Mason County News
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You Can’t Cuddle Fish
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 • Posted November 19, 2008

Honestly, it looks to me like, if peta wanted people to actually take them seriously, they wouldn’t pull some of the really ridiculous stuff they do. Seems like every time you turn around they’re doing something that makes you wonder where Bill Engvall is when you need him. Here’s your sign.

For instance, the University of Memphis school mascot is a tiger. They had a real tiger, named Tom II, and he died recently. So peta sent the school a letter asking them not to replace Tom II with another tiger. Said it was ‘cruel and inhumane’ to keep a tiger out of its natural habitat. Well.

I imagine Tom II was fed better, cared for better, and probably was happier than your average wild tiger, but I guess that’s a judgment call. Tigers do live longer in captivity than in the wild, due to stuff like veterinarians, but the way I see it, it’s nobody’s business but the University of Memphis what the University of Memphis has as a mascot. Gracious.

Another example of peta’s meddling occurred at a Donna Karan fashion show in September. Donna Karan is evidently a designer who uses a lot of rabbit fur in her clothes. Some peta nuts jumped up on the stage at this show with signs that said, “Donna: Dump Fur” written on them.

Now, we all know peta is against people wearing fur, but you don’t convert sane people to your cause by looking like an idiot. Nobody normal sees something like that and says, “Hey, I’d like to make a fool of myself, too. I think I’ll join peta and see if I can’t get arrested, or at least maced. That would be really fun.”

Which brings us to That is a teenaged girl’s name, Really.

Now, this girl’s name wasn’t always It used to be Jennifer Thornburg, but she had it legally changed to a while back to ‘protest animal dissections in schools.’ Her new name is a mouthful, of course, so she likes to be called Cutout. Bear in mind that, at age 19, this girl is eligible to vote.

Jennifer started opposing dissections while she was in middle school, because it made her uncomfortable to dissect a chicken wing. She evidently raised such a fuss that her school started allowing students who objected to dissections to complete an alternate assignment.

I have to admit, I can identify with this gal. When I was in junior high I had to do a lot of things in school that made me uncomfortable, such as math. I tried to change the policy about it at Mason Junior High, but the administration was unreasonable. They seemed to think an education would benefit me in some way, and forced me, against my will, to learn the multiplication tables and other uncomfortable math stuff.

I had the same problem in history, science, English, and some of my other classes. Unfortunately this occurred before anybody cared if students were uncomfortable or not. Kids were expected to grow up to be adults, not sniveling, whiney, spoiled brats who change their name to just to get a lot of media attention when what they really needed was to have their bottoms warmed up when they were in middle school and started this kind of manipulative behavior.

Anyway, Jennifer is now an intern for peta, which gives us some insight into the kind of person this group attracts. Which is just as well. You can’t go around telling people to call fish ‘sea kittens’ with a straight face if your staffers are normal, well-adjusted humans. They would end up doubled over, laughing so hard they’d be drooling all over their recycled, environmentally non-offensive sandals.

And that’s peta’s newest campaign – they want people to equate fish with kittens, because no one would ever want to “hurt a sea kitten.” It’s not enough that their previous efforts were aimed at telling kids their dads are bad people for teaching their children to fish, now they’re saying “sea kittens are just as intelligent (not to mention adorable) as dogs and cats.”

Seriously, I doubt this will work any better than peta’s feeble attempts to keep kids from drinking milk. That one caused one peta dingbat pummeled with half-pint milk cartons, full ones, at a school where they were trying to spread their ridiculous messages. I’m hoping this one gets a bunch of peta halfwits pelted with guppies and goldfish, and if it does, I sincerely hope someone films it.

The thing is, I wanted a kitten when I was a kid, and got a goldfish instead. It wasn’t the same. I would take it out of the bowl, put it on the floor, and roll a ball of yarn around, but the fish, Charlie, never took an interest. He would flop around for a while and then just lay there and open and close his mouth at me.

Bill Engvall lived down the street. He got his sign idea from watching me and Charlie . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who uses goldfish for trotline bait. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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