Tell me, is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade part of your holiday tradition? I always loved watching it when I was a kid: the balloons, the floats, the Clydesdales, the marching bands! The awesomely awkward years when Willard Scott was host! My own kids don't enjoy it quite as much as I do, maybe because they've been raised on TiVo and three hours of live broadcasting is too much for their fruit-fly-like attention spans, but we always tune in for a few minutes here and there between the football and the food prep.
This year, however, the 87th Thanksgiving Day Parade may offer a little something extra for the 50 million viewers who tune in from home. The activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is planning a protest -- and they're being deliberately mysterious about what that might entail.
This year's balloon lineup will include SpongeBob SquarePants, Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon (my 8-year-old just shrieked with joy), and almost 40 floats, including new creations from Cirque Du Soleil, Despicable Me, Royal Caribbean, and Lindt Chocolate.
There's also a SeaWorld float called "A Sea of Surprises," and that's what PETA is upset about. According to PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne,
This planned float is deceptive in the extreme because it shows orcas frolicking in a magnificent sea alongside their families when really we all know now that SeaWorld deprives orcas of all these things.
PETA plans to stage a SeaWorld protest at the New Jersey location where the floats are built and stored, and they've released an online petition asking that the SeaWorld float be removed from the parade. The petition includes a pre-written letter, which reads, in part:
The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for the animals who are confined there. Children see mere shadows of animals, defeated beings who do not engage in natural behavior and cannot live as nature intended. Please cancel plans for a SeaWorld float at the parade.
PETA says over 80,000 people have signed the petition, and they're not necessarily stopping there:
As far as what happens the day of the parade, it remains to be seen.
If this was almost any other activist group, I'm sure I'd feel supportive of their right to express how they feel about SeaWorld. I'm not at all in favor of keeping marine animals in captivity, and I can absolutely understand how some people wish the float wasn't part of the celebration.
That said, I HATE the idea that PETA's planning to get involved. Because PETA's tactics are outrageous, over the top, and in many cases, downright offensive. Yes, I understand they do these things to get attention for their cause, but it doesn't mean I have to like their habit of using ridiculously provocative images:
Or exploiting human tragedies:
Or this button-pushing bullshit:
Based on their past behavior, I'm preemptively unimpressed with what they're thinking of doing during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Whatever controversial, naked-celebrity-wearing-orca-body-paint crap they have planned, I don't want to see it, and I don't want my kids to see it. Frankly, I hope they're wrestled to the ground by security and maybe pinned under a giant Snoopy balloon.
What's your take on a potential PETA protest during the Macy's parade?
Image via pompien/Flickr