Some people just know how to make meat look good.
Are you one of them? This might be your week. The New York Times is having an essay contest.
I love it. I love that the question has made it to the mainstream press, and that they are reaching out. I’m very curious to see what might come by in the way of answers, too. Because I think it is unethical.
And I’m more than open to being wrong on this one. I cannot see for one second how eating meat is ethical, but I’m all eyes on whatever people submit. Most of the time, there are blinders on me somewhere. It’s just a matter of me eventually stumbling onto them. (Straighten me out in the comments, please. I will listen.)
I love it. It is time meat eaters had their say. Time for us vegans to shut up for a minute…because that is what we are often told to do. Most especially, oddly enough, in the yoga community, I never speak of my dirty little vegan habit unless asked, ever, and I often get told to keep quiet about it.
(And by “never, ever,” I mean, of course, never, ever, except when I do. When someone writes about their diet on a public forum, they are open season. Like me right now. Elephant’s own Jamie Ginsberg sometimes writes posts like this one, and I love to fight him in the comments, tooth and claw. He’s a good sport about it. We are facebook friends, and that’s almost like being friends, right? But other than that, never, ever.)
Last Tuesday Bryan Kest on his facebook page from out of the clear blue sky told any vegan “who considers eating meat unethical” to STFU, and mind their own business. His solution, if you want to be ethical regarding veganism, is to “be the best you can be and if you achieve something amazing others will be inspired by you.”
Really? Wouldn’t simple discourse be quicker? This solution from a guy who is not afraid of talking, usually. A teacher I love. I imagine his proposed fix is about as effective as buying a house through listening to slam poetry. You tell me, am I missing something?
For me, the point is that Bryan is a smart guy and a good teacher. He has the right to talk, he was vegetarian for eight years. If he is telling us to STFU, something is off here. As Waylon just said in his flamer post:
Vegans have a PR problem, and the problem is…vegans.
Why should vegans shut up? Well, we get preachy, and we are so easily wound up regarding the subject. Someone once told us some things which are true. These are called facts. They changed our lives. We are simply gagging to let you in on them. It’s a drag for everybody. We think that there is no possible way a person can be both aware and an eat meater.
So when meaters say, “Yeah, I saw “Earthlings.”
Vegans are like, “Were you there, when you saw it?”
Seeing that flick and then eating meat is, to us, like watching the Matrix and missing that part about being plugged into a fake scenario…if a metaphor of that reach is what I need right now. Even the keyboard tastes like chicken. This is not a pretty mix.
For vegans, meater = unaware = deliberately in denial or worse, intentionally obtuse.
The two sides are drawn to each other like Simon and Jayne in Firefly. Add a yoga mat to that mix, and you know it’s gonna get weird in a New York second.
Vegans are up-close-and-personal, confronted by something new on the planet—industrial meat production. It provides almost all of our meat. Seriously. It is 115 kinds of gross, even if you are perfectly fine with the whole killing thing.
Studying it, looking into it, makes you utterly cool with never ever touching that shit, and mildly amazed that people can, in such a, well, bovine fashion, chew away at it. It is poleaxing. And it is a redundantly horrifying process, compounded exponentially the more you explore. It is the black hole of grossness. There exists a really great chance that in time, the vegans will be proved to have been completely right. The shit going down is bleak.
Though I could be wrong.
Don’t believe me? Got an hour? Here is the top #1 awesome killer vegan talk. One hour. It hits it out of the park, even covering dairy quite well. Gary says stuff here that you cannot argue with. Because he is on the other side of your screen.
Dairy is the invisible part of vegetarianism: Gary nailed it, and Harvard is onto it.
The facts are headed more and more in the vegan direction, just in health and sustainability. But the ethics is the real zinger, isn’t it?
Why should vegans be allowed to speak?
Well, if you live in the USA, we are subsidizing your steak, and that’s not fair. Our point of view allows for a way more sustainable planet. We never, never get thanked, only derided, for being arguably the more progressive thinkers and creating the more gentle footprint, every day, three meals a day. And we (almost all of us) once ate just like you.
Why should vegans STFU?
Because it isn’t working. What we probably need to do more than anything, is listen. Because probably, the only way to open the door we are banging against is to sit down and allow room for the other party to first, be heard, and second, be heard some more, and then finally, open it themselves. We can smart them out by taking in their perspective, really taking it in, assimilating it, with the same open-mindedness that we wish for them, and then sharing openly where we are at, leaving the judgement and bile for people like that crooked cop on that movie you saw.
It does not work to hit meaters with a fact hammer. I think we would do well to cultivate awareness of the good part of being vegan. The delicious cheap food readily available. I made carrot ginger soup three times this week for myself and friends. We do best to be (mildly) enthused about discovering delicious alternatives and celebrating them. We do need to let people know meat production today is genuine evil on the planet, but we must first constitute ourselves as one worth listening to. That is the work. We need to get out of the way, as veganism begins to be possible for more and more people. Because it is happening. Because plant-based diets are sexy.
Because sex is sexy. Don’t you think? Because it is sexy to discover tastes you once did not know. (Do you realize most meaters think that a vegan diet is a constant parade of salads? They do. It isn’t.) Because what we are doing now is not working. Because the animals deserve better than intelligent loving people shouting at each other.
So let’s turn down the bile and pump up the sex. Do it for love.
Editor: Brianna Bemel