The animal rights organization PETA recently jumped the shark with its attempt to drive “speciesism awareness”…cause that’s a thing now. Whatever eager beaver runs their twitter account obviously thought they were being progressive when they sent out multiple ill-informed, ill-conceived, completely illogical tweets comparing common American idioms to racism, ableism, and homophobia. Insults rained like cats and dogs, and by the next day their mentions looked rode hard and put up wet.
The first tweet read “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.” Underneath was a graphic that gave euphemisms for common phrases, substituting the “species-ist” slang with things that mostly just rhymed or scanned with the original…because they couldn’t be bothered to think of correlating phrases.
Substituting “Take the bull by the horns” with “Take the flower by the thorns” literally makes no sense. The original phrase means to take control of an obstacle you’re facing forcefully and with bravery, because there’s no other way around it. Why would you take a flower by the thorns? Have you never heard of garden shears? Are there no other thornless flowers nearby? How about you take these Gerber daisies and gon’ about your business? Whose garden are you in anyway? Isn’t it abusive to flower beds to just run around yanking up the flowers? (See? This is just dumb.) In an effort to not be misunderstood, PETA immediately followed that tweet with: “Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon.” Um…Say what now? Ok, there’s so much caucasity to unpack here I don’t even know where to start.
PETA, girl. NOBODY is THAT excited about bringing home bagels over bacon. Number one: bagels are not that expensive. Hell, you can make bagels yourself AT home, no one has to bring them to you. There’s like six ingredients in bagels, and one of them is water. The level of achievement in bringing home bagels is literally minimal. Acquiring BACON, on the other hand (known affectionately in carnivore circles as “meat candy”), is no small feat. One—bacon is not that inexpensive…unless you catch a sale at the grocery store. Bacon costs anywhere from $5-$12 a pound.
Do you know how long a pound of bacon lasts in a typical meat-eating American household? NOT LONG. Yet I’m pretty sure somebody has a month old bagel in their cabinet right this minute. Two—Bacon has to be prepared by federally licensed companies or, at the very least, a trained butcher. You can’t just pull out the KitchenAid on a snow day, look up a recipe online and decide to make Bacon. Bacon costs extra to put on everything: salads, sandwiches, burgers, even BAGELS, because it makes everything exponentially better. Bacon-wrapped/bacon-topped foods? Usually a crowd pleaser. What’s more, no one has ever asked for an extra bagel to go on their bagel. But there are bacon wrapped pork chops. There are bacon and ham pizzas. Look at the blessing of this magical meat: BACON EVEN MAKES BACON BETTER. So bringing it home is sure to delight anyone with tastebuds that also enjoys eating humanely raised animal flesh and fat. Bagels? Girl, bye.
Twitter did what twitter always does, because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and a leopard never changes its spots. The gifs, memes, and snarky comedic responses were spot on, mostly calling out the ridiculousness of these tweets. Some people played along and threw out “replacement language” of their own, while others questioned if this was now offensive to the live, active yeast needed for bagels. Many just kept posting pictures and videos of bacon, which was appreciated and appetizing all at the same time.
Thankfully, folks also hit the more serious side of this issue, noting how equating “speciesism” to racism, ableism, and homophobia is not only inaccurate, it’s dangerous. It’s being blind as a bat to these very real, very serious problems humans face on a daily basis. Not to beat a dead horse, but animals can’t even read or understand the English language to the point where they can decipher and be offended by, nay OPPRESSED by, idioms. If you say “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” in front of your beloved, domesticated feline, chances are they really won’t give a shit. Mostly because cats are ignoring us 23 out of 24 hours of the day, but also because even if it was paying attention? It knows you aren’t talking to it.
If you say you’re “dog tired” in front of your Akita, it doesn’t feel like you are taking for granted the work its ancestors put in as sleigh dogs and are being insensitive to their plight. It’s gonna stand there, wag it’s tail and probably still want you to play fetch with the chewy toy because IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT DOG TIRED EVEN MEANS. Most pets, when they are given commands, are responding to intonation, articulation, and rate of speed, along with your physical demeanor. Sure, they are smart and receptive enough to sense changes in your body chemistry when danger is present, but that does not mean they are sitting around feeling judged by your language. Which is why this extreme anthropomorphism is completely ridiculous. Giving human traits, human emotions, and human intentions to animals is something we all do; but this is taking it way too far. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing because it actually reduces the harm of racism, ableism, and homophobia.
The response from pet lovers, vegetarians, and vegans was a pleasant surprise. Most chimed in by agreeing with those that recognized PETA’s move was trivializing harmful language. Some PETA supporters even went as far as saying they’d overlooked past indiscretions, but after the tone-deafness of these tweets, they can no longer support this organization. I guess this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.