Archive - Nov 2008

November 27th

Animal Cruelty

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Memo to the American Turkey: TOUGH SHIT.

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for uniquely American traditions. Oh, wait. That's a bit Norman Rockwell for this hallowed ground. A time for uniquely retarded American traditions. You know, like the annual executive branch pardoning ceremonies for Thanksgiving turkeys.

It's always been stupid - letting up to 51 turkeys live at the whim of the President and Governors while millions of other turkeys head for the oven, the fridge, and the next-day sandwich. As a means of connecting with our food it's entirely worthless. As political theater, it's hokey and antiquated. And in a world with a weakened USDA, weakened FDA, and agribusiness run amok, watching Bush spare a turkey's life is just the mirror image of him mocking the execution of Karla Faye Tucker.

But it took Sarah Palin to take all the disjointed, psychotic subtext that lies deep within most Americana and make it manifest, literally, in the flesh. As you've probably heard, last week she gave an interview to an Anchorage TV station, talking about the budget and her duties as turkey pardoner. And the whole time, in the background, an employee of the turkey farm is going about his business, KILLING TURKEYS. On-camera. In the background. That Palin's people OK'ed.

The best part? The turkey-killing guy seemed a bit sheepish about the whole thing, while Palin was, true to her upbringing and intellect, completely fucking oblivious. There's nothing like the visual of Palin blithely blathering on about how it's important to bring back some of the levity after the tough election season, and right behind her, turkeys meet their fate one by one. So, as much as I'd love to agree with people who wish Queen Dipshit would retire from the national stage, I can't share their wish.

Let's not forget this. Forty-four percent of the voting population were not sufficiently horrified by this mental midget to keep them from voting for John McCain. She needs to be out there on a near-constant basis, reminding us of the bullet we dodged by not putting her in charge of anything larger than our coldest backwater state. Otherwise, four years from now, we'll forget, and we'll get led to the slaughter like a bunch of poor, dumb birds.

While I'm here, let me just clear something up and construct an elaborate segue at the same time. Just because I'm concerned about agribusiness, megafarms, lax controls on producers, and in favor when practical of organic and/or locally sourced food doesn't mean I won't be sitting down tonight to a big, tasty hunk of overbred, unhappy domestic fowl. I'm not some PETA freak.

But I'm glad PETA exists, because their annual Thanksgiving tradition of warning everyone about how turkeys have personalities, feel emotions, and write most of Coldplay's lyrics? That shit is infinitely amusing. Even more so this year, when their campaign took the form of "Mama Kills Animals", a horribly misguided anti-meat parody of the Cooking Mama video games, done up in surprisingly competent Flash.

But it's misguided, because if we could extract the blinders from PETA and put them in orbit, we could solve global warming in a matter of months. You see, Mama Kills Animals tries to use the cooking simulation mechanics to show how gross it is to behead, de-feather, de-organ, stuff, and roast one of Coldplay's unsung heroes. They do this by taking the repetitive motions of the Cooking Mama games and adding lots of blood and gore.

But this is a mediocre video game. And as the years have taught us all, one of the few things that can make a mediocre video game MORE entertaining is the addition of pointless, over-the-top, hilarious blood and gore. When I got to the "bonus round", where I got to form a tofu turkey and baste it with an unidentifiable brown sauce, I was let down. Disappointed. Bored. Not because I object to vegetarianism or tofu turkey. It's just that the game itself was a lot less interesting when my cartoony hand wasn't slowly being soaked in the blood of an innocent animal.

Normally, it'd be surprising and amusing that an advocacy group's message gets lost, abandoned, hell, in this case actively overwritten by its ridiculous presentation and extreme point of view. But since this is PETA we're dealing with, we'll have to just settle for the amusing part.