In Defense of PETA's Attack on Super Mario

Last week, the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, ticked off a lot of people who like video games. But maybe the gamers shouldn't have been so upset about that whole "Mario Kills Tanooki" thing?

On one side we had the notorious animal-rights rabble-rousers complaining that Super Mario endorses the wearing of fur because he can turn into Tanooki (raccoon-tailed) Mario in the new Super Mario 3D Land. Maybe, as depicted in a web game made for PETA, Mario is a bloodthirsty fur-wearing savage. Or maybe this was a cultural misunderstanding and, oh yeah, the PETA people wanted everyone to know it was all "tongue-in-cheek."

In Defense of PETA's Attack on Super MarioS
(An image of raccoon dogs being beaten supposedly in the proces of being skinned alive for their fur, from PETA's Mario Kills Tanooki site.)

The people for the ethical treatment of video games mostly weren't having it. Take Marcus Beer, former gaming public relations man and now a boisterous member of the Invisible Walls team at GameTrailers.com. His thoughts about the matter? "So, PETA, go fuck yourselves."

Ah, but there's a twist to all this. What if, in fact, this whole PETA thing isn't anti-video games? What if PETA deserves to be commended for what it said about Mario?

Check out this exchange between Beer and former Kotaku editor Michael McWhertor, now a GameTrailers staffer, on last week's Invisible Walls show. This starts at around the 44-minute mark [emphasis added by Kotaku]:

Marcus Beer: "They've stopped being about protecting the animals and now it's like, 'We're PETA; we're the most important thing. If you don't like us, you're evil.' Well, you know what? I don't fucking like you. If that makes me evil? Great. I have cats at home that I look after. We have stray cats we look after. We eat organic, sustainably farmed meet at home, so, PETA, go fuck yourselves."

Michael McWhertor: "I am on the other side of this. I love PETA. Mostly because I love that they fuck with people. And I actually think that it's really great that PETA pays attention to video games and that they try to reach out… that they view this as a viable form of entertainment."

Beer: "I don't think they actually pay attention to video games. They saw a commercial … the nearest most of them have come to a Wiimote is pulling it back out of their asses after they've fucked themselves with it. "

McWhertor: So PETA did say 'relax,' today. I think they may have even been specifically talking to you, Marcus. … I think one of the things that's good about it is, for as many people who are on message boards and comment threads who are upset about it, there's probably going to be some people who go the PETA website, see what it is that they're about [and] maybe reconsider what they do with their diet and their superfluous fashion choices. I'm not necessarily a vegetarian. I wear leather shoes. My brother's a vegan. And so I have some respect for the choices people make… You know what, don't let PETA upset you. It's great comedy…

Beer: Everybody upsets me...

There's more to the exchange in an episode that also includes a lot of talk about the new Assassin's Creed, the new Zelda and a trio of fighting games. Check it out.

Invisible Walls Podcast - Episode 186 [GameTrailers]