I wrestled with posting this; mocking the People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals is too easy, and it’s getting easier. On the other hand, it’s too easy, and easy can be fun. Plus there is a lesson worth emphasizing; even if your organization is fanatic, full of wackos, and without any sense of proportion or common sense, it it accepts contributions, you have an ethical obligation a) not to be flagrantly incompetent, and b) not to make donor feel like they need to wear bags over their heads, or wish they had just chucked their money into a swamp.
And I am always looking for opportunities to honor my favorite line from “Animal House.”
Here is PETA’s latest auto-fiasco: It tweeted out…
“Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations…”
Yes, the theory is that using animal imagery, references and metaphors is somehow unethical. There’s no explaining this logically; it makes no sense. Acknowledging the actual characteristics of animals in discourse or referring to them in metaphors advances the critical task of human communication, and does no conceivable harm to the animals involved whatsoever. Nor does it pollute human respect for goats to say, “That got my goat.” Anyway, here is PETA’s best effort—they got all their most creative, clever minds together—at retooling some common phrases for vegan sensibilities, I presume, because it would be irresponsible for a group that seeks to persuade to put forth a product created by its worst and dimmest rather than it’s best and brightest:
Yeah, I’m sure these will catch on.Was it “Visit mommy or daddy’s office day” and PETA let the kids handle the job?
If you are going to attempt to replace old sayings that have lasted hundreds of years in some cases, you must at least do better than this, which is “better than embarrassingly lame.” None of the alternatives even express the same thought or concept as the “speciesism” original:
- “Killing two birds with one stone” means devising a plan of action that accomplishes multiple objectives. Feeding two birds with one–scone? Seriously, PETA? Scone?—describes resource conservation.
- That one is still better than claiming test tubes and guinea pigs are equivalent. Nobody experiments ON test tubes. Test tubes are containers. What’s a human test tube? (Psst! PETA! The object you’re looking for is a Petri dish.
- “Beat a dead horse” means to futilely waste effort trying to accomplish something that cannot be accomplished, to no effect. “Feeding a fed horse” will just give you fat horses.
- For some reason someone thought finding a non-animal food that sounds a little like bacon excuses a terrible comp. Nobody needs bagels. While bacon is understood to mean sustenance and metaphorical resources in the old saying, nobody places such a broad meaning on bagels. This one shows just how dull and incompetent PETA staff is, because fixing it was easy: bread replaces bacon perfectly. It even is used to mean money.
- This may be the worst of all: “Taking the flower by the thorns” (you mean rose, PETA? I think so…) is just stupid. Why would anyone do that? It’s a useless metaphor. In contrast, “taking the bull by the horns,” which means confronting a problem head-on, makes perfect sense. When confronted by a charging bull that you can’t outrun, grabbing its horns…
……prevents being gored, while grabbing a rose’s thorns is guaranteeing injury when none was threatened. (Who ARE these idiots?)
In short, PETA revealed itself to be silly and incompetent. This undermines its mission via the Cognitive Dissonance Scale…
…which for most people has “public humiliation and looking like fools” way down on it, well into negative territory. For a group that seemingly wants to be humiliated or doesn’t mind looking foolish to be identified with a genuine mission that many people place high on the scale inevitably undermines that mission, and drags it down: “A bunch of idiots who think “bring home the bagels” is a catchy phrase advocate this, and I sure don’t want to be identified with them.”
In the spirit of PETA, I just downed a bottle of Scotch, hit my head several times with a skillet, tied half my brain behind my back, and tried my hand at fixing some other “speciesist” sayings, PETA-style:
“Got my goat” Got my goat cheese.
“Every dog has its day” Every hot dog has its day.
“Looks like the cat that swallowed the canary” Looks like the Venus Fly Trap that caught a big fly of some kind.
“Locking the barn door after the horse has gone” Locking the cupboard after someone has stolen the peanut butter.
“Better to be a live lamb than a dead lion.” Better to be limp iceberg lettuce in the crisper than a yummy avocado that gets made into guacamole and eaten by everybody.
“Do, a deer, a female deer..” Dough, some dough, a lump of dough…
This IS fun…