You just knew it had to happen, right? The other shoe just had to drop. I mean, anyone with an IQ even a couple decimal places greater than their hat size -- sorry, Gov. Walker! -- could have seen this coming from the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy.
I am referring, of course, to the inevitable conjunction of two sensational stories: (1) the clandestine recording of Planned Parenthood officials nibbling at salads and sipping wine while pining for Lamborghinis, etc., as they discourse with professional clinical detachment on the break-even costs associated with the acquisition, preservation, and transportation of fetal tissue; and (2) the virtually universal outrage sweeping social media about the killing of Cecil the Lion by Minnesota dentist Dr. Walter J. Palmer, who, perhaps subject to the throes of a Katrina-scale testosterone hurricane and maybe jaded with pulling teeth, allegedly decided to pull a fast one instead and hoodwink the administration of the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North and the Zimbabwean government. The past is prologue.
All the foregoing we have heard about, of course. The missing piece, the part that just had to happen with the remorseless Sophoclean inevitability of Oedipus learning the truth of his parentage and his marriage, was that the conservative media -- especially the conservative evangelical Christian media -- would just have to juxtapose these two incidents, the better to invidiously compare the outrage over the Cecil killing with the presumptive lack of same about alleged for-profit trafficking in fetal parts: "Y'all gettin' y'knickers in a twist over a dead lion ... what the hell about dead babies?!" Never mind that the two issues have about as much in common as corn-on-the-cob and the Large Hadron Collider. The religious right was by-Gawd determined to make them comparable, perhaps to compensate for the sting of their rebuke at the hands of the Supreme Court in the recent matter of Obergefell v. Hodges … but ... hey! ... who knows?
Well … anyway … be that as it may … in a spirit of conciliation … I propose to make easier the job of comparing the two and thus facilitating the requisite purple-jowled dudgeon. So to my conservative evangelical / fundamentalist Christian friends, I say: perform the steps below and you will be provided with an explicit blueprint, almost an algorithm, for creating a Cecil-killing recording that is genuinely and truly comparable to the Planned Parenthood videos with uncompromising verisimilitude. (Coincidentally, "Vera Similitude" was the name of my first girlfriend in college. She broke my heart. Long story ... anyway ... ) Ready? OK … here goes!
o Find a good spot, perhaps in an urban or suburban park, that looks appropriately rural, appropriately rustic, and … well … generally African. I would propose that virtually any well-landscaped but still sorta-kinda-semi-wild-looking patch of real estate anywhere in Seattle these torrid days would do, maybe even my own back yard. (Or maybe somewhere in the vicinity of the construction site around Big Bertha the Bore, 'cuz Lawzy knows she ain't goin' nowhere anytime soon. You know the drill ... ) If necessary, cover the brown, dry patches of grass with odd swatches of AstroTurf. Decorating same with the spoor and scat and droppings of itinerant animals would be an excellent enhancement. But I leave that as an exercise for the truly dedicated, only asking in return that you not tell me how you accomplished it. I would only venture as far as suggesting the use of bits of shredded Donald Trump Mexican-immigration speeches, given their uncanny resemblance to the real thing.
o Get a person to dress up in an adult-male-lion costume to play the part of Cecil. You might also want to get another person to dress up in an adult-female-lion costume to play the part of Cecil’s presumptive mate. Arrange “Cecil” so that “Cecil” is lounging on the ground, preferably under shade, while his “mate”, the “lioness” “Mrs. Cecil”, paces vigilantly back and forth behind him. Lord of the Jungle at leisure with his devoted servant / consort attending claw-and-foot to his most transient whim, and all that, don't y'know ... this latter arrangement to attract Republican viewers.
o Buy maybe a dozen or so little lion-cub stuffed toys. The smaller, the furrier, and the more adorable, the better. Scatter them around “Cecil” and his “mate” at random. Have “Cecil” and “Mrs. Cecil” play with them idly once in a while to give the impression of no-nonsense but benevolent parenthood. “Cecil” and “Mrs. Cecil” are not helicopter parents – they are lions and this is supposed to be Africa, after all – but they are parents. Free-range parenting is mandatory.
o Now comes the kicker … Get a third person to dress up in a set of Wal-Mart faux camouflage gear, "boonie-hat", contoured go-to-hell sunglasses knock-offs, knee-pads, maybe even something that looks like a Kevlar vest -- you know ... the whole weekend-armchair-insurance-salesman-SEAL-Team-6-wanna-be look (think "Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor" here) -- and to clandestinely infiltrate this bucolic scene carrying a child’s plastic bow-and-arrow set. The invader lurks. He skulks. He reconnoiters. Like that waiter who recorded Mitt Romney's 47-percent rant in 2012. All the while both trembling with barely restrained blood-lust and chortling with glee.
o With the dastardly surprise of the professional coward, our "lion hunter" springs up from behind whatever concealment he has been using, comes to one knee, and -- an arrow already nocked in his toy bow -- looses the deadly bolt at "Cecil" ... not once but several times, including arrows at the "lion cubs". "Mrs. Cecil", exercising the better part of valor, abandons her dying mate and runs away, full-tilt-boogie, under leonine warp drive. "Cecil", mortally wounded, writhes and twists on the ground in terminal agony, surreptitiously sprinkling ketchup and / or red food coloring on himself and his doomed progeny as he does so.
o The erstwhile "lion hunter" strips off his "cammy" overshirt, revealing a t-shirt underneath emblazoned with the blue Planned Parenthood logo, as he runs forward, scoops up the hapless and ketchup-besprinkled "lion cubs", waves a few over his head, and, bloodshot-eyed, screams maniacally "The bidding will begin at $30 to $100 -- or more for those of you with serious 'nads!" Others -- the intrepid "lion hunter's" customers -- similarly camouflaged, who have been concealed elsewhere until now, explode from behind shrubs and bushes and rocks, throw wads, rolls, green balls of money at the "lion hunter", and, sometimes fighting even among themselves, seize the "lion cubs" and abscond with their grisly lagniappe.
o Last step ... shop the resulting video around to, e.g., Fox News, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Christianity Today, First Things, the American Enterprise and Cato Institutes, The Weekly Standard, the Christian Science Monitor, etc., etc. I say "shop the ... video" tongue-in-cheek. I can virtually guarantee that you will not have to "shop" it. On the contrary, they will come to you, once word gets around that the video shows the illegal slaughter, not only of "Cecil", but also of "lion cubs". And as per standard operating procedure, the obvious fakery and fraudulency will be instantly forgiven, assuming anyone notices it at all -- just as it was with the original Planned Parenthood video -- because, you see, you will have reached the correct conclusions.
And the best part of all? You don't even have to thank me!
James R. Cowles