Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the greatest modern writers of the Twentieth Century. His prose has been accused of creating a whole new way to write novels, or a whole new way to ruin them. Either way, Papa Ernie is a literary giant.
Hemingway kept an elephant gun on his mantle, and he wasn’t afraid to use it. In fact, one of Hemingway’s favorite pastimes was visiting exotic locales and shooting large animals; creatures we now consider endangered and in need of protection. One of these animals is the African elephant.
Hemingway killed himself in 1961 with a gun. In his day, there wasn’t such a huge stigma about shooting rare animals. Hemingway liked to pose with his recent trappings. He would crouch down, bend at the knees, prop himself against his large-caliber gun, and smile while the animal lay bleeding and dying behind him.
Things have changed. Hemingway knew this. He may have naturally lived another 20 or 30 years, but he knew his era had come to an end.
Today, it’s almost universally condemned to shoot and kill an elephant. These large, graceful animals are quickly becoming extinct. Humans who once hunted these animals are now charged with protecting them.
GoDaddy Founder and CEO Bob Parsons posted a video on the web in late March, 2011, showing himself killing and posing with the body of an African elephant.
It didn’t take long before protests erupted. Blogs railed against Parsons. Animal rights organizations put out information on how to boycott or cancel subscriptions to GoDaddy within hours of the posting.
Now, I truly believe Parsons is an intelligent man. He must be to create an easy-to-use and successful internet product such as his.
The strange part is he was not able to predict the backlash against his company. I’m sure GoDaddy will survive the incident, a little tarnished. This occurrence demonstrates a larger truth. Having intelligence does not mean you have foresight, but lack of foresight is never intelligent.
By the way, Hemingway’s elephant gun is up for sale. I would encourage its new owner to keep it on the mantle and not point it at any endangered species.