Thursday, June 17, 2010


The lovely and intelligent Kimberly Rae and I disagree on any number of issues. It's part of the joy and challenge of dating interesting human beings rather than automatons. I've always chosen the blessings of interesting human beings.

One of the things on which we disagree is the issue of "animal rights". She's a vegetarian. I'm... well, not. I won't get into the rest of the issues. Obviously, being a decent, reasonable human, I of course, support humane treatment of animals. I have no truck with cruelty.

As a consumer of flesh, I'm also a supporter of movements such as The Meatrix, which promotes alternatives to factory farms and other less humane (and healthy) ways of producing meat products.

This is a frustrating issue, because getting local and small farm meats can be substantially more expensive. Luckily for me, Kim works at a local co-op and gets a discount and occasionally even free meat to bring home to me.

Today being her day off, she decided to follow up on a message she got from PETA to go to a protest in downtown Austin against meat.

For me, I toyed with some interest in PETA when I was college age, some decades ago, and even briefly toyed with vegetarianism, but ultimately, I just don't believe in it.

But my big break with PETA was watching a segment on them on 20/20. The PETA representative went on some length about what most people now understand as veganism. During the course of this, it was explained to me that honey is bad and we are exploiting bees by taking...

Hang on!


Bees are drones. By definition.

By their very nature, they are slaves to a queen and do nothing but, well, yeah, busy work.

Anyone who concerns themselves over the exploitation of bees has lost the argument. Piss off! That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

And I've literally never looked back.

I mean, of course, there's the occasional, but increasingly rare, publicity about them on the news or some such thing that's come into my view. But come on! They're so one note. Even their "theatrical" and once attention grabbing use of naked models is desperately, desperately, desperately trite.

It's frankly sad.

If one is trying to gain the sympathy and support, not to mention attention of the world, you have to keep moving. Keep it fresh!

Is it exploiting women? I don't know, but who would care if they'd come up with a newer, fresher, better, up-to-date, genuinely attention grabbing new technique?

But Kim was excited. This is something she believes in, and I was excited that she was going out to stand up for her beliefs and make her voice heard.

She went good and early, and even 10 minutes before was texting me that there was no one there.

When they finally got there, a half-dozen or so people showed up to demonstrate half-naked in fake meat containers. She volunteered to hand out pamphlets, and did, but didn't feel like they were attempting to make her a part of their group.

Not only that, but she said the others handed out pamphlets, but avoided answering any questions from people around. They weren't really there to expand their "cause" or build their membership. They were only there for their half-assed "theater" bit.

Kim also said that a woman went by with her own private, and amusing, counter-demonstration of loudly enjoying a hot dog and pointing people the way to get one for themselves.

One of the protesters said, "Can't they arrest her?"

Like way too many people who imagine themselves as "progressive", she only supports the First Amendment for herself and people she agrees with. It's deplorable.

It's pretty funny. Kim has a variety of family members who are weirdly evangelical about meat eating and occasionally lecture or even "threaten" her that she should eat meat.

Just last night, I'd posted on Kim's Facebook wall, "I just think it's hilarious that nothing you've said about vegetarianism has come close to converting me, but whenever someone tries to convert you away, it makes me sorely tempted. It's all just so ludicrous, I can't stand being associated with it.

"But, of course, then I'd eat nothing. I'd be like a college student macaroni & cheese/ramen vegetarian, and I can't do that."

She noted that she never "hassles" me about eating meat and even her suggestions are rare and brief, and I responded, "Your comments are rare and never done in an evangelical way. Which is smart, because I always respond that way to evangelicalism on any subject. I think that's why I have that reaction to other people's pro-meat evangelism. It's just so... embarrassing."

It was within 24 hours that she felt the same temptation in the other direction. She believes in her vegetarianism and is very proud of it.

And this demonstration didn't change her core beliefs regarding animal treatment, which is great! But PETA did lose a supporter of them as a supporter because of their noninclusive, uninteresting and lazy actions.

In the end, PETA is a group interested in continuing the same theater. They don't want an inclusive, representative group of people creating a dialogue on what is and what isn't animal rights and what best we, as humans, should be doing to best respect the other living creatures we share a planet with.

There is 30 years of evidence showing that.

What they want is to promote themselves and to promote, perpetuate and celebrate the same lazy mainstream media/fashion industry standards of female (and more rarely male) beauty. If this benefits animals in some way, I'm sure they're the happier.

In much the same way, I'd like to live my life, watch and write about trashy movies and make up dumbass stories and hopefully make them into books or movies or some damn thing.

And if that were to benefit animals, then that's terrific. I know Kim and my cat and rabbit might get better food and playthings if I made money at that stuff. That's pretty cool.

For what it's worth, the protest added up to nothing. The story wasn't even a footnote on the local news, despite taking place in the center of downtown. An extensive Internet search came up with a single brief notice and short, barely watchable and seemingly meaningless video.

So, aside from confusing a small number of passers-by, who they were apparently uninterested in engaging or "educating" in any substantive way, they didn't even get any attention out of their effort.

They only lost a supporter. A kind, intelligent, gentle, out-going and enthusiastic supporter.


And just to finish things off, here's Penn & Teller: Bullshit! segment on PETA:

And here's more Ted fuckin' Nugent, because I can:


CupcakeDoom said...

Thanks for posting this,babe. I am way to passive to complain mostly lol. I feel bad about complaining on twitter and facebook now! Kinda scared..They called me!

Neil Sarver said...

My pleasure. I think things like this need to be told somehow.

And, yes, I think disrespecting my baby is offensive and needs to be called out.

mherzog said...

Check out this video PETA made:

CupcakeDoom said...

man..paul is looking old as hell! Lmao. And who is this mystery person commenting with a peta video? lol.

Neil Sarver said...

mherzog, I don't see anything I disagree with and it is, in fact, much better than many of the PETA made videos I've seen in the past, all of which didn't seem to understand the mind of people who hadn't already chosen vegetarianism already.

Most of these issues are addressed directly or referred to in The Meatrix video and site I posted and linked. I just think the solution they offer is not only better, but also more realistic.

But it is refreshing to see something relatively rational and well argued by PETA, which doesn't mean I support them overall. Frankly I think their general superficiality would make it impossible for me to support them specifically even were I to become a vegetarianism.

Kim, yeah, unfortunately, Sir Paul is not doing himself any favors by dying his hair. I don't disagree with his points overall here, though, even if my conclusions are different than his (and yours).

And I have no idea who the mystery guest is, but hello mystery guest!

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