Pornographers for the Extermination of Terrestrial Animals (PETA)

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Petaad
A typically puerile PETA ad

As its misleading name suggests, Pornographers for the Extermination of Terrestrial Animals (PETA) is a pornography production and distribution company that operates under the auspices of eradicating the planet’s amphibious, reptilian, and mammalian life, advocating the use of animals for food, clothing, sport, and other abusive purposes.

edit Celebrity endorsements

The organization has attracted many female celebrities and other lowlifes to its ranks, some of whom join so they can appear nude on tawdry posters to jumpstart their flagging careers. These posters often feature cheap puns and puerile attempts at humor. However, as has-beens of television and film are discovering, their appearances in such ads is more likely to destroy than to resurrect their stalled entertainment careers.

edit Self-promotion or promotion?

Appearance in a PETA ad was regarded as a safe way of garnering publicity, the cause excusing the excess of appearing naked in public (or, at least, on posters and in ads addressed to the public). Baring one’s body was considered safe, if tacky, as long as it was being done, somewhat as if it were a sacrifice, on behalf of the animals.

edit Anonymous celebrity?

Few, if any, among the general population, however, know any of the so-called celebrities who stare accusingly down at them from these posters, admonishing them that they should be ashamed of themselves for not considering fish or beef for dinner, for refusing to wear a mink stole, or for foregoing the chance to attend a bullfight. Asked who such “stars” as Annalise Braakensiek, Yana Booth, Vanessa Oliverz are, no one can say. One man thought they were Arab terrorists, and a woman supposed they might be illegal immigrants. Told that they are “celebrities,” both the man and the woman laughed, thinking themselves on a hidden camera show such as Candid Camera.

edit Controversy

The puns are as offensive as the nudity to many of the same people whom PETA wants to attract to their cause. Advertising critic Don Pestermee, said, “The advertising firm that designs the PETA ads is moronic and should be fired.” He cites as “especially juvenile and nauseating” an ad that features a voluptuous nude woman cradling a rabbit in her arms. Her buttocks (or “buns,” as they are sometimes known among individuals lacking class) are huge and, given her nudity, conspicuous. The “pathetic text” that accompanies the advertisement, Pestermee contended, “is so asinine it’s offensive." In one such advertisement, Charlotte Ross, whom the copy identifies as an NYPD Blue actress, is shown lying with a white rabbit in a suggestive pose as she asserts, “I’d rather show my buns than forego wearing fur.” The advertisement relies on an ambiguous play of words in which “buns” may be regarded as an abbreviated form of “bunnies” or as a slang expression for the buttocks (“buns”). The asinine humor is more annoying than humorous and the brazenness of the “celebrity” in forcing her bare body on the public offends many, further reducing the effectiveness of the advertisement.

edit Other examples

Other PETA advertisements are equally juvenile, ineffective, and offensive. In one, eight “celebrities” whom no one is apt to recognize, stand with their backs to the camera, boy, girl, boy, girl fashion, mooning the viewer, as the copy commands, “TURN YOUR BACK ON THOSE WHO TURN THEIR BACKS ON FUR.” It’s not likely to win any advocates to the cause. Another idiotic advertisement shows an anonymous model whose naked body has been painted to resemble a snake lying on a log before a background of dense green foliage. The “clever” text reads, “Exotic skins belong in the jungle and in your closet.” The text in this ad enraged the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, members of which took umbrage at the word “closet.”

Depicting a nude high school student writing “I’d rather go naked than lose my fur” over and over on a chalkboard, as if being punished, and one in which “celebrity” Sheryl Lee appears as a corpse on a mortician’s slab have also proved as controversial as they are tasteless.

edit PETA's true purpose

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about PETA.

The controversy doesn’t bother PETA or its boosters, however, as destroying animals is only a ploy. The real purpose of PETA and its advertisements has been to create a tolerance in the mind of the public for nudity in service of noble or popular causes. Once such tolerance is secured, the pornographers behind the PETA advertisements believe, it is likely to be a relatively easy matter to get the public to accept nudity for any cause or for no cause whatsoever. Then, PETA will stop pretending to care more about abusing and destroying animals than anyone else or any other group does and simply produce and distribute pornography without pretext.

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