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Vivisectioning PETA’s Humor

Is the term “PETA’s humor” a non sequitur?

While searching the interwebs, I came across this “magazine” cover.

It immediately brought back fond memories of one of my favorite magazines from the 70’s — National Lampoon — and specifically their classic cover from January 1973:

My next thought surprised me: W.W.P.D…. What Would PETA Do? If this were a cover for a recent magazine, what would they do? People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals wasn’t even around when this cover appeared but they’ve spent a fortune on  (at least what they would categorize as) humorous ads. Let’s take a look at one:

A sad clown is a cliché (and I don’t mean Ronald McDonald) but a self-tortured soul is simply tragic. After twelve trips through rehab, it’s hard for me to see Andy Dick, even in character, as anything but heartbreaking. I truly hope he maintains sobriety.  A wrong choice, IMHO.

So is it PETA’s casting to blame? Well Jiminy Glick (Martin Short) certainly covers his end, so to speak. He’s funny. But did you laugh?

Check out Jiminy interviewing Julia Louis-Dreyfus to see what can be done:

 

If only we could bottle Julia. Wow, what a delight! And Jiminy?  A prize. Did you laugh this time? I’ll bet you did.

If not casting, perhaps content.

 

A laugh riot, right? No? Didn’t get it? If you have to explain a joke, there is no joke. Deconstructing humor is a delicate operation. Lifting the curtain to find The Wizard…. Oh, what the hell, no fear of any damage here.

You see, the guy in this nugget of gold has “gone vegan,” you know, stopped eating all animal products, including eggs, milk and honey. Not wearing leather or fur. You follow. And this has made him so virile, like, I don’t know…taking Viagra on steroids, that he has uncontrolled sex with his girlfriend. So uncontrolled, in fact, that it beats the living hell out of her and puts her in a neck brace. NOW do you get it? Funny, huh.

Put a chicken in a neck brace and PETA will have a flock of naked models bobbing their heads on a picket line, cackling the blues. Someone once said that it’s not so much that PETA loves animals, it’s that they hate people. This is an organization that believes cockroaches have rights (No Joke!) but refuses to take a stand on the aborting of a human fetus.

In an increasingly secular society, with God no longer an obstacle, new religions spring up. Make no mistake about it: to PETA, veganism is a religion. Their “lesser jihad” is to convince the infidels of the error of their ways. It’s not enough for them to follow their beliefs; they MUST convince you to follow them too.

And now for the big reveal: I’m a vegetarian. Have been for a quarter of a century. Actually longer. I started in the early ‘70’s, before PETA existed, but fell away (my Rahu Dasa, for you Vedic astrologers out there. Like Mr. Spock in All Our Yesterdays: “I’m behaving disgracefully. I have eaten animal flesh and I’ve enjoyed it. What is wrong with me?“) I was even a full-fledged vegan for about three of those 25 years. No honey, milk, nor eggs. Didn’t wear leather belts. The whole bit. But you know what? I couldn’t care less if YOU eat meat.

As a matter of fact, I’m glad most of you do eat meat. I pay $2.99 for a bunch of organic kale and 4 bucks for a 10 oz bag of frozen organic wild blueberries at my local Whole Foods and if more of you folks start to eat healthy, I may have to consider a third job! Eat that meat…. Unless, of course, you feel that maybe it’s not for you after all.

PETA is a perfect example of an organization with an unfocused vision. It claims to be an “animals rights” organization and yet “new records show PETA killed a staggering 89.4 percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2012. Despite years of public outrage over its euthanasia program, the notorious animal rights group has continued killing adoptable dogs and cats at an average of over 30 pets per week. According to records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 1,647 cats and dogs last year while placing just 19 in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 29,398 pets have died at the hands of PETA workers.” Their motto is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” With a nearly 40 million dollar annual budget, you’d think they could include “or kill just because they’re homeless.”

The THREE MILLION bucks they planned on spending to air an advertisement during this year’s Super Bowl could have bought a boxcar full of Puppy Chow and then some.

Reminds me a little of the exchange between General Jack Ripper and Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake in Dr. Strangelove:

General Jack D. Ripper: Were you ever a prisoner of war?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well… yes I was, matter of fact, Jack. I was.
General Jack D. Ripper: Did they torture you?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, yes they did. I was tortured by the Japanese, Jack, if you must know, not a pretty story.
General Jack D. Ripper: Well, what happened?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Oh, well, I don’t know, Jack, difficult to think of under these conditions; but, well…what happened was they got me on the old Rangoon-Ichinawa railway. I was laying train lines for the bloody Japanese puff-puff’s.
General Jack D. Ripper: No, I mean when they tortured you. Did you talk?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Ah, oh, no… well, I don’t think they wanted me to talk really. I don’t think they wanted me to say anything. It was just their way of having a bit of fun, the swine. Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.

Save animals? I don’t think they really want to save animals. Just their way of having a bit of fun, the swine.

Back to “PETA’s humor.” Try to guess the demographics they’re targeting here:

 

 

Anybody… anybody? Hey, PETA! Targeting young males? Try tugging at their heartstrings instead of their genitals. Oh, wait! That’s right. PETA feels the need to be controversial. That’s the way they get their message out.

PETA, if you’re listening, “animal rights” is a worthy cause. You have a barnful of undercover videos of horrific animal abuse that could be used to make a real difference. Your direction, however, is erratic at best. Perhaps it’s time for some “new blood.”

Sharpen your point, narrow your focus and take steady aim. It’s not the target that’s wavering; it’s your unsteady hand.  DON’T BERATE, EDUCATE!  And forget the controversy when making your pitch; that’s for upstarts. Time to regroup.

Of course, I could just be full of shit. This is, after all, one man’s opinion. Maybe “PETA’s humor” is funny. Humor is subjective. Sometimes we just don’t “get it.” Different flicks for different chicks. Mel Brooks or Woody Allen?

Or that National Lampoon cover at blog’s top. Here’s a review from Amazon.com of the digitalized version of the magazine that bears the same cover:

“…but the back cover clearly indicates that the threat has been carried out.”

For some, no amount of deconstruction is enough.

Here, boy!

BANG!

Oops.

When Irony Meets Satire: Ice Cream, Mandrake. Children’s Ice Cream!

Shortly before the end of World War II, controlled experiments in water fluoridation began in the United States. The purpose of these experiments was to prove the hypothesis that moderate levels of fluoride in drinking water could prevent cavities. The experiments were deemed a success and by 1951 fluoridation became an official policy of the U.S. Public Health Service. By 1961 water fluoridation reached widespread use in the United States affecting the drinking water of some 50 million Americans.

Almost from the beginning fluoridation has been condemned. Condemnation ranging from the dire — government overstepping its boundaries by supplying, in the words of the right wing John Birch Society (which perceived fluoridation as a communist plot to poison Americans), “mass medicine” to its population — to the more mundane: ineffective, unhealthy and unnecessary.

Fortunately for us, the controversy helped to inspire the best film satire of all time (IMHO) — “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” known by most, as simply, “Dr. Strangelove.”

Based on the novel “Red Alert” by Peter George, the film was produced and filmed during the spring and summer of 1963. With the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis still fresh in our collective consciousness, Kubrick and screenwriter, Terry Southern, took George’s novel and turned it on its head. A work of genius,  Strangelove is a satire on, what has come to be known as, Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD. MAD assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side; and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate without fail with equal or greater force. The expected result is an immediate irreversible escalation of hostilities resulting in both combatants’ mutual, total and assured destruction.

For our purpose it’s the movie’s treatment of fluoridation that concerns us.

Peter Sellers’ genius is showcased as a triple threat, playing US President Merkin Muffley, British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and Dr. Strangelove himself.
The genius is shared though, in the following clips, by Sterling Hayden, who was coaxed out of retirement by director, Stanley Kubrick to play the part of the unhinged Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper.

Here’s General Ripper explaining why “on no account will a commie ever drink water” to Sellers’ Mandrake:

Now Ripper explains to Mandrake how he developed his theory and how “luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly”–

Crazy? Or crazy like a fox? Today it’s more likely to be a left wing “conspiracist” expounding on the evils of fluoridation. Is there a real health concern here?

You can reach Part2 here if you’re interested: Fluoride Deception Part 2

And another related voice here: Professional Perspectives: Fluoride in Tap Water

If you’re looking for answers, you’ll get none here. Just food for thought.

I’ll give General Ripper the last word —

 

Genius! Pure genius!

Francis the Gamer is mad…. For real? Or satire?

Francis is upset with Blizzard Entertainment, creators of the Diablo III video game for making some changes to the game (before releasing it). Full disclosure here: I’m not a gamer. I know gamers and I know that they’re fiercely competitive and take their gaming seriously. Sometimes too seriously. Let’s take a look and listen at Francis —

So is Francis really mad and just venting on YouTube to his fellow gamers or is there something more diabolical going on here?

Maybe a look at a scene from one of the best satires of the ’70s (and IMHO one of the best ever) — screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” — will give us some perspective. Here’s Peter Finch as Howard Beale giving his now-famous rant —

Anger can be funny. Especially over-the-top anger. And that’s one criterion for satire — exaggeration. So who or what is Francis satirizing? Gamers in general? Taking their “toys” a bit too seriously?

Some will say that this is simply a parody — fun for fun’s sake. That to be satirical it should get you thinking about the deeper issues underlying the humor. Well, it certainly got me thinking… and watching some of his other videos. (Part of his insidious plan?)

My guess is that Francis is satirizing “Francis the Gamer.” And he’s doing it in a playful but calculated fashion.

Don’t think so? Let’s take a look at another one of his videos.

And now the clincher….

So, what do you think? Is Francis for real? I say Francis is an actor. He’s not for real; he’s for reel. Go get ’em Francis!

What do you think?