Yesterday I came across one of the stupidest (yet entirely serious and heavily-funded) ideas I'd ever heard of, and in spite of the fact that I'm undoubtedly way behind the times, naturally felt compelled to share it with the...ummm...5 or so people who read this, 2 of whom might not have been aware of it already. But first, a quiz!
I'm currently trying (for "trying", read "struggling pathetically") to learn Norwegian - for the only reason that could possibly matter. So, in the spirit of idly leafing through a dictionary searching for vaguely 'amusing-because-they-look-odd-to-non-Norsk-speakers' words, let's see who can guess the correct definitions of:
a) irritation caused by forgetfulness
b) a forestry plantation
c) a hat shop
a) a suede briefcase
c) harvesting penguins
a) erotic literature
b) marching bands
(answers at the very bottom of the page. Yeah, that's right - grab that scroll bar and skip over whatever twaddle's coming next - you probably knew about it already, anyway. And made wittier comments on it at the time, too.)
Oh, and also must give a huge plug to the incredible talents of Dave Grant, guitar physician extraordinaire at Stringz here in Dunfermline...when presented with my apparently-desperately ailing old acoustic, he virtually waved his hands over it briefly and muttered a few, arcane incantations (either that or he probed, plucked and tweaked it, while saying "aye, well, it cannae be the neck, so that's alright"), and lo! it did arise as if anew! and verily it soundeth great and playeth dead well, even unto the horrible disharmonious cacophonies I usually elicit from it...
Thanks to the hugely-talented Dave, my mangling of innocent Norwegian traditional folk tunes can resume. But please, don't blame him, for he kneweth not what he did...
Right, anyway, here's the thing. Back in September last year, I made a fleeting gag at the expense of PETA ("People for zealously imposing their dogmatic views on others"...oh, no, hang on, might not have that exactly right. Oops. Umm.."People who once had ostensibly laudible aims but have since become ideologues..." nope, that's not it either...? I'll google them - ah, of course! "People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals". The holier-than-thou, attention-seeking advocates of putting healthy animals to death - references here and here for anyone interested).
I can't believe I'm about to do this. This is tragically, pathetically narcissistic, but what the hell, I'm going to quote me! Laughingly trying to create a ludicrous example of a "conspiracy theory", I wrote:
"All the books that feature cutesy, fluffy-wuffy animals - animals that can talk, wear clothes, live in semi-detached houses and have affairs with the next-door-neighbour's baby-sitter, with names like "Mifflesey", that sort of thing - are written by authors who are funded by PETA, so that when kids find out where their meat really comes from they'll recoil in horror ("But Daddy, we're eating Bella the ballet-dancing moo-moo cow!!"), and become strict vegans as a result. This is just one, especially cunning, strand of the International Vegetarian Conspiracy (IVC)."
(oh, wasn't I just so hilarious? No, you're right...)
Well, shaft me sideways with a wooden spoon (actually, please don't. Really, don't. Thanks for the offer, but, y'know...it's an experience I think I can live without), but what have these "Veganistas" gone and done, but try to dissuade us from catching/eating/"wearing as smelly-but-unusual jewellery" fish by making them "cute". And how do they intend to achieve this, precisely? By renaming "fish" as..."Sea Kittens".
Now, I thought this couldn't be real, it had to be a brilliant, Chris Morris-style parody...but no. They've even got "Sea Kitten Stories", according to their website. "You can learn a lot about a culture from its bedtime stories. Find out what keeps the sea kittens up at night." it says. Hmmm...almost certainly marauding predatory "sea kittens", I'd venture...? Ah! not so! In PETA's hideously anthropomorphic dystopian fantasies, it's stress-related mental instability brought on by human "sea kitten abuse".
Now, PETA have, in the past, engaged in many worthwhile campaigns against animal cruelty. This, however, is so ridiculous, manipulative, and frankly downright pathetic - go on, say "Sea Kittens" out loud. No, loud enough so that someone might hear you if they were at a greater distance than 5 millimetres from your lips. That's better. Try saying it again...doesn't improve at all, does it? Pathetic - oh, and incredibly selective in its use of scientific data, but then that's only to be expected I suppose...
PETA seem to be strangely ignorant of a couple of things (well, a great many to be brutally honest, but let's try to keep this in some sort of focus):
Humans are animals. Human children are small, (often smelly) extremely vulnerable animals, who rely on us for their welfare and education.
Lying to children is deeply unethical.
They also forgot to mention something else about "Sea Kittens" - a lot of them are extremely tasty, and an excellent source of dietary protein.
Can't think why...?
Norwegian Language (sub)Standard Grade Test answers:
Hatteforretning is (c) a hat shop, Pengeanbringelse is, disappointingly, (b) investment, and the glorious Strømpebukse is, alas, (c) tights.
More soon. Maybe.