Observe an item that appeared in The Daily Universe on 14 March 2000 from the Associated Press. The article in question discussed PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and it’s latest ad campaign: “Got Beer?” PETA claims that cows are mistreated by the dairy industry (we won’t talk about what the dairy industry has to say about that in this rant), and besides, beer is better for you than milk (and don’t even get me STARTED on that because I’m still bitter from when my friend told me to give up cheese so I’d be healthier). In the face of accusations that they’re encouraging underage drinking and alcohol abuse, here’s what PETA’s campaign coordinator, Bruce Friedrich, had to say (pay attention because we’re going to make fun of it in a moment), “College students are savvy. Nobody’s going to put beer on their Cheerios or get drunk and drive as a result of our campaign.”
Let’s look at this statement in a few different points, shall we? First “College students are savvy.” I’m not sure what he means by this. Certainly college students know better, but they don’t always DO better. To paraphrase columnist Eric D. Snider, college dorms are where the leaders of tomorrow are peeing in the elevators of today.” Mr. Friedrich has obviously not seen such classic films as Animal House, PCU, Big Man on Campus, or for that matter, virtually any movie taking place on a college campus, or else he would understand that college students have a natural tendency to do the most idiotic and unsafe things simply because their parents aren’t around to stop them. The more it appears that only someone with a mental disorder would seriously consider doing something, the more likely you are to find a mentally sufficient college student doing it, whether he knows better or not. So much for “savvy.”
The next phrase is, “Nobody’s going to put beer on their Cheerios.” In brief, let me just say that I’ve seen a lot of beer on a lot of Cheerios, and it doesn’t look like there will be less in the future. I’ve also heard a lot about how (despite the fact that both Cheerios and Beer smell like the aforementioned urinated on elevator) this particular recipe is very tasty. Must be how the barley and the oats combine. Don’t know. The point is, Mr. Friedrich is wrong, the beer-cereal combination is common.
Finally, nobody is going to “get drunk and drive.” OH! So THAT’S why it’s not a problem anywhere. Duh.
I thought that these would be the only arguments (as if common sense weren’t enough) I would be able to make, since I’m too lazy to do research on drinking trends and so forth. However, observe this second item (same paper, the 15 March 2000 issue) titled “Binge Drinking on the Rise in Colleges.” Apparently, 22.7% of all students in the country have 4-5 drinks in a row at least three times in a two week period. That means almost one in four college students are drinking way too much, and with the intention of abuse. They are more likely to be binge drinkers if they are under 24. This may be conjecture, but it seems to me that makes it very likely that many of those drinkers are probably under 21. Tell me if that sounds too bizarre.
In short, even if PETA really believes that their ads will not promote alcohol abuse, then they are certainly biased, ill-founded, and in extremely poor taste. In other words, IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT! I welcome any messages from PETA sympathizers who want to defend this position. I know I’ve left a few things out, but I have counter arguments for those too. I really just can’t see how these people can justify what they’re doing.
The problem, as I see it (and believe me, while I’m certainly not going to give up eating steaks and pork chops soon, I am certainly not a proponent of mistreating animals) has nothing to do with the ethics of drinking milk. It has to do with an acute lack of responsibility and a refusal to accept natural consequences. If you’re going to try and influence policy, you darn well better do some research and make sure your claims are substantiated. Just because you feel sorry for a cow is no reason to hate people who drink milk, and just because you don’t believe that someone’s stupid doesn’t mean that they aren’t. You shouldn’t ignore the consequences of an action, and you certainly shouldn’t make them up. If you can’t make an educated guess (like some people above can’t), then you need to do some research. (Hint: controversial ads are not always good. Anything for the sake of itself is bound to be destructive.)