Wednesday, March 03, 2004

"He wasn't going to leave Pat Benson alone that night, crabs or no crabs."


Not just monster crabs, but STALINIST MONSTER CRABS!

It is, to put it bluntly, THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

And furthermore, and most importantly, THIS ISN'T FROM THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS! Which means it's TRUE!



But, luckily, at present, the only people who have to worry about this are Norwegians, so that's all right. (Unless you're Norwegian, of course.)


It's all in this Daily Telegraph article. If I ran a newspaper it would be on the front pages, not tucked away discreetly inside. I've read my Guy N. Smith novels, dammit. IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT! WHAT CAN STOP THEIR RELENTLESS MARCH SOUTH?

There. I have warned you. My task here is done.

Unca Neil, please don't be mad at me!

I was one of the nekkid protesters in Harvard Square yesterday; to be truthful (as is recommended), I'm not a member of PETA nor an animal rights activists in any great capacity. I just wanted to get an interview and article out of the deal, and ended up spending five hours in a Cambridge City jail cell. Most likely, a couple articles and MANY stories and poems will result from the experience.

Your reaction (that we were being frivolous hippies) raises a couple of questions in my mind: how do you feel about animal rights? I know you are a pet lover (I thoroughly enjoy your anecdotes about the World's Unluckiest Cat) ... but do you think we were frivolous in our protest or just in the manner we protested?

Also, have you ever been in jail? If so, do tell ...

I hope you will always, forever be my Unca Neil,

I'm not mad at all -- nor do I think you were silly hippies. As PETA protests go, I'm categorically and explicitly in favour of naked pillow fights. But from the article, I really wasn't sure what this was meant to be drawing attention to, which was really why I pointed it out. It was a naked Pillow Fight. It was at Harvard. "This is nothing compared to what animals go through." This was all I had to go on.

I've now read several other newspaper reports, and I've learned that "The protest was not meant as a criticism of Harvard. Instead, the demonstration came hours before PETA Vice President Dan Mathews was set to address Harvard professor Brian Palmer's popular "Personal Choice and Global Transformation" class." (Leading me to suspect that Dan Matthews looked at his watch, and went "Well, I've got a couple of hours to kill before I have to talk to Professor Palmer's class -- let's all have a naked pillow fight!" and everyone was just swept up in the glory of the moment...)

But honestly, I'm no closer to finding out what it was actually about. (You must know, neice Kristin. Someone must have let it slip. Tell me and I'll put it up here and the world shall be wiser.)

Being human, I'm capable of holding a number of contradictory points of view at once. I'm definitely against cruelty to animals, don't like killing them or having them killed on my behalf, but I'm in favour of eating them, particularly in the form of sushi, and of exploiting them (in obvious ways, like using them to produce insulin, and cheese, not to mention the less obvious ones, like wool and leather) while keeping the cruelty to a minimum. I dislike the fur trade when it exists in order for rich women to display their wealth, and am in favour of it when it helps not-rich people to stay warm in cold places. I'm willing to eat lamb, but rejoiced when Britain's cruellest farmer went to prison (for apparently trying to drown a vet in liquid cow dung who was investigating his cruel behaviour to sheep). I love wearing big leather jackets, and do whatever I can for the local cat population...

(It was the holding of all those contradictory points of view about our relationship with animals that led to me writing the very short story "Babycakes" for a PETA anthology.)

I think that PETA does some good things, some very silly things -- like imploring Fishkill to change its name -- and some bad things -- such as giving kids Bloody Crowns at Burger King or McDonalds Unhappy Meals, or a recent one they seem very proud of, in which Kids in the company of fur-clad mothers will receive PETA's "Your Mommy Kills Animals!" leaflets depicting a demonic mom thrusting a bloody knife into a terrified rabbit, along with graphic photos of animals killed for fur, seem, well, simply wrong. Warning the men of Knoxville that 40% of them will grow breasts might simply be considered a public service, unless of course it isn't true. But the whole getting people to get naked possibly to show their disdain for fur or just their fondness for pillowfighting, strikes me as something to be encouraged.

At least until the giant crabs get here.

And no, I've never been in jail, except for research, which doesn't count. (I mean, they showed me round and let me in and showed me things and let me out again.)

And finally, in keeping with the animal theme of this post, Sharon Stiteler (the Official Bird Lady of Neil -- which I've just realised acronyms rather disconcertingly down to O.B.L.O.N.G) writes to tell me that the TV footage of the bird-house cleaning incident is now back up on the web at