Sunday, March 18, 2007

PeTA's latest idiocy posing as "art"

It seems that the folks at PeTA are back to their old ways of trying to be as offensive as possible as an attention seeking device. In the same spirit as the infamous "Holocaust On A Plate", "Animal Liberation Project" and the "he died for your sins" billboard, PeTA has now launched this little piece of garbage posing as intelligent social commentary. Like its predecessors, this "diner" featuring famous vegetarians at the Last Supper seems to have the gravitas of a feather. And like its predecessors, it too will probably be left to simply rot on the ash pile of history. Something tells me that this won't be very popular in religiously conservative Texas. I'm not sure why PeTA thinks that offending people's basic sensibilities is a way to win new converts to their cause. The similar stunts mentioned above only served to alienate people. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Still, I for one hope they keep doing it. For one, it's just too damn much fun to comment on, and two, if they want to shoot themselves in the foot, that's just fine with me.

1 comment:

aloe2 said...

I dunno, GrizzlyBear. As you say, PeTA being as offensive as possible, including with the use of controversial relgious imagery in its efforts to equate animal and human suffering, or diminish the latter’s over the former’s suffering, is the way it manipulates the media and draws attention to itself, and with it, PeTA may gain a few and lose a few converts. So what, to PeTA. What matter is that the media and public seem to go for it, and PeTA loves it.

PeTA’s tactics are at times unethical – like presenting staged photos and videos, using outdated information, and misrepresenting facts, even outright lieing by omission. PeTA takes delight in showing the most graphic pictures of animals in labs, “factory farms” and slaughterhouses without much explanation of what is really going on and why. PeTA’s tactics do cross the line when it compares animal and human suffering and sometimes shrugs off or diminishes, mutes, or mocks the suffering of humans. Like PeTA writing to the pentitentiary asking that Timothy McVeigh’s final meals be vegetarian beause he should not be allowed to taken even one more life; ridiculte Mayor Giuliani with an antimilk message of “Got prostate cancer?”; comparing the numbers of Jews killed vs the number of broiler chicken that die annually in slaughterhouses; and the like. Some people might argue that animal welfare and other animal rights groups have tried to explain it to people but it hasn’t worked so now “people need to have animal suffering shoved down their throughts along with the dead pigs, cows and chicken they shoove down there” (as one responder to the below article wrote).

PeTA’s extreme tactics have got them – PeTA – the press coverage and public attention. There’s no doubt, in my mind, that PeTA is very adept in getting media attention for its own group. What does it say about PeTA’s savvyness or sluttiness in getting its animal rights message covered in the press and television? What does it say about our media and its public? Though PeTA’s tactics has given publicity to animal rights, vegetarianism/veganism, and animal conditions in labs, farms, etc, I’m not always sure how much PeTA’s tactics contribute any to getting the public general to take an informed and honest look at the merits of certain forms of animal use and whether PeTA media stunts have contributed any to improving the treatment of animals is another question. Some may argue that PeTA’s extreme and downright silly attention-getting stunts have alienated some “AR” and given PeTA critics the ammunition they need to claim that “AR” is for loons. But, there seems to be quite a bit of discussion about PeTA and its tactics, and about animal issues that PeTA, and other “AR” advocates, brings up. Like you say it’s too much fun to comment on. Even if PeTA does shoot itself in the foot, its mission accomplished, so long as the media keeps getting hooked by it and we keep talking about it.

I have copy/pasted snippets from these two websites that I found quite interesting:
PETA crusaders plot their outrageous, sometimes illegal antics from the organization's headquarters overlooking the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk. They often use shock, insult and even nudity as their hook.
The resulting press coverage fans the organization's recruitment and fund raising. It's that media savvy, PETA loyalists say, that has vaulted the organization into the world's most recognized and effective animal rights group.
Key to PETA's results-oriented strategy is manipulating the media. It has learned that the more outrageous, provocative -- even offensive -- its methods are, the more attention it gets. Attracting that attention is the job of PETA's campaigns department, which has one of the largest staffs at the organization's Norfolk headquarters. Press coverage translates into donations, volunteers and clout. Even PETA's enemies concede that its strategy has worked.
"PETA thinks there is no such thing as bad media coverage," says Rick McCarty, director of issues management at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "And they're very unrepentant about it."
If it didn't work, we wouldn't do it -- if there was another way where we didn't have to embarrass ourselves," says Newkirk

The progressive animal rights organization has a ruthless approach for getting coverage in the mass media -- with enviable results.
PETA goes after places, people, events and ideas of social meaning and finds a way to seize the headlines -- or create its own. It will do whatever it takes to expose people to its point of view. When PETA asks an agricultural town to change its name from say, Cowtown to Liberated Cowtown, it knows that a bored reporter in the surrounding region will fall for it and write a story about it, and that a bunch of readers sick of stories about septic tanks and cattle prices will fall for the headline. Somewhere in that story will be the sentence: "A PETA representative told the mayor that killing animals is wrong."
With that sentence, PETA scores a victory.
And every time PETA gets mentioned in a story, it's a win for the organization -- and some real animals might be saved in the process.
PETA does have an activist bent in addition to its propaganda arm -- real people doing real things
Here's the other thing: PETA doesn't care about its general reputation. PETA is just a vehicle for the animal rights movement, and the staff is fully aware of this, so there's no such thing as bad press, and there's absolute indifference to folks who don't like the group's tactics. Anything at all that gets PETA in the headlines is a win …
From that perspective, the pundits and authors who tangle endlessly with PETA's campaigns end up working as suckers for the cause. Take Kathryn Jean-Lopez, a writer for the conservative National Review, who was shocked, appalled by PETA's "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign. Jean-Lopez fell for it badly, offering sentences to the animal rights movement on a silver platter. Perhaps her best was, "I'm not going to deny that a cattle slaughterhouse isn't disgusting." Her blinders were on so tight she managed to bump right into the anything at all approach without seeing it: "PETA issues its own reads of the Koran. It toys with the Book of Mormon. Few beliefs are spared PETA's offensiveness."
….. a massive publicity success: the fax PETA sent to Yasser Arafat in the spring of 2003 asking him to stop using donkeys as portable bomb devices. ….And with that letter, PETA struck gold. Network and cable television anchors just couldn't resist a bite on it …. That's a towering home run for the animal rights movement. ….Of course, PETA didn't get anything close to a promise from Arafat, and it didn't really matter. The point is it siphoned piles of headlines and TV coverage away from a bunch of cynical demagogues in the Middle East and in the direction of the animal rights cause. All it took was a fax with an absurd request to the head of the PLO. …
"Look, we're living in a time when the media is titillating," O' Brien said. "If we could sit down with CNN with an investigation, we would. But the reality is that it's not like that. It's a tabloid media." Her hope was to provide "images that stay in people's heads."
….GoVeg told me that it's almost impossible to get the press to deal with an issue directly. "They only come up with as many sound bites as possible."
How rare to see a non-profit group beating our commercial society at its own game …PETA is the most successful, iron-fisted, 501c3 I have ever witnessed; and the only one to make it out of the progressive slums and wage a winning battle at the mass media level.

Carol WR