6:00pm November 16, 2011

SuperMario the Raccoon Killer; Showing HBCUs Love For all the Right Reasons


SuperMario on PETA’s MOST Wanted

I know this may be hard to believe, but if you spent your childhood summers playing Super Mario Bros with your friends you might be next on PETA’s most wanted list. That’s right: almost 20 years after the game has come and gone from popularity PETA has decided to use everyone’s favorite stereotypical plumber as the poster-boy for animal abuse, bad taste and apparently the resurgence of 8-bit video games online.

Now I know you probably don’t have any old issues of NINTENDO POWER lying around your house so I’ll take you through the way-back machine to explain PETA’s logic on this one.

If you sat there long enough and played the game until the console got warm and your mother started yelling at you to come up stairs and wash the dishes you might’ve found the fabled Tanooki Suit in Super Mario Bros 3. What was the Tanooki you ask? What – were you one of those kids who actually played outside when you were younger instead of reading comic books and playing video games all day? The Tanooki suit was this Raccoon looking outfit that allowed Mario to smash Koopas, fly for limited distances and of course, turn into a completely still statue (the value of this was limited).

Anyway, it took 20 years for PETA to be offended by Mario’s choice of a dead raccoon to receive mystical powers and the organization has taken it upon themselves to create a video game to highlight cruelty to raccoons – while taking a pound off the plucky plumber.  You can play as a vengeful Tanooki, show Mario who’s boss and – I guess – get high on magical mushrooms in your spare time.

Hey: I’m all in favor of PETA trying to get folks interested in the plight of the raccoon dog. But, dredging up video games from 20 years ago seems to be a stretch. I mean, isn’t that just the way things were back then? Don’t tell me it wasn’t obvious that SONY put a Hedgehog on steroids . If PETA really wants to connect with today’s kids they need to point out that Pokemon is really just a Japanese word for forced animal labor and cockfighting. Hey kids, Pikachu doesn’t really love you!

Tougaloo Stopped Personhood Too

In all of the cheering and dancing that the national Democratic Party did last week over major issue victories, people on the ground were occasionally ignored. Yes, MSNBC had plenty of labor folks showing up during their nightly coverage of Issue 2.  But, the second largest victory for Democrats that night didn’t get nearly as much local attention.

The “Personhood Amendment” on the Mississippi ballot would have made someone a ‘person’ at conception, essentially making abortion and various types of contraceptive pills illegal. Despite being on the ballot in one of the most conservative states in America the measure failed by a wide margin, but the story of the men and women who made that happen is not often shared.

Ms. Magazine has a great story about how the Feminist Majority Foundation conducted organizing in the state and the role that HBCU’s played in keeping abortion legal for men and women in Mississippi. The article speaks glowingly of schools like Jackson and Alcorn Atate and particularly Tougaloo College for holding teach-ins and forums on the impending bill’s impact. Seeing as how the only other time Tougaloo College got any national press recently was David Banner and Lil’ Flip talking about strippers, it’s always good to shout out some HBCU love for all the right reasons.

Dr. Jason Johnson, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson

About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson



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