Here’s something important you should know about me: I’m a vegan.
Some of you know that. If I mention it in passing, I’m guaranteed at least five tweets and two sternly-worded e-mails about how a brief mention of my personal dietary choices equates to full-on BLOOD PROTEST, and how I need to stop trying to cram it down the readers’ throats. If you weren’t aware, that’s probably normal, because I don’t mention it much.
I have, however, sorta ended up as “the vegan” in the Notable Comedy Sports Blogs circle of friends. Almost everyone else who writes about sports is full-on Ron Swanson 24/7, so if, say, vegan chicken wings are mentioned by a sports guy, Cosby Sweaters will talk about how their “world is imploding” and CFB Section gets comments like “go throw red paint on someone wearing a fur coat … tree huggers.” It instantly turns normal people into Jim Belushi. I’m left here to kinda meekly say “those wings aren’t bad, because they aren’t really supposed to be chicken wings” and hope nobody throws a brick at my head.
The reason I bring this all up now is because Peta has launched a Manti Te’o ad campaign, and oh my God I want to hit them in the head with a brick.
Manti Te’o may have been buffaloed by a fake girlfriend, but sometimes “fake” is actually better. That’s why PETA created this billboard urging football fans to avoid unnecessary roughness to chickens on Super Bowl Sunday by intentionally grounding real chicken wings and opting for play-action fake fowl instead.
Those animals in PETA’s “Glass Walls” video? Unlike Manti’s make-believe girlfriend, their deaths are real. Birds slaughtered for their wings and other body parts are often dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water while they are still conscious and aren’t covered by even the meager protections of the Humane Slaughter Act.
Peta is the worst. I probably hate them for different reasons than you, but you’re totally right to think they are self-centered, opportunistic and more or less the Westboro Baptist Church of animal rights. The idea should be education and compassionate discussion, not trying to “convert” people with Faces Of Death-style Driver’s Ed videos of chickens getting fed into an industrial fan, or whatever.
Who at Peta read the Manti Te’o story and thought, “you know what? People are gonna want to BE like this guy. Let’s compare his weird lying to the food we eat, because we are already respected and taken seriously.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain that the food I eat isn’t “fake,” it’s still food. It just has different ingredients. When you eat a french fry or whatever you don’t start scoffing and yelling with your mouth full about how you’re being SCAMMED because these potatoes aren’t WINGS. It’s food. Now every time I eat a breakfast taco with beans, potatoes, onions and salsa, I’m going to be just like that brain-dead asshole who couldn’t figure out it was Terry Jones in a wig doing a lady voice on the other end of the phone.
Here’s a suggestion for your next campaign, Peta: “Alex Rodriguez cheated by using steroids. You can cheat by eating a BOCA BURGER!”