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But won't you think of the koopas?
November 17, 2011 8:56 PM   Subscribe

PETA's latest public target is Super Mario 3D Land, specifically Mario's use of the tanooki suit, which PETA claim signify the wearing of a tanuki skin. To raise awareness, PETA had a little flash game made: Mario Kills Tanooki (warning: cartoon blood and gore), in which you play a skinless Tanuki trying to get your skin back from Mario (YT, 1:19 - slightly stuttery gameplay video). But as this Kotaku article points out, PETA's outrage is "an epic culture misunderstanding," overlooking the long, cultural history of the shape-shifting trickster. Nintendo's quick response: "Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games," that are "lighthearted and whimsical transformations." PETA clarifies: the graphic little game was just a joke.
posted by filthy light thief (67 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, the "it was just a joke" defense when the outraged screed isn't well received or even well researched.

It's classic.

(No animals were harmed during the writing of this comment, although my cat was slightly annoyed when I shifted position.)
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on November 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Here is PETA's latest work in LA...I kinda like their confrontational attitude.

I also don't like the entire Kardashian family...living or otherwise.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2011


It's classic.

Ah, the well .
posted by Mblue at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2011


Outrage is currently trending apparently
posted by infini at 9:06 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


A cultural misunderstanding that is epic? That would be the Italian plumber bit.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I used to have respect for PETA. In the 90s (and earlier), they did nutty media events, but it always seemed to have a reasonable (or debatable) reason behind it. Nowadays PETA seems to struggle for legitimacy, so they will do anything, whore themselves out for any stupid idea in order to get headlines. Video game character costumes? Christ.

PETA would be funny if they weren't so very sad.
posted by zardoz at 9:08 PM on November 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Accurate alternative headline for every PETA story ever now, in the past and the future: "PETA demonstrates its expert ability to stir up the shit".

Metafilter: Ah, the well .
posted by nanojath at 9:12 PM on November 17, 2011


Worth it for the post title.
posted by cashman at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


PETA's one of those things that I pray is some kind of dadaist joke, like Ann Coulter, the Westboro Baptist Church, and Bill O'Reilly. I like to pretend they all meet at a secret artists' colony to gloat and drink wine out of skulls brought to them by monkeys. Unfortunately reality isn't as cool as I think it is.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


At least the trolls on on 4chan are funny.
posted by formless at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, a PETA thread. Concern troll roll call!
posted by malocchio at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2011


It looks to me more and more that PETA has been infiltrated by people actively seeking to discredit the animal rights movement by causing them to do stupid things.
posted by JHarris at 9:20 PM on November 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


TANUKIS ARE NOT REAL.

PETA are probably still torn up about that bit in the Neverending Story where the horse gets sad and drowns in the mud.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:22 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could faces this cute not be real?
posted by Kevin Street at 9:27 PM on November 17, 2011


Back when we were all little kids in elementary school, we all learned that there were a lot of ways you could get attention. You could get attention by being really nice. The kids who were really funny got a lot of attention too, everyone knew who they were. You could also get attention by being really rich (and having rad birthday parties).

One way that REALLY worked when it came to getting attention, though, was to act like an absolute dick. Want attention? Make fun of other kids! Hit someone! Yell at the teacher! Use bad words! Everyone would look and see what you were doing.

As we grew up, most of us learned that being a dick was still a really effective way to get attention and to make people think about you. But when they'd think about you, they'd simply think, "what a dick." A few would feel sorry, a few might laugh, and a few stupid people might actually admire you for your dickishness. But most people would think you were just a total idiot and someone to avoid.

Some of us had to learn this lesson when we were in high school or college, while others learned it back in elementary school. Once we grew up, we realized that maybe attention isn't so important... and if it is, then it'd be nice to get it by doing nice things for people.

PETA reminds me of a middle aged person who's either forgotten this lesson, or never knew it in the first place. The kind of person who is so desperate for attention that they'll cut down anyone else around them, make whatever scene is necessary, act as tough as possible, all for the sake of a little attention and "validation."

But PETA... that's not the kind of attention you want! PETA... you're acting like a dick
posted by Old Man McKay at 9:30 PM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Isn't there also a frog suit in the game? Aren't frogs real? Ha.
posted by weirdoactor at 9:32 PM on November 17, 2011


Could faces this cute not be real?

Damn.

I mean, TANUKIS [in Super Mario games] ARE NOT REAL.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:34 PM on November 17, 2011


The thing that bothers me about American politics is this; right wing nut jobs are cohesive and influential enough that it is legal for me to buy an assault rifle at a gun show, and left wing nut jobs spend money on ad campaigns against fictional mistreatment of digitized animals.
posted by midmarch snowman at 9:48 PM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Tanuki (the actual animal, a.k.a. the raccoon dog) are also farmed and killed in a really horrifying way. A Humane Society video of the slaughter has been kicking around the internet for the last few weeks. I haven't watched it. I wouldn't recommend anyone else watch it, either. But it's a real thing.

I wish instead of attacking Mario Bros, PETA had linked it to the real-life slaughter of tanuki for faux fur. Their skins are used to trim jackets, and they are shorn to provide mock-fleece inserts for knock-off Ugg boots.
posted by ErikaB at 9:50 PM on November 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fuck you, PETA. I made Mario stretch that animal's skullflesh over his head and occupy the whole of its skin like a holy vessel, and nothing you can say will stop me from doing it again. This is the source of his power. It makes him whole; he is sinless from within the facade of the tanooki.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:52 PM on November 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


I once made a game where you were a little dog in a jetpack, and when you died you exploded into an adorable mass of gibs. Worse still, in between waves the dog would contemplate the endless nature of the game, and that death was his only escape, until the game stared over.

But tanuki suit, yeah real offensive.
posted by hellojed at 9:56 PM on November 17, 2011


I hope I don't get any grief over my buttsuit.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2011


If anything, Super Mario 3D Land should be getting the environmentalists outraged. The Tanooki suit is a power up the is derived from a Super Leaf power-up, so the environmentalists should be screaming for the head of Mario for promoting, I dunno... logging, or something, I guess?
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:05 PM on November 17, 2011


Look, frankly, at this stage all I'm outraged about is that I have to wait until November 24th to be able to play something awesome on my 3DS.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:06 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once made a game where you were a little dog in a jetpack, and when you died you exploded into an adorable mass of gibs. Worse still, in between waves the dog would contemplate the endless nature of the game, and that death was his only escape, until the game stared over.

Back when I worked for Freeverse, what was then mostly a Mac game studio, there was a running joke about a non-existent game called Burning Monkey Russian Roulette. I think it had been teased once or twice for an April Fools gag. But one year, we decided to make it. The premise was simple: four monkey characters from our existing games, sitting around a table, playing Russian roulette with a loaded pistol. Click the mouse, monkey takes a turn. Maybe monkey blows his brains all over the wall. The art was great, too. Small room, dark, simple. Just a little sinister. Probably went too far.

Before it was finished, Mark, the guy coding it, discovered a bug. He was demonstrating the game to us and took us on a full playthrough. He played against three computer opponents and eventually all of the monkeys killed themselves except for one last, winning computer monkey. Except that Mark either had forgotten to add the "monkey stop playing" condition or there was a bug in it. So the last monkey, the survivor, just kept playing by himself.

Pick up the gun. Click. Put down the gun. Pick up the gun. Click. Put down the gun. Pick up the gun. Click. Put down the gun. Until he shot himself.

It was the most disturbingly funny thing I'd ever seen in a game. Couldn't stop laughing while getting a vague sense of discomfort.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:10 PM on November 17, 2011 [32 favorites]


Thank you PETA, but my outrage is in another castle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 PM on November 17, 2011 [42 favorites]


Didn't learn until just a few years ago that Tanuki's are infamous for having gigantic balls. This art leads me to believe that the game creators were probably having a good laugh the whole time we were seeking out Tanooki suits: http://pinktentacle.com/2009/06/all-purpose-tanuki-testicles-prints-by-kuniyoshi/ (potentially NSFW?)
posted by JoeGoblin at 10:20 PM on November 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


http://pinktentacle.com/2009/06/all-purpose-tanuki-testicles-prints-by-kuniyoshi

That's hilarious. It deserves its own FPP.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 PM on November 17, 2011


I actually believe PETA when they say that they just wanted to draw attention to real tanuki farming, which is (as ErikaB says) nightmarish. No doubt they were as ignorant of the tanuki thing as Matt Alt says in the link, but the real cultural misunderstanding was surely their belief that the gaming community would react with thoughtful, considered chin-stroking to a game which depicts one of their most beloved heroes as a bloodthirsty villain.

(Add to that the fact that whatever their actual understanding of the Marioverse, their game design makes it seem like they think Mario is wearing a tanuki skin rather than a tanuki suit, and you have a recipe for ultimate nerd meltdown. I mean, spitting on cherished values held from childhood, that's one thing. But getting the details of a fictional universe wrong is just beyond the pale.)
posted by No-sword at 10:46 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't learn until just a few years ago that Tanuki's are infamous for having gigantic balls

Yeah when I got to Japan it took me a minute to realize all those statues in front of all the shops weren't creatures holding big bags, but creatures with...big bags. There's a Miyazaki movie that doesn't really work out here largely because giant nutsack tanukis feature prominently in it. There was also a cartoon on TV that I couldn't really understand, but it was a boy and his tanuki friend who could make his nutack do all kinds of crazy shit. Like in one episode, he flaps out his nutsack into the shape of a canoe, and the boy jumps in, and they paddle across the water. No, really.
posted by Hoopo at 11:00 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


http://pinktentacle.com/2009/06/all-purpose-tanuki-testicles-prints-by-kuniyoshi

From the comments on that page:

"I'd highly recommend checking out the museum next time you have the chance. There are some enormous whale-borne parasites you'd likely enjoy."

"Now how bout some big DICKED WALRUSES???" "Ask and ye shall receive.

http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?p=45349914"
posted by ianhattwick at 11:03 PM on November 17, 2011


This is just ... yeah.
posted by mannequito at 11:05 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Tanuki in question was due to be euthanized, and Mario ate the meat. Plus, it was for an art project, so it's all OK!

PETA's overriding problem: they deal in absolutes. They were so much easier to get behind when it was all just pictures of monkeys being electrocuted and dogs getting stomped to death with captions saying "This must stop!" Who wouldn't support that?

Now? Pretty much a total (animal liberation) joke.

(hey, at least I qualified it with "pretty much.")
posted by ShutterBun at 11:14 PM on November 17, 2011


"There's a Miyazaki movie that doesn't really work out here largely because giant nutsack tanukis feature prominently in it."

You mean Pom Poko? It's an Isao Takahata film, but was made by Studio Ghibli. (And it is awesome!) Disney released Pom Poko along with a lot of other Gibli movies, but on the dubbed soundtrack they refer to the Tuniki "pouches" instead of scrotums.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:15 PM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


No matter how many times people put down PETA, you keep coming back for more. We have 60 posts with the PETA tag.
posted by pracowity at 12:08 AM on November 18, 2011


At this point, PETA should just issue a blanket "it was just a joke" defense for everything they've done in the past 20 years.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:42 AM on November 18, 2011


I actually believe PETA when they say that they just wanted to draw attention to real tanuki farming

You want to know what's nightmarish? Agribusiness. Cows, chickens, pigs, since they are offered little in the way of legal protections the terrible vacuum of the marketplace has sucked all compassion and empathy out of the system for them, and millions are killed every year who have known nothing but misery their entire lives.

If you consider, when you are born on planet Earth, that you roll a die with as many sides as there are living things, then there is a wide swath of that particular demonic GM's chart you should desperately wish not to land on, and it's all our fault.

It's not a case of "it's unfair to never kill animals because we evolved to eat meat." You don't nearly have to go that far in your reasoning. It's that the things we do eat are forced into terrible lives merely because factory farm owners wish to save a few dollars here and there. If PETA focused on that they would probably find there's a lot of traction in the American consciousness about the plight of these creatures. Do they do that?

It's actually irrelevant if they do or not -- we only hear about them when they pick on Super Meat Boy and Super Mario 3D Land! Whether it's PETA's fault or the media's, they're both being intensely stupid about this.
posted by JHarris at 1:11 AM on November 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Personally, I think they'd have got much more sympathy by talking about the horrendous head traumas and forced shell evictions suffered by a large proportion of the Koopa population every time Mario comes past.
posted by ZsigE at 2:07 AM on November 18, 2011


If PETA is concerned about the treatment of animals re: Nintendo video games, they're about 25 years too late as the biggest offender ever had to be Duck Hunt.

I'm not talking about the birds that were your targets, but that smart ass dog who popped up when you missed, which made me hate man's best friend far more than was healthy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:18 AM on November 18, 2011


PETA is what political activism will look like in the Idiocracy universe.
I wonder how their vegan porn channel is doing.
posted by acb at 2:19 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


If PETA finds out how many robot unicorns I've killed... oh dear.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:21 AM on November 18, 2011


PETA are probably still torn up about that bit in the Neverending Story where the horse gets sad and drowns in the mud.

Um. I think most of us are. After nearly 30 years later, Artax being overcome with sorrow still equals :(
posted by milarepa at 2:38 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: community reacts with thoughtful, considered chin-stroking


It's only a joke...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:20 AM on November 18, 2011


Are PETA still claiming that T-Rex and other dinosaurs were vegetarian? Going after video game characters isn't so much of a stretch after that.
posted by panboi at 4:31 AM on November 18, 2011


You know who I wish PeTA would protest? That monopolist robber baron of a slumlord, Tom Nook.

Here's a request for you, K.K. Slider--play 'Sixteen Tons'!
posted by box at 5:00 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


No fan of PETA, but this seems like a pretty harmless exercise. If it makes someone think about wearing fur, then job done.
posted by seanyboy at 5:04 AM on November 18, 2011


I like animals quite a lot. PETA makes me resent that fact. So, PETA, STFU or the little dog gets it, mmmkay?
posted by Goofyy at 5:16 AM on November 18, 2011


Peta has completely lost their minds.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:43 AM on November 18, 2011


real-life slaughter of tanuki for faux fur

Doesn't that lose the point of faux fur?
posted by jeather at 6:17 AM on November 18, 2011


No, because the larger point is that a lot of fur sold as fake used to be on real animals. The anti-fur movement has had enough of an impact that some clothing manufacturers claim their products are fake fur, but for whatever reason use real fur.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:43 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


The anti-fur movement has had enough of an impact that some clothing manufacturers claim their products are fake fur, but for whatever reason use real fur.

I had no idea. I figured fake fur was cheaper than real, so there would be no reason to switch the two.
posted by jeather at 6:50 AM on November 18, 2011


The real sin here is that the game sucks
posted by MangyCarface at 6:53 AM on November 18, 2011


At this point, PETA seems to be doing more to undermine the preservation and anti-cruelty movements than Fox News' wildest aspirations. I appreciate go big or go home when you have to make a point, but between this and their ongoing objectification of women (among other things), hearing their name earns an automatic eye-roll from me. The remaining members with any sense should join orgs like WWF and expand their mission; the others can fuck off to whatever ad agency they really wanted to join in the first place.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:27 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it makes someone think about wearing fur, then job done.

PETA definitely seems to be on to this kind of track where they publicize the hell out of Stupid Approach to Issue A and get people from all sides screaming "That's utter nonsense. If you want to see real animal (or here, specifically, actual tanuki) abuse, look here" while PETA pretends to look surprised and abashed. Someone along the way said "Hey, you know we can make this work if we're willing to look like idiots". And I have to hand it to them, it kinda did (and they do).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2011


Is there a quota of PETA FPPs?
posted by John Cohen at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2011


zombieflanders: I appreciate go big or go home when you have to make a point

I don't think they're aiming to Go Big, they seem to be approaching animal cruelty from a different side.

Most people understand Fur Is Murder, and fur coats (seem to be) more rare now than in decades past. And most folks know that there is significant animal cruelty involved with factory farms, but they don't like to think about it. So PETA has to a) find new ways to address factory farms that doesn't wear people out, or b) select new targets to retain their place as Advocates For All Animals. They're advertising, and just like any company who wishes to remain on top of their market, they change their message often enough so the audience at home doesn't tune out their ads.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:03 AM on November 18, 2011


All-purpose tanuki testicles (prints by Kuniyoshi)

Blazecock Pileon: That's hilarious. It deserves its own FPP.


Tanuki, previously. While not specifically including Kuniyoshi's prints, they .. aherm .. touch on the tanuki testicle topic.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't want to live in a PETA world.
posted by pianomover at 10:31 AM on November 18, 2011


The real sin here is that the game sucks

I think you're operating with a different definition of sucks than I am.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:17 AM on November 18, 2011


Or did you mean the PETA game? Because that would make more sense. So, yeah.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:18 AM on November 18, 2011


Hey, a PETA thread. Concern troll roll call!

I know it's been about 100 years in Mefi-time, but I wanted to address this.

"Concern trolling" assumes that a person is affecting support of some organizations principles. Someone who wanted to concern troll PETA might post:

"Wow, this campaign is so spot-on, but I'm concerned that other people might think that PETA is sexist." The reason that concern trolling is so insidious is that it presents a false sense of support followed by false "concern." It's an attempt by a dissenter to give their argument more credence by pretending to be part of the in-group.

Saying something like "PETA's ad campaign is sexist" or "PETA's latest marketing push is wacko" isn't concern trolling - it's just straight up criticism.
posted by muddgirl at 11:22 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I would give my eye teeth to be a fly on the wall in PETA's accountant's office when they construct their returns, especially with the recent changes to the 990. Drinking out of Monkey Skulls is probably involved.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:03 PM on November 18, 2011


You know, I generally support PETA. (I actually live down the road from their national headquarters.) I think their campaigns are way too scattershot and overhyped, but I think their hearts are in the right place.

This Tanuki ad was way over the top, though. Mario attracts kids, the video screenshot looked like a Mario video, and there was nowhere near enough info to WARN KIDS that there was very graphic shit contained therein. My 11-year-old son, who is extremely bright and very empathetic, came across the video and was freaked the fuck out.

We talked it out, and now he knows about tanukis and the fur industry. That's probably a net good, but I can't help but feel it made him grow up a little faster than he needed to.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:12 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even though most people think PETA is extreme in their campaigns, somebody has got to do it, their version of campaigning is what gets people talking about animal rights in general. It's sort of like shock therapy. Think of people getting naked to protest the use of animal fur. This kind of thinking gets people to stare at the naked people while also imprinting a long lasting memory that says its not really cool to wear animal fur in this day in age. just my two cents.
posted by johntarantino1 at 9:07 PM on November 18, 2011


johntarantino1:[...] Think of people getting naked to protest the use of animal fur. This kind of thinking gets people to stare at the naked people while also imprinting a long lasting memory that says its not really cool to wear animal fur in this day in age. just my two cents."

Actually, it gets people thinking if they keep making fur coats, they'll get to keep seeing naked women
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:37 AM on November 19, 2011


muddgirl (now that it's been 1000 mefi years!):

My impression of past PETA posts at MeFi is that there are often many comments along the lines of "I support animal rights, but I don't support PETA because their message is far too over-the-top." This, to me, is concern trolling, and I've heard it so many times, both online and in person, that I've become really tired of it. It's an easy, lazy way to dismiss the animal rights movement and I've come to doubt the sincerity of those who invoke this "argument."

For what it's worth, I don't see a whole lot of that in this thread, but I've seen it a lot over the years and I can't think of too many organizations that draw as much ire from their alleged "supporters." Maybe it's just selective perception on my part.
posted by malocchio at 2:32 PM on November 29, 2011


Maybe this is an issue of different perspectives. In my experience, few people criticise PETA by saying, "Wow, they go way too far. They're just TOO OUT THERE." (that would be a very common criticism of an organization like Greenpeace). Generally, the criticisms of PETA are much more constructive: "PETA's message is muddled," "PETA's message is sexist," or "PETAs message doesn't make any damn sense." It's possible that this reflects a structural change in the general opinions about PETA, or it could be confirmation bias on either my part or on yours.
posted by muddgirl at 2:43 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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