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Less Krupa, More Kripa

posted by Vineet Chander

Joanna Krupa37.jpgWell, those wacky folks at PETA have done it again. In their new ad campaign, model Joanna Krupa bares it all (well, almost all) to raise awareness about adopting abandoned pets companion animals. The big deal? The object used to strategically cover Krupa’s, um, you know, stuff, is… wait for it… a cross. 

Go on, if you must,  go look at the ad here if you want to. Just hurry back, okay?

Beliefnet’s own Ellen Leventry posted about the controversy on the Idol Chatter blog:

Wearing nothing but wings and a halo, Krupa’s not-so-angelic bits
are strategically covered by a large cross she holds in her hands
The text of the ad
urges pet owners to be angels and adopt animals from shelters rather
than purchasing them at pet stores, which are often supplied by puppy
and kitten mills….

…I must admit that even I,
a liberal, mainline Protestant, take issue with it. This isn’t the
scene from Austin Powers where sausages, teacups, and other items cleverly conceal the shagadelic spy’s naughty bits.

I tend to cut PETA a lot of slack. Sure they raise eyebrows and act provocatively, but in our culture you’ve got to raise some eyebrows to be heard. I get that.
 

But the naked-Krupa-cross-adopt-a-pet thing is just too much. And not just because of the cross.

(For the record, the use of the cross does seem to me  — a
non-Christian —  to be an inappropriate and unnecessary use of a
revered religious symbol. In fact, I think the cross is being abused on
two levels, here — one in being turned into a quasi-sexualized object
by Krupa, and again in being reduced to a cheap publicity stunt, to
shock people into talking and blogging about the ad. Would I be
comfortable with PETA using Hindu images in the same way? Definitely
not. Not cool, PETA.)

But even notwithstanding the cross
controversy, the problem I have with the campaign is that, well, it
makes no sense. At least PETA’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”
campaign had a discernible (and arguably valid) use for the nudity. And
with PETA’s controversial “Jesus Was a Vegetarian” campaign, agree or
disagree, it did provoke thought. Here? No such luck. What do Joanna
Krupa taking off her clothes, a cross, angels, and puppy adoption have
in common? It sounds like the set-up to a dirty joke, but there’s no
punchline. Are people discussing the ad? Absolutely! Are they
discussing the merits of adopting animal shelter puppies and kittens?
Not so much.

It seems PETA would rather provoke lust than thought. 

I
don’t know how many people have gone vegan (or given up fur, or adopted
animal shelter animals) on the basis of lusting after an almost-naked
spokesperson. In Hinduism, the passion that is evoked from ads like
this one is called kama, or unbridled lust. In the second
chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna calls it the “all-devouring
enemy”. Why? Because at its core, kama is all about
objectifying and exploiting — using another living being as a vehicle
to gratify my own senses at any cost. Whether that kama is
directed towards turning a cow into a Big Mac or turning women into a
cheap one-dimensional fantasy (or, as in the case of Hooters, both), it doesn’t uplift my mind or inspire me
towards positive action.

Krishna with cows copy.jpg

On the other hand, the reason that countless people (myself included) choose to support animal rights is because of kripa — Sanskrit for “mercy” or “compassion”. Kripa
is Hinduism’s ideal lens through which to view the world. It demands
that we see other living beings — whether four legged or two legged
ones — as brothers and sisters, with inherent value, dignity, and
rights.

This way of looking at all living beings, I always
thought, was what PETA was really all about, beneath all the hype and
celebrity endorsements and edgy billboards. But in choosing to showcase
Krupa, I can’t help but feel that PETA may be losing sight of the
message of kripa that is supposed to be at its core.



  • Simon Gardner

    “On the other hand, the reason that countless people (myself included) choose to support animal rights is because of kripa — Sanskrit for “mercy” or “compassion”. Kripa is Hinduism’s ideal lens through which to view the world. It demands that we see other living beings — whether four legged or two legged ones — as brothers and sisters, with inherent value, dignity, and rights.”
    Whereas what we know now because of Charles Darwin is that it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with mysticism. Other animals are in fact our cousins and there’s perfectly good proof of it.
    So there’s a good consanguinity reason for my recent adoption of a rescue animal. We ARE related.
    But aren’t the christians getting all up themselves (as usual) over the cross? All very silly and yet wonderfully predictable for PETA. What idiots those christians do make of themselves.

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  • http://www.plantpeacedaily.org JC

    A Holiday Thought…
    Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.
    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.
    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.
    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.
    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”
    ~Revised from Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

  • Tulasi-priyat

    Consanguinuity isn’t enough of a reason for kindness to animals. Animals eat each other, and sometimes kill for fun, in spite of their blood ties. What would stop humans from doing the same? Only spiritual principles offer a secure basis for humans to raise their consciousness above the animal level. The real relation, the underlying theme (to quote the band Rush for a moment), is not DNA, but our spiritual equality. Everything that has life is related,including plants. If we simply see our relatedness as physical/material, we have to harden our hearts that much more to justify the eating of animals merely for the sake of pleasure.
    Great thinking, Vineet!

  • Anan E. Maus

    As Gandhi said, “The cow is a poem of pity.”
    Love of animals is love of God who created them. And, in so many ways a spiritual expression of great beauty.
    If we can not bring ourselves to treat animals with kindness, it is just another avenue to bring brutality and cruelty into society and our lives.
    So, I applaud PETA’s efforts, historically and generally.
    But no, I am not a fan of stripping for a cause. I think it comes across as a cheap stunt and just a quick appeal for shock value.
    Further, when exactly did stripping become acceptable to the feminist community? How long did the feminist community have to fight to stop exploitation of women.
    I think PETA’s founder has done amazing work to help animals be safe. But she has also done a number of very wacky things. The cause doesn’t excuse the mistakes. She isn’t perfect, she doesn’t sit on top of a mountain and she can just, simply, be wrong.

  • Your Name

    I don’t have any resources to adopt any animals in my place,i am charitable at heart but since i am barely making enough to support my family,but if i have opportunity to give my share no matter how small or big the contribution may take,as long as i have the grace in my hands to share,i would gladly extend a helping hand.

  • jack

    …tell me please, what is so naughty about being naked?

  • rassanti

    East meets West, It’s ancient but it’s new.
    Nice comment from ancient knowledge on a contemporary issue.
    Love it!

  • S H Ziegler

    why does that dirty symbol of a failed religon cover the good parts?

  • Fortasse Abambagibus

    Vineet’s commentary on the use of human feminine sexuality to encourage those humans who love animals to love them more fully is like a well balanced shaft directing the point of its arrow to its mark, which he hit it with a wisdom that not only excited the zoophilia of my fellow zoophilists but also the venom of the loathers of the lovers of the Transcendental. But the arrow of the remark that the ‘cross is a dirty symbol’ elicits, I am sure, in the many who care as did Christ, … not necessarily Christian,… the realization that its shaft is highly imbalanced. And what is to be realized of its fletcher?

  • Matthew

    It takes a lot to offend me, but that Ad is WAY tacky!
    Who the heck does PETA think their members are that would be interested in looking at a stupid, rude and immature Ad like that?
    I do not proclaim to be Christian by any means, but to use a symbol of other peoples’ Faith to cover her “parts” is SO disrespectful. Why didn’t they just have her masturbate with it? I don’t think that would have been much more offensive.
    PETA is about loving and caring for ANIMALS, not trying to compete with porn!

  • Your Name

    The idea that PETA claims Jesus was a vegetarian is just wrong. Jesus was an observant Jew – and thus he ate meat in the form of cattle and sheep. He also ate fish. And milk. And eggs. All part of a kosher diet.
    He did not eat pork, or shellfish.
    He was an omnivore – like most of the people on the planet.
    As far as this ad goes – tasteless, and I agree with the article. Everyone’s talking about the ad but not about adopting animals from shelters. Totally missed it. Get a new ad manager.

  • ASBARB

    A new low for PETA.

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