Why PETA's Dan Mathews Oughta Be Committed
|Mathews: Make em laugh|
It takes more than a little ambient noise to shush Mathews or divert this theatrical pontificator from a spiel he's taken a quarter-century to perfect.
Mathews is in Fort Lauderdale today to give a talk and sign books at
Sublime Restaurant. His new book and tour are aimed at reengaging people in street activism. And his preferred mode is dressing up in costumes and acting silly. Rabble-rousing can be fun!
|Holier than thou in Milan.|
"My goal is to get people to lighten up a little bit," he says. "We get so overwhelmed by the intensity of these issues. But we live in an escapist society, and I like to frame [animal rights] in a way that is upbeat and exciting."
Lately, Mathews has been trying to move beyond the fur debate to reach a global audience on issues related to wearing animal products -- leather, snakeskin, wool. He helped design the "Cruelty Doesn't Fly" ad in which Pamela Anderson, as a busty, booted security guard, violently strips passengers going through an airport security check of all the animal products they're wearing -- belt, shoes, fur coats, leather jackets. The ad has no dialogue, so theoretically it could be shown worldwide. Only -- like other PETA ads -- it's maybe too racy for a general audience. CNN Airport Network was the first to ban it.
"We were looking for an offbeat way of getting our message across," Mathews says, "a stylish way to capture people's attention. Amusing rather than alarming. We want to draw people into the dialogue who might not already be PETA supporters."
|With Anderson, the sexy face of animal rights.|
Mathews' talk tonight is by invitation only. But there may be tickets left, at $25 each. If you'd like to attend, call Meghan Manning at 757-962-8282.