Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Season 2, Episode 1

P.E.T.A. (1 Apr. 2004)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Comedy, Documentary
8.1
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Penn and Teller look at animal liberation and expose PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as hypocrites.

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Title: P.E.T.A. (01 Apr 2004)

P.E.T.A. (01 Apr 2004) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Penn and Teller look at animal liberation and expose PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as hypocrites.

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1 April 2004 (USA)  »

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Penn Jillette: Shows like this? What shows like this? Is HBO running a show like horse shit or crock of shit? What other shit shows are out there? We rule shit.
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Easiest the scariest BS-episode
4 May 2015 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

Considering the theme of the show, it isn't surprising that the sad issue of P.E.T.A should be among the first to be tackled by the producers. After all, P&T's BS is essentially all about rationality and common-sense loosing out to fanaticism and narrow-mindedness. And what better examples for the last two mentioned could there be? Why would I consider this episode scary? For one, it shows us time and again, how close a good cause is to fanaticism and how easily the lines can blur. For the other, I too had my experiences with P.E.T.A and like most people (who are not part of P.E.T.A), this experience wasn't pleasant or good. I too had to watch friends, who once they got into this organization, showing all trademarks of a cult, as Penn and Teller put it aptly, turn from mild, intelligent people to zealots. Starts like any other addiction: small and seemingly harmless. From becoming vegetarian out of conviction, to berating other people on their eating-habits; from harassing people, who are eating a burger in public, to eventually convincing themselves that comparing chicken to people murdered in Auschwitz is reasonable and justified. Such is the typical metamorphosis of a fanatic, be it with P.E.T.A or I.S.I.S.

We all know that one should be kind to pets and animals, not to kick stray dogs and to treat (and eventually kill) cattle as humanely as possible. Common decency dictates this and you'd have to be a psychopath not to understand that. It really shouldn't take some organization like P.E.T.A or a mentally deranged lady like Ingrid Newkirk. However, how far would you go, if the devil would tell you to do a good deed? From praying in church to firebombing abortion-clinics it's sometimes just a small step. Such was the case with former beer-hall-parties like the NSDAP in Germany, such is the case with clubs like P.E.T.A.

The one criticism I might have about the reasoning, is the old trend of pulling of Hitler as a straw-man. Sure, the dictator was a vegetarian, which most likely has something to do with him having a weak stomach. It's like saying, "Hitler started the war because he was an atheist and killed the Jews because he was a devout Christian" (though I do agree in one point: Newkirk has studied and imitates the Führers body-language exceptionally well). If anything, it's a small blessing, that things like P.E.T.A are a luxury, that only the most First-World-countries and jaded students, who have the time to dream about imaginary human-rights for animals, can afford. At least I haven't seen any similar organization in Africa yet, that advocates that the people should not use cattle as animals of labours and abstain from eating anything but vegan products. Or threaten to burn a farmers field down, if their demands are not met.

Another scary aspect: when Ted Nugent starts to sound like the sole voice of reason in a 30-minute documentary about an organization that supposedly is there to help animals, something is definitely "rotten in the state of Denmark".

8/10


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