Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Screw PETA"

"Be very, very quiet...I'm hunting squirrels."
This made my day:
Jennifer Lawrence is about to learn what it's like to have every little comment said in passing scrutinized -- yes, she's a bona fide star. 
The actress was dubbed "the coolest chick in Hollywood" by Rolling Stone, and in the magazine's latest issue she recounts her on-screen squirrel-skinning scene in the 2010 movie "Winter's Bone." 
"I should say it wasn't real, for PETA. But screw PETA," she told the magazine. 
Lawrence's interview has been on newsstands since March 30, but the comment went unnoticed until it was picked up by a hunting magazine, which praised Lawrence for the comment. 
In response to the actress's comment, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told Gothamist, "[Lawrence] is young and the plight of animals somehow hasn't yet touched her heart. As Henry David Thoreau said, 'The squirrel you kill in jest, dies in earnest.' We are told that this squirrel was hit by a car, but when people kill animals, it is the animals who are 'screwed,' not PETA, and one day I hope she will try to make up for any pain she might have caused any animal who did nothing but try to eke out a humble existence in nature." 
Regardless, it doesn't sound as if Lawrence is going to be a PETA spokesperson anytime soon. The actress, who spent a month in Missouri with a rural family learning to shoot rifles and chop wood in preparation for "Winter's Bone," and was trained by four-time Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig for her role as Katniss in "The Hunger Games," also told Rolling Stone, that when she is done with her next movie she is “thinking about buying a house. And a big dog. And a shotgun.”
1. We could do with a lot more celebrities saying "Screw PETA," couldn't we? Maybe Lawrence could sit down and have a chat with these people.

2. I somehow doubt that Lawrence's youth is the reason her heart hasn't been touched by the plight of animals. Young female actresses and singers seem like PETA's bread and butter, all too ready and willing to support a disingenuous and vapid group that equates broiler hens to Holocaust victims and has tarnished the cause of animal rights so much by its antics that they should get kickbacks from ConAgra and shout-outs from Ted Nugent. Young women who have not so much as seen a farm in person seem like the best candidates to view all animals as cast members from Bambi, and to think that posing nude accompanied by the slogan "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" somehow draws attention and sympathy to the pathos of minks, foxes, rabbits, etc. bound for coat-dom rather than a mixture of eye-rolling, leering, and condescending chuckles.

3. I haven't seen "Winter's Bone" or "The Hunger Games," but am pretty sure that Lawrence's role in both films has something to do know, hunger. That her character is herself trying to "eke out a humble existence in nature," and would be either an idiot or a masochist to turn down a nice bit of squirrel for dinner when it's offered. Ever watch one of those survival shows, like Out of Alaska or Man vs. Wild? The people on those shows try to shoot, snare, or catch animals for meat first and foremost for a reason, and it isn't because killing animals is fun or they don't care about their "plight." It's because meat is the best kind of food you can have if your goal is avoiding starvation most efficiently. Now, to be fair Newkirk's quote was reacting to Lawrence saying "Screw PETA" concerning the question of whether any animals were actually hurt in filming (at least, that's my impression). But Newkirk did toss out an unqualified statement condemning killing animals in general, so I feel comfortable calling it absurd and mindless without qualification.

4. In case it needs to be reiterated, I am concerned about animal rights. I think causing unnecessary suffering is wrong and should be avoided, which leads to a revulsion for all sorts of very common practices in the food industry that make many animals' lives torture from beginning to unfortunate end. But PETA is possibly the worst organization claiming to battle this suffering, and ridiculous hand-wringing over the death of any animal by Newkirk and patronizing denouncement of anyone who supports such a thing under any circumstances certainly earns the dismissal "Screw PETA."

1 comment:

  1. Some critical theorists (Sexual Politics of Meat) might see the title of this post as a confirmation of their deconstruction of the meat-patriarchy ;-).


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