Yes, I watched your video and yes I’m going to talk about it.
I admit, I saw the title and I felt dread. Oh God, what is she going to say? What more bad-press for veganism is going to be drummed up this week? Then, I watched and... my lord, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Why? Because you use nearly every argument that a meat-eater should never use in a debate against veganism.
And not because they're “rude” or “offensive”, but because they make you look really ignorant. And a little psychopathic. There are genuinely thought-provoking anti-vegan arguments out there, trust me, I've heard them.
There are none in here.
When people act the way you do in this video, (which I know is just for views and attention) pretending to have zero compassion, you look, yeah, a bit psychopathic. I believe, Nicole, that you do have feelings, you do have compassion, and if you were watching a dog getting beaten to death in the street, I think you would do something. Or… feel something.
Let me explain. You begin the video by making animal noises of “the most delicious animals”.
Great start. I can tell this is going to be full of intellectually complex, scientific, logic-driven discussion. Here’s a
reality check: most vegans (and I say “most” because I would never, unlike you, attempt to speak for an entire, complex collective of people), do NOT make the argument that meat isn’t tasty. Of course meat is fucking tasty. We aren’t aliens without taste-buds. We just happen to think that there are more important things (and quickly realise vegan food is fucking amazing). Like the future of the planet? Like the value of life being more important than a moment of pleasure? Maybe the most delicious food in the world is actually baby hearts… dipped in your best friend’s fresh tears. You aren’t going to start having that for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day ‘cause ‘it’s your right’. Are you? Delicious doesn't equal right. Fuck that shit.
Your next point is one of my personal FAVOURITES. “I eat meat because I’m an animal too and they would all eat us if we weren't eating them".
Here’s a fun head scratcher for you – humans are meant to be smarter, more evolved, more forward thinking, more intellectual than other animals. Right? That’s what makes us better, that’s what makes us humans and not lions or tigers or cows or pigs or giraffes or snails or bees.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about this thing of protecting the weak and not taking advantage of weaker beings just because we can? It's kind of a thing, yes a relatively new thing, I grant you. The reason veganism is growing by the day, is because more and more people are realising this. They are thinking that we shouldn’t just kill and beat and enslave living beings just because we can. And, hey, lightbulb – NO OTHER ANIMALS DO THAT.
Other animals do not enslave their food and fatten it up with hormones and force it to grow at twice the rate it's meant to naturally and only eat its breasts covered in barbecue sauce and throw away the rest.
You get me? You get what I’m saying? I'm trying very hard to stay calm and not play into any "angry vegan" stereotype. But the truth is Nicole, you have made it hard. Very hard. Even worse – I know that’s what you want! You want me to get angry and write this post and get you more attention. The only reason I am bending to your will, is because we need intelligent, logical vegan voices out there undoing the damage your video will do.
Do you not understand that we are in a desperate time? (Obviously not) That our planet is dying? That tens of billions of animals are being slaughtered every year so humans can have KFC and discounted chicken thighs and jam donuts and chocolate milkshakes and sushi and fucking Starbucks lattes? These opinions you splurge out of your attractive gob are doing SO much damage. Because they are WRONG. If you want to keep eating meat – fine, go for it, but do NOT, do NOT spread these lies and ignorant ideas of what vegans are like or what they represent.
There are annoying people in every group, I know. There are annoying vegans who go around pushing their opinions on others and I hate them way more than you do. They are a detriment to an important cause and I hate that. But do not paint us all with the same brush. Do not. Just as I am not going to go around saying that all blondes with great boobs are attention seeking. Or, that all meat-eaters are as uninformed as you just made them out to be.
My meat-eating friends would HATE this video. You make all meat eaters sound like they disrespect vegans and find them annoying. I can tell you, AS a vegan, my meat-eating friends love that I’m vegan. They respect it and understand it. It broadens their culinary horizons; they come over for dinner and we have intellectual, intelligent debates. There really are genuine arguments against veganism – like, hens in the backyards, what does a vegan world look like, etc, and you do not raise a SINGLE one of them. Not a single intelligent point.
What were your points again?
This is quite interesting coming from you - Nicole Arbour. One of the most universally annoying and disliked personalities on the internet. I do not want to speak badly of anyone and I'm trying to use my words carefully, but this is a fact. I honestly believe that a hate-video from you is the biggest endorsement vegans could ask for. If Nicole Arbour is anti-vegan – stick me in the vegan camp please.
This is just pure wank.
I'm sure some assholes do. Ignore them. Some men think they’re superior to women. Ignore them too.
Just – open a science book. Please. Here is just one article you can read "Humans are Meathooked, but Not Designed for Meat Eating".
I disagree with this. You know why? Because I am proud that I was able to question what I was told my entire life. Since birth I was told that eating meat was normal, healthy and expected. It’s hard to go against the grain. It’s hard to question your parents, your friends, your very existence. Anyone who CHANGES THEIR MIND and changes their life for the better should be proud. Anyone.
You do some kind of weird back-track at the end, along the lines of: “eat whatever you want, just don’t be annoying” which is confusing. It suggests you don’t really believe any of the anti-vegan crap you've said and are just saying "don't be annoying". (Alongside gaining views and controversy)
I know there are annoying vegans out there and I’m sorry. I really am. To anyone who has had a shitty conversation with a vegan, felt judged by a vegan for eating lunch, felt attached for doing what you’ve done your whole life, I’m truly sorry. That isn’t cool and should never happen. Most cool, normal, nice, logical people out there, who just happen to be vegan, would not subscribe to this behaviour. At all.
Veganism is NOT my religion. It’s a damn important movement that is trying to make the world a better place, with no factory farms, less unnecessary death, less methane gas destroying our world and better health for all those people out there who are eating bacon for breakfast, chicken for lunch and steak for dinner. There is a middle ground people – and it’s us all getting along, some vegan, some veggie, some meat-eaters, but less animal cruelty. An end to factory farming. A sustainable way forward that doesn’t rape our planet.
I could literally go all day on this, I have to stop. That will do. My fingers hurt.
As a final word - please don't paint all vegans this way. Just as we should not say that all muslims are terrorists, all feminists hate men or all atheists hate religion. It's just wrong and ignorant to paint a massive collective of people with one brush.
I'm not stupid. I understand that Nicole calls herself a 'comedian' and any day now will release some shitty press statement that one of her best friends is vegan and she doesn't hate all vegans, blah blah. But it's not about that. This isn't about YOU, Nicole. It's about creating a world that UNDERSTANDS why veganism matters. Why animals matter. Why the circle of life (which ironically, a lot of meat-eaters use in argument) matters.
We are trying to save the damn world. Even Miley Cyrus gets it!
As you can see I'm intentionally not linking to the video. You can find it if you so wish.....
This was my first time at Mary & Archie, despite living super close. My partner and I were looking for somewhere to have a kick-ass Sunday breakfast and not having much luck at all.
Any Mancunian would assume Chorlton is haven for vegan food .... Sadly not the case. There is Tea Hive (which is great if you want mushrooms on toast) and an ENTIRE vegan grocery store, which is the best place on earth, but Chorlton isn't a spot with a wealth of vegan food options. (Which is okay by the way! I ain't the entitled type.)
We were walking past Mary & Archie and it looks gorgeous from the outside. I'm Australian, so anything with a great-looking coffee machine, big open doors, outdoor seating and fresh flowers on the tables is going to take my fancy. Once we sat down and got a glass of water, I felt I could close my eyes and pretend I was home in Brisbane... it had the same feel and vibe of a curb-side Aussie cafe. And I love that. (The weather is even nice today!)
We grabbed a menu and, as expected, there was no vegan breakfast (not shocked. Ever.) We approached the counter like naughty children to ask if we could be the Annoying, Menu-Changing People and the staff were fab. "Yeah, change what you want!" "Vegan? Totally fine."
THANK YOU. I guess we are in Chorlton. We can't be the first ones.
We sat down at a lovely table, right by the open doors and were served pretty much immediately. All the staff were ace - warm, friendly, didn't treat us like vegan-aliens. She jotted down our breakfast amendments and then, tragically informed me that they don't have soy milk. Only almond and coconut.
This is growing more and more common and it devastates me. I inquired why and she said they are just trying it out, seeing what sells best. Totally understandable - business need to be good businesses and stock what sells.
But I have gone to more and more places lately that are not serving soy milk and I fear it's a response to the fear-mongering around soy, which has been largely proven to be baloney.
There is a LOT of negative press around soy (though it has eased off in the last year or so) and I certainly took the time to do my research to see if there was something in it.
Is soy actually bad for us? To save you time and energy and me typing for ever and ever, here is an awesome video from Unnatural Vegan on YouTube that is great watching, and very well researched.
All I would say to cafes is - please don't shun soy for any health reasons. I WELCOME any comments on this post or on my Facebook page if you have new information to share - I am always eager to learn and I keep an open mind. But, from my previous exhaustive research and drinking soy every day for the last five years and feeling absolutely ace (not to mention my partner's 33-year-long soy consumption without sprouting boobs) I don't believe there is anything to fear. Science has done it's thing and they haven't found anything scary.
So, aside from my not-soy latte (which is not Mary & Archie's fault. As I am one of the only vegans in the world who don't worship almond milk) our experience was fantastic. The breakfast arrived and I nearly cried into the perfectly ripe, perfectly seasoned avocado.
It was delicious.
I highly recommend any vegans popping by this place. You'll get a lovely coffee (depending what milk you like!) a delicious breakfast and a very warm welcome.
Thanks Mary & Archie for treating us good :)
Mary & Archie is located in Chorlton at 111 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9PG
So, this is the post where I come clean about my YouTube obsession.
I am obsessed with YouTube. I confess. Please don't run for the hills and begin doubting any depth you once found in my words.
YouTube, despite the often shallow content, vapid vloggers and non-stop drama, is - at the end of the day - a community. A community of different worlds, perspectives, information, cliques and, I'm gonna be honest, it's fascinating. Fascinating as all hell. I started off only being invested in the vegan community. It was helpful to me as a new vegan getting to see what people were eating, where they shopped, how veganism was discussed and received. This vast, incredible resource at my fingertips - helping me and guiding me forwards.
Then... I discovered the drama. Oh boy the YouTube drama...
Active YouTube watchers and vloggers love controversies. And even more so, they love a good old fight between two YouTubers. In the vegan world different YouTubers are constantly making response videos to each other, disagreeing, going back and forth, sending their followers to go and write mean comments on the other's channel. It's MENTAL. And... addictive.
In any world, there are kings and queens, those who reign above all others. And, like any world, it's quite a mystery how they got there.
In the vegan YouTube world, the queen is Freelee the Banana Girl. Without question. I'm sure many readers will have heard of her, or stumbled across her videos. If you haven't, I would say go and have a watch. Most of her earlier videos are great; she got to this level of stardom from making genuine, raw, inspiring videos about being a healthy, high-carb vegan, living an active lifestyle and promoting and overly positive message.
Freelee started out raw but after about five years on YouTube, made a controversial move to promoting a "Raw Till 4" diet - introducing cooked foods onto her channel and encouraging the (enormous) following, to shun the raw movement and, instead, include healthy, high-carb cooked foods like rice and potatoes.
I personally LOVED this message and it was easy to understand the change in her thinking. Raw ain't sustainable. And it's more important to have VEGANS than it is to have Raw Vegans. In fact, who cares about having raw vegans? That is a (very admirable) personal choice and one that should only be made to enable personal growth or health. In terms of the greater good and humanity - vegan is definitely good enough. Don't add more and more restrictions - get people vegan and give them a lovely long list of foods that are delicious and easy. I was over the moon that Freelee developed her message into something more accessible for the every day viewer.
But then, weirdly, everything went sour. I could sit here for hours and hours explaining the complexities of the YouTube world, which of course I will not do. So, in a nutshell, Freelee....well... she changed.
She came up with a new "strategy". And her new strategy was to target high profile celebrities (and then, high profile internet personalities) to critique their diet and, essentially, tell them to be vegan. And blame their diet habits and fluctuating weight (argh don't talk about women's weight!) on the fact they WEREN'T vegan.
These videos varied in their approach, some were okay... drawing young girls' attention to the implications of their diet choices, and how most celebrities are eating unsustainable, unhealthy, low-calorie diets. However, some were not okay. Some were, well, just AWKWARD. Freelee became a bit of a bully, for lack of a better word.
In her opinion, the animal deaths and implications of eating meat are far more severe than any "hurt feelings" or "poor old celebrity who felt attacked" and I get that thinking, I do.
But, I cannot pretend that I believe attacking people is EVER okay. I can only speak from my own experience, but any positive conversations I have had with an individual about being vegan, changing their diet or animal agriculture in general, have only been positive (even to the point where they've gone vegan!) was when the conversation itself, was positive.
If a conversation feels judgemental, unpleasant, rude, or really, ANYTHING negative, both parties are likely to respond badly. And, well, that's what's gone mental on YouTube over the last few weeks.....
The girl I had never heard of, but with that thumbnail, I just had to click. And, I've got to be honest, I feel like this girl NAILS IT. Of course, there has been Freelee backlash, and she has addressed every claim Tana makes, essentially saying none of it is true. But what she DOES NOT do, is take on board any of Tana's core message.
Which is: please just be nicer. Be more positive.
Now, I get it, veganism isn't about positivity. Veganism is a dark, complex, awful issue, with a whole load of complicated problems and things that make me so sad sometimes I can't get to sleep if I think about them for too long. I'm not saying I want Freelee to be another sunshine and daisies vlogger, going on about how perfect life is. No, I love that Freelee isn't like that.
But, what I cannot condone, and I never will, is bullying. And despite what Freelee says to defend herself, and how she feels that is not the case, I have felt uncomfortable watching her videos, because I've felt that she, at times, speaks with overwhelming disrespect.
If you want to stand up for the little guy (and who is littlier than baby chickens?) you can't really shit on everyone else to do it. Not in my opinion.
You need to embrace that overwhelming message of - we want things to be BETTER. A better place. Feminists who shit all over men, are ineffective feminists. Similarly, vegans who shit all over humans, are absolutely ineffective vegans. Do not perpetuate the stereotype that vegans care more about animals then people. That's stupid, but it's easy to see why people regurgitate that anti-vegan idea. It's because of people like Freelee.
Freelee, I know there is no way you'll ever read this, but, if you happen to - I do respect you. Some of your videos are amazing and I genuinely LOVE that you tell it how it is. You are probably now (along with Gary Yourovski) responsible for converting more people to veganism than anyone else on the planet. And for that, I will always bow down in respect. But, please, I beg of you - go back to doing it without this venom and disrespect.
You can critique and you can "tell it how it is" without shaming people.
Because really, vegans are anti-bullying. We are about speaking for those without a voice. Shunning the ultimate bullies. Any steps we take that make US the bully, are, I believe, a step in the wrong direction.
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