United Killed A Giant Rabbit At O’Hare (Yes, Really.)
I stumbled upon The Sun’s reporting of the death of Simon, a gigantic 10-month-old rabbit, at the hands of United today. United will undoubtedly settle for an undisclosed sum, but there are a few things about the story that I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around, simply because there is so much about this story (and its reporting) that is completely ludicrous, and I couldn’t help but add some colour commentary.
So here are a few personal insights on the story.
- This rabbit cost over $4000 to purchase and transport. They could have gone to Fyre Festival for that kind of money (where nobody died, despite what Instagram would have you believe.)
So the story starts when an Iowa-based farm brokerage and management firm decided it would be a good idea to get a giant rabbit to show at the state fair.
But it wasn’t just any old rabbit. Simon was a Continental Giant Rabbit, weighing in at around 16 lbs and was 3-feet-long during his short 10-month stint on this planet. They said he would probably have been THE WORLD’S LARGEST RABBIT (expected to outgrow his father who settled in at 4-feet and 4-inches long) had he the opportunity to fully grow, which would have been fitting for a state fair attraction.
Thanks to United, Simon’s true potential will now never be known. The world is now a darker, diminished place.
2. The emotional response to the loss of Simon is heavily expressed in all the reporting, to which my response is, “Why?”
There’s a lot of focus on the human-interest angle of the story, which has left me scratching my head. CNN, for example, decided to highlight this:
The Des Moines Register also included the following tidbit:
These are probably the least interesting aspects of the story. The more salacious (read: UK) outlets did make it a point to illustrate, with photos, the most interesting human of the story: Annette Edwards.
3. She’s the breeder who sold Simon, and (unrelatedly) spent a ton of money on plastic surgery to basically cosplay as Jessica Rabbit in her younger years.
While CNN and Des Moines Register don’t make it a point, it seems that the UK outlets are more than making up for it by using a gratuitous number of images to somehow make this story sexy. The problem is, the images they chose really fail. Take, for example, the image that The Sun ran both in the above image of their printed page, and the image on their website:
No, she’s not in her prime, and that’s fine, but they also mention she was a Playboy model (why?) despite using the least flattering image of her dressed as Jessica Rabbit.
The Daily Mail found more flattering images, thankfully, but then flanked the image with tidbits that give literally zero context to the story of Simon’s death.
I mean, sure, she really loves rabbits. That’s fine, but why the heck did they then include this bit of information?
They could have tried, saying something about how for the cost of her brow lift, she could pay United to kill another of her rabbits.
The point is, sex isn’t the thing that will sell this story, but some outlets sure are trying. Why?
5. The real story is that United successfully flew this rabbit alive from the UK to the US. It arrived alive, but then they STUCK IT IN A FREEZER.
The Sun reported that the animal had gone through a full health check and was given a clean bill of health. Turns out, the vet didn’t check the antifreeze levels before clearing him for a flight with United.
Here’s the kicker. The Guardian was able to get a statement from United, which said, “We won’t know the cause of death because we offered to perform a necropsy free of charge — that’s standard procedure — but the customer didn’t want us to perform a necropsy, and we understand.”
Yes, that article was posted Wednesday when United hadn’t come clean with how they completely fucked up, and that’s ice cold (sorry). It’s a special kind of disingenuous to offer a necropsy to a customer whose animal you killed when it’s still thawing from being left in your freezer to die.
6. I’m unsure if some of the tidbits included in the story are ironic or moronic.
There’s a lot of talk of the life Simon would have had. There’s only one problem: they seem to be taking a single statement and using it over and over.
Take this one, from The Register:
Or this one, from the Mirror:
It just seems a little too soon. And all of these descriptions of Simon’s would-have-been living conditions seem all unfortunate given, well, everything.
All in all, several personal opinions were reinforced. Don’t fly United. (Like a true hipster, I was doing it before it was cool, and after a particularly heinous experience). The state of journalism is face-palm worthy, and they’re either ironically self-aware or moronically unaware.
I did, however, learn that there may have been a rabbit to grow as long as I am tall (4'8", if you were wondering) but such a creature may never walk this earth. #ThanksUnited