Archive: November 2008

Veg*nism & Pop Culture: The Green Scare Comes to Life

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 by Kelly Garbato

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Major spoiler warning, people!

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I’ve been meaning to blog about a recent episode of Life for weeks now. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a kind of cop drama, in which individual cases are presented against the backdrop of a conspiracy-theory story arc which spans the series. Think The X-Files, Alias, Lost or The Mentalist – if you enjoy any of these, you’ll probably *heart* Life, too.

Season 2, Episode 3 of Life, “The Business of Miracles,” involves the murder of a cancer researcher. The main suspects, naturally, are a group of SHAC-like animal rights activists of the anti-vivisection variety. It’s been a few weeks since I watched this ep, so rather than try to offer a plot summary, here’s TV Recap with their recap:

Dr. Auerbach was a scientist who was testing cancer drugs on animals. So his death naturally occurs in the lab and on the window is written, “animal testing is murder.” Something not so natural about his death: He was frozen to death because some one switched his oxygen tank with a liquid nitrogen tank. But who could have done it? Maybe it was the group, BAT [Ban Animal Torture], that has sent Dr. Auerbach death threats?

[The group's moniker, "BAT," was also graffitied on the wall of Hurback's lab. About as subtle as leaving an ELF calling card at the scene of a torched, insured, unsold McMansion, no?]

According to the group’s leader, Betsy, they wouldn’t hurt any soul, even one like Dr. Auerbach’s. She seems sweet enough. She even tells the other member to be quiet when he says it’s good the doctor is dead. So if it wasn’t her, maybe it was the assistant who seems too concerned with the results of the test. Or maybe the janitor? Or the company’s owner? Hmm. I can’t decide, and neither can Crews [Damian Lewis] and Reese [Sarah Shahi] so they do a little more digging and come up with…Betsy, the leader of Ban and the good doctor’s former assistant who left because they were having an affair. Say what?

I know, it’s a crazy little twist but it turns out that Betsy’s real name is Deborah and she and Dr. Auerbach never stopped their affair. And while it seems she has the perfect motive of conflicted emotions, she also has a videotaped alibi. So then Crews and Reese move on to the janitor, who originally said he saw Betsy at the lab that day. Turns out the janitor is stealing pills from the study and selling them. Or so it looks when he gives the box of pills to a woman on a park bench in return for an envelope full of…pictures? When Crews and Reese dig a little deeper they find the janitor’s son has cancer and the pills have been working for him and the woman is his ex-wife. I guess he has a good motive, too. And more importantly, he confesses to the murder. But something isn’t right. Along with the dead doctor, there were lots of dead lab rats. The only dead rats, though, were rats with red tags so why would only those rats be dead and who would want to kill them?

With the help of then now cleared ex-assistant, Crews and Reese learn that the red tagged rats were the control rats and you would want those to be gone if you didn’t want other people to know the experiment was a failure. And who would want that? Yup, the new assistant. Turns out she knew the janitor was stealing pills and blackmailed him. But he wasn’t such a moron that he didn’t have evidence damning her. He had a formula she wrote computing how much liquid nitrogen it would take to kill a man the doctor’s size. So the dedicated assistant killed the doctor after all. She had spent seven years working with him and now her career would be over because the drug was a failure. It was only helping the janitor’s son because he had an extremely rare form of cancer. It wouldn’t work on the mainstream cases. Guess that liar is busted.

Unlike many other cop dramas (the Law & Order franchise, if I recall, has featured its fair share of guilty, stereotyped animal rights extremists), Life doesn’t simply pin the crime on the “obvious suspects” and move on. Rather than get swept up in the Green Scare, Detectives Crews and Reese follow the evidence…which leads them away from the “bad”/”misanthropic” animal rights activists and toward the “good”/”altruistic” cancer researchers.

(More…)

Silken Tofu for Nader!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008 by Kelly Garbato

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Stephen Colbert weighs in on the passage of California’s Proposition 2 on Wednesday’s post-election ThreatDown:

Appropriately, “Food Rights” is Threat #2, about three minutes in.

Videos in this post

The Colbert Report, Wednesday, November 5, 2008
ThreatDown – Black Presidents
American voters must not watch TV, or they would know that every time a black man is president something terrible happens. (04:44)

Veg*nism & Pop Culture: Sara Sidle: From CSI to Terra-ist

Friday, November 7th, 2008 by Kelly Garbato

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

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On yesterday’s episode of CSI (“Leave Out All the Rest“), recently departed CSI Sara Sidle sends Gil Grissom a .mov file -slash- Dear John “letter” over the internets. Look closely, and you can briefly see her email address flash across the screen: info@seashepherd.org. ZOMG! Sara is sailing with the crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society!

Of her adventure with Captain Paul Watson and his band of anti-whaling pirates, Sara says,

Hello from below the equator, in Puerto Ayora. We’ve been at sea for over a month now. Man, you wouldn’t believe the crew – students, activists, scientists – the dinner conversations alone are mindblowing. And there’s even this marine biologist that reminds me a little bit of you. I wish that we could talk in person but this is the best that I can do. I want to apologize for being out of touch. I’ve been thinking about us a lot, though, all the moments. I thought we could survive anything. This trip has given me a lot of clarity. That last year in Vegas, I could barely breathe, let alone think but now, for the first time in a really long time, I’m happy.

When actress Jorja Fox – the vegetarian and PETA supporter who plays Sara Sidle – left CSI last season, I was afraid it would be the end of CSI’s animal-friendly plotlines. In the past, they’ve dealt with canned hunting involving discarded zoo animals, dog fighting, factory farming and chicken slaughter, and Sara’s vegetarianism, of course. The show has been honored by the HSUS’s Genesis Awards for its compassionate storylines; in a multi-episode plotline, Danny Bonaduce played an aging rock star/animal welfare crusader, who targeted said slaughterhouse in a PETA-like PSA.

Given that Jorja Fox is the high-profile veg*n on CSI’s set, I assumed that she was the driving force behind these stories. I wonder whether she managed to convert any of her co-workers, or if one/some of the writers also just happen to be interested in animal advocacy on their own?

Either way, I think it’s totally awesome that Sara Sidle has defected – from Crime Scene Investigator to international, sea-faring, anti-whaling, activist-pirate-terrorist. Welcome to the dark green side, Sara. Just be careful who you extend your vegan potluck invites to.

Keep up with Sara and the crew through Whale Wars, now airing on Animal Planet (Fridays at 9PM).

Update, 11/22/08: Looks like Daryl Hannah is joining the crew, too!