February 03, 2009

People for Ethical Relationships with Vegetables

Holy crap.

The other day, I found myself agreeing with something Bill O'Reilly said.

In case you don't know him, Bill O'Reilly is a guy on American television. Talks a lot, in a loud angry voice. I'm not sure what he actually talks about, because as soon as he starts yelling (i.e. whenever his mouth is open) I switch channels. I think he participates in stirring intellectual debates yells about political subjects.

In case you don't know me, I (Merry) am neither male, loud, nor given to appearing on television.

What brought the two of us into agreement was an ad that PETA had tried to get played during the Super Bowl. (And how weird is it that some people now watch this sports contest solely for the ads?)

The ad features scantily clad models posing suggestively with vegetables and no, I don't mean people in a coma. NSFW, but might be useful at home if you want to turn your own cheeseburger-munching Homer Simpson into a veggie-lovin' Hugh Jackman.

NBC rejected the ad, called "Veggie Love," because it "depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards."

I hope posting this video hasn't caused a horde of Cranky Fitness readers to storm off in a Huffington post. The video strikes me as more silly than salacious, but it's certainly gotten a lot of coverage. (More coverage than those poor models had; really, the thermal-insulation properties of black lace have been seriously overestimated.)

If you'd prefer a PG-version, this is Whoopi Goldberg's safe-for-television re-enactment.

I've decided that I should start a movement, and invite Mr. O'Reilly to join. All I can think of to call it is People for Ethical Relationships with Vegetables. (Yes, I realize the abbreviation of the name might cause some people to look askance, but I figure most of the askance-looking people already stormed off in the previous paragraph.)

What Bill O'Reilly actually said that struck me as profound was the following comment: "I'm not touching that vegetable! I don't know where it's been!"

Whether you fall into the Liberal, Conservative, or Confused category politically, I think you should listen to the man on this one.

If a vegetable is labeled organic, that means (according to the USDA) that it's been grown with the minimal amount of pesticides.

The good news is, not all organic vegetables were created equal. Some vegetables, it doesn't matter so much if they were raised around pesticides, because they don't absorb them (the pesticides) as much and therefore you don't ingest them either.

This chart lists the vegetables that you really want to buy organic and the ones that it's okay to buy from a regular source.

Since organic vegetables = more $$ than your average vegetables, following this chart is a way to save money while staying healthy.

And what you choose to do with those vegetables, in the privacy of your own home, is none of my business. Frankly, I'd rather not know. No, really.

P.S. Here are the commercials that actually made it to the Super Bowl.

P.P.S. I don't suppose you can think up a better name for my new vegetable-respecting movement?


  1. HA! I thought that ad was brilliant!!

    Thanks for the chart...really useful info here!!


  2. I watched that ad last night. Then my wife came over and watched it with me. We both thought it was hilarious. She said she'd never look at a pumpkin quite the same way... Ha!

    Seriously though, we figured they never expected the ad to get shown by NBC. Just a publicity stunt. They're prone to that sort of stuff anyway.

  3. Well, if PETA just wanted coverage, they're getting it aplenty even if they didn't make the superbowl!

    I try to buy organic when I can afford to, which hasn't been at all lately. I'll definitely check the list, though, and pick and choose what organics I buy.

    PS. PERV is a great name for a movement. Really.

  4. I thought the ad was offensive but figured PETA did it that way on purpose - I think the whole thing was a marketing stunt. (Oh noes!! Don't censor mah internetz!!) I actually like a lot of what PETA stands for but their delivery needs serious work.

  5. Wonderful Merry,

    Here's my suggestion for the new organization “Responsible Adult Vegetables In Natures Garden, Meeting And Display”

  6. Gag. I may never eat another vegetable as long as I live.

    Although Whoopie is giving me a tingly feeling in my nether parts.

    Totally kidding - I should know better than to comment before coffee! :/

  7. Whoa. I heard about this, but I wouldn't have sought it out if you hadn't brought it to my attention.

    Dumb ad!!! I'm with Live Fit, though, I think they knew it would get play time one way or another.


  8. Whoa -- I am impressed with Tom's suggestion :)

  9. Well anyone who wants to get THAT close to vegetables I think would fit into the PERV movement perfectly so no need to rename it!

    Hey Cranky, did you see that your fave broccoli is one of those 'good' veggies? Love the list, thanks Merry.

    PETA are better at marketing than almost anything else - they go out their way to stir up things and do they succeed... and wow, how brilliant to get all this free advertising when they could have paid $3 mill to show it during the superbowl!

  10. PETA is a publicity powerhouse. it's what they are best at. Look at all the intelligent, reasonable people who assume that they should basically agree with PETA... and the fact that in only a few decades, they've created an environment where saying that they are wrong about most of their stances makes you a cruel person. But I like having pets, and I take good care of mine. I eat meat, and will continue to, though I prefer it to be treated humanely before it is killed. I don't hunt myself, but I recognize that we have a deer problem, and hunting is a good way to solve it. And I don't think any animal's life should block the way to cures for things like cancer or MS. Common sense.

  11. I thought that the ad was creepy. But I also find some of the things PETA does creepy (like deciding to call fish "sea kittens" in the hopes that people will think they're cute and not eat them).

  12. I hadn't heard that one, Tricia.

    I thought the ad was too silly to take serious (models dumping broccoli into a hot tub?) but PETA as a whole can be a bit scary. I don't want to get them mad at me.

  13. Caro, you just reminded me. My local Whole Paycheck store offers roast chickens that have been 'raised in a human environment.'

    I worry that this means they have been kept in a cubicle 10 hours a day and forced to sit in traffic before going home at night. Shouldn't that be illegal?

  14. It stuff like this that makes me realize how "out of the mainstream" my sensibilities are.

    What's offensive to me is that even PETA, presumably staffed by relatively "liberal" progressive folks, defines "sexy" solely in male terms. There weren't any semi-naked guys in there, because even in a humorous ad, guys don't want to see guys depicted as sex objects. I know I sound like a grouchy old feminist still stuck in the 70's but I get offended by the relentless male point of view on sexuality.

    Also, I hate our culture's hypocrisy about sex. You can have adolescent snickering beer ads that are ALL ABOUT sex, but you can't use the word "sex."

    Americans are such children.

    I do think it's a shame that PETA spends so much energy trying to be divisive when there are so many mistreated animals out there. I'm not a vegetarian, but am a strong supporter of treating pets, farm animals, and research animals humanely. We have so far to go on this!

    There are times when I can't even share the results of some psychology study after reading how they created "stress" in lab animals. I don't think animals should be intentionally subjected to pain and stress to help humans better deal with it.

    Now cancer studies, etc, are a different story. Still, I think we need to go much further to protect animals from pain. Anyone who has a pet knows that they suffer just like we do.

  15. Yeah, Crabby -- I wondered about the lack of scantily clad males. I thought it was perhaps because only men (straight beer-drinkin' men) are supposed to watch football?

    I had enough trouble in biology class when I refused to smash the brains of a frog. Just the upper brain, the lower part needed to be kept intact for the experiment. Nerve functions could be taught just as effectively through a computer tutorial; the only point of having students perform that lab was to teach cruelty.

  16. Once a friend, who was a student in plant pathology, told me, "Plants have feelings too!"

    PETA began with a good message, but, like many organizations, has lost their way, and alienates people with their extremism.

    Personally, I feel all life forms need to be respected.

  17. I want to be a card-carrying PERV member, just to say that I am!

    I find it funny that NBC got in a huff over that commercial. Yet, it's perfectly ok for Paris Hilton to prance around salaciously with a Jack 'n the Box burger. Dollars to donuts that the Beef Council was behind this move.

  18. The marketers that made that video are rolling in money at the moment. It got TONS of buzz and they didn't have to pay for ad time. I personally LOVE the video. It's ironic, catchy, memorable, and amusing.

  19. I agree with many others that what PETA stands for is a good thing but that they go too far and end up alienating people and making a good message just look silly.

    Yes, PETA knew that commercial would not be aired but what kills me is that some of the commercials I did see, were no better than this one. For instance, a woman's clothes falling off her body in the street because dude bites into a chip? Oh no. Nothing sexist or a bit over the top about that at all. Also, punching a koala. Was that really necessary? The sexism and violence depicted in the superbowl commercials really irks me. Advertisers: women and children watch the game too. Get with it.

    Even before I found out about this particular commercial, I was all ranty about how such a huge deal was made of an accidental nipple slip that no one would have even noticed if they didn't make such a huge deal out of it, yet forcing a woman's clothes to fall off against her will is a perfectly acceptable message? WTF.

  20. It's kinda gross, but it's no worse than some of the ads that DID make it.

  21. LOL. They get a lot of press coverage, that's for sure. But, that takes lovin veggies to a level we only talk about in abnormal psychology!

    It's unfortunate the way that they present things...they have the oportunity and power to change people in a good way, but end up making a lot of us want to do the opposite. A lot of their campagns just ends up coming off as rediculous and they don't get taken seriously (by my family and friends anyway). Why not post a dramatic campagn that's real and realistic - there's enough of that going on and it may actually influence other people's choices! (e.g., unsanity conditions with meat, new diseases or the same ol ones spreading again, etc.)

  22. Y'know, I think there are enough anti-PETA people that we could get a movement going. Just as soon as I come up with a better name ;)

  23. Gee Merry, if you want a group to rally against PETA you could do a whole campaign to discredit them and it could be called the "People Against PETE" - Smear.

  24. Your blog is hilarious, and makes me laugh on a regular basis. Keep it up!

  25. Wow. If that was extra virgin olive oil they used in that commercial, it sure isn't now....

    This ad cracked me up. I, too, wondered about the lack of men. I guess it's just female vegetarians who are enjoying themselves more? ;-)

    Being a parental unit, I'm just generally dismayed by what does tend to pass the censors, because it's nearly impossible to watch a major sporting event in "real time" with young kids in the room these days. (I'm more bothered by the violent ones than the innuendo ones.)

  26. Why are you watching Billo at all?
    Or even near that channel?

  27. THANK YOU for the list.
    I'm trying to buy more organics and I want to make my $$ count.

    The ad is silly. I am leaning towards veggie eating more and more...but I don't want to be lumped in with the loonie extreme part of PETA.

  28. Pubsgal, that made me crack a smile :)

    POD, in my defense, I should mention that I heard the comment from Mr. O'Reilly in a story my local news station ran about the PETA ad.

    I finally saw that chips ad that people have been talking about. I knew it was bad, because people were upset that he got hit by a bus at the end of the commercial -- not upset about the man's getting hit by the bus, upset that the guy survived. Yes, I'd say /that's/ an offensive ad.

  29. WOAH! That's quite the ad. I'd heard about it but hadn't seen it.

    I like your People for Ethical Relationships with Vegetables concept hehe.

  30. ... i think i'll just stick to eating my veggies, thanks.

    and hot damn, that is quite the ad, isn't it? jeebus.

  31. I can totally see certain kinds of men digging the babes in that commercial. But does PETA really think that adding sex appeal to veggies will entice those men to eat them? As my former drill instructor would say, "They must be lost in the sauce."

  32. I am so glad I didn't read this and watch the clips until AFTER my trip to the store today. I'd have been giggling my way through the produce department, due to a very different type of shopping cart content judging.

  33. yup ... let's hear it for the "no spin zone" :)


  34. Merry, Okay, I forgive you.
    Nice of me, huh?
    I guess he provides an interesting contrast to my reality but that doesn't mean I want to listen to his side. ;-)

  35. I actually heard a rep from PETA on the radio yesterday saying that they got so much more press from the "outcry" from the networks in regards to the commercial that it worked wonders and they didn't have to pay the 3 million dollar pricetag to PUT it on during the superbowl.

  36. Hmmmn... I wonder what wonders they expected it to perform. Most people's reaction seems to be along the lines of "PETA is an extreme and silly organization." Even people who agree with most of the group's agenda don't seem to approve of how it's presented.
    Still, it's good if they're happy :)

  37. I am seeing that ad in loads of blogs at the moment, it is in every mail forward as well.


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