Thursday, August 27, 2009

Phrases I Fear

There are certain phrases people say that set of red flags and warning bells in my head.

When someone utters the words "I know it's not politically correct..." I know that what immediately follows is going to be offensive.

Beginning your argument with "Everyone knows", "Some say", or "It is suggested" tells me that what's about to come out of your mouth is so crazy, I not only need a tinfoil hat to understand it, but also a whole tinfoil suit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank You, Ladies

On August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment went into effect, giving women the right to vote in the United States. I think that it is amazing to think that less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote in this country.

In 1878, following 4 days of testimony by Susan B. Anthony before Congress, a constitutional amendment was proposed that provided "The right of citizens to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." This same amendment would be introduced in every session of Congress for the next 41 years, before finally passing in 1919.

After the passing in the 19th amendment, the long and arduous process of ratification by the states began. The amendment would need the the support of at least 36 states. By 1920, with a number of states adamantly opposed to the amendment, it all came down to Tennessee. It appeared that the amendment might fail by one vote in the Tennessee house, but twenty four year old Harry Burns surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification. At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, "Don't forget to be a good boy" and "vote for suffrage."
The Equal Rights Amendment, which would eliminate any discrimination based on sex, was introduced in 1923. It finally passed in 1972, but was only ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Headline Fail

This is old, but still funny. An article in the LA Times from 1995 actually ran with this headline

It's not as bad as it seems. It turns out the councilwoman's name was actually Laura Chick. I wonder if any editors actually paused over that copy.

Another Reason Why I Loathe PETA

I like animals, I really do. And as a conscious carnivore, I understand where PETA is coming from. I just really abhor the way they go about spreading their message. It's like there's no filtering or editing at all when it comes to their PR department.

Let's see...we've had about a zillion versions of naked ladies in the 'I'd rather go naked then wear fur' ad campaign (never naked men, because we all know 'sex sells'), a banned Superbowl ad featuring naked ladies rubbing themselves with vegetables, naked ladies in cages, naked ladies wrapped in plastic (are you sensing a theme?), the relatively benign but ridiculous 'sea kittens', a Holocaust On Your Plate, an attempt to buy advertising on the border fence (the ad read "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan"), and, completing the racial insensitivity trifecta, dressing up in KKK costumes to protest a dog show. Oh, and, closer to home, we have the Ben and Jerry's breast milk debacle.

Now, PETA, in all it's wisdom, brings us this gem of a billboard in Jacksonville, FL.

I'll give you a minute to let the horror sink in.

It gets better. From PETA's press release:

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.
Seriously. I don't have a lot of coherent thoughts about this, but I'll try. If I saw that ad, especially if I was on my way to the beach, I'd probably burst into tears. It's one thing to say 'maybe a lot of Americans should consider a healthier vegetarian diet as an alternative to consuming so much unhealthy industrial meat' and quite another thing to say 'fat people are whales!' My brother couldn't understand why when we spent the day at a water park, I walked around with my beach towel firmly wrapped around my waist as soon as I got out of the water. I'm mostly OK with my large body these days, but there is still the tormented, insecure, fat child inside of me that takes crap like this too personally.

So, yeah. Not only does vegetarian = thin and thin = healthy, but apparently, as long as it's vegetarian, you can eat anything you want and still be model thin. Deceiver compiled a wonderful list of vegetarian and vegan foods that definitely won't make you fat. Vegan options include french fries, onion rings, samosas, soy venti frappuccinos, soda, and beer. Non-vegan vegetarian options include ice cream, cupcakes, Twinkies, pizza (I've had some vegan pizza, so this could go on the vegan list, too), funnel cake, potato skins, nachos, and fettuccine alfredo.

Now, I understand that PETA deliberately makes these ads to 'create controversy' (good lord, I hate that phrase). It's always been an ends justify the means method of advertising with them. Their antics make people really dislike them, including most of the vegetarians/vegans that I know. It turns people off from animal rights and lumps animal rights activists in with these crazy but very vocal people.

I even feel some pangs of guilt just mentioning their ads, as it only gives them the attention that they want. You know, the whole all press is good press thing. It's a loosing situation, though, because if you talk about it, you're giving them what they want, but if you just ignore them, than you're giving them a pass on all the BS they produce in an attempt to garner attention.

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that PETA might really be a front for the American Meat Institute or something. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes people want to go out and eat a couple pounds of hamburger as much as PETA does. Or maybe that's just me.

UPDATE: I've been informed that I actually used the term 'animal rights' inappropriately. The definition of animal rights from Wikipedia:

Animal rights, also referred to as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Advocates approach the issue from different philosophical positions but agree that animals should be viewed as legal persons and members of the moral community, not property, and that they should not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment.

The term I should have been using is 'animal welfare'. Animal welfare deals with improving the lives of animals, including things like supporting no-kill shelters and humane farming. Here is the definition of animal welfare, also from Wikipedia.

Animal welfare refers to the viewpoint that it is morally acceptable for humans to use nonhuman animals for food, in animal research, as clothing, and in entertainment, so long as unnecessary suffering is avoided. The position is contrasted with the animal rights position, which holds that other animals should not be used by, or regarded as the property of, humans.