Monday, 31 January 2011

Veggie Love - Another WTF PETA moment

PETA have a history of creating a bit of a mess when it comes to transferring their good moralistic ideas into advertising campaigns. They also have a history of getting right on my tits. It just so happens that their latest endeavour to get people to ditch meat in favour of the more colourful and altogether less murdery food-type that is vegetables is another crashingly fail-tastic example of how not to present yourself to the world. It's like they don't even want people to forget that they dug up that grave, or complained about Lady GaGa's meat bikini, or slagged off that multi-offspringed family, or they wouldn't keep getting me all riled up like this.

It's not that they're a ridiculous organisation, or that they constantly play up to their opponents by being exactly the type of over-the-top, cringeworthy idea-shouters the world expects now thanks to their past behaviour - hang on, I've forgotten where I was going with this. What I want to say, in complete sincerity, is that they have got a founding in real issues that make sense. I may eat meat and be a bit iffy on the fur issue (I have an heirloom fur coat given to me by my great grand Nan who died in 1998 aged 100 - so I'd prefer not to be judged for not burning it and then pissing all over it or some other type of childish anarchistic thing) but I appreciate that if I was a better person, I'd agree with most of what they say. Animal cruelty is wrong, end of story. But their latest campaign...this is something else.

'Enticingly' titled "Veggie Love", it involves a video of women getting intimate with vegetables. I kid you not. Here, have a look: Gratuitous video footage to boost ratings. The first video I saw was here, and I have to be honest, I was shocked. I'm not easily shocked, as you may or may not be aware, but in this instance the initial waves of "ha, this is stupid" turned quickly to shouts of anger.

Woman licking pumpkin. OH THAT REMINDS ME - I'm off to become a vegetarian, CU L8R BAI

Firstly, I'd like to ask the makers of this video - in what instance is it acceptable to campaign tirelessly against cruelty to animals, and yet make light of the porn industry, with all it's exploitation and instances of violence? Not to mention how clearly it undermines women in every way.

Secondly, I want to know why getting women to act like whores is going to encourage people to eat vegetables. In fact, I don't even need to ask that. By now all PETA is interested in is the coverage it will garner from it's next half-baked purposefully confrontational ad campaign. Who cares if it makes sense? As long as people talk about it, it worked. Right? (Despite this, I asked my mum who PETA are, and she knew all the things they'd done - throwing red paint on people being her favourite - but had no idea that they did other things beside anti-fur campaigning. So it doesn't work after all.)

I talked to a good friend of mine about the advert, who out of all the people I know, I thought would be a fan of what PETA do. In fact, he felt quite offended that I should think so. After all, he's a well-informed, intelligent vegetarian with a pet cat. Why should I tar him with the insanity brush?

"That ad in particular is very crass and demeaning, I'd say. Not just to women (although it is) but to anyone with a measure of basic intelligence: the assumption behind a lot of their campaigns seems to be 'People like sex. If we pair sex with vegetables people will think "Duurrrrrh... Me go vegan now..." Obviously, people tend to be a tad more complex than this. In fact, the animal rights debate itself is a lot more complex (and interesting) than it seems PETA and similar organisations would like to believe. They have, broadly speaking, a valid, non-mental point to make. But, obviously, that wouldn't grab headlines or go viral. So instead of trying to communicate an argument against the different forms of animal cruelty in an intelligent and engaging way you get all this other shit: aping whatever cultural dross is currently in mode with a 'veggie' slant, women lolling about in their knickers tossing off moolis and shoving radishes up their chuffs. It's absurd, trenchantly anti-intellectual, and makes it very very easy to say there's no need to listen to their argument.

There's other arguments to be leveled against PETA - that the argument, in some cases, maybe animal testing IS required isn't EVIL NAZISM; that the ubiquity of battery-farming is far more worthy of the zeal and attention they lavish on the far smaller fur industry; and all the other stuff they're associated with - against pet-ownership, controversies about their animal euthanasia programme, their barely veiled crypto-support for the ALF, the fact they just seem to be DICKS - other arguments to be leveled, as I say, but best not now, eh?

So there ya go, ya filthy meat-eating pet-owner." (The opinions of the wonderful and decidedly non-PETA @vivmondo)

As @oye_billy very succinctly put it on Twitter: "PETA are a black ops organisation formed by the meat industry to discredit vegetarians. Or they're fuckwits."

I don't think I could have put it better myself.

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