Liam Neeson's Daily Show interview last night ostensibly served to promote his latest movie Non-Stop, but over half of it was taken up by his passionate advocacy to keep horse-drawn carriages in New York. True to his action-hero persona, Liam Neeson cares a lot and is not afraid of anything—not even the wrath of PETA. What a weird fucking platform, though.
It started when Jon Stewart asked Neeson how he's doing, and Neeson said that he's "a little pissed off at our elected new mayor." In December, New York mayor Bill De Blasio announced that he'd get rid of the city's horse carriages. Neeson said that the horse carriage industry "made the roads of New York," and that there's a lot of false information regarding how the horses are treated. "These guys treat these horses like their children," he says. Laboring children, whom, as Stewart pointed out, live in a 60-foot stall and are fed buckets of grain twice a day, but sure, children.
He and Stewart verbally sparred for the rest of the interview, which by the end grew tense and awkward. You know Neeson. Fighting the good fight. Making sure people can pay $100 to be dragged around the block by a despondent animal.
If you haven't read Lee Siegel's New York article about the hansom cab battle, now's as good a time as any. Here's a paragraph:
Once in the park, [the horse] Sultan joined a lengthening line of carriages, all of which moved at a slow, uniform pace, as if they were following some automated signal. At several points, [driver] Nurettin turned his back to the horse in order to talk with me, and I leaned outside the carriage to get a look at the animal. Even without a driver, Sultan knew where to go, his nose to the ground. His head was down and bobbing mechanically, and I had a reflexive impulse to stretch out a protective hand, the same impulse I experience when my 3-year-old daughter is napping in some precarious place and about to bump her head against a wall.