Hags of Lag – Propaganda

I hope you aren’t clicking on that link I put up earlier.

Games have gone hand in hand with propaganda over the years. A propaganda game is a game with an “ulterior motive” and sponsored by someone who wishes to be seen in a good light. Some of it is “pretty lame” like the various “games” that North Korea has demonstrated. Some of it’s pretty smart, like America’s Army.

America’s Army was a smart propaganda game because it tried to portray the life of a soldier in a more positive and realistic light. It was a purpose driven propaganda game rather than say… Call of Duty – Modern Warfare who’s propaganda was just a product of the time we live in and the audience it was aimed at.

America’s army had you sit through basic life support classes and trauma as a “tutorial”. It wasn’t as comprehensive as the real deal but it was a slice into what goes into making a modern soldier. But it was funded by the army. There have been other “propaganda” games and indeed movies that have “slipped the radar”. For instance? Transformers. Yes, the gigantic powerful super robots repeatedly got shot by “Marines with crazy  technology” and there was even a “Torture Is Okay” section at a time when opinions were rife about “torture”.

And there are counter-propaganda games too. Games that make us realise the actions we take in some games and their weight in “real life”. Spec Ops the Line actually says “The US army does not condone killing unarmed civilians. But this isn’t real, so why should you care?”. Spec Ops – The Line throws the entire casual propaganda of games like Battlefield and Call of Duty in your face with it’s “This is what good intentions look like when you don’t think of what they mean” and “It’s very hard to look like a hero when you are standing on a mountain of innocent dead”. It shows that evil can come out of good intentions and that sometimes we have to do things without choice. It was a game that physically got people to stop playing, leave the room and compose themselves. People played the game to see it through, to finish it and see the message. It was not a pleasant game. But it worked in delivery of it’s message.

So what does this have to do with propaganda? Well my oldest readers are people who remember me supporting the students and workers at the University of Florida Biology and Medicine departments and their harassment and targetting by the Animal Liberation brigade from people such as the ALF and such luminaries as Camille “I am a gigantic hypocrite” Marino.

PETA have released a propaganda game. You take control of a MMA fighter and move through a “Needlessly Villainous University” where people torture animals to keep their job.

Dear PETA.

Propaganda works when it’s intelligent. America’s Army worked because it didn’t sell the American Army as 50% GI Joe, 50% Homo-Erotic Volleyball (That’s the USAF! HEYOOOO) but as a challenging environment, It dispelled the notion that the army was nothing but stupid kids and was engaging. I don’t “like” it but I can see class in it. And it didn’t sugar coat combat. It was horrid.

Your game is nothing but insulting to the entire field of science. You may be peaceful but you are the smokescreen behind which the violent wankers that are people like Camille Marino operate. So let’s review the game. Oh yes I played it…

Let’s start with the game itself – It’s a flash game in the style of Double Dragon. Retro graphics, retro soundtrack and retro controls. You  play a MMA who happens to be vegetarian and you are sent on 3 missions and 1 “boss” level by a “Hot Cheerleader”. The missions are “To free animals in a horrible university torture lab”, “To free animals from a military lab” and “To free animals from the clutches of the dreaded big pharma”. You proceed to beat up everything from university professors wielding saws, to soldiers with guns and finally doctors who throw “chemicals” at you. The boss level is just these mooks challenging you in a MMA Octagon.

It’s an easy game. Nearly every enemy drops health and the greatest challenge is aiming your stubby blows at these mooks on a 2D playing field. You also have to release animals and they too drop health. In short? You aren’t going to lose this game unless you set out to do so.

But that’s because the game’s purpose is to engage kids and teenagers. It’s no secret that PETA appeals mainly to children. And it’s meant to be easy so as to be completed so you can unlock various a couple of videos. In it, they show vegetarian MMA fighters and try and make the claim that you too can be “fit” like one. Never mind the fact that MMA fighters are fit because they are on carefully controlled diets and supplementation that most sane people cannot afford and that they are “vegetarians” not “vegans” (They drink milk and eat eggs. Because essential amino acid wise those are better than “Soy” and are higher quality protein) like PETA normally relies on. Never mind the fact that kids don’t get to see that. This is as bad as the Jared Subway thing. Jared lost weight because he ate Subway and did exercise. Subway played up the healthy sandwiches rather than the jogging and indeed the personal assistants who made sure he did lose weight.

That’s my minor gripe.

PETA often use the literature and the photography of people like the ALF who portray research labs as nothing but unending horror. It starts with a disclaimer claiming you shouldn’t punch us because it’s illegal. Not because it’s wrong….

The University Lab is “blood soaked”. Unhygenically so. In fact all the locales are blood soaked. I don’t know what ship the Animal Liberation think we run but blood on the floor is unhygenic at worst and a fucking slip hazard at best. We don’t leave fluids lying on the floor, especially biological waste. We have strict protocols and we design our floors in that natty smooth stuff so that blood doesn’t stick in tiled crevices. It’s why mosaic patterns are “rare” in hospital floor choices.

It runs with every “stupid” anti-science luddite notion out there. That animal research occurs for a purpose. PETA has to flog animal research as “torture”. It literally portrays scientists as doing research to KEEP their job. That the EASIEST way to do research is to do it on animals. It’s not. To get to the stage of animal research one has to do a variety of things to prove that your proof of concept is sound and that indeed the ONLY way to test is on Animals. To date there are few replacement methods of testing that don’t involve animals but most reduce the number of animals used  but don’t eliminate them.

It refers to “cruelty to cats” and makes a reference to decapitation of cats. I do know what the video is on about. Congenital blindness was modelled on cats. Kittens had their eyes sewn shut and were decapitated every few weeks to chart neural degeneration due to a lack of optic stimulus. Sounds horrid, because it is.

We now can treat some forms of congenital blindness and developed a method by which we can detect other loss of senses. It led to the development of a device that has revolutionised hearing.

We are thinking of ways to save eyesight because of the value of visual stimulation in the development of sight. This is something that changes lives. It moves people to tears and stuns them into silence. To see the expression on the face of a someone when you demonstrate this piece of technology and medicine is to realise how valuable human life is. This changes lives for the better.

If PETA had their way, fuck the deaf and blind. They may not say it but their portrayal of university level research is in effect a gigantic fuck you. Without realising the ultimate irony. The biologists who PETA and their miltiant wings target are often the people who do the most for animals. Let’s take the Meowcenary. She’s a vet tech at a research lab. It’s her job to ensure the animals have a healthy life. Most of these animals live better lives than they ever would in the wild. She also makes sure they aren’t in pain and she loves animals.

Then let’s look at the army thing. I googled it. Turns out the research probably saved lives. The biggest killer of American Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were not guns but IEDs. Improvised Explosive Devices. Thousands of soldiers were wounded and maimed and tormented by this. Now I have talked to the more militant of the animal lib movement and most are the sort of people who assume that soldiers are naught but brainless fools. It’s a stupid stereotype and I wish it would stop. Soldiers are no more stupid than the average person on the street. Soldiers don’t have much say  in who goes to war or on the operations they take part in. They are called “Orders” for a reason. The Army is not a democracy. You don’t vote on where you go to war.

IEDs were killing a lot of troops. So NATO got together and strapped body armour to mice and rats and human body armour to pigs, then put them into Humvees and blew the damn things up to model the kind of injuries they were facing. They then changed variables to find out the best way to avoid IED deaths and reduce the maiming that it causes. This led to improved armour on patrol vehicles and the development of better body armour and trauma plates which led to more lives being saved.

And finally?

Big Pharma.

The Big Pharma argument boils down to “All Medicine Comes from Massive Pharma companies therefore none of it works and it’s a gigantic scam”. Never mind that animal testing occurs specifically in order to make sure it isn’t a scam before testing on humans.

Never mind the fact that Big Pharma is actually kept in check by the FDA and the variety of other licensing boards across the world and that most nations take drug quality seriously. Big Pharma exists because their products work. And the thing is I know the accusations of people from animal lib involve calling me a Big Pharma shill. Which is amusing. I am a big critic of how pharmaceutical giants fuck around in Africa and the USA but that’s because there is no oversight and people are unwilling to place oversight because in the USA oversight = communism rather than  “common sense”.

When you use the Big Pharma moniker to represent medicine and pharmaceutical corporations then you  reveal yourself to be idiots of the highest calibre. BIg Pharma may be nefarious but they have done more to keep the vegan lifestyle functional than ANY other group of people. What? You don’t think Iron Tablets and multi-vitamin supplements grow from the fucking ground?

Of all the groups, medicine must be demonised the most because medicine is the cutting edge of animal research in that it’s the biggest utiliser of the end product.

It’s very easy to dismiss the actions of a corporation that has provided children with the ability to hear because they did it for “profit” rather than at a loss. It’s a lot harder to argue against the tears of a child who gets to hear for the first time or those of a mother who knows her child can now hear her.

To claim that there is no laws protecting rats is to lie so hard that you could have a career working for Enron. There are laws covering animal experiments in rats and mice in the USA. To claim otherwise is a “goddamn fucking lie”. But as we all know it’s “propaganda” and bad propaganda at that. You have to portray scientists as machete wielding lunatics, the army as gun happy idiots and doctors as people who throw chemicals around. You need to create these 2D villains as stereotypes in order to break down the cultural notion that scientists are smart, soldiers are heroes and doctors are kind. You have to make monsters out of people who aren’t and so you must take their actions out of context and then make them moustachioed villains.

Of particular note is the “You Poison Rats” argument levelled at Medical research to which my response has always been, yes. Yes we do poison rats. Not as many as are poisoned to keep our cities free of vermin and our crops safe.

PETA are just embarassing. And the fact they aim this at children should alert us to the value of going on the streets and campaigning to educated people about the reality of science. Otherwise you will have a generation of so called “FIghters for Animals” who do nothing but demonise people who genuinely protect animals not because they are cute but because they are there.

Let’s finally end with the reward. Another video. I will place a TW on it because not everyone has a “tough stomach”.


It’s a series of unconnected video snippets showing animals in distress because all animal lab work looks like that out of context. I can put up pictures of an autopsy where I am soaked in congealed and fetid blood in a dingy room. You would think it was a horror movie, not an act of love. The man I autopsied had no money, his next of kin wanted it done as he had died suddenly. We did it for free to give his family peace of mind.

It was the first death certificate I signed on. I finished it and met his family and told them how he died of natural causes of heart failure and got to see relief in their eyes. And then I went home and watched House  where they said a line that chilled me to the bone. That Dr. Watson is so good at telling patients they are dying they thanked him.

I was so nice that this man’s family thanked me. It was then I realised why they did it. Because I gave them closure. They found peace with the way their loved one died. They could move on. That the rotten stinking bloated corpse that had policemen gagging and others running meant something to them and that they appreciated a stranger who effectively cut him open to find out what went wrong.

If I merely showed you photos without this context of love and what it meant then you would see me as a monster who revels in death. Someone to be feared and hated. Not someone who did something important. Some patients need doctors while they live, some need them after they are dead.

And that’s why context is important PETA. Without context you are naught but the voice of the mob, a braying imbecile relying on the ignorance of his followers to con them into hating something that saves countless lives.


  1. CaitieCat says

    I’ve long since realized that this organization is…I don’t know, a weird cult or something.

    Because in their desperate zeal to save animals from, well, the lives of animals (what do they think “predator-prey” means, anyway? Happy Tigers and Monkey Dancing Together?), but that they’re completely contemptuous of the lives of human beings in doing so.

    They regularly use horrific misogyny to make their point about how bad it is that we do animal testing. They regularly use horrific racism to do the same. They get called on it, and they don’t care. They use the controversy intentionally over their racist, sexist crap to get more views for their bullshit videos.

    They do it to already-marginalized people on purpose.

    They are literally inhumane to any being that belongs to the homo sapiens sapiens thingy (can’t remember the word, can’t be arsed to look it up). They’re traitors to the human species. Fuck them.

  2. Sercee says

    CaitieCat, they also regularly murder up to 99% of the animals they “liberate” because they believe animals are better off dead than as pets.

  3. Sercee says

    Some years back, before people really figured out that PETA were essentially a terrorist organization, there was a series of billboards they put up in my city which were… insulting, at the very least. There was one of a skinny Santa Claus looking down into his pants as he held them open. I forget the phrasing, but they were trying to make the point that meat products cause impotence (other billboards said it straight out) and that kids shouldn’t leave milk and cookies for Santa because milk is unhealthy so they’re actually killing him. Or something.

    The local shock jock radio station held a giant BBQ at the foot of that billboard. It was very tasty.

  4. smrnda says

    I recall one person in college I met who was a sanctimonious shit. She was a vegetarian and opposed to all animal testing, but she once said that she had no problem with using prisoners in experiments. She also told me that her prejudice against Black people was justified since she thought they weren’t good tippers when she waited tables. Occasionally I find that very pro-animal people are viciously anti-human. Part of this might be a kind of anarcho-primitivism.

    Odd thing, despite all of this, she would chase around flies to smack them with a flyswatter.

    Animal testing is something that we just need to do if we want to enjoy better technology and longer lives. Nobody is doing this stuff out of sadism or anything since, from what I recall, animal testing is pretty heavily regulated.

  5. lochaber says

    ouch, that game was horrible (I played it too…).

    During my undergrad, we had one course where we had to do a thesis, and I remember anyone doing _any_ research involving vertebrates had to take all kinds of classes and request all kinds of approval. Not sure how much was U.S. law, CA law, university regs, guidelines, etc., but it applied to those just sitting in a field and counting birds, or doing other research that didn’t even involve interaction (I was counting spiders, so I didn’t have to meet any approval, take any classes, etc., I just had to deal with spiders :/ )

    I thought I remembered a bit a few years or so back where some PETA affiliated people were proposing that we do all our testing on retarded kids instead of animals. I’m not having any luck with google, so that quite possibly could have been confusion, taken out of context, mis-attributed, whatevs, but there are quite a few where they say animals should have the same rights as retarded or disabled kids, etc.


    I’m pretty much in support of anti-cruelty practices, but I think there are ways to go about responsible and ethical farming (even say, just to raise an animal for it’s pelt), then simply banning everything, or releasing domesticated animals en masse into the local environment.

    Also, these people are asshats.

  6. says

    The man I autopsied had no money, his next of kin wanted it done as he had died suddenly. We did it for free to give his family peace of mind. [snip] That the rotten stinking bloated corpse that had policemen gagging and others running meant something to them and that they appreciated a stranger who effectively cut him open to find out what went wrong.

    Avi, you are awesome.

    PETA haven’t thought things through. Maybe they didn’t want to, or maybe they simply prefer feeling self-righteous so they can hurt others with a clear conscience (like religious fundamentalists).

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