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Friday, April 29, 2005


The Accidental Protester: Blogging the anti-J. Lo Demonstration at the Monster-In-Law Premiere
Although I slam LA, there is a lot to do here--especially on the west side. I planned to have a sedate Friday night because I have a weekend of networking and pitching. I walked to Westwood Village to get a shot of wheatgrass juice at Jamba Juice on Linbrook. It would also be a chance to walk by the premiere for Monster-In-Law which is half a block away at the Mann's National Theatre at Linbrook and Gayley. I was mildly curious to see if any Vietnam vets would be there to protest Jane Fonda (Monster-In-Law is Fonda's first film in 15 years). Note: I had no plans to try to crash the premiere after-party because: 1) This film looks like an unimaginative piece of formulaic Hollywood crap that has been marketed down to the lowest common denominator; and 2) I'm still all partied out from the xXx: State of the Union premiere party that I crashed on Monday.

After I got my wheatgrass juice and walked out of Jamba Juice, I noticed some people across the street from the premiere were pulling out signs; they were much too young to be Vietnam vets. Then I noticed they were members of Peta whose signs were protesting Monster-In-Law co-star Jennifer Lopez's "fur-laden" fashion line. Not surprisingly, their signs were provocative. My favorite was the sign with the picture of J. Lo wearing a fur and had the caption "J. LO: MONSTER-IN-FUR" and listed the web site, JLoDown.com. I was unaware that J.Lo's fashion line used fur (actually, I was only vaguely aware that she had a fashion line; whenever I hear J. Lo's or Vin Diesel's name, I try to get away from the offending person, news broadcast, etc).

While I have a karma-free diet and lifestyle, there are a few things that cause me to be hesitant about doing a Peta protest. First, I think that sometimes their protest tactics are shrill to the point of driving away people who are sympathetic to at least some of their goals. A good example was the time in 2000, right after Rudy Giuliani was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Peta erected a billboard mocking the "Got Milk" campaign that showed a picture of Giuliani with a milk mustache and the caption, "Got Prostate Cancer?" It seemed that they were picking on the misfortune of a guy who had no dog in the fight--in my book, this is adharmic.

Second, I have some qualms about some of the rhetoric from some Peta members. I am fully supportive of Peta's campaign against animal cruelty--particularly factory farming, which I think has been an ethical, environmental, and health disaster. Nevertheless, when I hear some, but not all, Peta members equate human life with the lives of rats, I wince (I adhere to what Ken Wilber refers to as the Basic Moral Intuition which calls for "the greatest depth for the greatest span").

Third, I'm not a hold-a-sign-and-chant-slogans kind of guy. It's not my bag.

However, I decided to join the protest. Although I have some differences with Peta's goals and methods, fur harvesting is uncool. I grabbed a sign. I also wanted to do it because it would allow me to get a bitchin' sign that I could add to my collection of Hollywood memorabilia (this is my first piece of anti-Hollywood memorabilia).

There were about 200 protesters. I met some really interesting people and had a good time holding a sign. I did some chanting with the group. There were some clever chants such as "J. Lo--Fur Ho!", "Hey, Hey, J. Lo; Animal Abuse Has Got To Go!" and "Hey, J. Lo, What Do You Say? How Many Animals Did You Kill Today?" If J.Lo arrived at the premiere, it was at the back entrance.

There were plenty of media people who covered the protesters. Inside Edition, ET, And Extra filmed us. I spoke with a reporter from the LA Times briefly; I told him Michael Kinsley rocked. I saw a Fox News reporter and asked her if she ever met Roger Ailes; she told me that Ailes is a warm man in person. Whatever.

UPDATE: During the protest, Peta members handed out DVDs titled Behind-the-Scenes Look at Fashion Featuring J. Lo. It grossed me out. Click here to see the video (HUGE WARNING: Very unpleasant images)


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