Hoping ‘fish’ sticks

Published On:
Friday, October 16, 2009
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We’ve gone fish.

We’ve found Nemo.

We’ve worshipped sharks with an entire week of programming.

We’ve given the World Series trophy to Marlins not once, but twice.

We’ve constantly reminded our single chums that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Indeed, we’ve shown, over and over again, a lot of love for fishes — and not just ‘cause they’re so delicious.

But, alas, some of the less sanity-inclined members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are not satisfied with the numerous gestures of good will we have extended toward our water-bound friends. Instead, they feel like we commoners haven’t done enough for gilled vertebrates lately.

They suggest that we have downgraded them to second-class citizens of our planet — that we have made them the bourgeoisie of the sea and the obscene of the marine.

Most of all, though, they seem to think we have insulted fish by calling them just that — “fish.” Whoops. Silly us.

According to a PETA-created Web site, the word “fish” carries with it a negative connotation that the sea-dwellers are “slithery and slimy” creatures. They call for a “serious image makeover.”

And I’ll bite — they have a valid point there. After all, I do think slithery and slimy when fish come to mind. Mostly because, you know, they are slithery and slimy. However, PETA lost me fast — real fast — with their solution.

The organization’s fish-saving campaign proposes we start calling fish “sea kittens.” (Note: This is the point in the column where you take a Google break and I take a giggle break.)

Yeah, so, “sea kittens.” Really, PETA? Holy mackerel!

Animal welfare is a worthy and noble cause, and most of the group’s members do good work on that front. But, though the ethical treatment of animals is no joke, some of the people defending them are quite the quip.

From sensationalist to extremist, there is no limit to the madness generated by PETA.

They have become laughingstocks to the point where I wonder if they would label my use of the term “laughingstocks” as being offensive to livestock.

PETA has the resources to do great things. But when they go extremist with creepy things like vegetable-sex ads, they shoot themselves in the foot and make everyone have a knee-jerk reaction of rolling their eyes whenever animal activists open their mouths.

As for the sea kitten campaign, which started earlier this year and somehow continues to march on, the basic premise is entirely flawed.

On its sea kitten site, PETA submits this query: “Would people think twice about ordering fish sticks if they were called sea kitten sticks?”

Yes, they would — in much the way that they would suddenly enjoy war if it was called “super awesome fluffy tickle time.”

A name can only do so much. Besides, acknowledging the truth about the outward appearance of fish doesn’t mean we hate them. They are what they are, and they will continue in much the same way.

Furthermore, if people actually started to associate the scaly creatures in question with the name “sea kitten,” what would become of the so-called ground kitten?

Wouldn’t that eventually damage the adorability cred of kittens — a trait that keeps them in our hearts and off our menus? It seems unfair and perhaps unethical to burden another living, breathing and unbelievably cute creature with the perception issues of another, less cute one.

Also, what would become of catfish? Talk about an identity crisis.

With this “sea kittens” stunt, PETA has surpassed simple psychosis and gone to absolute finsanity. They are floundering, if you will.

If they wished to truly help fish, they would focus their efforts on conservation and the prevention of overfishing.

That would be worth supporting. Continuing to push “sea kittens,” a moniker that will never catch, on the other hand? Not so much.

So, for those who wish to join me in calling fish ... well, fish ... come and find me. I’ll be the guy attempting to clean the buckets worth of blood off my person.