Smarting out the Eat Meaters.

Via Karl Saliter
on Mar 26, 2012
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Photo: YouTube

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.

“Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat.”

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.)

Photo: YouTube

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:

“10 Reasons why I’m Vegan and You’re Wrong.”

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.

Photo: Soulful Vegetarian

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.

Photo: YouTube

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


About Karl Saliter

Karl is a circus artist sculptor writer miscreant gypsy, living in Mexico. He has written two novels, "Compassion's Bitch," and "Breakfast In A Cloud," and has published neither. He often feels as if he was born under a silver whale of a frisbee moon in the back of a red cartoon pickup truck. That careening down route 66 at speed, he leapt up into the cab, took the wheel, stuck his baby elbow out the rolled-down window, and that though the truck had awesome chrome mirrors, he never looked back. He hopes you frequently feel the same.


10 Responses to “Smarting out the Eat Meaters.”

  1. ValCarruthers says:

    This man is on fire!

    About those ads: Khloe Khardashian's PETA anti-fur photo makes sense, it's in context. With Alicia Silverstone—It's great that she is willing to stand up, er, lie down for her beliefs. But having to resort to the ole nude shot ("tastefully done") to sell the world on going vegetarian/vegan makes me wonder: What's wrong with this picture? Or was she attempting to point to some inherent aubsurdity?

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
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  2. Eli says:

    I disagree with nothing Gary says. The cruel and horrific torture pressed upon fellow creatures by the meat & dairy industry is deeply disturbing, and I believe it to be wrong.

    To add to this conversation, I would like to ask: Where is the "local" piece to this puzzle? How sustainable- and kind- is it to ship massive quantities of ANY food source (animal or vegetable) far from its source? What of the impact of the soybean and corn industry on our planet and ecosystems? What of the human trafficking and abuses perpetuated not only by the existence of the meat industry, but by the massive agricultural systems at large (remember boycotting the tomato industry to help increase penny-per-pound wages?)

  3. karlsaliter says:

    I am with you on this Val, and I wonder how much of her approach to the project is tongue-in-cheek. For effectiveness, the photo seems to be a home run.

    "That cow on your plate probably got de-horned without pain reliever, and frequently beaten for doing things like saying "moo."
    doesn't work. It is a true statement, but it provokes defiance, and often, for some reason, mild hostility.

    "This beautiful naked woman does not eat meat. She thinks it is bad." works a charm. It provokes "Hey, I kind of think eating meat is bad, too."

    We are less creatures of intellect and more feeling things. Perhaps more importantly, though, we are products of our environment.

    How we approach this puzzle as vegans matters because people cannot help but sail with the prevailing winds. Right now, there is a mild shift in awareness, some opening of the door toward plant-based eating.

    My hope is that the herbivores among us bow people through the door. We are in danger of blocking it.

  4. maru says:

    It is a fact that animals are killed by the BILLIONS by the meat and dairy industry, and when we dare to question the system, the society or the individual that supports this we suddenly become the freaks! How does this work, please somebody explain this to me. Are these people higher beings, untouchable or immune to criticism, superior or wtf?

    The common answer/defense mechanism is to say they are entitled to eat whatever they want, that is a personal choice. Maybe true, they can eat cardboard or concrete or anything as far as I am concerned, that is not the point! This is a case of ANIMAL ABUSE, is not a contest for who has most popular diet.

    While talking to Karl a few days ago, we came to the realization that while, truthfully, all these 'brilliant minds' (either vegans, meat eaters and/or illuminated beings) keep on arguing these animals are still day in day out toughing it out until the day they will be murdered… that is their reality. and they deserve better. Can we as the most evolved part of creation do something about it instead of arguing?

  5. karlsaliter says:

    I know better than to argue with that!
    That is the heart of what moves most vegans, I think, to speak out, welcome or not.
    It is identifying with the 24/7 suffering these animals go through to be a main course someday.

    This is the quintessence of bullying, to anyone who looks squarely at it.

  6. Andréa Balt says:

    Great "thought for food" as always. I agree – we need to listen. I'll check out the 1-hour talk more in depth later. I'm keeping "meater". So meaters are now the new omnivores? I don't want to laugh out loud in case someone, as judgmental "meater" as a "psycho vegan" calls the police on me.

    Posted to "Featured Today" on elephant culture.

    Andréa Balt, editor elephant culture.
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  7. suri_k says:

    just wanted to clarify … fitoestrogens in soy milkand soy products also make estrogen sensitive tumours to grow larger..even though they are natural the(hormonal) effect in the body is the same .

  8. Rain Winchester says:

    This is the whole argument in a nut shell:
    Omnivore: (IE every human being): I give less of a shit about your argument than i do for animal cruelty.
    Animals: I have no idea whats going on because i have no comprehension of morals or higher brain functions.
    And this is my take:
    If you think you can fundamentally change someones eating habits over the course of a conversation then you, sir, are completely naive and annoying to boot. The simple fact of the matter is that humans have, and will continue to eat products of animals since the origins of the species. Some monkeys will even kill and eat other monkey species. Whether you like it or not our bodies are evolutionarily designed to digest and extract nutrients from meat and dairy. Our bodies are NOT however designed to get all the nutrients it needs from a strictly vegan diet because nutrients such as Vitamin B-12 are only found in animal foods. This is simple evolutionary science. If you deny it you obviously have no comprehension of evolution. Add that to the fact that many "newbie" vegans are unhealthy because of improperly balanced nutrition (which is exceedingly difficult to nail down because every body needs different levels of nutrients to function optimally) and absent supplementation by vitamins and you have a damn good reason not to be a vegan.
    I have no qualms with vegans, in fact i got here from a vegan friend of mines post on FB, known plenty of em, never had a problem with em. But that's because they never tried to convince me i was wrong. Its that moment when you forget to look at the other side of the equation (the other person) and think that maybe they have a reason for the way they are. Thinking your right is the first and only step toward conflict and ignorance. Base your opinion on scientific fact however and then you'll start to win some battles. And as always…. Don't get emotionally involved in the argument.