People for the Exploitation of Tragic Atrocities

June 3, 2009

Yup, PETA’s in the news again for some over-the-top, callous, insensitive, and tasteless stunt. We have a name for such days. We call them “Tuesdays.”

It seems that Ingred Newkirk and her pals have gotten into their heads to take advantage of the George Tiller murder and use it as a jumping off point for their latest ill-conceived billboard campaign in Kansas.

Actually, this was the brainchild of PETA’s campaign manager, Lindsay Rajt. And yes, given PETA’s long history of worst ad campaigns ever, I was as shocked as anyone that PETA actually has a campaign manager, someone who presumably gets paid by the organization and who apparently hasn’t been fired for previous PETA ad campaigns.

The 2 new billboard slogans read:

“Pro-life? Go vegetarian”

. . .and . . .

“Pro-choice? Choose vegetarian”

Now on their own, at any other time period, these ads seem benign enough not to stir outrage. But these ads didn’t emerge at any other time. They are specifically inspired by a tragic murder, are designed to exploit the strong emotions associated with that tragedy, and all before the body has even gotten cold.

“The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation,” Rajt said today. “We think we would be irresponsible if we don’t talk about how we’re all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat.”

And the response from Wichita?

PETA has been criticized for the style and content of its campaigns, including a 2003 “Holocaust on Your Plate” exhibition, which juxtaposed images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming.

News of the group’s plans in Wichita drew fierce response from many in the community Tuesday. Some who posted comments to a story on called the campaign tasteless and opportunistic; others urged Wichitans to ask billboard companies to reject the PETA billboards.

“How long was PETA hoping for a doctor to get killed to get these signs up?” wrote one person.

Rajt said the timing or content of the billboards may be controversial. But as of late Tuesday, her group had no plans to cancel the campaign.

“If our billboards leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, we just think they might give a thought to what animals feel when they go to the slaughterhouse,” she said.

Yup, the ends justify the means and whatever gets attention. Who cares if it’s tasteless and actually turns people away from your message? Well congratulations Rajt! [applause] If publicity is all that you crave, than that is what you shall receive. Hope you like it. Thanks PETA. Stay classy.


Another ‘Pro-Lifer’ takes a life

May 31, 2009

George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions, was shot and killed while serving as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. And the worst part is that the gunman is still at large.

This wasn’t the first time he’d been the target of violence by anti-abortionists. A few years ago, his clinic was vandalized and he was wounded when another anti-abortionist fanatic shot at him. He’s also had to deal with ongoing harassment.

It’s a terrible tragedy what happened in Wichita this day. But some good can still come from it. Feministe has blogged several links to pro-choice organizations that you can donate to in honor of Dr. Tiller.

Another related news item is that PZ Myers has reported about Mike Reagan, who is giving away free copies of a book, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, written by (or maybe ghost-written for) his father, Ronald Reagan. PZ’s recommendation:

Everyone order a copy, they’re free; suck the money away from these enablers of killers, and put another copy of their trash into the trash.

Now PZ goes further than I would. Even when I get my hands on a copy of some awful book, I have enough trouble throwing it in the trash or burning it given the associations attached to it. And I have an even harder time encouraging others to willfully destroy books. But I get no such negative associations with recommending rational people order up the books for themselves. What you wish to do with them after that is you own business.

UPDATE: The shooter has been allegedly caught: