DBTV Episode 1: “Concrete Catwalk”

I went into Soho posing as a television host to give people wearing fur a hard time. If you want to know why I’m giving these people a hard time, click HERE. Some of my favorite quotes from the fur-wearers:

“…beavers are not extinct, which is one of the reasons that the designers make those furs.” – dude wearing a beaver coat & huge fur hat.

“I’d like to think that they were just run over in the street…”woman wearing a new full-length mink.

I just assume it grows its hair back and it’s all OK at the end of the situation…” – woman with fur hat.

We’re from Michigan, so we need our furs.” –  mom & daughter fur duo

“I’m an animal lover, so this is quite at odds with being an animal lover.”woman wearing head-to-toe fur

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45 Responses to DBTV Episode 1: “Concrete Catwalk”

  1. ryan says:

    Haven’t read your blog in awhile and decided to check it out today. Glad I did….I love this segment!

  2. molly says:

    brilliant, josh! the mix of humor and education (while being super freakin fashionable yourself) does wonders. keep up the great work, love! 🙂

  3. Monica says:

    I love Melissa’s role.
    brilliant.

    you should’ve come to DC for Inauguration.
    DC has never seen so much fur EVER. It was really sickening…and I can usually tune fur out, but there was so much around I actually started to rant out loud.

  4. Justin says:

    That was awesome. “so what’s it like to have a cold heart and a warm neck?” – classic!

  5. Sarah says:

    Loved it! Brilliant.

  6. danielle says:

    absolutely incredible!
    thank you joshua for being so awesome!!

  7. Shear awesomeness, very clever & funny Josh, well done-amazing still so many dolts out there….. I love the guy “detecting” a hostility towards him…. and the lame apologies…..See you tomorrow- hugs- Elizabeth

  8. Chloé Jo says:

    Joshua Behemeth Boverdine Gardsworth Katcher, you are a GENIUS. These women look like disgusting evil monsters, and their true nature comes out as they wear the skins of tortured innocent creatures. I’m looking forward to MANY more of these segments. I hope fur hags galore stumble upon this video! xCx

  9. Annie says:

    Fantastic video! I love your coat; what brand is it?

  10. gita says:

    AMAZING!!!!!!

  11. Dustin Rhodes says:

    Amazing.

  12. Pao says:

    You should have your own show on tv! You’re great!

  13. CatherineM says:

    Amazing how none of these individuals could come up with a legitimate justification for wearing fur besides, “I like it”, and “it’s cold”.

    This is the first time I read your blog, but I’ll be back. Great work!

  14. Susan says:

    Terrific work, Josh!

  15. Ari says:

    Fucking brilliant! The animals are lucky to have you on their side. It’s very sad to see so many people still wearing fur. You called one person heartless — that’s exactly what it is. If you wear fur, you should be shamed.

  16. sweet & sara says:

    just fabulous.

    your friend at the vegan marshmallow empire,
    sara
    sweet & sara

  17. skippy says:

    Why are you telling people they have to freeze to death. I dont see you taking money out of your pocket to discover fabric that has the insulation properties of fur. We have found the animal rights movement to be inside of the Socialist Party including the National Socialist Party. You will remember them from the Oklahoma City Bombing. Shame on you.

    • You clearly haven’t done your homework, Skippy.
      1) I never told people they have to freeze to death. In fact, most cold climate explorers do not use fur (AKA there are already fabrics that have better insulation properties than fur).
      2) Who are the “we” you are speaking of? George Bush’s speech writer, Matthew Scully, is a republican and an animal rights activist. He wrote the book “Dominion”. The animal rights movement comes from a place of compassion for animals and their habitats, so it is supported by a spectrum of people from many different backgrounds. All you need is the ability to empathize and you might find yourself advocating for animals!
      3) Comparing animal advocates to the Oklahoma City Bomber is a pathetic and transparent attempt to call us terrorists. Shame on you.

  18. MaryF says:

    You really should have your own show. This one is definitely going to make the rounds. Absolutely fabulous!!

    I love the one guy’s comment about beaver not being extinct so that’s why coats are made out of them. That about captures the mentality of fur-wearers. Thank you for telling it like it is and exposing them for what they are: ignorant and uncaring, and ugly in the truest sense of the word.

  19. skippy says:

    The Oklahoma City Bomber was in the National Socialist Party. The National Socialist Party is a front runner in your own group. We means all un socialist population.

  20. Eric says:

    Skippy,

    Not only do I agree that these folks are Socialists and Terrorists, but I’m also fairly certain these so called ‘animal rights activists’ are also responsible for Cancer, Bernie Madoff, The Major League Baseball Steroid Scandal, Rainy Days, Mondays, and Frowns.

    The Anti-Fur Movement must be stopped.

  21. Tricia Barry says:

    You’re simply brilliant, Josh. Great video!

  22. Ang says:

    You’re funny and silly and smart!! So glad that you’re out there standing up for those poor dead and exploited creatures. It definitely inspires me to hit the streets and call people out on their murderous ways. BTW–if anyone is looking for faux fur options, here are some links to pass on: http://www.charlycalder.cc/osc/catalog/
    http://fabulousfurs.com/Default.asp?bhcd2=1233687019

  23. Eric says:

    Excellent video! I look forward to future episodes of DBTV 🙂

    People just need to admit they are wearing fur because they think it makes them look rich, when all it really does is make them look (morally) bankrupt.

  24. troy says:

    I applaud you, Joshua. I think you did a great job, without being abrasive. Although people are often defensive when their regular ways are confronted – it is human nature – I believe this is the seed that people then start to ponder later on. Once upon a time I ridiculed vegetarians! (vegan now for many years)

    You looked super sharp too 🙂

  25. Sarah says:

    Well done! Hilarious.

  26. Chuck says:

    While I applaud your dedication to a cause, I don’t think you’re changing hearts or minds by claiming some moral high ground and then belittling those you disagree with.

    I’ve looked all over your blog, and I don’t see the same type of moral outrage aimed at the majority of the population who eat meat (and who eat commercially rendered and processed meat). Sure, it’s easy to stir the public up over a few people sporting luxury goods, but the population you are speak to are as complicit in animal cruelty, as you define it.

    I personally agree that we should seek to minimize needless cruelty to animals (even the not-so-pretty ones). I believe, though, that your work in this area does little more than enable a large percentage of the animal rights movement, who find it easier to point a finger on 5th Ave, then to rationally review and alter their own patterns of consumption.

  27. Chuck says:

    I would also argue that it is quite possible to consume meat and still be an animal rights advocate, and that it is also possible (but far more dificult) to utilize animal hide products in the same way.

    • I always find it funny when animal rights activists are accused of “claiming moral high ground”. In fact, this is probably the most common criticism of individuals who participate in the Animal Rights movement.

      So, Chuck, I must politely disagree! The very premise of that claim comes from a place that ignores the crucial perspective: that of the animal. You are attempting to say that this is about “me and my choices” vs “you and your choices”. What’s the missing element here? If you are someone who continues to rationalize the exploitation of animals, of course it does not suit your argument to validate the non-human perspective.

      You can not consume the very lives and bodies of those you claim to be a rights advocate for. Take that statement and apply it to other social justice issues and you’ll see how silly it sounds. Can you be a womanizing feminist? A racist civil-rights advocate? A homophobic LGBTQ advocate? Probably not – but in all of those scenarios, it suits the exploiters/oppressors to invalidate the crucial perspective in any way they can. Do you see my point?

      The point is that we have a fundamental difference. I view a non-human animal as an individual with a will to live, and a desire to avoid pain and suffering, and I respect that individuals’ desires and apply a social justice perspective to it. In addition, I recognize their cries and attempts at escape as valid forms of dissent. Because most people in this culture do not validate those things, the AR movement must provide spokespeople for these beings. In essence, it has little or nothing to do with me or my ego (which is what the ‘moral high-ground’ argument attempts to say). it has everything to do with representing the interests of someone else. And, yes, they each are “someone”.

      Incidentally, it’s relatively easy for many of us to avoid participating in most forms of animal exploitation. The question is – do you really want to?

  28. Chuck says:

    Joshua, you mistook my comment, constructed a straw man out of it, and then had a ball arguing with yourself.

    My specific critique of this video, is that it serves no purpose, and actually harms the anti-cruelty movement. You took pot shots at fur wearers, and your readership piled on. _You_ may have thought out your patterns of consumption and utilization, but have they? Are you helping them to do so with this video?

    I will appologize for one thing, I have read further, and you do have a balanced amount of information regarding food production on your site (the site I found you from had cherry picked your fur posts). I disagree with some of the conclusions, but I admire the fact that you have looked at all of agribusiness, and not just the fashion industry.

    On your broad point of animal rights – You are right, we do have a difference of opinion, I knew that before commenting, and to reduce my input to that simplistic difference ignores the ways in which you are framing and reducing the argument yourself. For instance, you anthropomorphize animals, and then assert that they have inalienable rights to life and freedom, completely ignoring that they kill and eat each other. What is different about the way that humans take part in this process?

    I would argue that the difference is in the way we have industrialized the process, completely divorcing humans from their own food production. And yes, I firmly believe that if a person is going to eat meat, they should have to look in to the eyes of an animal as they kill it, at least once in their lives. More importantly, they should have to witness first hand the industrial production of their food as it is currently carried out.

    You have taken an absolutist approach to animal rights that I can find nowhere supported in nature. Our food industry is broken. That does not mean that all forms of meat consumption are intrinsically unnatural. And yes, if you are arguing that animals have natural rights, then you _are_ arguing that meat consumption, in all forms, in unnatural. Please follow that line of reasoning to its conclusion.

  29. Dustin Rhodes says:

    Dear Chuck,

    Humans CAN CHOOSE WHAT WE EAT. Unlike other animals, we do not need to commodify and consume other beings. It’s a choice. Other animals kill and eat other animals because they have to in order to survive. Plain and simple.

    The argument that humans must look to other animals to justify our own proclivities is stale and reductionist. With climate change, massive extinction, human population overgrowth (among many other problems), we need to quit wasting time attempting to justify habit and tradition, and see animal agribusiness for the polluting, cruel, unnecessary, violent and avoidable mess that it is. In our modern world, “natural” is almost a meaningless term. Veganism is about embracing values that benefit humans, other animals and the planet itself.

  30. Chuck says:

    OK, this is sort of circular. I never meant to get in to a philosophical discussion, because I knew already that we have a difference of opinion. If you’d like to have that argument, I guess we can do so. From my perspective, animal rights advocates have never articulated a reasonable argument supporting intrinsic rights for animals. Certainly you haven’t here. There are lots of great reasons for humans to cut down or cut out their meat consumption. THe intrinsic rights of animals are not one of those reasons.

    For the record, I don’t disagree with anti-cruelty objectives. That is the issue I originally posted about, and that you haven’t addressed. I believe that your video does more harm than good, by allowing the majority of animal rights advocates, who care about the fur they dont wear a lot more than the Nikes they do, to justify that position. I’m not sure why you aren’t interested in discussing this.

    • Chuck, I appreciate the carefulness of your words. Before I indulge your questions about the video, I have to address your question about wild animals killing for survival.
      As we both know – ‘rights’ exist within the context and framework of our civilization and fluctuate across differing cultures. Civilization is not inherent, permanent, or even stagnant (though it’s aim is often stasis on an ever-fluxing, living planet – a dysfunctional relationship, at the very least ). Concrete and steel are the most literal symbols of this. On the other hand, the ‘wild’ exists in a very different realm from ‘rights’- a realm that this culture tends to view with fear, hatred, and opposition because we have yet to fully control it, aka pave it over, aka destroy it. Rights have always been subjective. There are no “intrinsic” rights per se – but there is intrinsic value in each ‘subject of perception’, as David Abram refers to every plant and animal.

      So now we have this constructed society with our allocated “rights” and we arrive at a confusing intersection when certain sentient beings whose ability to participate (or withdraw) in certain activities do not fit into this participatory framework: they are reduced to “units of production”.

      That being said, you will not find many animal rights activists who think that animals killing each other for survival is wrong. We are not delusional puritans attempting to re-create some Garden of Eden scenario. So, what exactly do we have the power to do here? We have the power to give non-human animals ‘rights’ within the walls of our civilization ( for it is civilization that has brought us factory farms, vivisection labs, and so on.). The Animal Rights argument also exists within that framework of civilization.
      Attempting to criminalize or moralize animals killing each other in the wild would be a breach of that framework and useless, if not detrimental.

      As for the video – Justify what position? You’re not very clear here. Humor has always been a lubricant for social and political issues. I do know some people are offended by sarcasm (you may be one of them?). People like to laugh, and I simply made some comic space for the filing of grievances. All comedy is rooted in grievance, after all. “The fur they don’t wear” is a continual perpetuation of an industry responsible for some of the most vain, cruel, and unnecessary killing of animals. Also, why do you assume AR people wear Nikes? They are notorious sweatshop users.

      Congrats if you read this whole thing! It’s after 1am and I am a bit loopy!

  31. Chuck says:

    Whups, just saw that last is from Dustin, and not Joshua. That’s what I get for posting from work.

    Sorry again Joshua, for attributing that to you.

    To Dustin, I didn’t address your points, because they would have been an non-sequitor or red herring coming from Joshua, so here:

    A Human’s choice in food options in no way constitutes intrinsic animal rights (although those choices obligate us in other ways, since the choice to eat less or no meat has many impacts on our health and environment). What it does not do, is obligate us morally vis-a-vis the animal’s rights. If it did, then a starving person would still have a moral obligation to forgo meat if offered it. IN other words, eating meat either _is_ a violation of the aminal, or it _isn’t_. And since “other animals” kill and eat each other, “to survive,” then I believe that is isn’t an intrinsic violation. I do believe that there are many many other moral reasons to cut down or cut out meat from our diet, and to minimize the cruelty to animals inherrant in the food production process.

    I _don’t_ look to animals to justify human proclivities. My point is that Animal Rights proponents are doing exactly that, when attempting to establish intrinsic rights for animals. To the rest of your point, I agree completely. You’re preaching to the converted.

  32. Dustin Rhodes says:

    What is meant by animal rights?

    Every conscious being has interests that should be respected. No being who is conscious of being alive should be devalued to thinghood, dominated, used as a resource or a commodity. The crux of the idea known as animal rights is a movement to extend moral consideration to all conscious beings.

    Nobody should have to demonstrate a specific level of intelligence to be accorded moral consideration. No one should have to be judged beautiful to be accorded moral consideration. No being should have to be useful to humanity or capable of accepting “duties” in order to be extended moral consideration. Indeed, what other animals need from us is being free from duties to us.
    How is this different from animal welfare?

    Traditionally, charities have worked on reducing the suffering of other animals that occurs when they are thought of as lesser beings who can and should be controlled.

    There will always be suffering as long as any group is defined as available to be dominated and controlled. The nonhuman rights advocate does not dismiss people’s concerns about suffering. Those concerns are valid. But the concept of animal rights involved working at the root cause of the problem.

    Regulating the methods of exploitation is unlikely to significantly improve the status of nonhuman animals. Indeed, by passing laws to regulate the way in which individuals are exploited, we harden into law the concept that humans have the right to use other conscious individuals as tools for research, as entertainment, as food, as so on.

    So the rights advocate asks that we relinquish the idea that other animals can be bought, sold, and treated as things. This is not the same thing as asking for better treatment; the rights advocate demands something infinitely more valuable — freedom.
    Is this practical?

    Yes. In an important way, the idea of animal rights is more practical than seeking welfare reforms.

    Monitoring the welfare of owned animals is, in the overwhelming number of situations, simply not possible. As corporations and government-sponsored uses continue to proliferate, the situation spins ever further out of control, with uses in which welfare just seems to be a quaint idea, not at all connected with reality. Think of cloning, or birds engineered so they cannot support their own body weight, over sheep that suffocate under the pressure of their wool in the weather; “animal welfare” for such individuals rings hollow.

    On the other hand, a view of other animals that respects their interests is something within the reach of each consumer.

    When we stop eating and drinking products derived from other animals, when we stop going to circuses, decline to breed or buy dogs and cats, we are carrying out this idea and that is entirely within our power, in a way that regulating nonhuman welfare in a corporate setting can never be.

    So rights advocates ask openly for what they really want. One at a time, as more and more people decide to do the same, respect for all conscious animals — regardless of how they happen to be classified or named — will be achievable.

  33. Chuck says:

    Dustin, a lot of your post is very non-specific. Your central argument seems to be that regulation of welfare is not effective. I completely disagree. We regulate welfare all of the time, be it for land, animals, the elderly, or children. It is infinitely more likely that we will achieve an animal welfare system before we achieve animal equality. Mainly because animal liberation and animal welfare are completely separate issues. We have animal welfare laws that apply to wild animals right now.

    Children are a good example as well. We cannot buy and sell them, but we still must regulate their welfare, and we do so.

    Giving up on animal welfare just because our system is woefully ineffective right now and our standards of welfare inaccurate, is defeatist.

    Separately, if you believe in animal liberation, then that ideal should not hinge on cruelty. A well treated slave is no less a slave, so then, a well treated captive animal is still a captive. I do not subscribe to this line of thinking, but watching you conflate welfare with freedom is hard to stomach.

    You need a clearly articulated argument for this liberation you believe in.

  34. Becci says:

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I hope you do another one!!

  35. Chloe says:

    Chuck you are simply on cloud coocoo if you think eating meat is synonymous with being an advocate for animals. Slaughter is innately violent. Participating in it on ANY level is participating in murder. It is simply not crucial to eat meat to survive, and therefore your arguments are all rationalized fluff.

  36. Christina says:

    Great segment Josh, you are a brilliant and dignified man, while those fur wearing hags looked and sounded incredibly ignorant (“I just assume it grows its hair back and it’s all OK at the end of the situation…” – woman with fur hat.) wow, how uninformed can you be?
    I first saw this entertaining segment posted by a friend on Facebook, it caught my eye then and now found your page as I was innocently perusing PETA. So I’m bookmarking it so I can follow your adventures! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  37. JP says:

    Hilarious video. I can’t believe how much fur there is this winter and this fashion week. I’m a new reader and your blog is wonderful! Keep bloggin!

  38. melissa says:

    wow that was really good. i would not be able to keep my composure. i admire you.

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