This (I plan to be 'short!') post is a reaction to a, rather good, article I read this morning: 'Should we all go vegan if it will save the planet?'
How fun right, because if the answer isn't 'yes' to that overly simplistic question - I choose to depart the planet immediately. 'No! I want bacon over the planet!"
Anyway - the article..
It's good. It is measured, not overly rude towards vegans, but hey, I have issues with it and I'm going to address them. Because I have a blog and that's what I can do. Power!
Firstly - the introduction: Leonardo DiCaprio"demanded his own menu." Hold up just one damn second. "Demanded"? If by "demanded" you mean - he chooses not to eat animal products and requested a vegan menu - why say "demanded"? Does this author know that Leonardo DiCaprio is actually a major dickhead who walked into the kitchen and demanded them whip him up a coconut creme brulee? Just saying - that shit takes time and would certainly have been prepared in advance.
There is nothing wrong with opting out of eating certain things, if done respectfully. I am happy for vegans to be critiqued to be demanding, but only if they actually were! Was he demanding? Tell me how. Prove it. Don't just say that he was because he is a vegan.
My blood boils.
It's these stupid, casual sentences that contribute to this notion that vegans are "pushy" or "demanding" or "inconvenient". I take some comfort knowing ANY diet requests get treated in a similar manner in the world of hospitality. If you can die from a peanut allergy and tell the waitress so, you can almost guarantee the chef will still roll his eyes and act annoyed. It's even worse with things like gluten and dairy. If you have a genuine intolerance to these things, some small-minded people out there don't even believe they are real! They think gluten allergies have just materialised in the last five years and everyone is jumping on the band wagon. While there may be an element of truth in the band wagon, there is no denying that people are allergic to some foods and they have a RIGHT to ask for a burger without the bun, however ridiculous staff may think it is. They have a right to eat and live.
So, when it's an ethical vegan in question? Boy oh boy, the hatred comes thick and fast. Which leads me to my second frustration with this piece. His little insertion of the oldest vegan joke in the book - (How can you tell a vegan? You can’t, they tell you!) To me this screams that the author didn't want to write this piece so has taken every chance he's got to have a little dig; disguised as a 'fun', clever insert. Well mister Godwin, I may be completely wrong but think I see through you. With your well-chosen wording (I know how much choice goes into every single word of an article like this) you are continuing to paint the picture that vegans are in some way "difficult". Without any proof other than that Leo had the temerity to eat quinoa on BAFTA night instead of dead chicken.
Shame on Leo.
The irony for me is that Leonardo DiCaprio may just be the quietest, least obnoxious vegan in Hollywood, so the fact he is the subject of this post is a bit odd (he's topical. Mystery solved.) Many vegans in Hollywood have stories going around of them being a bit on the egocentric-side (as does every damn celebrity in the stupid place), but Leonardo? I've barely heard of him being a vegan! Is he even one? I knew he was vegetarian but maybe the veganism is a fairly new thing. Well Leo - welcome to the club! You're already getting bad "demanding" press. Welcome to your life as an ethical vegan.
My rant is basically: stop making up all this shit about vegans. If we actually did or said have the things people constantly TELL me that vegans do - I doubt I'd be one.
I am told constantly (in life and on the internet) how annoying vegans are. All they do is talk about veganism (insert previous shit joke), they judge me, they make me feel guilty, they think they're better than me.
Well guys, I hate to break it to you but... I AM A VEGAN. I am a vegan and have been so for over four years and I don't think I could ever be accused of the above. Although, I have been. I have been many times, simply for writing a blog post, having a blog, having a vegan lunch, having vegan shoes. God Hannah, all you talk about is veganism! Erm, all I did was tell you where I got my shoes from.... because you ASKED!
These are genuine conversations I've had. I've even been accused of being "preachy". PREACHY. I am a self-evaluating kind of person and sometimes I get passionate, but never preachy. I have never, ever made a meat eater feel bad about eating meat and I do NOT believe that all human beings should be vegan. (Insert gasp). The main reason I don't believe that though is because then every illness and ailment would be blamed on veganism. And I don't want that life.
It goes without saying that some vegans are horrendous, mostly on the internet. There are god-awful vegans out there who make me hang my head in shame. As there are god-awful HUMANS out there. Let's not make the mistake of judging a group on their worst. We know how bad that is by now, right?
My final point, which is where any depth may appear in this post, is that the author rounds off his initial points by saying that there must be 'other ways' to solve these serious environmental problems.
"would we be better off investing in collective action? For there are surely legislative avenues that could be explored — carbon and water taxes, sustainability incentives, advertising restrictions — as well as vested interests that could be challenged. Change is cultural, true, but there’s no surer way of changing a culture than changing a law."
This is what it always comes down to. People are SO desperate not to make a lifestyle change, so desperate not to give up their bacon that they will look to any other options. They will try to invest all our money into more sustainable "incentives", add taxes onto water and carbon (which I'm supportive of in a sense). I'm supportive these things, of course, BUT I must say, because this is my blog and I'm aloud to just type something a bit mad now and then:
WE HAVE THE ANSWER! YOU DON'T NEED TO DO ANY OF THAT. JUST CUT DOWN ON YOUR ANIMAL PRODUCTS AND WE WILL BE FINE.
The answer is staring us all in the face. He STATES the facts in the article and still comes to the conclusion that we don't have to change our eating habits. Not if we just... find another answer... oh, I don't have it.... but we just... find one. Add taxes, or something...
I am not perfect. I am no where NEAR perfect. I don't believe that veganism is a shining perfect thing (far from it). But I certainly believe scientific facts when presented before me and relatively indisputable. I think the debate is over that factory farming is bad for the environment. Right? Can we agree that debate is over? Which is exactly why I'm not saying EVERYONE has to be vegan. We don't all have to go vegan, but we do have to stop consuming shit, cheap meat that you are picking up in your grocery store. And cheap milk! I saw a frustrating infographic the other day comparing milk to nut milks. An ad from the dairy industry demonstrating "Milk's better for you and it's cheaper too!" Well, you have not convinced me to buy your product because it's cheaper. I don't want cheap shit fueling me thank you very much. And don't you think your product should be more EXPENSIVE seeing as it's come from a LIVING BEING?! And the processing and making of your amazing product is contributing to the death of the planet?!
Okay, deep breaths. Rant nearly over I swear.
In fact, I think it's over.
I feel better now. And why do I feel better? Because I cannot have this conversation in real life. I can't. I have to have this conversation on my blog, typing furiously over my morning coffee. That's how I can vent my rage and then move onto the much more important things in my day. I can't share this with a friend or with my workmates and let out my frustration there. Why?
Because then I'm "pushy", "preachy" and "judgemental".
Back into the corner, vegan.
PS - if you are reading this post and NOT a vegan, please remember my blog is FOR vegans. Comment if you wish, but do so with respect. I respect everyone, which I hope is evident in my writing. I am passionate, but never disrespectful.
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