PETA has a new ad out and it’s a doozy. You may want to sit down for this. Or, perhaps, take a knee for this. Me? I’ve had it. This is it. The living end. Ferry me home to the Good Place, Tahani. I cannot abide these humans and their troubles anymore. PETA released their Super Bowl commercial in advance of Sunday’s game and it is, to put it mildly, unhinged. Let’s take one last look before turning off the lights on humanity and letting the animals retake the world, Planet of the Apes-style.
I’ve had it!
What have I had?
In the one-minute ad, an unseen chorus hums the national anthem as we pan over a lush forest. In said Ferngully, animals of all sorts—bees, bears, a piglet, a bald eagle—all take a knee alongside a young girl. The ad ends with the hashtag #EndSpeciesism. Fascinating. In the text accompanying the ad on Twitter, PETA explained that it was an “homage” to Colin Kaepernick’s campaign to take the knee during the national anthem. Interesting.
Let me just check my notes real quick before continuing. Hm, weird, it says here that Colin Kaepernick first started taking the knee during NFL games in 2016 as a silent protest of structural oppression and state-sanctioned brutality against people of color. He later donated over $1 million to help communities and people affected by racism and police violence. He has since been essentially blacklisted from the NFL for his refusal to, in his words, “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Very illuminating. PETA, meanwhile, has released an ad with a young cartoon woman of undefined racial heritage and the cast of Zoobilee Zoo as a way of envisioning “a world where respect is the right of every being.” Ah, yes. Much to think about!
The audacity of this commercial is truly staggering. To re-appropriate a political protest that has, for years, been highlighting the centuries of systemic oppression endured by people of color, particularly black people, and to remove black people from it completely and replace them with Little Bunny Foo Foo and friends is really impressive. Is it an effective way to spread their message? Well, here I am writing about it. So, I guess. Is it ultimately a damaging means of communicating? Does a bear shit in the woods (after taking the knee)?
Even on a purely anatomical level this is galling. First of all, this the most negative context in which the terms “the bee’s knees” has ever been applied. Second of all, what the hell are these fish doing?
These fish paused their spawning to curve their little fish bodies so they could take a little fish knee?! I need to clock out of America. This is too much.
And here you’ve got a fox and a wolf taking the knee next to a snake that is doing what? Taking the ampersand? Make it make sense!
Folks, please welcome to the stage some extras from Brokeback Mountain, showing their support.
Now things are getting wild. Babe the pig is taking a little knee but the pig’s parent? Sleeping through it! Generational divide! The adult pig sympathizes with Kap but wishes that he’d find another way of protesting. The adult pig is like “In the words of Dr. King…” Mess.
Then we have the little girl who seems to be camping by herself but still also both singing the national anthem and taking a knee (if a knee falls in the wood…). Confusing! But the eagle I love most of all. When it first showed up glowering I was like “A-ha! A villain! The true spirit of America: quashing protest, reaffirming structural oppression, and declining to call impeachment witnesses! This eagle is problematique!” But lo! It takes a knee too! The eagle just has resting Fox News face! A reveal!
Anyway, that’s what’s going on in PETA’s neck of the woods. Be nice to animals. And I guess black people, if you have the time. Play ball!