Finally, a PETA idea to cheer rather than jeer
By Jeff Ward For The Courier-News May 30, 2012 9:58PM
Elgin native daughter Jillian Thomas, 23, made it all the way to the final round of PETA’s 2012 Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door Contest.
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:41AM
Oh, the ignominy the city of Elgin has been forced to endure.
First, a study of drivers’ license data revealed that we’re the fattest city in Illinois. Then we spent 70 grand to come up with a new city motto that’s more bland than Mitt Romney eating Cream of Wheat in a snowstorm. Not to be outdone, an Elgin resident became infamous for allegedly “doing it” with a hooker not quite 30 times in four days.
But finally, after all that abject misery, the city of Elgin has something of which we can be truly proud. Sadly, no, Mike Noland did not announce his retirement from the state Senate. It’s Elgin native daughter Jillian Thomas, 23, who made it all the way to the final round of PETA’s 2012 Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door Contest.
Considering the adjoining picture, all I can say is, “Take that” to all you folks who insist our motto should be “The City That Casts a Big Shadow.” If Ms. Thomas is the end result, then perhaps a vegetarian diet ain’t such a bad thing after all.
Those of you who regularly read my columns already know I love to have fun with the always-wacky folks at People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In the rare instances the ideas haven’t come, then — like manna from heaven — PETA pulls some silly stunt that makes my journalistic day.
For example, last Thanksgiving they asked the mayor of Turkey, Texas, to rename the town “Tofurky” in honor of the vegan soy turkey alternative that figured so prominently in an hilarious episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Now, I’m all for having fun with Texans because anyone who’s watched Rick Perry debate knows they’re not too swift. But Tofurky, Texas? That actually made be feel sorry for Texans.
Another Thanksgiving billboard asked the question, “Kids: If You Wouldn’t Eat Your Dog, Why Eat A Turkey?” I guess there’s nothing quite like giving a slew of 6-year-olds nightmares.
Unsatisfied with those stunts, last year PETA President Ingrid Newkirk sent President Obama a letter begging him not to “pardon” the traditional two turkeys, but to “spare” them because they had committed no crime.
Actually, I’m willing to stipulate that anything that tastes that good with gravy is indeed criminal.
Then they commissioned a Florida billboard mocking a man who’d survived a shark attack. The advertisement depicted a great white with a bloody human leg hanging from its mouth over the slogan, “Payback is Hell. Go Vegan.”
A spokesperson said, “We are certainly glad the man is going to be alright, but we hope he and other fishermen will use this as an opportunity to rethink fishing.” No, but it did make me rethink PETA.
Then there was the letter to the Aurora Beacon-News (sister paper of The Courier-News) in which a local PETA mouthpiece referred to dogs as “canine companions.” Sorry, my dog is my “pet” — she is not my “companion.”
While I will certainly allow a companion to eat off the dining room table, when my pet does that, she gets banished to the laundry room. And, thankfully, my companions don’t poop on the kitchen floor during a nighttime thunderstorm, although my pet does.
But this time, I do have to give PETA credit. Though they haven’t set the bar too high, this whole sexiest-vegetarian thing really isn’t a bad thought.
Of course, I would’ve been happy to throw my hat in the ring, but PETA said my propensity to devour rare steaks meant an automatic disqualification. Perhaps the Futterman, Howard law firm could file a class-action suit on behalf of me and all meat-challenged vegetarians.
I gotta give Ms. Thomas a lot of credit, too. Beating out 750 entrants to make it to the top 20 is no small feat. And you know me — I’m a sucker for anyone who dares to make a reasonable stand.
“This is something I have a true passion for,” she said. “I would love to be known for something I believe in, and PETA is making that possible for all vegetarians and vegans in this competition.”
A 2007 Larkin High School graduate, Thomas said she renounced her carnivorous ways after watching an animal abuse video. She’s currently majoring in public health at Northern Illinois University.
Like the Dalai Lama, I too tried to go vegetarian, but it didn’t work for me either. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. After that whole pink slime thing, the notion of what might actually go into a McDonald’s hamburger should scare the bejesus out of you.
So, Elgin, buck up. Let’s all give three hearty cheers for Ms. Thomas. She’s a heck of a lot more fun to look at than any silly gambling boat.