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

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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link love, 2010-04-17

April 17th, 2010 by
  • Add your voice to Biz Markie’s Earth Day remix of “Just a Friend”!

    In honor of Earth Day, Biz Markie and the Climate Protection Action Fund want you to rap (or lip sync) along to a “clean energy” version of his ’80s classic “Just a Friend.” Repower America will provide the lyrics and instructions; you just need a web cam and an internet connection. Here are the details:

    What do Earth Day, YouTube’s home page and a rap classic have in common?

    You.

    On April 22, we’ll be releasing a remix of the top-ten-hit song “Just a Friend” performed by Biz Markie and Repower America supporters from across the country. It’s going to be featured all day on YouTube’s home page — and you can be part of the fun!

    You don’t need a perfect singing voice to get involved — and for that matter, you don’t even need to know the song. In fact, the chorus to Biz Markie’s song is famous for being beautifully off-key. If you’re still not convinced that you’re ready to bust out rapping on tape, just lip-sync or dance in your video. (Or get your kids to.) The only thing that matters is that you participate — in whatever way works for you.

    We’ve got everything else you need to sing along — lyrics, music and a video showing you how to record your own version.

    Check it out and add your voice to the Biz Markie Earth Day remix right now: http://cpaf.RepowerAmerica.org/Remix

    Naturally, the “eco-friendly” lyrics ignore the role of meat, egg and dairy production in climate change – which is well in keeping with environmental organizations’ unwillingness to address human privilege and its many attendant ills. That said, perhaps some of you more creative types can work a reference or two to veganism into your own video? If you’re interested, you have to move fast – the deadline for submissions is midnight tomorrow night, April 18th. Eastern time, I presume?

  • In an upcoming episode, the long-running NBC procedural crime drama Law & Order: SVU will feature an animal rights plotline:

    After a young woman is sexually assaulted and murdered, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Eliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) track down the woman’s boyfriend – their first suspect – but learn that he is a devout vegan who wouldn’t hurt a fly. They soon find that the victim had been deeply involved in the fight to expose questionable practices in the meat-packing industry, even going undercover at a large company to find out the truth. Benson goes undercover herself to retrace the woman’s footsteps and to identify who the victim might have angered along the way.

    “Beef” will air this Wednesday, April 21, on NBC at 10PM EDT.

    (Many thanks to Vegan Burnout and POP! guest-blogger Shannon for the heads-up!)

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    UPC: Fowl Play Screening & Presentation by Karen Davis in NYC 5/15

    March 28th, 2010 by

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: United Poultry Concerns
    Date: Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 1:42 PM
    Subject: [UPC] Fowl Play Screening and UPC Presentation in New York City May 15

    Fowl Play Screening and UPC Presentation in New York City May 15
    Join United Poultry Concerns & Mercy For Animals at the Columbus Library!

    Promotional artwork for the movie FOWL PLAY.

    United Poultry Concerns and Mercy For Animals invite you to attend a screening of MFA’s award winning film Fowl Play and a presentation by UPC president Karen Davis in honor of International Respect for Chickens Month/May.

    Hosted by the Columbus Library on Saturday, May 15 from 11:30am to 2:00pm – the day preceding the Third Annual Veggie Pride Parade in NYC – this event will be followed by leafleting for chickens!

    Fowl Play Screening and Chicken Presentation will be held at:

    Columbus Library
    742 10th Ave (between 50th & 51st Streets)
    New York, NY 10019-7019
    (212) 586-5098

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

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    Penelope: A Nose by Any Other Name

    March 16th, 2010 by

    I’m tickled pink (pun so intended!) to present POP!’s very first guest post, a vegan-feminist look at the 2006 romantic comedy Penelope from Shannon Davis, aka Vegan Burnout. Based on a Marilyn Kaye novel of the same name, the film stars a (be-snouted) Christina Ricci as the titular Penelope, a young woman seemingly born into wealth and privilege – save for her “unfortunate” porcine nose. Would it trouble the reader to know that, as a child, I longed for a cat tail, à la Catra? Beauty conventions and species boundaries, who needs ’em!? – Kelly G.
     

    Cover artwork for the novel PENELOPE

    Caution: Spoilers ahead!

    Sexism and speciesism go together like, well, movies and popcorn. Carol J. Adams wrote the book on this nasty little tag-team, and I for one am a smarter consumer of pop culture for it. I also love movies and popcorn, so imagine my surprise when, one snowy afternoon, I watched Penelope and found my vegan-feminist Spidey Sense a-tingle.

    Penelope stars Christina Ricci as an otherwise gorgeous girl born with a pig’s nose as the result of an old family curse. (Women! pigs! obvious! parallel!) The curse, of course, can only be broken by the love of “one of her own kind”—unanimously interpreted to mean that of another aristocrat. Already, we have all the elements of a fairy tale—the perfect lens for examining cultural notions of beauty and self-love.

    Penelope’s parents are a study in contrasts: her father, Franklin (Richard E. Grant), guiltily accepts responsibility for Penelope’s “disfigurement,” as his side of the family bears the curse; her mother, Jessica (Catherine O’Hara), is so terrified of what people will say that she fakes baby Penelope’s death to deter snooping reporters. She is so obsessed by her daughter’s nose that she bans anything pig-related, scolding Jake the butler when he plays “This Little Piggy” with the baby’s toes and forbidding her husband to eat bacon. Any notion of her daughter as animal is anathema to her—we’re meant to understand that she means well, but her fixation reveals far more about her than it does about Penelope.

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    (mini) link love, 2010-03-14

    March 14th, 2010 by
  • This Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19, tune into Planet Green to watch Coal Country – then enter to win a copy of Plundering Appalachia from Earthjustice! Contest rules and details here.
  • Thursday, April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of the occasion, the No Impact Project is helping citizens host screenings of No Impact Man throughout the country (world?).

    Here are the details, via New American Dream:

    It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Let’s do something about it! Turn off your TV. Stop shopping. Eat a carrot. Get on a bike. Put a moratorium on litter. And join our friends the No Impact Project, Slow Food USA and 1Sky for an action-oriented screening of No Impact Man. During the week of Earth Day 2010, you are invited to bring your community together to watch, discuss and act. The theme of this event is the impact of food production on climate change and what your community can do to take action. Check out the No Impact Man trailer and contact Lindsay to learn how you can become a host. To find a screening in your neighborhood, click here.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to attend (or host!) a local screening, boxes of vegan baked goods and vegan starter kits in tow!

  • Saturday, April 24, Vancouver-based animal advocacy group Liberation BC will be screening Meat the Truth; doors open at 3:30 PM. For additional details, see their latest newsletter or events page – or shoot ’em an email at info [at] liberationbc.org.
  • Did I miss something? Promote your local event, tell us all about your favorite new release, and share other animal-friendly pop culture goodies in the comments!

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    When Violence Goes Viral (On The Crazies)

    March 1st, 2010 by

    Movie poster for THE CRAZIES - Help Us!

    Caution: Spoilers Galore!

    As far as horror movies go, The Crazies is fairly standard stuff. A plane crash-lands in a remote marsh just a tick upstream of the rural farming town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa. On board is a biological weapon, engineered by the U.S. government in order to “destabilize populations”; allegedly, it was en route to “an incinerator in Dallas,” having proven too dangerous for wide scale use. The plane’s payload slowly leaks into its watery tomb, where the contaminant is carried downstream, straight into Ogden Marsh’s water supply – and onto its citizens’ crops and into their bellies. In short order, the virus infects the town’s residents, transforming them from loving husbands and mild-mannered educators into violent, homicidal “crazies.” *

    The federal government quickly moves in, quarantining the town and separating the townspeople into two groups – “infected” and “not” – ripping families apart in the process. Those who are thought to be sick are taken to the local high school (now set up as a makeshift hospital), strapped to hospital gurneys, and “treated.” (“Observed” is more like it. The viewer doesn’t get the feeling that there’s anything the doctors can do to help their patients.) The healthy residents are transported to a large gas station/truck stop/convenience store situated on the edge of town, ostensibly for eventual evacuation to nearby Sioux City. Of course, because this is a horror film and all, things do not go as planned; a riot breaks out at the high school, leading to the government’s evacuation (and eventual nuclear incineration, complete with cover-up) of Ogden Marsh. The events unfold within a 96-hour period (two days pre- and two days post-outbreak), during which the audience follows four heroes – the local sheriff and deputy; the sheriff’s wife, who’s also the town’s only doctor; and her teenage assistant – as they try to understand what’s happening to their fellow citizens and, later, escape to safety.

    What’s particularly interesting about The Crazies from a vegan perspective is the way in which the town’s residents are portrayed, pre- and post-infection. Precipitating the sheriff’s hunt for and discovery of the downed plane is the discovery of its pilot – or rather, its pilot’s body – in the marsh by a group of (duck?) hunters, whom the sheriff scolds for illegal, off-season hunting.

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    CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.”

    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.”

    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

    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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    link love, 2010-02-18

    February 18th, 2010 by
  • Today is Yoko Ono’s 77th birthday! Celebrate the life and times of this subversive badass with Yoko Ono: A Feminist Analysis, a comprehensive look at Ono – and the racism and sexism she’s transcended – from über-fan Cara of The Curvature.
  • MINE – a documentary centering on custody battles over rescued NOLA dogs, post-Katrina – aired on PBS February 16, and will be rerunning in select markets throughout the week. Part of the “Independent Lens” series, the film aired prior to another Katrina-themed piece called “Home,” in which “filmmaker, Matt Faust, interweaves imagery from his childhood home with post-Katrina visuals.” To find out if/when MINE will be airing in your city, go to http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/broadcast.html.

    Here is a short clip from the film, as aired on PBS’s “Independent Lens” program:

    I’ve actually been meaning to write about this documentary for quite some time now (ditto: An American Opera); the issues raised in MINE deserve serious exploration (and most certainly from an anti-oppressive perspective!) as well. Until then, you can learn more about the film at http://minethemovie.com. MINE is currently being screened at select theaters throughout the United States; to find a full list of dates, look under “Events” on the main page of the film’s website.

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