It's an organization traditionally famed for its light touch and robust sense of humor. No, I'm confusing it with something else. With anything else.
Were it not for those SPCA commercials with the damaged cats and lugubrious Sarah McLachlan songs, I could say that PETA was responsible for every ad campaign that has made me want to tug out my entrails with a long hook.
Recently, PETA decided to protest Super Mario 3D Land. It seems that there is not enough violence against real animals. Now it has to worry about violence against fictional animals, too. On its Web site, created expressly to target the game, PETA noted: “When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy — even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers. Tanooki may just be a ‘suit’ in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur."
Do we really want to go down this road? “Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.” I’m more worried that PETA thinks there are people out there who base their life choices on Mario. In the horrifying nightmare scenario where people like this exist, their sartorial choices are, frankly, the least of my concerns. We need PSAs: “Do not try to break bricks with your head!” “Stop jumping on turtles!” “There are no gold coins in the air!” “You have only one life!” PETA had better start putting “Do Not Enter” signs on pipes. And why isn’t it more concerned about what Mario is doing to the turtle population?
It had better be.
Even beyond Mario, this is a slippery slope. PETA’s complaints about the unethical treatment of real animals were bad enough. But if we start complaining every time someone injures a fictional animal, I'm going to throw in the towel.
Soon they’ll be coming out against idioms. “There are zero ways to skin a cat.” “There is never enough room anywhere to swing a cat.” “Release that bird from your hand back into the bush where it belongs.” “Don’t lead a horse to water, especially not a cab horse because they often have problematic working conditions.”
Next they’ll have a campaign against Sonic for overworking the hedgehog. Pac-Man? Those ghosts deserve to go about their days unmolested. Donkey Kong? It's long past time we stopped forcing him to smash things for our sport. What is Link doing to save the octoroks and keese? Protect those pigs from the ravages of the Angry Birds!
And don't even get me started on Buck Hunter.