Thursday, October 27, 2005
Daddy Kills Animals
My friend Russ (a local attorney, falconer and father of two) sent this interesting image from PETA, Inc. ...For the sake of this post, I'll give PETA credit for the art but admit I didn't check for independent verification.
In its continuing battle for the next generation of paid subscribers, this well-recognized (but poorly known) corporation adds a new anti-family twist to its list of pet peeves. You see, your daddy kills animals, and "your doggies and kitties...could be next!" (direct quote from reverse side)
As a daddy who both kills animals and loves his children, I am fascinated by this approach. Let's assume for a minute that this PETA campaign is not a form of hate speech that with slight change of illustration could rival any propaganda distributed by the Ku Klux Klan. Let's say this is a legitimate message suitable for children and supported in part by your tax dollars (the latter is true!).
Do I, as the bogeyman in this message, feel threatened by it?
A little bit, yes. I would feel equally (which is to say, rather vaguely) threatened to see an analogous image demonizing my Jewish wife or my Christian parents. It is disturbing to see one's self so grossly and meanly misrepresented.
But do I believe that this or similar messages could turn my twin daughters away from me in fear and disgust (as PETA seems to wish)? No. They both know very well that Daddy kills and butchers animals (they've helped, and then eaten them!) . More to the point, even my pair of sheltered, suburbanite girls (just under five years of age) would be able to see the ridiculous misrepresentation in every element of this image.
If that is so, then what sort of kid would swallow this crap? Perhaps one who doesn't know (or doesn't particularly like) his father. Or one who has never seen a carcass she recognized as an animal.
Question Two: If it's legitimate to thrust a wedge between father and child, could the mother/child bond be far from the sights of PETA cartoonists? After all, it is she who usually buys (and cooks! and SERVES!) the cruel products of the chicken farmers and the cattle growers.
Once the children are amply estranged from their parents, who shall be left to guide them?
Oh wait: I think I know the answer to that one.