It's true that I haven't always been that supportive of you, but I hope we can put that in the past. But i wanted to write a letter to say that I think it's terrific that you finally spit your candy coated thumb out long enough to be one of the last people in the animal advocacy community to jump on the "PeTA has serious problems" bandwagon. Welcome to the moral community!
I also think it's fabulous that there's absolutely nothing about your recent article back-handedly praising PITA that makes it sound like you'd go naked to be PITA's new Vice President and Chief Terminating Officer. I'm not even going to wonder aloud about a guy who clearly fantasizes about himself as a younger, veg*n Arnold Schwarzenegger and the sexist and heterosexist connotations thereto. I'm not.
The Terminator. I shake my head.
I know a lot of people will probably criticize this blog, but that's okay. I'm willing to take the abuse. Maybe you thought it was cute of you to refer to nonvegan commenters at Digg as "some of the stupidest people on the Internet." I'm not sure how much that helps spread veganism. But the way you almost fell all over yourself to defend PITA through the first part of the piece made me wonder a bit at first. You seem to have quite a few harsher things to say about HuffPo. Still, I'm prepared to be open-minded.
More important, though, Bruce Friedrich has said some interesting things about PITA lately. My take? Over the next 12-24 months, PITA will be retooling its brand to be less confrontational, to line up better with HSUS and that Friedrich is pushing them internally to head in that direction already. Considering who Friedrich is, it makes your piece look cautious to the point of timidity, but don't let that stop you: baby steps.
But your first order of business (and I do mean business) as The Terminator? Changing the name of PITA's blog. Really? That's what you thought was most pressing? I'm going to have to go ahead and point out that as far as baby steps go, that's some serious neonate action (no offense to neonates). PITA is still killing thousands of animals. If you couldn't start there, maybe you could have picked something a little less trivial.
In short, we get it. We're glad if you're finally getting it.Who in the animal advocacy community doesn't get it at this point that PITA has very serious problems? But there's more to being a vegan advocate than throwing PITA under the bus for trivial reasons. If you want to criticize PITA, I think it's overdue, but you might want to think about what's most important. Hell, why not criticize your own apologist attitude toward agribusiness and your counterproductive hostility toward nonveg*ns and abolitionists vegans alike while you're at it?
But still, what's most surprising to me is that, in your entire article, you didn't bother to mention that PITA is killing thousands of other animals every year. Surely, those nonhuman persons all deserved at least a passing mention in your first article, and seriously, not even your first priority as self-appointed head of the PITA police? But now I'm digressing. Don't let me discourage your new found enthusiasm.
If you do really believe that PITA does have serious problems, I want to introduce you to the work of a new and amazing writer: Gary L. Francione. You had him on your show once. The link for those who are interested in that discussion:
Well worth listening. Francione has been talking about PITA's problems for more than 15 years now. I realize you probably still haven't read Francione's books. However, I will personally buy and send you copies if you swear by Burger King or Chipotle (or whatever large agribusiness you think of as holy these days) that you'll read them. Not sure what I mean here? Read my previous blog entry:
But the real question is: what took you so long? I'm not asking that to be mean. I seriously want to know whether your break with reality up until this point was sincere false consciousness about PITA, their antics, their animal killings, their campaigns laced with racist, sexist, ableist and classist overtones... Or if you're as opportunistic as other figureheads in the animal welfare advocacy community and see a plum opportunity for yourself here.
I'm sure a LOT of people believe that your latest article reflects the thinly-vieled opportunism of a guy looking for a job (whether it's from a new, kinder, gentler PITA as they try to remake their brand or from HSUS as they become all singing, all dancing). But I'm going to cross my fingers and hope you're sincere even if you're misguided about what the most pressing problems at PITA are (hint: it's more than just crass and offensive marketing).
And, look, I know a lot of people have been confused by PITA in the past, and that many still are. But I'm afraid I can't let your years and years of apology off the hook just yet. You're a self-appointed leader in our community. You took it upon yourself to write three books about animal advocacy.
Did you really not know?
Now, it's true that your career is flagging. I'm not insensitive to that (really). Squeezed between Vegan Freak v2 (an excellent book), Gary L. Francione's Animals as Persons (another excellent book) and Bruce Friedrich's/Matt Ball's latest "activism as marketing" missive, I understand that your old books are looking pretty old and your recent book is not doing very well. What's it called again? I doubt many of my readers even know (hint, it's the inaptly tittled: The Ultimate Vegan Guide). It must be hard to watch Will Tuttle's book The World Peace Diet go to #1 at Amazon.com recently.
But buck up! It's never too late for you to stop promoting happy meat and to do work that will seriously help other animals (and that's promoting abolitionist veganism and adoption, shelter and sanctuary work). I believe in you.
Vincent J. Guihan
PS: if you're not vegan yet, you should all go vegan today! If you're not an abolitionist, you can read through my articles.