Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm So Hungry I Could Eat A Horse

If it wasn't for the sheer tastiness of aged cheddar, steak, yogurt, honey, ribs, poutine, sushi, shui mai, goat cheese, pork chops, lasagna, calamari, milk chocolate, and Kraft Dinner (what? It's delicious), I could totally be a vegan.

But, seeing as how I enjoy eating all those things, I really don't think veganism is in the cards. Now, I'm not like my friend Dan, who eats one vegetable (peas) and otherwise survives on pepperoni pizza, pepperettes, potatoes, and pasta. It's actually just dawned on me that Dan might be playing an elaborate joke on the rest of us by claiming not to eat vegetables. The truth is, he doesn't eat foods that don't being with the letter P. Huh. Tricky, Dan! Very tricky! I'll bring you a plum or a pear and test my theory.

Okay, enough of that sidebar; back to the vegans. I am all for harm reduction and conscious eating. This is the same reason I don't eat cat-kebabs: I'm conscious of the fact that it's gross. By the same token, so is pea soup. And Clamato. See? It's possible to say, "I choose not to eat things based on the fact that I think they're yucky, and not as some part of some elaborate lecture to the rest of you." It's easy. If someone made me pea soup, however, I would eat it. I'm polite. If someone made me a cat-kebab, I would...question my relationship with that person. But I think my point has been made.

Vegan feels like a scold and a fad. It seems to be one of those early-twenties tricks that the whole going-to-India demographic pulls, like, you know, going to India or wwoofing. Snore. I prefer to have my self-consciousness raised in a way that doesn't insult the hostess as I systematically reject the entire dinner-party menu. "Is there butter in that? Because I can't really eat butter and HYUCK!," that last part being where I use my fighting skills to render them incapable of speech and further douchebaggery. (Special move? Spatula attack.)

Vegans: you can, in fact, eat butter. You can also eat sushi, and pork chops, and delicious Kraft Dinner. You choose not to. So when someone is cooking for you, don't be a prick. Eat the damned soup, even if it's made with chicken broth. Will you die if you eat an egg? If you won't up and die, just eat the damn egg. Stop telling me how good Fresh is (it's not, seriously). Knock it off with the lectures about reducing impact and footprints as you jangle your car keys at me. Or, worse, wave your Air India boarding pass in my face. I hate hypocrisy, especially coupled with the earnest humorlessness that hippies, wwoofers, and vegans often specialize in.

I'm not going to feed you cheese or honey or chicken breast. In fact, I'm not going to feed you at all. It stresses me out too much to be that focused on food. Vegans are often hospitable and lovely to be around, but seriously, dudes, I can't have The Vegan Talk anymore. So let's just call it a day with that, okay? Fellas? Ladies? No more talking about Nayonaise or factory farms. Let's keep the kitchen out of the living room from now on.


  1. I think veganism often circulates on a kind of a paradox. On the one hand, it is treated as absolute value, and we have to apologize publicly (like a modified catholic confession) for a slip. On the other hand, it is treated as absolutely personal choice, and its considered rude to push one's "vegan" values on others when unsolicited. In this sense veganism is exactly a kind of liberally acceptable fundamentalist religion - private, but absolute.

    But it is exactly this sense of veganism which seems completely useless politically and rude socially. Rather, if there is any point in veganism, it's not the activity of not-eating meat, but the role that this activity might play in pushing for animal welfare or animal rights. Becoming completely obsessed with what we as individuals independently of how that impacts on the wider social/moral sphere is exactly to fall prey to those tendencies in late capitalism towards individuation, de-politicization, mistrust and ennui of institutions, the destruction of community, etc...

    Rather than keeping the kitchen out of the living room, I think the movement away from vegan "fundamentalism" means they should eat meat, for the same reasons as: "If someone made me pea soup, however, I would eat it." Only by embracing hypocrisy as the situation we all find ourselves in, and not taking any values as absolute, can we properly de-Christianize ethical choices.

  2. And vegan farts smell like death. You forgot to mention that.

  3. That's true. Too many beans = bad news bears.

  4. Hey! Cool article! And I like a lot of things that don't start with P, lol.