According to the ol’ clock on the wall, it’s time to check in and see what kind of marvelous nonsense those drama queens at PETA are up to! Don’t worry, that clock on the wall is made from 100% synthetic materials, except for the hands, which are frogs’ legs.
As you know, the top concern at PETA (People Endlessly Talking Asininely) is making sure that everyone hears a lot about PETA. But the safety of animals is a close second! In fact, PETA’s attention- and protein-starved members are so worried about animals that they will often embark on crusades that are only tangentially related to them. There aren’t enough legitimate crusades to embark on, you see, but if you go more than a few days without being outraged over something, you run the risk of developing a sense of humor and becoming reasonable. So you have to keep those skills sharp!
One thing PETA does to stay alert is go around trying to change the names of things. For example, there was a high school several years ago located in a part of Minnesota known for its meatpacking plants, and the school’s students were called the Packers. PETA thought it was ghastly to name a high school after a slaughterhouse. A nightmarish building full of blood, cruelty, and foul smells should not be associated with a place where animals are killed. PETA suggested they change their mascot to something else, and the school board did the same thing everyone always does when PETA suggests something, i.e., they rolled their eyes and ignored them. PETA has been the object of more dismissive eye-rolling than all the Facebook posts of all the world’s moms combined.
PETA made a similar recommendation to the city of San Francisco a few months ago, suggesting that the neighborhood known as the Tenderloin be renamed, once again to escape the meaty connotations. PETA said they should call it the Tempeh, after the unappealing soybean product eaten by vegetarians and other sad people. Now, if PETA has a chance of winning a crusade anywhere, it’s San Francisco, a city that was built, in the immortal words of Starship, on granola and socialism. But even there the idea was shot down, if only because changing would be a major headache for all the local gay bars that use the word “Tenderloin” in their names.
But sometimes PETA manages to focus on issues that actually matter, perhaps accidentally. And when it does, it has a powerful ally: Bob Barker. Bob Barker is the envy of every American because for 35 years he held the perfect job, one that allowed him to play games, tell people they were wrong, cavort with gorgeous models one-fourth his age, and sexually harass them without getting fired. An enthusiastic supporter of animal rights, he used to end every show by reminding people to have their pets spayed or neutered, and he was known to drive around the country performing the procedures himself out of the back of his van. By some accounts, Bob Barker has, with his own hands, torn the ovaries or testicles from more than ten thousand cats and dogs.
He’s retired now, but he’s still passionate about animal rights. He recently filmed a commercial for PETA urging people not to go to SeaWorld, because SeaWorld is basically just a prison for sea animals, and most of those sea animals have not even been formally charged, let alone convicted of sea crimes. This makes Bob Barker sad. “Life in cramped tanks is no prize for orcas and dolphins,” he says. “They want to be free with their families in the ocean! Many have died prematurely at SeaWorld after swimming in endless circles and performing dumb tricks day in and day out.”
Oh, they perform “dumb tricks,” do they, Bob? Dumb tricks like spinning a giant wheel in the hopes of getting a dollar? Dumb tricks like guessing prices until a tiny mountain climber falls off a cliff? Dumb tricks like dashing around putting price tags on things, pulling a lever, finding out how many you got right, and then making changes until you get them all right or until 30 seconds runs out? DUMB TRICKS LIKE THAT, BOB??
It’s understandable to have mixed feelings about places like SeaWorld. On the one hand, the animals probably aren’t as happy as they would be in the wild. On the other hand, SeaWorld does plenty of conservation work, too, and helps increase awareness and understanding of these majestic creatures. On the third hand, SeaWorld is long past its glory days, and the orca currently playing Shamu doesn’t have as firm a grasp on the character as his predecessors.
But regardless of your opinion on this issue, one thing is for sure: You do not want to disappoint Bob Barker. A picture of Bob Barker looking crestfallen as he wags a shame finger is PETA’s most powerful weapon. If they were smart, they’d put that picture on a huge billboard right next to the SeaWorld entrance. Since they’re not smart, they’ll probably just suggest that SeaWorld change its name to TragedyWorld, and everyone will roll their eyes and go back to ignoring PETA, the way nature intended. And speaking of things nature intended, those frog legs were delicious.
My thanks to Portland radio celebrity and Cascadia.fm teammate Rick Emerson for pointing my brain in the right direction on the Bob Barker thing. I was filling in as his sidekick on "Legion of News" a couple months ago when the story came up, and I'm pretty sure the idea of putting Barker's disappointed face on a billboard was Rick's idea.
This is the eighth time that "Snide Remarks" has been entirely devoted to making fun of PETA. Here are the previous seven, in reverse chronological order: "Rooster's Millions," "PETA, PETA, Kitten Eater," "That's So PETArded," "Pet Peeves," "Milking It," "PETA's Dragon," "I PETA the Fool."