By now you’ve likely seen the story about Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer who shot the lion in Zimbabwe. This story attracted my attention initially because of the word dentist, but when I read the story it actually had nothing to do with my profession. Type “dental news” into a search browser right now though and you’ll see that all of the top entries are related to Walter Palmer and Cecil the Lion. Now it’s highly unfortunate that Palmer had prior bear poaching problems, but I still tend to believe his side of the story and feel pretty bad for his current circumstances. He paid $50,000 to a professional guide to help him hunt a lion and I feel that this should be a story about the guide’s sketchy business practices and not a media fabrication about Palmer’s illegal bloodlust for lions. I’ve also failed to find answers to some burning questions I have about this story:
- Why does the media keep referring to this guy as “Lion Killing Dentist” and other such titles mentioning his job? Being a dentist has nothing to do with the story.
- How has this story generated so much hatred from people who have nothing to do with it? Some of these animal rights people seem to have no qualms with recommending penalties as severe as capital punishment for Palmer while in reality they know next to nothing about his case.
- I read that this whole lion situation puts “further strains on United States relations with Zimbabwe.” Is that really a bilateral situation? What are we getting out of that relationship?
No matter what the answers to these questions are and regardless of how this whole thing gets resolved, I have been amazed at just how big this situation got in only matter of days. The world of social media provides the means for anything, big or small, to go viral in a very short period of time and it gives a voice to everyone who wants to shout. The sheer volume of text and pictures that have been produced out of this story is mind-boggling. In a departure from the abundant negativity and anger surrounding this whole mess, I’ve been entertained by some of the jokes that the brilliant souls on the internet have created about dentists and lions. Here are a few of the best jokes about dentists and lions I’ve seen in the last few days:
Sadistic Dentist vs. The Cowardly Lion
Wizard of Oz Gone Wrong
These Lions Get Killed Every Year
Brian Williams Getting into the Action
Zebra Lives Matter
Simba Has an Epiphany