Super Meat Boy is a downloadable platform game currently available on Xbox Live Arcade. It features a blob of meat, dubbed Meat Boy, navigating his way through levels spattered with blood, and filled with perilous circular saws, in order to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the clutches of the evil Dr. Fetus. It’s a great deal of fun, and brings something so very unique and refreshing to the platforming genre.
As with all things associated with meat, PETA inevitably caught wind of this. Since then, they have produced their own parodied version of the game, titled ‘Super Tofu Boy’. Clever, huh? Those who know me are probably aware of my hatred of PETA and all it stands for, but this just takes the cake. Super Meat Boy is a fantastic game, and I have no clue what PETA are trying to achieve by attacking it. Perhaps they’re against indie game developers Team Meat making a name for themselves? Shame on them for trying to catch a break!
What angers me more is that I know that someone got paid to make Super Tofu Boy, which is practically a direct rip-off of Super Meat Boy. The only difference is that instead of playing as a blob of meat, you play as a blob of tofu. The game still tries to retain what made Super Meat Boy great, stealing its level design (most of which are in an abattoir-type setting), gameplay mechanics (which require you to rescue Bandage Girl in each level, just as in the original) and attempting to steal its jumping mechanics, too. They clearly put a lot of effort into this ‘parody’, to the extent where they hope to make it virtually indistinguishable from the actual Super Meat Boy. Someone also must have been paid a lot of money for this; money which I am quite sure could have been better spent elsewhere, promoting righteous causes in the quest to combat animal cruelty.
PETA, I assume, are trying to tempt more people into becoming vegan (it’s only plastered right next to the game window) by trying to ridicule Super Meat Boy with heinous ‘quips’ that it fires at you between levels, such as ‘LOL @ Super Meat Boy’s bad breath!’ Very convincing. What PETA have failed to recognise, probably the result of over-excited marketing execs on a sugar high from too many raw wholefood bars, is that the people most likely to play the game are those that actually know what Super Meat Boy is, who are the people most likely to not take on board PETA’s ridiculous ‘insults’, and ridicule this sham instead. I guess PETA never got that memo about flattery, and imitation, or something like that.
A few days ago, Team Meat struck back by tweeting, “How many PETA members does it take to change a lightbulb? None. PETA can’t change anything.” It’s a fair point. PETA should stop wasting money on ludicrous ventures like this, and start putting more of their funds into their outreach programmes, or at least something that has some chance of making a difference.
Honestly, stuff like this makes me cringe. Really, PETA? This is what you do with your time? Supporting Super Meat Boy isn’t supporting the meat industry any more than buying Dexter box-sets is condoning serial killing.
I’ve always respected PETA for their work towards promoting animal welfare, and exposing the cruelty behind the meat and dairy industries. I am, however, currently reassessing my views, due to their most recent campaign to drum up support, based around a parody of America’s annual ‘State of the Union Address’.
Their ‘State of the Union Undress’ (WARNING: VERY NSFW) is a feature that’s existed for a few years, now. It is essentially a collection of videos which all involve a model standing in front of an American flag, in their underwear, talking about PETA’s work. PETA have always been provocative in their advertisements (something a quick Google Images search will reveal) but this really takes the cake. Interspersed with shots of a legitimate Congressional audience, to give the impression of a genuine Union address, each model takes it in turn to talk about PETA’s brilliant work, and how it’s essential to keep supporting them, whilst taking off their underwear.
You read that correctly. While these ‘spokespeople’ elucidate the need to keep supporting PETA through these ‘tough economic times’, they’re stripping down to their bare bottoms. The faux-Congressional audience claps and cheers, while the models make horrible puns about Americans needing to ‘stand to attention’, and what-not, and the resulting debacle is all kinds of horrible. I am, of course, speaking as a vegan with an active interest in feminism, but the ‘State of the Union Undress’ campaign makes me, dare I say, ashamed to be vegan.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that PETA are hoping, as I’m sure they have done with previous ‘State of the Union Undresses’, to create huge amounts of publicity and PR spin. I’m sure that this will happen, and they’ll be featured on all types of websites, and in all kinds of publications. It doesn’t matter that the majority of these will likely be men’s magazines and adult websites, as long as they’re getting the word out, right? Yes, people are going to take notice, but will the people PETA are trying to appeal to, who will appreciate such a calamitous publicity campaign, really be the people who will actually be likely to give a damn about animal rights, and issues of animal welfare? I worry for whoever is managing PETA’s marketing functions, who I’m sure is one of those docile souls who believes that anyone can be won over to any cause, as long as you grab their attention. The men (and possibly women) who lap this up won’t give a damn about changing their diet, just as any responsible types who PETA should actively be trying to appeal to will just shake their heads, along with the rest of us, and move on.
It really bothers me that PETA have frittered away what little credibility they had by making women expose themselves senselessly, in the name of ‘animal welfare’. No, scratch that. If they got these models to stand on a soapbox outside their local McDonalds and KFC stores, and asked them to shout, whilst fully clothed, about how animals are slaughtered for fast food consumption, that would be in the name of animal welfare. That would at least be an attempt at something that resembles trying to making a change. Instead, these women are on our computer screens, stripping for the benefit of what is probably a load of serial masturbators, trying to make them care about what they had for dinner, and what they’ll have for dinner tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, by appearing to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Well done, PETA, for what I’d probably commend as being the most ironic advertising campaign of the year. In a poor attempt to gain some publicity, you’ve successfully shown that you treat women the way most other people treat meat. You’ve also completely lost my respect.
Feminists, do leave a comment. I know you’re out there.