Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stop Your Yapping and Eat...a.k.a. Why New Vegans Annoy Me

So it's not often that I bother to post unless I have a recipe to share, but I'm exceedingly irritated right now.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm on my third cup of coffee....or that Mike has been banging out some good, hard beats on the turntables for the last hour....but whatever it is, I'm feeling the need to metaphorically punch someone in the face via a little rant on the internet.

So I don't just blog my own adventures in veganism, I also read the blogs of others for various reasons - new ideas, supporting other writers who are also lovers of this Earth's furry, feathered, and scaly creatures, and also maybe to try to feel some sense of community with other vegans, since I don't really have much contact with any in real life.  I was reading a blog today that shall remain nameless, and I realized something....."new" vegans annoy the hell out of me.  Not because they seem entrenched in using processed fake cheeses (although I swear, if I read one more blog post that tells me to use Daiya shreds as a main ingredient in a recipe I'm going to punch my computer) but because they're, on the whole, a bunch of self-righteous, narcissistic jerks.  Or at least that's how they come across on the internet.
The blog in question isn't written by one person, but accepts post submissions from anyone who registers with them.  The posts that get the most votes are featured on their site, and judging by the blogger profiles, most of these vegan writers have only been living the lifestyle for a year or so.  I originally signed up hoping to get some exposure for my own writing since I only have 7 followers and one of those is my mom (hi, mom!) and I really wish my love of food could reach a wider audience.  I ended up never submitting because once you submit a post to the site, they essentially own it.  Screw that.  I work HARD in my kitchen coming up with delicious creations and I'll be damned if someone else is going to claim ownership of that.  I readily share my recipes with anyone and everyone, but something about that didn't feel right.  So anyhow, I read this blog and most of the posts really, really irritate me.  Most of the recipes are terrible, relying heavily on "substitution" foods marketed directly at vegans, and there's a lot of "how to be vegan" or "what do you eat as a vegan" posts, which would be great if they were actually informative, but there's usually no "meat" to the articles (if you'll pardon the expression).  It's just someone blahblahblah-ing on for a few paragraphs about how awesome it is to be vegan without actually giving a new veg or veg-curious reader any substantial info on how to make those changes.  One of the "how to be vegan" posts even recommended "flexitarianism" as a method of going vegan without making the commitment.  I'll get into my beef (haha, there's another one) with that particular term in more depth another time I'm sure, but suffice to say at the moment that it pisses me off because it's not even a real thing.  Eating meat some of the time is just called being omnivorous, which ALL humans are.  Anyone who is so desperate to be different that they need to assign some BS, meaningless label to themselves so they can give themselves a nice pat on the back for how progressive and forward-thinking they are is just sad.  Veg*nism isn't about being "cool."  It's about living peacefully and with love for ourselves, each other, non-human living creatures, and this planet that we were entrusted with.
But enough about labels.  What set me off today was reading a blog post entitled "How to Talk to Non-Vegans" and, as you can imagine, it went on to talk about how (imagine me putting a hand to my forehead and speaking in my best damsel-in-distress voice here) vegans are sooooo persecuted by society at large.  The whole blog was about how all those mean and cranky meat eaters would say nasty things to you because you don't eat meat, and how you should counteract that by telling them why eating meat is so very, very bad.  Ok, well first of all, if you're going to be the kind of dickish vegan who sits next to someone eating a steak and starts telling them what a horrible person they are for eating it, you deserve whatever nasty comments you get back.  No one wants to hear crap about factory farms and downed cattle and migrant workers and fields full of animals walking around in their own poo while they're trying to enjoy a decent meal.  Second of all, where the heck are all these militant omnivores who are going around flinging horrible insults at nice little vegans and making them go home and cry into bowls of tofu?  I've been vegan for nearly eight years now and the responses I've gotten from family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers about my dietary choices have been overwhelmingly positive.  And bear in mind, it's not because I come from some hippie commune where we all eat nuts and berries and sit around singing Kumbaya all day long.  No one in my family is vegan (although my brother and sister-in-law had a short stint as ovo-lactos before starting to eat fish again), I've never dated a vegan, and I've had ONE vegan friend in real life and he went off somewhere out west to be a skydiving instructor and I never heard from him again.  I'm surrounded by lovers of good steaks, burgers, fried chicken and the like, and yet almost no one in the last 8 years of living vegan has had anything to say that even borders on the hateful attitudes that supposedly the world has against us.  The reactions I get range from bored indifference, to genuine interest, to actual admiration for being someone who takes a stand for what I believe in.  My friends and family are always more than willing to try my cooking (which is great because I basically show my love through feeding people) and are great about making sure there is something I can eat at gatherings (on the rare occasion that I don't bring ridiculous amounts of food with me to share, that is).  Then again, maybe I'm not your average vegan, in that I don't go around berating other people about their food choices either.  You want to eat a steak next to me?  Go right ahead; just don't ask me to take a bite.  Everyone is entitled to their own choices in life, and everyone has to be okay with their own set of morals.  If someone asks me why I don't eat meat, sure, I'll tell them, but I counter that with saying that I do it because I feel that I want to live peacefully....and part of that is accepting that others are not necessarily going to think or live like I do....and that's okay.

So I know this is getting long, and I definitely apologize (not like many are going to read it anyway), but I guess my point is this: if you're going to be a vegan, do it for the right reasons - filling your body and your life with love and peace and compassion - not to give you something to self-righteously bitch about on the internet.  And then accept that maybe....just maybe....the world at large isn't terribly interested with what you are or aren't putting in your mouth.  Live the best way you know how, accept that others are trying to do the same, and the next time you feel like you're going to talk about how unfair the world is for us poor, persecuted little vegans...shove a vegan chocolate chip cookie in your mouth instead and shut the hell up.  You'll feel better for it.

The Fur Ninja

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