Few things are as frustrating to do-gooder liberals like myself as when other do-gooder liberals go off the deep end. Whatever the cause, however so worthy it might be, crossing the line from passionate to goofy is so easy, and happens to often. Then, of course, the cause itself loses credibility along with the offending do-gooder. You know how it goes; public support starts to build around something like, say, the environment, and then some nutty hippie group pulls some embarrassing stunt, making themselves look ridiculous and hurting the cause.
Two such items have come up of late. A few weeks ago, I was spooked into thinking that the Occupy movement would soon be derailed thanks to Occupy Atlanta’s treatment of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (yes, I hate that the video comes from a conservative “gotcha” outlet). If you missed it, he wanted to address the assembly, but one dissenter in the crowd (who acknowledged Lewis’s invaluable contribution to society at least) piped up and insisted that Lewis not get to address the crowd because, as others in the crowd insisted, he was “no better than anyone else.” A long, maddening people’s-mic debate began, and it served to exemplify the worst stereotypes of liberals — over-thinking, over-talking, disrespectful, and stultifyingly beholden to arcane bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.
And sorry, Occupiers; I love what you’re making happen, but some people are better than others, and John Lewis most certainly is one of them. Rep. Lewis, who appeared to do his best to honor the procedures of the group, eventually left, I imagine rather confounded.
The latest example that has attracted my forehead to the surface of a desk at a high velocity comes from a common offender, PETA. I support the overarching goal of PETA, to, well, treat animals ethically. Already prone to knee-jerk reactions, PETA has chosen perhaps the most ridiculous target of its entire existence: Super Mario.
PETA … believes Mario takes a “pro fur” stance” because he “wears the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers” in the new handheld game released Nov. 13.
On Monday, PETA illustrated its disgust with Nintendo in an online campaign called “Mario Kills Tanooki.” The page includes a side-scrolling Super Mario-style game called “Super Tanooki Skin 2D,” where you play an angry, skinless tanuki that must chase a bloody raccoon-pelt-wearing-Mario across a 16-bit world and try to reclaim its fur.
Yeah. That’s the message of Super Mario: Skin helpless mammals and take their strength. That’s certainly the lesson I learned as a kid when Super Mario Bros. 3 came out and introduced the raccoon suit. In fact, my brother and I would walk outside the house, bleary-eyed from hours of gaming, and seek out stray dogs and cats, force the removal of their hides (ignoring their yelps of pain, of course), and donning them in order to imbue ourselves with their magical powers.
There are real battles to be fought on behalf of animals. There is a real struggle for equality in our society where those who are not already powerful have no voice. Those causes are damaged when passion and ideology totally trumps reason, and then beats it to a pulp.
(Hat tip to Skepticality’s Derek Colanduno for the PETA link.)