Let me put my two cents out there before I get into this: every single one of the people in The Tiger King is screwed up in some fundamental manner. There’s no other way to say it really, they’re all touched in the head, and not in a good way. It’s not just the fact that they all apparently feel that keeping big cats that are meant to be wild in captivity and then proceed to point fingers at each other for their dubious practices, it’s the fact that we, the American people, have made them all rich in the process. To be quite honest, it’s the kind of story that at any moment one might expect everyone to stop and say “Gotcha!” as it sounds too nuts to be real. But apparently, there’s a lot more footage that was somehow found and finally released, or the folks saw how much controversy they could stir up, saw the paycheck it brought, and were thinking ‘hells yes, sign me up again’. A lot of people might state that they can’t blame them, that they’d want to get paid too, and that the concern about the big cats is secondary to everything. But maybe that’s where the problem lies, people don’t mind normalizing this garbage.
I’ll admit it, I watched the first documentary and felt bad for the cats, while the rest of the cast could have taken a long walk off of a short pier and it wouldn’t have been a sad moment. The fact that a second round is coming is yet another chance to show and exploit the animals that are already languishing in their cages. Are they entirely miserable? Probably not since they’re fed and they do have room to run, but at the same time, being held in captivity isn’t something that a wild animal should be subjected to. Those that are born in the cages are being robbed essentially of a life that could be theirs, but without being given the chance to live in the wild, introducing them to the jungles would be irresponsible and likely quite deadly.
One of the worst parts about this show is that the people in it believe that they have the right to keep these animals and are doing them a favor. There’s a much larger argument that we could get into when talking about this, but the ultimate losers in this instance are the animals, while the fact is that none of the humans involved are in the right, even if this is for entertainment value and not much else. The fact that people are on Joe’s side and are calling for his release is simply mind-boggling since the guy is kind of a joke, while those that were in his orbit for so long are no better since they too have been a part of this subjugation of animals and are apparently adamant that no one is going to take the animals from them, ever. If it turns out to be more than entertainment, which it likely won’t, it could be that we’ll be hearing on the news about a brief shootout or a raid of one location or another, since the people in this documentary aren’t all there to put it lightly.
It’s hard to not feel anything when thinking about this story since without knowing about it, people might care one way or another until they’re told what’s been going on and what the main players are all about. Even then, people might not care that much since they’re not invested, but they might care that the animals are coming out as the only ones that are really suffering in this entire mess. It might sound horrible, but I can’t have been the only one rolling my eyes when the irony of Joe realizing he was in a cage sank in. Seriously, the guy even made comments about animals being caged and losing their spirit, and before he’d even served a considerable portion of his sentence yet. One thing that really bugs some people about Joe, myself included, is the amount of ego he has. It’s good to have some ego without a doubt, to like yourself and possibly love yourself, but the level to which Joe went was nuts.
From selling his own merchandise to pushing songs and videos that weren’t featuring his scratchy and annoying voice, to just being an overall nuisance, the guy is someone that a lot of people might have been glad to see go away for a while, especially since now he’s going to be seen again and it would appear that he’s ready and willing to say anything and do anything that he needs to in order to get himself out prison. But hopefully a lot of people, including Joe, realize that if that happens he’ll no longer be a king, he’ll be a rat, and will hopefully gain the same reputation.