Radicalism? No way

Doug Hite

Last Saturday, Chrissie Hynde headlined a benefit concert for the 88-year-old Akron Civic Center. Most of us are likely to know Hynde as a washed-up rocker who used to be the lead singer of a mediocre band. Some of us even know her as a Kent State dropout. I, however, will always remember her for being one of the least tactful celebrity activists the region has ever produced.

During Saturday’s concert, while sporting a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals T-shirt, Hynde made a remark concerning her opinions of omnivorous people, stating her belief that omnivores are terrorists.

While terrorists can certainly be omnivores and omnivores can certainly be terrorists, I find it difficult to believe that all omnivores are terrorists. That is, unless eating meat is an act of terrorism. And even then, I could never imagine terror tasting so sweet.

If Hynde’s statement is accurate, then I am a terrorist for eating meat. If only, God willing, I could be as morally erect and ethical as Hynde must be for being a member of PETA.

That is, of course, assuming that PETA has no ties with terrorist activity.

In PETA’s tax return for the fiscal year of 2000, a disbursement of funds was made to the Earth Liberation Front. While the idea of giving money to an elf sounds adorable, ELF is not a pointy-eared toy maker but actually a “domestic terrorist” organization, as labeled by John Lewis, deputy assistant director of the FBI counter-terrorism division.

In response to aiding a terrorist organization, PETA has explained their donation was not to aid in ELF’s campaign of destruction, but to pay for a publication, according to a Feb. 22, 2002 article in The Wall Street Journal. Four days later, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk claimed she had no recollection of ever sending a check to ELF, according to ABC News on Feb. 26, 2002. Five days after that, Newkirk said the money given from PETA was for “educational materials,” according to a March 4, 2002 Associated Press article. And the following day, PETA issued a press release claiming that the money donated was for “habitat protection.” PETA is as good at lying as it is keeping me from eating pork.

So, what has ELF been doing that landed them the title of a “terrorist” organization? According to their press releases, they have waged “an unbounded war on urban sprawl.” The key word is definitely “unbounded,” meaning “by any means deemed necessary.”

According to a May 24, 2007 Seattle Times article, it’s estimated that ELF has destroyed at least $40 million in property in over 20 acts of vandalism.

While Hynde supporting PETA and PETA supporting terrorism is no laughing matter, some of ELF’s crimes of passion are often difficult to take very seriously. For instance, in July of 2000, ELF members cut down thousands of poplars, which were meant to aid in reforestation.

And so, I can not and will not be taking PETA, Hynde or ELF seriously.

If you want to make progress, radicalism is not the way to do it. Pictures of slaughter houses makes me want sausage, a verbal assault from Hynde just makes me dislike the Pretenders more, and the concept of “mink liberation” makes me snicker.

If I was the Earth, I’d be trying to make new friends.

Doug Hite is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].