PETA Founder Thinks Fur Is Yucky, Alexander McQueen Is 'Desperate'

Illustration for article titled PETA Founder Thinks Fur Is Yucky, Alexander McQueen Is 'Desperate'

When we open our mail most people tend to fear things like, oh, tons of bills and the mailers from the Episcopal church. Not so much for PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, who "knows that finding a bloody animal organ or a vicious death threat is not just likely — it's expected." Depending on your POV, Newkirk is a freedom fighter of the very best or worst kind: Not only does work to put an end to animal cruelty, she manages to maintain a sense of humor (or, as some say, press whoredom) while doing it. And yes, by "it" we do mean staging "pranks" (her word) such as dumping buckets of red paint on Vogue's Anna Wintour every opportunity she and her cronies get. Says Newkirk of PETA's less-than-conventional means of expression: "You may feel more comfortable just arguing things intellectually. But that isn't the way society is now; it's all Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and 'Show us your tits.'" Indeed. So, truly, what else is an animal rights activist left to do other than staging such spectacles?

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Newkirk and her work at PETA are the subject of a new documentary that premiered on Monday on HBO entitled I Am an Animal (which left Anna [Holmes] inconsolable for the good part of the evening). And despite the seriousness of the subject, Newkirk still manages to evoke a sorta Karen Walker je ne sais quoi. Of the fashion industry, Newkirk says:

The young designers, in the main, are really great. I think the old fogy designers like Karl Lagerfeld and so on, and the desperate designers like Alexander McQueen who want to be bad boys — Jean Paul Gaultier — they really want to be like, 'Look at me, look at me! Aren't I just shameless?' They want to be outrageous—'Oh, très!'

Okay, even if you're one of those people who feel that she's bad for the movement because she is a ridiculous scene-stealer, well hell — who could hate anyone, really, who calls Lagerfeld an old fogy, McQueen desperate, and Gaultier a wannabe? Which really, to borrow fashion terminology, shows a much stronger point of view than a silly ol' fur coat, anyway. Oh, très.

The Little Lady Who Fears Nobody [NYObserver]
Related: I Am An Animal [HBO]

DISCUSSION

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Smackdown

@Jeneleen: You are missing out on all the true beauty of the world, and it is not humanity.

Ha! This is so awesomely emo.

@saradanger: Some of you have mentioned the atrocities in Darfur and Rwanda. Unfortunately, helping that situation is out of reach for many of us. I wish this wasn't the case. I wish we could eliminate all suffering, oppression and cruelty that is inflicted on all beings that live on this planet.

For real, you are kidding me, right? Like, you think it's more difficult to stop a human genocide than to convince everyone in the world to stop eating meat?!??

I wouldn't really have a problem with animal rights activists if they weren't so fucking whiny and self-righteous. Like, boohoohoo, please pay attention to us because our priorities are so fucking whacked-out that we think it's better for human beings to suffer than animals to. I mean, let's take a culture of people who live off animal products, like the Masai. Is it okay if they eat the blood, drink the milk, and slaughter the cows for meat? If it's okay for them, is it okay to hunt if you eat the meat? If it's okay to hunt, is it okay to farm if you slaughter the cow for yourself? If it's okay to slaughter one cow, is it okay to slaughter another cow for your neighbor?

Where does it end, man? If you're going to be consistent, you're going to try to perpetrate that everyone in the world should subsist off of vegetable matter, and cease using animals for food or products like silk and wool and milk. How does this factor into the local economies and culture of the places who, for years, have had their entire living dependent on animals?

It's a boneheaded, ill-thought-out perspective, that lends no import to the survival of the native race, and instead puts animal survival at a premium, regardless.