Monthly Archives: October 2012

Gotta Free ‘Em All?

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PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an animal rights group, or at least claims to be. This is a picture from their most recent campaign. They are targeting the video game series, Pokemon. Their campaign is accusing the game of promoting the “unethical” treatment of Pokemon by forcing them to compete in Pokemon battles and housing them in Pokeballs. It would seem that they believe this is sending a violent message to the individuals who play the Pokemon games. For those of you who would like to see for yourself, here is the website. http://features.peta.org/pokemon-black-and-white-parody/.

That website features a spin-off Pokemon game. I’m not proud to admit it, but I did play through the whole game (it was about 15 minutes long) as I’m not one to give my opinion on something unless I know what I’m giving my opinion about. But anyway, you start off playing as Pikachu who just recently claimed its independence for a Pokemon trainer named Cheren. Once you beat Cheren, Pikachu talks about how Pokemon are not theirs to abuse, they exist for their own reasons. You then go on to fight different trainers and recruit different Pokemon along the way. You also gain these “treasure chests” a few times. These treasure chests contain typical PETA style videos of animal slaughter houses and animals being treated inhumanly.

When I first saw the image above, I thought it was a joke. I honestly didn’t believe it was real, until I went to PETA’s website. Now, I can’t say I’m surprised, since I’ve only ever heard negative things about PETA (like throwing fake blood on people’s fur coats). But that got me thinking, “Why are the only things I’ve ever heard about PETA, an organization founded on a really great idea, all negative?” It’s unfortunate, really.

I see a few problems with this Ad Campaign, some blatantly wrong and others a little more subtle. First and foremost, it’s borderline copyright infringement and it downright slanders the name of Pokemon. This is wrong in and of itself. Now, in the grand scheme of things, it probably won’t hurt Nintendo a whole lot. At this point, a lot of Pokemon fans (like myself) have been playing for a decade or longer and the rest of the fans are typically going to be children and young teens, so this ad campaign likely won’t reach them or mean much to them if they do see it. Now, you might get some angry parents here and there who will see this campaign and won’t let their kids play it because of it, but for the most part, those who were going to play this game or want to are still going to. That’s not the point, though. The point is that PETA is sending a lot of negativity out into the universe for seemingly no reason at all.

Ash and Pikachu

On top of slandering the name of Pokemon, they do it with false information. They skew what Pokemon is and spin it in a way that makes Pokemon sound like it’s sending a bad message to children (to those who know nothing about the game, that is). They’re stating that Pokemon are treated unfairly, forced to fight against their will and caged in tiny Pokeballs. Well, when you put it that way, coupled with zero knowledge of the game, you could easily make an argument for this campaign. That’s all wrong though. These “issues” have all been brought up in the game. It’s a well known fact in the Pokemon universe that Pokeballs don’t harm the Pokemon, that the Pokemon are not miserable when they battle alongside their trainers. They enjoy it, actually (assuming their relationship with their trainer is good). The truth is,  the relationship between a Pokemon and the trainer who caught that Pokemon can be compared to a relationship between a man and his dog. It’s a companionship. The Pokemon Anime continuously, in every single episode, portrays the incredibly strong bond between Pokemon and humans.

Another problem with PETA skewing facts to make them sound wrong (to those who don’t know the game) is the fact that PETA does know the game. They know it pretty well, actually. They had to have played through a decent amount of the game to fairly accurately mimic the game, it’s mechanics and the story (not to imply that they’ve made some great game, but they copied it pretty well). And, despite knowing the story, they also openly and proudly support Team Plasma, the antagonist of Pokemon Black and White (and their sequels). PETA knows that what they’re saying is false and slanderous, yet they still lie about the game to make it look like it’s supporting the unethical treatment of animals. This shows a lot about PETA’s true character. It shows that they are intentionally creating this negativity.

It might sound like I’m angry about this, but I’m not. Honestly. I don’t believe this will hurt Nintendo or the Pokemon name at all, because they’ve done nothing wrong and quite frankly, the Pokemon series is incredible. It wouldn’t have survived the last 20 years if it wasn’t. The reason I wrote this is because this ad campaign demonstrates a universal and fundamental problem with the world. The fact is, PETA is a really well known organization. They have the power to make change. They have the power to influence people to do good things, to spread profound levels of positivity throughout the world. They don’t, though. They created a problem that didn’t need to be there and are now focusing their attention and resources on that self-created problem. They aren’t the only ones, though. We as humans tend to create problems for ourselves. We create negativity, then try to combat that negativity with more negativity. Contrary to the popular saying, however, fighting fire with fire only creates more fire.

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Why you shouldn’t worry

People worry a lot. We all know we shouldn’t, we all know the adverse effects stress can have on our well being. We still worry, though. We worry about what grade we’re going to get on the final exam, we worry about work, we worry about what that certain someone will say if we ask them out. We worry about everything all the time. I do too, quite a bit sometimes. But I want to break down exactly why worrying serves absolutely no purpose. It seems like common sense, but I believe it’s easier to stop ourselves from worrying when we take the time to analyze exactly why we do it and what it accomplishes.

Alright, so, you just got into a car accident. You and the other driver are both fine but your car is wrecked. You have insurance but you’ll have to pay the $500 deductible in order to repair your car. On top of that, the accident was your fault so your insurance rate will probably go up. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time seeing as how you just payed $200 for that speeding ticket you got a few weeks ago. Your car will probably be in the shop for a few days so now you’ll have to find a ride to and from work. Naturally, you start to worry about how you’re going to make it through this.

That would be pretty rough for a lot of people. Let’s talk about the definitive stress/worry causers in this situation:

  • Your car is wrecked. If you’re like me, you love and need your car. You depend on it to get from point A to point B. I drive 60 miles a day to get to and from work. Having to find a ride for how ever many days my car would be in the shop would be a nightmare.
  • You’re now $500 in the whole (on top of that $200 you spent on the speeding ticket). That’s a lot of money (for most people, at least) and it’s going to hurt a lot. You may not even be able to pay it off depending on how much money you have/ make.
  • Your insurance rate is going to go up. In this economy, some of us just can’t afford more expensive insurance. Oh, and it’ll be even worse if you aren’t 25 yet (like myself).

We’ve now identified what exactly caused us to be worried in the scenario. Now what exactly does worrying actually accomplish in this scenario? What exactly does it do for us? The answer is that it actually makes the situation worse. Not only do you have the three negative outcomes of the scenario, you’re completely stressed out about what’s going to happen and how you’re going to make it through. This stress will inevitably make you unhappier. It causes your mind to become generally unfocused because it’s too busy worrying about the car accident. This lack of focus can effect other aspects of your life. When we worry about something, we actually end up creating more problems for ourselves. These self-created problems can sometimes be even worse then what we were worrying about in the first place.

You might be thinking, “This is obvious. We all know worrying is bad. What do we do about it? How do we make it positive?” Well, I’ll be honest, it’s not easy. The fact of the matter is, you got into a car accident, you are $500 in the hole, you have to find a way to get to work and your insurance rate is going up. All of that has already happened or is going to happen. There is nothing you can do to stop it from happening. That’s the scariest part about it. The fact that we can’t change it makes us feel powerless. We feel like we don’t have control. It makes us scared. It’s completely natural to worry and stress about it because we feel like that is all we can do.

That’s not all we can do, though. We aren’t completely without control. You see, by simply not worrying, we’ve actually made the situation better and more positive and therefore easier to overcome. With worry and stress out of the picture, we retain our ability to be happy, to be positive. We may not have control over what has already happened to us, but we most certainly have control over how we react to the situation when it happens. That’s the key.

A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who the father was. At first, she was resistant to confess, but the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so?”

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who was now viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. “Is that so?” Hakuin said as he handed them the child.

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