense, but does not tolerate crude national stereotyping. Anyone who posts comments about sheep and lonely Carmarthenshire hill-farmers will have his car painted green and his house burnt down.