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Vegans Against PETA
This is a blog for animal rights activists who are concerned about the misogynist, racist, homophobic and transphobic tactics used by PETA.   
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
And now they malign the Inuit people...

This is an inukshuk


See that image above? Beautiful, isn't it? It's an inukshuk, a monument of unworked stones that Canada's Inuit people use for communication and survival in the harsh climate in which they live. The meaning of the inukshuit (the plural form of inukshuk) are "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path." If it puts you in mind of a human pointing the way, that's not just a coincidence -- "Inukshuk" in the Inuit language means "in the likeness of a human." Inukshuit are used, among other things, to point the way to channels where boats can navigate, to food sources, to shelters and campsites and as milestones.

Now, if you're at peace with this image, if you find it beautiful, important and meaningful, stop reading, at least for a while so this image has a chance to seep into your mind. You probably already know, but PETA's about to ruin it for you.

See, the Inukshuk was recently chosen as the symbol for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. PETA, being all disgruntled at Canada's annual seal hunt, has of course decided to use the occasion of the Olympics to make a statement about the hunt -- never mind that they've never slammed, say, the UK, China, Australia or other countries when they host the Olympics despite the fact that those countries all engage in just as much, if not more, animal cruelty as Canada.

Part of their campaign is that they've re-worked the Olympic logo with the rings to have blood dripping from one of the rings, which has caught the ire of the lawsuit-happy Olympics organizing committee. I could really give two craps about PETA's version of the Olympic rings. The only people it hurts are people who have plenty of money, anyhow. Of course, PETA didn't stop there. Why would they? So far they've only mildly hurt the feelings of some wildly privileged people. And we can't have that! For PETA wouldn't be PETA if they weren't working tirelessly to oppress the oppressed and portraying indigenous people as savages who beat on cute animals:


This is total disrespect for Inuit culture


Yes, they really went there. And they really don't give a crap and are spouting the pathetic-ass excuse that the Olympic committee has already cheapened the inukshuk by using it for the 2010 logo. This is despite the fact that when the inuksuk logo was unveiled as the Olympic symbol, Inuit Tapirit Kanatami president Mary Simon said it was great, so clearly the Olympics' use of the symbol does have the support of an important part of the Inuit community.

And anyhow, just because the Olympics committee decided to use the inukshuk doesn't mean PETA should (further?) cheapen it by making a logo that tries to get people to have a negative association with an important and little-known Inuit symbol. After all, will the average person looking at that think, "Oh, it's an animal rights argument AND an edgy commentary on the co-optation of an Inuit cultural symbol!" or are they going to think, "Hmmm, Inuit symbol doing something a lot of people find brutal, therefore Inuit people must do it themselves and are brutal?" If you know anything about the human mind and enduring historical attitudes toward indigenous people, and if you've actually looked at that damn PETA logo, people are going to go for interpretation number two first. Furthermore, PETA claims they're not against people like the Inuit who hunt for subsistence, but this type of stunt just guarantees that any criticism of seal hunting will be deflected from commercial seal hunters onto indigenous hunters.

I'm sure PETA thought of the negative ramifications of co-opting the inukshuk but simply didn't care. After all, when have they given a crap about the commodification of other cultures? Was it when they compared pictures of black men being hung in lynchings to slaughterhouses, or when they compared pictures of Jews in concentration camps to slaughterhouses by using pictures they essentially stole from the Holocaust museum? In the context of PETA's previous actions and their unwillingness to respect or form coalitions with human rights groups, this is nothing but racism and willful ignorance; PETA has no interest in learning about other issues or other cultures, and they certainly don't care about respecting oppressed people. After all, if they wanted to make a statement about seal hunting in connection with the Olympics, they could have had an image of the Canadian maple leaf dripping with blood, or they could have taken any number of other Canadian symbols that are NOT specifically connected to indigenous cultures and made a statement with those. Instead, they've done this, and since I hadn't yet seen the Olympic symbol and I've never seen an inukshuk before, PETA's "symbol" was the first glimpse I've had of any type of inukshuk, which makes me really, really sad.


THIS is an inukshuk

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 3:20 PM   0 comments
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Way to fucking go, PETA
A large majority of Americans -- and a significantly larger percentage than last year -- view wearing fur as morally acceptable, according to a recent Gallup poll. Now, we all know that every time somebody criticizes PETA's misogynist anti-fur campaigns, they scream, "But SEX SELLS!!!!" (Never mind that stripping and beating a woman to death isn't sexy...but I digress...) What I'd like to tell PETA is, well, knuckleheads, if sex sells, then every damn person in the West should be against wearing fur by now. After all, practically everyone has seen your dumbassed "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ads, and many have seen your other crap like the mostly-naked Suicide Girls in the newer "Ink Not Mink" campaign.

But as I've said before, tits and ass will not convince people of a damned thing. In fact, given evidence that viewing women as sex objects makes men less likely to listen to women and even shuts down the part of their brain that experiences empathy, those ads are probably doing far less good than hearing it from a fully-clothed woman, and may even be doing harm to women and animals by shutting off people's empathy. It should also be noted that when you use a campaign that demeans and degrades one group and it fails, not only have you failed to help the group you aimed to help, you've also made things worse for whatever group you threw under the bus in your campaign. This is yet another reason why PETA-style campaigns are so ill-advised -- you can't be sure it will work, and if it doesn't you've simply unleashed more harm on the world; your impact isn't just zero, it's negative. You're gambling with people's lives and dignity.

Similarly, what PETA doesn't understand is that convincing people to change their lifestyle is a hell of a lot different than getting them to buy a particular brand of beer, and it requires far different tactics, tactics that actually make people think and that will stick with them, tactics that will appeal to their conscience and connectedness with others, not make them feel superior to anyone who's not a white cisgender man. See, the way we treat animals now is part of a hierarchical system that puts straight white cisgender able-bodied etc. men at the top. Meanwhile people not in that category are in the middle at various rungs of the ladder depending on how many privileged characteristics they have, children are next to the bottom, and animals are at the very bottom. Doing things that uphold this hierarchy, such as exploiting women and thereby upholding sexism, will not do a damned thing to liberate animals; it will only strengthen the hierarchy, and will increase people's estrangement from others. We will sink or swim together, and if we as animal rights advocates can't even respect our fellow human beings there is no way in hell we'll get anybody to respect animals.

It might sound wishy-washy, but it shouldn't: We are all connected, goddamnit. Until we understand and live by that, until we feel it with every breath of polluted air we take and with every brutal hate crime and every report of a young black man gunned down in an urban wasteland, we will all lose. It is only with compassion, love and respect that we will win anything, and I simply don't see that in any of PETA's campaigns. I see scorn, bigotry, adolescent snickering and a despicable sense of moral superiority. Given that, nobody should be surprised that Americans think it's okay to kill animals for fur; PETA has simply decided that human beings are not capable of empathy and will only respond to demeaning displays of dominance over oppressed groups. They should be ashamed of what they've done, and the rest of us should resist PETA's type of thinking at all costs. In the end, humans, animals and the earth will all be the better for it.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:51 PM   5 comments
Dear PETA, nobody thinks you're funny except your mom. Love, Me
Note: This post is more of a pet-peeves-about-PETA post than anything really horrible they've done. For once.

Ah, PETA. Right when I almost forget you exist, I open my email and lament to remember that you do, in fact, hog my air on a daily basis. (GET IT?!?! HOG?!?!? LOLOLOLOL....)

Now, if you think that joke was not funny, allow me to share an observation. PETA is also not funny. Well, unintentionally they are, but what I mean can be found in a recent entry from their blog:

Dear Furries, Please Don't Wear Real Fur. Love, PETA

Heads up, Pittsburgh: A menagerie of costumed wolves, rabbits, foxes, and other fake fauna are about to converge on your city.

And no, it has nothing to do with PETA.

Actually, it's all about Anthrocon—the world's largest "Furry" convention. OK, so if you don't know what a Furry is, I know you're dying to ask. In a nutshell, a Furry is a person who is totally into animal anthropomorphism (assigning animals human traits). I mean totally into it. We're talking loving fictional animal characters so much that they often wear mascot-like costumes of their fave animals (think Crayola-colored cheetahs in cargo pants).

Which is where PETA came into the picture. Don't get me wrong, we weren't trying to harsh their mellow. We just wanted to make sure that convention-going "Fursuiters"—as they like to be called—weren't parading around in the pelts of real animals. Here's the letter we sent to them:

(Scan of typical stupid PETA letter follows)


Now, I really love what happens next:

Their response?

Dear Shawna:
Real fur is frowned upon at all furry conventions, in the same sense that leaping in front of speeding locomotives is frowned upon at comic book conventions.
Yours truly,
Samuel Conway, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO
Anthrocon, Inc.


Note that the funny part of this blog entry did not come from PETA. Now, some of you may not be familiar with PETA's dumbass blog in which dumbass PETA supporters write about dumbass things. You are lucky. More to the point, however, this writing style and this type of dumb, pointless stunt is pretty much the norm on the whole blog. And it makes me want to rip my toenails out and throw them at Ingrid Newkirk. On the same page as this waste-of-money Furries stunt we see a preview for an article called “Pamela Anderson Bowls Over an Austrian Official – Then Has a Ball,” and another article opens with this slammin', sassy line: “There was no love lost between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings as they battled on the ice last night in game three of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but there was love in the stands during halftime when Jason Levy asked his girlfriend, Nicole Hughes, to marry him.”

I mean, really, PETA, really? I KNOW some of y'all read my blog – it's called a tracker, you see – and I was thinking maybe you could take a cue from me, or better yet from Twisty Faster or Melissa McEwan and actually be funny. Because if I have to be annoyed with your crap on a daily basis I'd at least like to be amused, or feel that your donors are getting a little something for their money other than the upholding of racist capitalist patriarchy. But if the only way you can entertain people is by being so ridiculous that they just make fun of you, what's the point? (And if you don't know that all people do is make fun of you, you clearly do not get PETA news alerts sent to your inbox. Or hell, you don't even read your own press releases.)

Perhaps I should be careful of how I word this criticism. I wouldn't want to wake up and find out that PETA has extended an offer to me to contribute to their blog because they're so desperate. That is, unless it's okay that my first post will be titled “New blogger/rogue vegan declares PETA a tool of the meat industry.” But don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be trying to harsh PETA's mellow or anything.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:11 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Get your juvenile on....
I love Republicans.

No, seriously! Have you heard that they're trying to re-name the Democratic party the Democrat Socialist Party? It delights me to learn that you can now re-name groups without their permission, so I, too, have taken this opportunity to join in the re-naming fun. Now, hold on to your faux fur hats, because this will be a highly intellectual exercise. And by intellectual, I mean you might get to use the word "poopy."

That's right, my revolutionary friends! We're going to re-name PETA! Please note that the suggestions below are ones that I've only come up with between now and getting home from work, so they are probably not as hilarious as they could be if I had a more democratic, er, Democrat Socialist attitude. But even an empress takes suggestions, so e-mail or leave your re-names below and I'll add them to the poll if they are pleasing to me and if I get a chance. Bribery will also help your cause. Of course, not having your entry there at the beginning means you'll start out behind, but if you are part of a privileged group you may consider it a free lesson in unpacking the invisible knapsack. See, sometimes you DO learn things here at Vegans Against PETA!

(Note: I've mostly stuck with keeping the acronym the same, because I figure name recognition is very important. Plus I don't want to invite uncomfortable comparisons to Prince. But other naming schemes are welcome if they're awesome enough.)




(PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Somewhere along the line, the poll disappeared from this entry and refused to come back, so I've simply posted an image of the entries. If I recall correctly, the winner was "PENIS ERECTION TITS ASS ZOMG!!!" It warms my heart to know that you all share my impressively low level of maturity.)

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:23 PM   0 comments
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I'm still here!
Hi, everyone, I'm still here and haven't abandoned the blog! Life has just been hectic, plus nothing in my PETA Google alerts has caught my fancy.

I'm about to head off to bed, but I just had to share a thought: Has anyone ever noticed that the "e" in PETA's logo is the only letter that's not capitalized? I know, like it's surprising that "Ethical" would be the least important part of PETA's mission. Without it, they're just People for Tits and Ass. Yawn.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:14 PM   0 comments

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Name: The Venerable Vegan Empress
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If you have any ideas for an article here or would like to write a post, I'd love that! I work full time, volunteer and take classes at my city's university, so I don't work on this project nearly as often as I'd like. Just send me a comment with your contact info -- I approve all comments before posting, so if you include info that you don't want published let me know and I won't publish your comment.
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