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Cats, Knitting, Animal Rights & Exploitation of Women for Political Purposes

bringiton's picture

All in one post; how could I possibly go wrong?

I’m not a knitter, and I don’t much care for cats, but this seems like such a good idea it ought to get broader recognition:

Sez Danielle; “I am excited, time and time again.” Well, me too. I’ll trim the little beasties for you, oh yes I will, shorn and shaved like a sheepshearer should.

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But that’s not the only modern use for teh kittehs; PETA, always good for a disorienting moment, has just announced a campaign to re-label fish as…Sea-Kittens.

Truly.

Save a Sea Kitten: Eat Veggie Sushi

The idea is to convince children that widdle fishies are all cuddly-wuddly, so they’ll be repulsed at the idea of eating them. This little propaganda piece is guaranteed, in their words, to make your child retch at the sight of fish sticks. How charming, how normal these children will become!

Myself, I like nothing better than to drag a nice big floppy wet cod across my lap and stroke it softly, tickle it a little along the ventral line, tease a bit around the gills. Pretty sure that gurgling sound is the fishy equivalent of a purr…pretty sure:

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But I’d be really careful about teaching the kiddies to pet larger Sea-Kitties. They might pull back a stub:

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Now granted, fish stocks are in decline, but a lot of that is from habitat degradation while the rest is from over-eating. We could harvest the oceans sustainably if we will only care for the habitat and limit our consumption. No need to make children puke at the lunch counter.

Most of the time recently, I’ve been repulsed by PETA campaigns. Call me a prude, maybe there is some new Leftist code that says any kind of degradation is fine if it serves a “good” cause, but I think this kind of thing is seriously wrong even though the cat-ladies are certainly attractive:

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I haven’t the faintest idea what message this action is supposed to convey; putting people naked in cages, for what ever purpose, just strikes me as wrong and another very strange example to be setting for the children:

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PETA; saving the planet by misrepresentation and objectification, one species at a time. Won’t someone please knit these protestors a nice cat-hair sweater and skirt?

(Oh, and, speaking of knitting: Xenophon, if you read this; Dude, you still owe me an afghan. Check with CD and Sarah and Hipparchia and Aeryl for the cat fur, and get on that willya?)

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The Sea Kitties here and didn't even get the fact that it was really about fish.

Neeroom! (over my head)

But totally seconded on the whole objectification issue. Even worse than the pics above, IMO, was the whole use human breast milk for Ben and Jerry's ice cream thing. Talk about commodifying women! And also nice in totally ignoring that women producing breast milk have better things to do with it, like providing needed nutrition to their children. And it also ignores, that most breastfeeding women, if they are anything like the ones I know, had a hard time keeping their kids full with breat milk alone anyways.

No thanks PETA. I respect some of their goals, yet their methods are hard for me to stomach.

Also, I dare anyone to come over my house, and try to get the cat fur from my cats. Good luck with that!! :D

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

My post last night was written partially with you in mind, since you are always ragging on me and a few others, that we never give Harry and Nance enough credit.

And you didn't even notice :(

So there. :p

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I'll try to correct that behavior.

And don't take it personally, eh? Most all my ragging is general in nature.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

How can I when I don't even know you personally. We've never even showed each other pictures of our kids!!! I just hope you never take any of my ragging personally. It's all done out of love :D

Srsly tho, when I was writing that, I said to myself, "There, that'll make BIO happy!"

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

If you have my happiness on your mind, you sooo need to get out more ;-)

I don't view you with anything but kindness. We surely can disagree without real enmity, even if tempers do sometimes flare.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

from your link:

Friday, January 9, 2009
Save the Sea Kittens!

Alright, I know I've ragged on PETA pretty hard before, but this is actually a decent idea, and rates relatively low on the weirdness scale.

Posted by Sophie at 4:28 PM

Relatively low on the weirdness scale? Sophie, Sophie; time to adjust the meds again.

lillianjane's picture
Submitted by lillianjane on

When you are grossed out or otherwise offended at the consumption or commodification of breast milk, the hope is that you might make the connection and think, for instance, that the cows might have better things to do with their milk, like feed their children.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

they have calves. It isn't the same thing at all.

Ever been around cattle? Couple of uncles on my mother's side had dairies, and I worked at them when I was young. The cows were well-cared for and as happy as cows can be; so was the bull. They don't have a lot of strong emotion, cattle, although if you spend time with them when they are young they do show affection for you as a food source, sort of like a really dumb dog, but not any more than that.

Regards each other, and their offspring after weaning, they seem to be completely indifferent to individuals including their own calves. Take one or two out of the herd and nobody looks around like they're going "Hey, what happened to Maude?" They just eat and chew cud and poop, and then do it all again. There's a reason for the term bovine.

No excuse, ever, for treating animals with cruelty, but a well kept animal is a hell of a lot better off than any animal would be in the wild. That existence, lillianjane, the "natural" one, is harsh and bloody and short, completely without compassion or mercy of any kind.

lillianjane's picture
Submitted by lillianjane on

If it strikes you as wrong that people are naked in cages, perhaps you will extrapolate and think that maybe it's wrong for animals to be in cages. If you think the women (volunteers!) are exploited, maybe you will notice their point that animals are exploited.

Maybe not.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I'd certainly like humans to rise above our lesser nature, get a self-actualized higher moral sense, and stop our cruelty towards other humans as well as mistreatment of animals. It seems we still have a ways to go on all accounts, and even when we do get to that sainted existence the tapeworms and trypanosomes and plasmodia and MRSA will just keep coming, because they don't have a moral sense beyond perpetuation of their own kind. Except for a few species, life feeds upon other life.

I'm an omnivore. I'm a fan of PETA, the other one. Religious creationism or natural selection, take your pick, we've arrived at this point in time as beings that need a little meat now and then. I keep my consumption of animal protein down to around 8 ounces a week, and if everyone did so we'd have no issues around cages or pens or overfishing. Damn, though, if I'll give up meat altogether; I want my burger on the 4th of July, rare, double cheese, mustard, mayo and chopped onion, on a toasted bun with an ice-cold beer.

What I see when I look at another human in a cage is degradation, whether they are in there under compulsion or as a "volunteer!" If you think young women can't be coerced into "volunteering" to be an object, you need to get out and around some more - it happens all the time.

Funny, don't you think, that these "volunteers! " are all attractive, fit young women? Where are the corpulent bald men painted to look like factory farmed pigs? How about some skinny old guys with wattles, covered with feathers to look like factory farmed turkeys? What, no "volunteers!" for those gigs?

Exploitation and objectification are wrong, regardless of the supposed righteousness of the cause they purport to endorse. We cannot rise up through diminishment of others, or of ourselves.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The overweight women who don't fit our cultural idea of beauty sitting in cages.

PETA is doing nothing but using attractive women to sell their message, just like car manufacturers and Heineken. Just because you happen to agree with the message they are trying to sell, doesn't not make it sexist and exploitative.

Submitted by hipparchia on

where they have about half the overweight/obesity that we do, harder to make body type and cultural ideals comparisons.

i don't know enough about that particular incident, but both peta and anima naturalis [the group that's active in spain] have protesters of all shapes, sexes, and sizes turn out naked.

yeah, peta still uses too many nubile young women of 'ideal' proportions in poses that are teh sexxay in their advertising [snark] and of course bloggers and the media play no part in this [/snark], but they've found a gimmick that works for them and they've taken off running with it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and for america's biggest testosterone-fest, quelle surprise [although most of peta's slick ad campaigns that i've seen over the past few years have been sexist]. the advertising industry is rampant with sexism and misogyny, and deserves all the scorn and outrage we can possibly heap upon it.

peta's in-person, live protests otoh, with some exceptions [the chicks for hens theme comes to mind], appear to be reasonably egalitarian.

for the record, i loathe peta. you won't find me actively helping them to clean up their image.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

so you can't fool me; plenty of short stout women and men around, and that painted face I put up isn't run-of-the-mill anywhere.

If the idea is to argue for the wonder of veggies, which framed as a positive sensible argument I'm all for, why can't it be made without a selective erotic focus on female bodies? Why, if exploiation is required, does the supposed Superbowl ad not include some studmuffin in nothing but a Stetson and cowboy boots feeling frisky with a watermelon?

I'm hardly a feminazi, generally I think much of the exploitation PC stuff is over-the-top over-sensitivity, but even I can't stomach this crap.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[both of these are true]

i won't argue with you [all that much] on the rarity [or not] of faces [and the accompanying bodies] like those 2. and i definitely agree with you on the superbowl ad.

your post title was about the objectification of women for political purposes, but my comments were about trying to identify who's really doing the objectifying here, and for what purposes.

it doesn't appear to be anima naturlis particularly. i didn't surf the web exhaustively, but it would appear that in spain people of all shapes, sexes, and sizes turn out to strip down to their birthday suits to protest bullfighting and the caging of circus animals.

so whose fault is it that these particular images are the only ones in wide circulation? the photographer [ignoring other, uglier protestors]? the media? bloggers? googlers? society at large? americans, mostly?

it's still all about the objectification of nubile young women, but i do like spain for this.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

but I find it hard to believe that the choices made by PETA and similar sensationalist groups that include people who are visually striking and highly photogenic do not anticipate that photographers and reporters will focus on those few. Maybe I give them too much credit for thinking ahead.

Meanwhile, the music of Hoyt Axton. His work always makes me smile, wistfully.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i can see how this might not have quite the same appeal.

Submitted by hipparchia on

greens too. mmmmmm.
heh, it's not all about the vegetables... ["... women, yeah, that's the end of a terrible beginning"]. anyways. while you were posting this comment last night, i was catching up with my favorite foodie.

thanks for introducing me to ccd. they're delightful!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

saw them in a nightclub in Raleigh; don't remember the club name, too drunk.

This is the season for blood oranges. Have you done them with chicken? I don't like that recipe; everything cooked together, the flavors get muddled.

Instead, divide by threes; chicken in one pan, quartered and skin side up, with the garlic plus two tbs butter and 1/2 cup decent Chenin blanc wine (reserve the remainder, re-corked and wrapped in a wet towel to chill.) Potatoes, 1 1/2 inch cubes, in another with quartered sweet onions (Maui or Vidalia). Cook both covered at 375F for one hour. Uncover; with a basting brush, coat chicken and potatoes with the thinnest possible covering of mayonnaise. Cook another 15-20 minutes to brown, using a blowtorch to finish.

While the chicken and potatoes are browning, heat two tbs butter in a sauce pan until just melted. Add shallots and herbs; sauté at just bubbling for five minutes. Add orange and lemon segments (preferably Meyer; regardless, reserve several thin slices, full-thickness including peel, from either end); heat for another five minutes, turning segments several times. I make some zest from both the orange and the lemon before disarticulation, for little added kick; add a couple of pinches each for a finish note, as the sauté comes off the heat.

Plate chicken and potatoes with a steamed vegetable, haricots verts or carrots cut on the bias. Dress chicken with sautéed citrus; drizzle potatoes with chicken pan drippings; overlay the vegetables with a bare smattering of liquid from the citrus sauté.

No salt.

Serve with the remaining Chenin blanc, and ice water with lemon slice.

Submitted by hipparchia on




finish with a blowtorch. delicious as your way sounds, that would be my idea of doing the dishes afterwards. cook. eat. set the kitchen on fire.


even after living here for a few years now, with a real stove and a real refrigerator and a real oven and a real kitchen sink, i haven't got used to cooking in more than one pot, the legacy of living many years in 200 square feet, where to plug in the electric skillet without first unplugging the dorm-sized fridge was to blow a fuse [the old-timey kind, not the modern-day circuit breaker kind] and where washing the dishes in a bucket in the shower was most expedient.



still, i'm going to try it, assuming i can find the blood oranges. mayonnaise, i has an aversion to it. is there a substitute?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

mayo makes a nicer looking, more even brown, but butter will do fine. In this case, you can just use the drippings in each pan to baste the chicken and the potatoes, respectively, then bake uncovered to brown.

I'm a big fan of one-pot cooking too. I do something I call French Country Chicken, not that it is either French or particularly Country but that sounds classier than Boiled Bird and half of pleasing other people's palates is convincing them they're getting something special. Chicken with root vegetables and garlic and herbs and stuff all in one pot. The leftovers get turned into chicken with dumplings, and if there is anything left after that I add some broth and some peas and call it chicken soup. One pot, three meals.

You don't use a blowtorch in your cooking? However do you manage?

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

I was grooming the golden last weekend and thinking "wouldn't it be nice if some good use could be made of all this fur coming off in the brush?"
the golden did not respond either way, so I assume he's good with it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

if they identify so strongly with critters of other species that meat = murder, and are willing to demonstrate their solidarity in nakedness and vulnerability, who are you to judge?

i can't get all up in arms about your objectification theme here, as peta has a pretty good record of using nekkid men too. the running of the nudes photos at your huffpo link are a bit gruesome, but i like what they've done with the idea.

cat fur, i has it, but the demonic dozen are all domestic shorthairs [though several of them are about as domesticated as i am, which is to say just barely]. anyways, the fibers are too short for spinning into yarn [you could, but it wouldn't hold up], but cat fur is lightweight and fluffy and warm enough that you could probably use it as filling for your quilt [a new improved down comforter, if you will].

heh. back during the comfort food wars, i considered posting my recipe for shark fingers....

Submitted by hipparchia on

which was their first objective. may or may not have made you think.

one of their packaged chickens projects had 5 or 6 people laid out at once, about half and half men and women, iirc. i spent a few minutes looking for it online, but didn't find it.

not sure how one or two nudes is different from a crowd of them.

i can has cat fur fedora!

Submitted by hipparchia on

hmmm... it appears the anima naturalis protestors do believe in turning out in groups of all shapes, sizes, and sexes, and that the huffpo blogger [and possibly that particular photographer] can only see the comely young women.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Funny thing, photogs selecting for the good-looking naked women; who could have predicted? Tough to control the message sometimes, I guess. I'm still waiting for a photo of a wattle-necked guy covered in turkey feathers.

I could counter with Bare is Beautiful but I can't put up those photos here; they are a little steamy, and this is a family blog. Do you suppose there are some nekky men shots from that campaign tucked away somewhere?

Submitted by hipparchia on

[google "ink not mink"] and some butt-ugly ones too, and some really skinny dudes protesting canada's seal hunts, just now, but none of them were skinny and wattly and [un]dressed up as fowl. probably exists, but i'll go out on a limb and guess that it's not ranked very high on google.

the protests, and the organizations [peta, et al] seem to be pretty well integrated, but the, uh, coverage appears a bit one-sided.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

so that one doesn't count. (Have you not seen Men In Black?)

I'll concede that PETA has succeeded in objectifying men as well as women, but nudity itself was not the issue for me. It was the caging that I found offensive, the image of subjugation and control. That the video showed men as well as women in chains doesn't lessen for me the repulsion.

Apparently I was supposed to somehow have a heightened sensitivity for animal suffering. For me, however, the overt present image of humans in a position of degradation closed off any further consideration. I simply find those images offensive enough that I reject any implied message.

My lack, I'm sure.

Submitted by hipparchia on

haven't seen it ackshully. dennis rodman, so not my type too.

different messages for different audiences. i cringe at most of the stuff peta does too, but i don't see humans as being on a higher plane [or something] from the rest of the animals, so along with the shock value, and the sheer utility [made you look!], i see the protesters as acting in solidarity with their fellow beings.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

as is the sequel. Fast-paced, very clever, very witty.

I have a difficult time accepting solidarity with most other humans, outside of an abstract sense. Animals are just not even on the list, knowing what I do about them. The behaviors in pets that we anthropomorphize as affection and caring are actually instinctual adaptive behaviors, employed to further their success as symbiots and parasites amongst humans. We are food source and protection for them, nothing more, and as any of them would eat me in a heartbeat if they could I see no reason to feel any differently towards them. As for the rest, the non-pets, toss another Bambi on the barbie say I.

Sea-Kittens, for hell’s sake.

Submitted by hipparchia on

when i first took up scuba diving, i had to give up eating seafood -- those were my friends!

venison steaks, on the grill, rare... mmmmmmm......

[i'll look for it on dvd at the library]

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

PS, your link to gorgeous slugs is broken.

Lyrics by Chuck Berry, music by Berry and Johnnie Johnson.

A total professional, got a backbeat you can't lose it.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I've had a few of those go wrong too. Mea Maxima Culpa, couple a times.