PETA’s (People of Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently released guide on animal-sensitive language asks people to refrain from using anti-animal phrases. They justify that using such phrases like “beat a dead horse” or be the guinea pig” trivializes acts of animal cruelty.
Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves with it. Just as it would be…
Although animal safety and protection has always been an advocacy for us, PETA’s new cause is still a bit vague as to how it relates to their ultimate goal. But I suppose we could all be a little kinder to animals, in whatever form that takes. While their intent was admirable, it didn’t stop us from having a laugh or two at the different reactions which followed online.
A number of people applied the logic of PETA to different areas: books, fruits, and whatnot.
Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialise cruelty to books will vanish as more people appreciate books for what they are. pic.twitter.com/PDDdmgyO8o
— WaterstonesTCR (@WaterstonesTCR) December 5, 2018
Bananas are marred by offensive language like banana republic, driving me bananas, and second banana. We need a more a-peeling approach. This slippery slope of stereotyping fruit won’t smothie things over. Bananas don’t live on plantain-tions. They’re free and equal. Act like it!
— F. G. Daily (@SocPolJoker) December 5, 2018
Someone wittily proposed how this sensitivity should extend to existing book titles like “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
wait I think I got the hang of this pic.twitter.com/D3DChqqpc9
— Megan (@meganMcgloin) December 5, 2018
Then we have this tongue-in-cheek reaction:
— Complex (@Complex) December 5, 2018
And these different news sites straight up baiting PETA with photos of juicy bacon and eggs:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 5, 2018
— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2018
Best of all is this simple logic that once again shows how the best intentions are not always met with equally good execution:
Wouldn’t giving a bird a scone be killing them, slowly?
— chipper jones (@klusterphluff) December 5, 2018
I personally cannot stop laughing at “curiosity thrilled the cat.” Can you think of any creative re-writes?