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08/16/2011

Guest post: Ignoring PETA is hard to do  »

I try my best to ignore PETA in my day-to-day existence. It’s bad enough to hear about them from every omnivore with contemptuous questions and stupid jokes on an oh-so-clever t-shirt (we’ve all heard “people eating tasty animals.” A thousand times). But sometimes I can’t ignore the fact that PETA goes out of their way to represent the veg communities as awkwardly or offensively as possible—the sexism and objectification, the racism, the fat-hating(check out the bio of their female Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door 2011). Yet occasionally PETA will do something good, like compiling a list of veg celebrities to make it easier to find celebrity crushes without any lingering guilt. Every time I talk about PETA, I feel as if I’m talking about that one family member that’s embarrassing and says horrible things but still remembers to send you a card on your birthday.

I got pretty concerned about the two PETA employees that were each charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty in 2005. The employees were caught repeatedly dumping the bodies of cats and dogs into dumpsters behind a Piggly Wiggly. Even Anderson Cooper covered the story! According to the Animal Veterinary Medical Association, the two employees were acquitted. No-Kill advocate Valerie Hayes wrote a reflection piece for the Atlanta Examiner discussing what PETA had done five years after the 2005 situation, which apparently wasn’t a whole lot. I couldn’t even find a response from PETA about the incidents and news coverage.

On top of that pretty sketchy situation, I discovered that PETA used the Ka Yang trial as a basis for a billboard campaign. Earlier this summer, Ka Yang was arrested for microwaving her six-week-old daughter and then claiming the baby died from a seizure. PETA’s billboard plans had likened Yang’s microwaving her child to microwaving a piece of meat: “Everybody’s somebody’s baby.”

Fox40 reporter Andria Borba was not amused, calling PETA an “attention-whoring animal rights organization.”

I don’t know, guys. I just don’t know anymore.

Less depressingly, PETA has grouped People’s “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive,” Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, with likes of Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, Pamela Anderson, and Andy Dick, which is clearly offensive to science as a whole, but I’m more surprised that the writers for People know what an astrophysicist actually is. Dr. Tyson joined PETA for one of their printed PSAs, which states, “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that kindness is a virtue” (pretty cute, I must admit).

Dr. Tyson also sat down for an interview with PETA’s president, Ingrid E. Newkirk, wherein he explains that he allows his children to watch nature shows but will not take them to the circus. Can you imagine having a father that has 12 honorary degrees!? Check out PETA’s video featuring highlights of the interview:

I appreciate PETA, for their campaigns that state the obvious (Kentucky Fried Cruelty), and for convincing hot high school girls that by “go[ing] veg” they can do more than just love puppies, but their awesomeness is hard to see behind all the embarrassing stunts they pull while claiming to represent the veg community.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

06/14/2011

Feathers are for birds, not hair extensions or jewelry  »


Do my eyes deceive me? Please say yes. Please tell me this isn’t Ke$ha on a PETA poster. Tell me, make me understand how, exactly, does PETA choose the ‘spokespeople’ they feature in their ads? Seriously.

WAIT, ARE THOSE FEATHER HAIR EXTENSIONS SHE IS WEARING? IN A PETA AD? FOR REAL? (Maybe feather earrings? This is a joke, right? That seal sure is adorbz, though.)
This feather fashion is ridiculous and has got to end. Sporting dead animal parts as accessories is not hip, it’s disgusting. Let’s not kid ourselves, this feather trend is neither ethical or cute.

04/12/2011

PETA, not again. I thought we went over how truly awful and fucked up it is to target kids based on their weight? I guess not! So, here we go again because shouting into the void obviously gets me off! This is definitely something to address in therapy!
Dear PETA,
1) Not all fat kids are unhealthy.2) Not all skinny kids are healthy.3) When you target people based on weight, it’s fucked up and cruel. Fat kids already get made fun of enough, so much so that a lot of them just kill themselves. Wait—maybe that’s your plan? One fewer meat-eater!4) Campaigns like this actively encourage victim-blaming. I know this is aimed toward parents, but so many kids will see it, and they don’t have the resources to respond in a way other than self-blame, self-hate, or shame. Like, imagine if this were a rape awareness campaign, and the picture was of a girl in a short skirt with the tag line: “DON’T ASK FOR IT. WEAR PANTS.” You know? Who exactly are you helping? I’m confused.
Yes, PETA, cutting down on your meat intake is really great for your health. I’m a fat vegan and my cholesterol is the best my doctor has seen all year! But this campaign has NOTHING to do with health, and everything to do with shame. It’s repugnant and depressing. I think PETA does lots of great work, I do, but it’s stuff like this that makes me want to holler, throw up both my hands! I encourage PETA (and really everyone ever) to read Health at Every Size, learn about our so-called “Obesity Epidemic,” and read up on the big business of fat hate. Or maybe PETA already knows that and they’re just capitalizing? Either way, it fucking sucks.

PETA, not again. I thought we went over how truly awful and fucked up it is to target kids based on their weight? I guess not! So, here we go again because shouting into the void obviously gets me off! This is definitely something to address in therapy!

Dear PETA,

1) Not all fat kids are unhealthy.
2) Not all skinny kids are healthy.
3) When you target people based on weight, it’s fucked up and cruel. Fat kids already get made fun of enough, so much so that a lot of them just kill themselves. Wait—maybe that’s your plan? One fewer meat-eater!
4) Campaigns like this actively encourage victim-blaming. I know this is aimed toward parents, but so many kids will see it, and they don’t have the resources to respond in a way other than self-blame, self-hate, or shame. Like, imagine if this were a rape awareness campaign, and the picture was of a girl in a short skirt with the tag line: “DON’T ASK FOR IT. WEAR PANTS.” You know? Who exactly are you helping? I’m confused.

Yes, PETA, cutting down on your meat intake is really great for your health. I’m a fat vegan and my cholesterol is the best my doctor has seen all year! But this campaign has NOTHING to do with health, and everything to do with shame. It’s repugnant and depressing. I think PETA does lots of great work, I do, but it’s stuff like this that makes me want to holler, throw up both my hands! I encourage PETA (and really everyone ever) to read Health at Every Size, learn about our so-called “Obesity Epidemic,” and read up on the big business of fat hate. Or maybe PETA already knows that and they’re just capitalizing? Either way, it fucking sucks.

02/16/2011

This is the proposed ad Peta wants to place at the Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore. In exchange, Peta will help fund the museum as the Baltimore gov wants them to be self-sufficient or shut down. Um, HILARIOUS! This ad makes little to no sense!
I can’t be that offended though because there are like a million Poe houses; homeboy was a rolling stone! I know there’s one in Philly, one in Richmond, VA and one in the Bronx—do we need four Poe museums? Let me tell you what a Poe museum looks like: there’s a desk with some old-timey paper out, where he may or may not have written such-and-such story, and then there’s a big stuffed raven. That’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad for historical landmarks to close, but it appears he only lived in this house for three years. Big whoop. Slap a plaque on there and call it a day. 
But really, Poe house aside, is this ad going to do ANYTHING? My only response is WTF? You people are crazy. It’s a bit hilarious though; the guy is having a heart attack next to a terrible play on words. Poor wordplay makes me a bit queasy, too, but it doesn’t make me not want to eat meat (meat makes me not want to eat meat). I know it’s a publicity stunt, but really it’s so bizarre. It has nothing to do with anything! It’s not like Poe died from eating too much meat; no one knows how he died, actually, but a heart attack is not one of the proposed theories.
I know I’m in the minority, but I generally think Peta’s antics are pretty funny. This time though, even I’M perplexed by this one. Who thought of this? Did they have this ad on the back-burner, just waiting for the opportunity to bust it out? Other than the punny humor, veganism has no tangible connection to Poe. I can imagine the weirdos that go to the Poe house thinking, “those vegetarians are such weirdos.” When the Poe enthusiasts think you’re crazy, that’s a better diagnosis than any DSM classification.

This is the proposed ad Peta wants to place at the Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore. In exchange, Peta will help fund the museum as the Baltimore gov wants them to be self-sufficient or shut down. Um, HILARIOUS! This ad makes little to no sense!

I can’t be that offended though because there are like a million Poe houses; homeboy was a rolling stone! I know there’s one in Philly, one in Richmond, VA and one in the Bronx—do we need four Poe museums? Let me tell you what a Poe museum looks like: there’s a desk with some old-timey paper out, where he may or may not have written such-and-such story, and then there’s a big stuffed raven. That’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad for historical landmarks to close, but it appears he only lived in this house for three years. Big whoop. Slap a plaque on there and call it a day. 

But really, Poe house aside, is this ad going to do ANYTHING? My only response is WTF? You people are crazy. It’s a bit hilarious though; the guy is having a heart attack next to a terrible play on words. Poor wordplay makes me a bit queasy, too, but it doesn’t make me not want to eat meat (meat makes me not want to eat meat). I know it’s a publicity stunt, but really it’s so bizarre. It has nothing to do with anything! It’s not like Poe died from eating too much meat; no one knows how he died, actually, but a heart attack is not one of the proposed theories.

I know I’m in the minority, but I generally think Peta’s antics are pretty funny. This time though, even I’M perplexed by this one. Who thought of this? Did they have this ad on the back-burner, just waiting for the opportunity to bust it out? Other than the punny humor, veganism has no tangible connection to Poe. I can imagine the weirdos that go to the Poe house thinking, “those vegetarians are such weirdos.” When the Poe enthusiasts think you’re crazy, that’s a better diagnosis than any DSM classification.

02/01/2011

HOT GIRL-ON-VEGETABLE ACTION! Great move, Peta!  »

We are getting some bad press these day. First it’s “bacon turns vegetarians into uncontrollable meat-eating machines!” and now it’s "literally fucking produce." Will no one think of the children? Or the people with self-respect?

There is NOTHING RIGHT with Peta’s “2011 Super Bowl ad,” which is described as “outtakes from last year’s ad’s casting video.” Every goddamn thing about it is offensive, from the disembodied male voice directing the ladies in bikinis to the roughly 1 billion “this looks like a penis!” jokes to the one shirtless dude who has clearly not spent his entire adult-bodied life working out like a fucking fiend acting all hapless, like we needed the extra pandering.

What a joke. What a disgrace. Peta, WHAT THE FUCK. This does not make anyone want to “go veg,” it makes them either want to puke, masturbate, or masturbate and then puke from the shame of having gotten off to some softcore porn masquerading as an anti-animal-cruelty video. Your “skins” campaigns, full of photos of naked attention-hungry omnivores who show up everywhere else in leather and silk? Whatever the hell the women in lettuce bikinis are supposed to represent? The Worst. Why are you such hypocrites? As Deceiver puts it, “How is exhorting young women to get it on with gourds in any way ethical treatment? Are pretty young things not animals as well? Or are there exceptions in the vegan manifesto about how living creatures aren’t to be exploited for our entertainment?”

Honestly! Your non-sexually explicit arms do good work (well, mostly), Peta, but you’re always going to be “those nuts who throw paint on people and take a lot of naked-chick photos” if you don’t cut this out. We vegans and animal-rights activists are SO TIRED of our association with you, it’s SO EMBARRASSING—worse than a dozen birther relatives addicted to Facebook, because at least you can hide those people and deny their “add relative” requests; we can’t hide from your well earned, terrible reputation.

Again, what are “hott chix in bikinis literally fellating zucchini” doing for the animal-rights movement? “I love vegetables so much I actually fuck them” is not the same as “I abstain from all animal products”—why do bunny-eating omnivores understand that better than you, ostensibly strict vegans?

Fire your public relations team. Fire everyone involved in any of your clothes-free ad campaigns. Hire some people with talent* and the good sense not to do anything like this ever again, who won’t make you look like such gross hypocrites. Unless you really all are gross, Dov Charney/Terry Richardson-style exploitative creeps, in which case, just shut the fuck up and leave the talking to the rest of us adults.

*Hints: our Megan Rascal is an advertising genius! (And I am editorially talented and very strict!)

[link to video at HuffPo via Deceiver, which is sometimes super-irksome about veganism but does make an excellent “stop being hypocritical” point. Photo by Yum! via Fruit Porn]

11/04/2010

Here we go again: PETA expands its definition of bestiality!  »

Thanks, PETA, for writing this garbage. And thanks, HuffPo, for publishing it. You didn’t pay ol’ V.P. for Policy Bruce Friedrich to publish this, did you? Please say no. Because if you did pay for it, the written word has no monetary value anymore and I am giving up and starting my career as a driver for a public transit agency. Any public transit agency.

Look, Peta, beginning your “All of this is bestiality” attack by using the Webster’s definition marks your position as weak. You know who starts their theses with the definition of a keyword? Grade-schoolers. Already you’ve lost some respect from your readers capable of making mature arguments—i.e., ages 12 and up.

Everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “repeatedly jam[s] his finger into a turkey’s vagina” is a person whose relationships with animals and sexuality are deeply damaged, and should not work anywhere near animals. However, not everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “masturbate[s pigs] to collect their semen” in order to artificially inseminate a sow with it has deeply damaged relationships with sexuality and animals. Ohhhh, you say, why is it illegal when someone touches a pig’s penis for sexytimes but legal when someone does it for future pig creation? That “glaring contradiction…just doesn’t add up”!

Duh, Peta. Duh, there’s a difference. It’s called “intent.” It’s called “sexual gratification of the abuser.” It’s called “A bestialist has sexual feelings toward the animal, or wants to act out sexual fantasies with the animal.” Farmers whose turkeys are too grotesquely gigantic to mate naturally and require human intervention generally do not look for or obtain sexual gratification from this work.

If you want people to take you seriously, Peta, try writing seriously instead of sensationally. It is fucking disgusting, artificially inseminating “livestock,” but calling it bestiality, really? Physical abuse of animals for the sexual gratification of the abuser is different than physical abuse of animals to aid in the reproductive process. In a Venn Diagram, there’d be overlap, but they are separate issues, and conflating them doesn’t help make your point. Maybe farmers might consider artificial insemination animal abuse, maybe possibly, but no way will they agree that they engage in bestiality.

Saying something like that lowers you to the level of the terrible assholes who brandish those gruesome signs in front of “family planning” clinics, all “YOU ARE MURDERING YOUR CHILD LOOK UPON THE HORROR OF AN ABORTION BABY-KILLER.” When you immediately take an extreme position, you lose the ear of any of the middle-grounders who might have listened to you, had you said something less insane. The President isn’t a socialist, and all farmers aren’t animal-fuckers.

Of course these practices are horrifying: the physical abuse farm animals are forced to endure is a major reason why we don’t eat animals. I am not defending it. Thanks for putting me in this position, Peta; I love being on the side of Big Ag and meat-eating! But for sweet sensibility’s sake, omnivores are not “participating” in “having sex with animals.” They are definitely supporting a fucked up, inhuman system! Just not a system that condones bestiality.

Now, please: Shut up, Peta.

03/26/2010

The Geniuses at PETA Strike Again!   »

PETA wants to give schools in Kentucky free veggie burgers in exchange for advertising on their teeter-totters. The advertisement? “Tot Teetering on Childhood Obesity? Go Vegan!” You know the fools at PETA were all, “OMG HILARIOUS PLAY ON TEETER-TOTTER OMG HIGH FIVE!!!”

Ugh, this kills me. I know getting upset about PETA’s press releases is completely futile* but still I rise. Can you imagine a little fat kid (who, btw, is already teased mercilessly because kids are the motherflipping MEANEST) coming to the playground and seeing those teeter-totters? Stunts like this don’t turn kids vegan but I bet they could turn them suicidal. Further, how many fat kids do you know who venture near a teeter-totter anyway, it’s already ground for public humiliation. Way to know your audience, PETA!

And what of all the thin kids with malnutrition and fast food diets? There are tons of them, believe it. Just because they’re skinny, they get a free pass? Thin does not healthy make. What a crappy lesson all the way around. Oh and way to hold the veggie burgers hostage, PETA. If PETA really wanted kids to eat healthy, they’d give the schools veggie burgers anyway. Withholding food from schools until they give you precious advertising space? Who does that sound like? Oh that’s right, every asshole fast food and soda company who have targeted schools since our nation lost its godamned mind. What really drives me crazy is that PETA is theoretically playing for the good team. I’m vegan and I want to support them but when they’re pulling stuff like this, it makes it soooooo hard. Further, please GOD, get a Terminator.

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says in a letter to the schools, “Students will get a delicious, healthy, fat- and cholesterol-free meal and a lifesaving message about how unhealthy it is to eat meat. The best thing that people of any age can do for their health, animals and the environment is to go vegan.”

What does PETA’s message have to do with health? NOTHING. Also, she’s lying because what veggie burger do you know (that’s edible) that’s fat free? Lady, vegan food has tons going for it already, the vast majority is healthier than it’s non-vegan counterpart, no need to lie. It’s things like this that make us all look like idiots.

I hate to give them any press but PETA’s war on fat is cruel, embarrassing and the exact opposite of compassion. And then when you attack kids? Unforgivable. It makes me want to go give every little fat kid in that school a sundae made with coconut milk ice cream and be all, “look, this shit is delicious and animals weren’t hurt making it.” Kids have a natural compassion for animals, why not tap into that? Because PETA only cares about press! All press is good press! Except when it makes all animal welfare and rights activists look like fringe idiots! GO PETA! 

*like sending letters to Santa Claus! Nothing doing, kids! Nobody’s home!

09/04/2009

07/21/2009

“ Do You Love Animals? Do You Have Lady Bits? Take Off Your Clothes! „

How cute. This time, the two ladies are wearing lettuce-styled bras and undies sets and Playboy Bunny necklaces (because these vegan role models are also Playmates!) while they distribute vegan hot dogs. Also, they have similar hair and body types, so not only are they two hot chicks in matching underwear, they are implied twin hot chicks in matching underwear. When I think “vegan,” I definitely think “incest fantasy.” You too?

Always with the nearly nude women, PETA. Why? The two dudes accompanying these lettuce ladies here are wearing black t-shirts and jeans. They couldn’t all be wearing gross-out lettuce-fetish lingerie? Or maybe everyone could have just worn PETA-logo clothes, like human beings who are worth more than their depersonalized body parts?

No one at our vegan bake sales last month was naked, and we were very successful. PR stunts like this one are tawdry, cheap, exploitative and embarrassing, PETA, and it is time to do something else, already.

[via Sociological Images]

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