The video gaming world is expressing disbelief and outrage today at PETA's latest PR campaign, in which it casts a critical eye on Mario's penchant for wearing a "tanooki" costume to give him super powers in Super Mario 3D Land and other games in the Super Mario franchise. In doing so, the video gaming community is eating right out of PETA's hands, and helping to raise awareness of the very real plight of the tanuki.
PETA's timing is perfectly calculated, as Super Mario 3D Land was released this week for the Nintendo 3DS gaming system. Tanuki, says PETA, are "raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur." PETA, in this latest campaign, takes a bit of a leap in logic, saying that Mario using a "tanooki" costume shows disregard for the real-world animal's plight and further is akin to an endorsement of wearing fur. Seemingly fighting fire with fire, PETA unveiled a primitive platformer of its own, titled "Super Tanooki Skin 2D," a game playable in your Web browser at features.peta.org/mario-kills-tanooki. The game depicts a grotesquely skinless "tanooki" chasing the flying Mario, who is wearing the tanokoi's skin, which continues to drip blood as it propels Mario on the not-so-merry chase.
Prominent video game blog Joystiq answered PETA's campaign with a critique, saying: "Taking a swipe at the world's favorite plumber is pretty low, but it's worse in this case because PETA is blatantly lying. As everyone knows from reading the Nintendo Comics System ... the Tanooki suit was hand-crafted by a tailor named Tanooki rather than any animal the material was lifted from."
For Joystiq's full reaction to PETA's tanooki tomfoolery, visit: "PETA targets Mario, we challenge the facts."
Joystiq is hardly the only outlet proclaiming public incredulity, and the video game and pop culture media are being joined in droves by Twitter users, which serves to feed PETA's well-meaning, if seemingly intellectually dishonest, agenda. But allow us to pose you this question: Before the Super Mario 3D Land brouhaha, had you ever heard of the tanuki and the abhorrent skinning practices performed on them?
If not, well, I think you'll agree PETA has clearly achieved its goal.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was founded in 1980 and claims for more than 3 million members and supporters.
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