Category: Television

DawnWatch: Oprah and staff take the vegan challenge, Tuesday 2-1-11

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 by

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Oprah and staff take the vegan challenge, Tuesday 2/1/11

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Many of you have already heard the news: we are all setting our DVRs because on Tuesday, February 1, Oprah and 378 of her staffers are taking a one-week vegan challenge. Guests on the show will include the terrific vegan advocate Kathy Freston and anti factory farming author Michael Pollan. Reporter Lisa Ling will give us an inside view of a “beef processing plant” i.e. slaughterhouse.

You can watch a trailer for the upcoming show at http://tinyurl.com/6fa4azh

You can leave comments on that page in advance or after you have seen it.

The more enthusiastic support Oprah gets the better, so please join the discussion.

And please send the Oprah show a separate note of support where the show take comments (some of which are read on air) at https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=220

Go to http://www.oprah.com/tows_listings.html to see when Oprah airs on your local station:

I send thanks to Kathy Freston and about a dozen other wonderful subscribers for making sure we all knew about tomorrow’s show.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

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Sexy hot dogs, killer cats and Crappy Meals: Catching up with The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011 by

During my three-month absence from POP!, I have been tragically neglectful in sharing with you all things bestial on two of my favorite faux news shows: The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. (Mostly The Colbert Report. The student has surpassed his teacher my many a comedic mile!)

Case in point: back in September, Stephen brought in some “pretty beer girls” to serve the troops during a special, week-long military appreciation edition of The Colbert Report, culminating in a guest appearance by Vice President Joe Biden as a hot dog vendor:

This was followed the next day by a sexy dude dressed in a hot dog suit, “for the lady troops”:

Naturally, PETA was not pleased:

[Neither was I – that is, when I watched the show many a month later (it aired when I was on vacation in NY) – but I didn’t see fit to write a press release about it. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that the general public will view this as so much opportunistic bandwagon-jumping and/or an “attack” on the troops. YOU MUST SUPPORT THE TROOPS AT ALL COSTS! BY WHICH I MEAN NEVER EVER NEVER QUESTION A MOVE MADE BY THE U.S. MILITARY! Like duh.]

Anyhow, I promise to be better in keeping up with this stuff in the New Year. In this vein, I come bearing two more recent clips:

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“Changing nature to get the food we eat”: Karen Davis on the Speciesist Indoctrination of Children

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 by

2011-01-01 - 3-2-1 Contact Mags - 0010

A pile of 3-2-1 Contact magazines that I found in my filled-to-overflowing library.
Have a problem, who me?
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In Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An inside look at the modern poultry industry (1996; revised 2009) animal advocate Karen Davis offers an exhaustive and heart-wrenching examination of the “poultry” industry, which is responsible for the exploitation and slaughter of an astounding 10 billion chickens annually (in the U.S. alone; worldwide, 40 billion chickens are raised and killed for their meat and eggs ever year). During her journey from the wild to the farm – and from conception to death – Davis touches upon some of the social and psychological mechanisms that pave the way for these atrocities.

Humans are taught from an early age that the earth’s resources – including other sentient beings – were “put here for our use.” We create a false divide between “us” and “them” by denying our own animal nature: there are “humans” and there are “animals.” We deny our similarities – the ability to feel pain, experience emotions such as love and joy (and sadness and fear), form and nurture fulfilling relationships – while simultaneously looking to our relatively minor but wonderfully diverse differences as an excuse to objectify, enslave and exploit the “other.” Nonhuman animals are largely considered property – “its” – more akin to a tree or tomato plant than a human being. Simply put, we exist in a supremely speciesist and anthropocentric culture – and we indoctrinate each successive generation into accepting this skewed and oppressive worldview.

Pop culture, including books, television, and movies, are central to this indoctrination. For example, Davis singles out two children’s shows for criticism – both of which were staples in my own childhood: Reading Rainbow (1983-2005?) and 3-2-1 Contact (1980–1992) – to demonstrate this process:

Chick hatching projects teach children and teachers that bringing a life into the world is not a grave responsibility with ultimate consequences for the life created. Children’s public television has contributed to this desensitization and to the fallacy that chickens have no natural origin or need for a family life. The Reading Rainbow public television program “Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones,” based on a book by Ruth Heller, shows that other kinds of animals besides chickens lay eggs. However, chickens are the only ones represented in barren surroundings. One heartless scene shows a baby chick struggling out of its egg alone on a bare table, while ugly, insensitive music blares, “I’m breaking out.”

The 3-2-1 Contact show “Pignews: Chickens and Pigs” has aired frequently on children’s public television. Promoting the agribusiness theme of “changing nature to get the food we eat,” it shows hatchery footage of newborn chicks being hurled down stainless steel conveyors, tumbling in revolving sexing carousels, flung down dark holes, and brutally handled by chicken sexers who grab them, toss them, and hold them by one wing while asserting that none of this hurts them at all. These scenes alternate with rapid sequence images of mass-produced fruits and vegetables. Children are brightly told that “farmers are changing how we grow 100 million baby chicks a week, 3 million pounds of tomatoes, 36 billion pounds of potatoes.” Chickens are described against a background of upbeat music as a “monocrop” suited to the “conveyor belt and assembly line, as in a factory.”

Is it any wonder that many people regard chickens as some sort of weird chimerical concoction comprising a vegetable and a machine? (p. 21)

[A full discussion of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs is well beyond the scope of this blog, but you can read a rather lengthy review I published on V for Vegan.

If the psychology of animal exploitation is a topic that piques your interest, check out Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (2009), which I reviewed here.

Finally, parents in search of animal-friendly entertainment to enjoy with their children will find a friend in VegBooks.]

Tonight on Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell: “Jane’s Fight for Animal Rights”

Monday, July 5th, 2010 by

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This is a little outside the realm of what I normally cover here at POP!, but seeing as I haven’t had time to write anything substantial lately, what the hey. Tonight’s episode of Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell (CNN’s HLN network, 7PM EDT) will be a special one, with the entire hour dedicated to animal advocacy issues. Though I have a bit of a heart/yuck relationship with Issues – while I’m happy to see animals granted equal consideration on a mainstream news network, and generally am in agreement with Jane on many topics, the show is also sensational at times, and grants entirely too much attention to celebrity gossip and such – even I have to admit that the idea of an entire hour dedicated to nonhuman concerns, voiced by a vegan at that, is very cool. And waaaay overdue, you might say.

Anyhow. DawnWatch has a rundown of planned topics, as well as contact info for JVM and CNN so that you can submit your feedback. Please tune in if you can, and thank Ms. Velez Mitchell for her coverage of animal rights issues (and CNN HLN for allowing her to speak out on behalf of such marginalized populations) even if you can’t/won’t/don’t watch tonight’s episode. You can also hit up CNN – as well as Issues and its host – on Facebook.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: This Monday on “Issues” — “Jane’s Fight for Animal Rights” CNN’s HLN 7/5/10

The wonderful Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN’s Headline News Network is at it again — but bigger and better than ever before. This coming Monday, July 5, she will do an unprecedented full hour on animal rights issues, which she is calling “Jane’s Fight for Animal Rights.”

She’ll be talking with representatives from many of the major animal protection groups about
— The oil spill and it’s impact on animals
— The Ohio initiative — now tabled, and the resulting farm animal welfare gains and what’s ahead
— Dairy farm cruelty such as cow tail docking
— The fight against a monkey breeding facility planned for Puerto Rico
— The Nevada Wild Horse Round-Up

She’ll also talk with Bob Barker and Pierce Brosnan about whales and Whale Wars and with CSI’s Jorja Fox about the recent release of a group of Bolivian circus lions to a California sanctuary.

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DawnWatch: Meatless Mondays on ABC’s 10 Things I Hate About You, 4-19-10

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by

Kay eyes Patrick’s burger from over the top of her book, Meat Is Not Green.
Image from “Meat is Murder.” Original air date April 19, 2010. Copyright ABC Family.
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Sorry for my absence, folks. I’ve been otherwise preoccupied in the “real world,” and – while I wish I could say that I’ll soon return to regular blogging – this may or may not be the case. In the meantime, check out the following alert from DawnWatch, wherein Karen provides an overview of a recent veg-friendly episode of ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You (“Meat Is Murder,” Season 1, Episode 14). Sadly, last week it was announced that the show will not be picked up for a second season; however, I still urge you to send some feedback ABC’s way, whether positive or negative (or a little bit of both!), in order to encourage similar (or new and improved!) plot lines in the future.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 8:46 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Meatless Mondays on ABC’s 10 Things I Hate About You 4/19/10

Last Monday’s episode, April 19, of the hit primetime ABC series “10 Things I Hate About You” was titled “Meat is Murder.” It centered on Kat’s efforts to get Meatless Monday’s introduced at her school.

You can watch the episode on line [here].

I urge you to check it out, at least for a minute — stations take note of what shows and episodes get the most online hits.

I will give you some highlights:

It opens with Kat sitting at lunch, reading a book titled, “Meat is Not Green.” When her boyfriend sits down with a burger and asks about the book in a teasing manner, Kat says: “Did you know that 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture?”

He admits that it’s fascinating and she says, “If everybody at this school ate vegetables instead of processed animal flesh just one day a week it would make a huge environmental impact.”

He asks if he could do a walkathon instead, and she says, “If you don’t want to do it for the earth, do it for you colon.”

Then she gets up and says, “Enjoy your carbon footprint. I am going to go do something about this.”

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DawnWatch: Meat expose on Law and Order SVU this Wednesday, 4/21/10

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 by

Update, 6/2/10: Just thought I’d share this little tidbit from Carol Adams; it’s one of her Twenty facts about the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat:

9. Law and Order SVU used ideas from The Sexual Politics of Meat (and its slide show) in a recent episode on “Beef.” Of course! Because as the fictional me says on their show, “Meat eating and patriarchy go hand in hand.”

I think I’m now legally required to watch that particular episode (and report back to y’all, natch!), which is currently languishing away on my DVR, where it patiently waited out the end of May sweeps. Possibly I’ll need a few more weeks to recover from the loss of Lost, though. Fair warning.

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Just a reminder: tonight’s episode of Law & Order: SVU will include a subplot of animal rights activism inside a slaughterhouse. The show airs at 10 Eastern / 9 Central; you can find additional details on the show’s website.

Karen Dawn recently sent out an action alert about the episode, featuring opportunities for you to provide NBC with feedback. Please thank them for addressing “meat” production, and also let them know how you think they handled the subject matter after you’ve seen the episode in question!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Meat expose on Law and Order SVU this Wednesday, 4/21/10

Many of you have been asking what has happened to DawnWatch. After ten years of regular coverage DawnWatch alerts were indeed sparse during the second half of last year, when I was losing Buster Dawn and focused on little else. Then the excitement around The Cove, culminating in the Oscar going to that extraordinary film about the horrors behind dolphin abusement parks (to coin Ric O’Barry’s perfect phrase) took all of my attention for a while early this year. Now I am writing a new book, and am also working on rearranging Dawnwatch to make the site more interactive, so that other people can post. But I have missed working on it, and have appreciated hearing from those of you who have missed getting it, so I am going to get back to it on a more regular basis.

Promotional artwork for Law & Order: SVU

And boy to have a great excuse to come back: This week a hit prime time dram, Law & Order SVU, will be airing an episode that focuses on the meat industry. There is no newspaper that has as many readers, or news show that has as many viewers, as this drama, so its power to educate the public is terrific. I happened to catch a preview last week, and went to the show’s site to learn more. You can see the preview of the episode [here].

According to the promo blurb, Detective Olivia Benson goes undercover at a meat plant to solve the murder of a woman who “was filming an unflinching expose of meat.” We hear, on the promo clip:

“She was going to call her film, inside the slaughterhouse… Except she’s the one who got slaughtered.”

The show will air on NBC this Wednesday, April 21, at 10pm (9 central) so set your DVRs and TIVOs and tell your friends!

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CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 by

Jorja Fox for PETA - Investigate Vegetarianism

One of the reasons I started POP! is because I felt a little odd discussing every little mention of vegetarianism, veganism and animal advocacy issues over at my main place. There are just so many examples that to address each one would quickly overwhelm a space with pop culture minutiae.

Seriously, once you get into the habit of actively engaging in media – viewing it with a critical eye, rather than passively taking it in – you start to notice animal-friendly (and, on the downside, animal-unfriendly) themes everywhere: vegetarianism is discussed in passing; characters talk about their “pets”; animal “evidence” is discovered at a crime scene; monsters and aliens act as stand-ins for free-living predators and conventionally intelligent nonhuman species; cyborgs and AI challenge our notions of what it means to be “human”; etc., etc., etc.

Anyhow, while watching a rerun of CSI on Spike this morning, I caught an unexpected – and insightful – example of the former: a short-lived character who just so happened to be a vegetarian. His vegetarianism – which seemed to extend beyond his diet, to his ethical beliefs – was incidental to the plot line; he could have just as easily been an omnivore. But his rejection of “meat” (as well as cheese – perhaps he might have better been described as a vegan?) provided the writers an excellent opportunity to slip in a sly piece of commentary on the intersectionality of oppressions.

Season 6, Episode 19, “Spellbound” – here’s the setup. A psychic was found murdered in her storefront. The fingerprints of one Reese Bringham – the self-described vegetarian – were discovered on her cash register, suggesting a murder committed during the course of a robbery. Warrick Brown and Captain Brass have brought Reese in for questioning:

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Stephen Colbert on Temple Grandin : “It’s really a pro-business story.”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by

On Notice (but really Dead to Me) - ASPCA, PETA & HSUS

Though it’s taken me far too long, here’s the promised writeup of Claire Danes’s February 10th appearance on The Colbert Report.

Seeing as Danes was making the rounds in support of her new biopic, Temple Grandin, I expected to come away from this interview with a knot of frustration and anger in my stomach. In fact, I actually put off watching it for this very reason. (Which is no small feat for a fangirl of my caliber, I tell you what!) Happily, as with the Foer interview, I was pleasantly surprised by Stephen’s treatment of the subject matter.

As you can see in the video (and partial transcript) below, Stephen plays the devil’s (animals’, really) advocate, maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism in the face of claims about Grandin’s “affinity” for and “love” of nonhuman animals. He equates killing and eating cows with killing and eating dogs, to horrifically comical effect. And, best of all, the phrase “animal rights” is not uttered once, in contrast to reports of previous appearances in which Danes praised Grandin as an “animal rights advocate” – and, likewise, described herself as a supporter of animal rights (their right not to be killed and eaten seemingly aside).

[On a side note – Dear fluffyfun “green” and/or vegetarian celebrity gossip sites: can y’all please stop referring to Grandin as an “animal rights activist”? She is no such thing, and to refer to her brand of “advocacy” as rights-based is to shift the entire debate towards the exploitative. And your thoughts on welfare reform? Totally irrelevant. This is a factual dispute, not a matter of opinion. Thanks much!]

While I hadn’t intended to write such a lengthy transcript, once I started typing, I couldn’t stop. Stephen’s quips – and Danes’s reactions – are just that good. If you can, you really need to watch the video to fully appreciate Danes’s flailing responses to Stephen’s gentle-yet-snarky nudging.

It’s all after the jump, yo.

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The Snowpocalypse Descends Upon The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

Friday, February 19th, 2010 by

Stewart/Colbert '08 graphic. (Should read Colbert/Stewart '08!)

Even before the flakes settled, right-wing pundits were pointing to the snowstorms that have slammed the East Coast this year as evidence that “global warming”

[CLIMATE CHANGE! Temperatures may or may not rise depending on one’s geographic location, air and ocean currents, etc. In fact, some scientists worry that melting polar ice caps might actually plunge the northeastern U.S. and northwestern European coasts into a mini-ice age. Global warming does not mean that every location on earth will resemble a sauna! End: rant.]

is a hoax and/or has been definitely discredited. Naturally, these gleeful squeals of triumph are usually accompanied by multiple smug, self-serving jabs at Al Gore. (Because the man IS global warming itself, dontchaknow! And I say this as a vegan with her own complex, ambivalent feelings towards the meat-guzzling Gore.)

Anyhow, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a little fun at the expense of these climate change deniers – and in back-to-back shows, at that. While I don’t have time to type up transcripts, I have embedded the videos below, after the jump. (Too many videos on the main page makes Firefox crash. I blame Comedy Central and its clunky video formats. IBCC!)

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Stephen Colbert schools Jonathan Safran Foer on happy meat animals.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 by

Stephen Colbert of THE COLBERT REPORT

Admittedly, this is rather old news, but Jonathan Safran Foer appeared on The Colbert Report last Monday in order to discuss – what else? – Eating Animals.

[Initially, I was going to group Foer’s interview with those of Claire Danes and John Durant in one big “(happy) meat peddlers” video roundup, but the Foer and Danes interviews proved a pleasant surprise – and not because of the guests! – so a dedicated post for everyone! Except for you, Durant. You’re kind of a douche, and you make this galactosemic lady feel a bit like one, too. (It’s not the same as lactose intolerance, but it’s close enough.) But anyway, that’s the backstory behind my procrastination. End: digression.]

The interview was about as frustrating as I expected on Foer’s end, e.g.,

* “I wouldn’t necessarily say you should become a vegetarian […] I would say you should eat less meat.”

* [When asked if he would eat a hot dog] “Maybe the hot dogs they made 50 years ago.” (as opposed to those produced today)

To his credit, Foer does manage to stay on message and squeeze in a number of pertinent facts re: animal agriculture, however, in downplaying the need for vegetarianism, he negates whatever points he may have scored with the audience. (i.e., if animal cruelty is wrong, and even “happy meat” products are cruel…go vegetarian on Mondays after 6 PM? Say what now?)

And veganism? Fuhgeddaboudit! The word “vegan” was not uttered once during the entire 5+ minute interview.

Luckily, in his quest to be the most ridiculous caricature of a self-delusional meat-eater he could be, Colbert provided some of the more trenchant quips in the exchange. To wit:

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