There is something fundamentally psychotic about claiming great moral superiority based on what you DON’T eat. (Historically, food prohibitions have usually been used to unleash repression and class distinction).
Worse, when you get your facts wrong, and twist your facts to create an entire ideology and fantasy palace of rationalizations about it, you undercut any claims you might have to ‘moral’ superiority.
I’m referring, of course, to the steaming pile of monkey feces represented on AirAmerica radio on Saturdays, “‘GO VEGAN with BOB LINDEN’ …The Planet’s First and Only Commercial Vegan Radio Show!”
I’ve just come from the rather unpleasant experience of listening to a half-hour (was it really only 30 minutes? It seemed SO much longer) of attacks, half-truths, outright lies and rationalizations that characterize this post-hippie, hyper-leftist screed against anyone who eats any form of meat. It was kind of like watching a train wreck: horrific and sometimes disgusting, but you can’t tear yourself away.
But the claim that really tore it for me was this: Lao-Tsu, Jesus and Buddha were “vegans.”
Buddha died from eating bad pork.
Jesus produced the “miracle of the loaves and fishes.”
Lao-Tsu, I have no idea.
And so what? If I don’t eat meat, I’ll be Jesus? Hey, Jermaine Jackson was born on my birthday. Do you think I could be a crappy bass player too? I could be Jesus the Crappy Bass player? Is that what you’re suggesting?
So, we’re flat out wrong on one, questionable on the other (some speciesists believe that fish aren’t ‘meat.’ — we’ll get back to that in a minute.) And who cares on the third?
And that was only one of the whoppers delivered in the name of their holy crusade. PC versus Mac. Christian versus Muslim. Carnivore versus Vegetarian.
Isn’t life too short for this crap?
Personally, I have no problem with the decision to choose vegetarianism. But I have no problem with the converse choice, either. Food has been the gravest difficulty of humanity from time immemorial, and starvation is becoming a planet-wide problem, which will probably only get worse, as climate change disrupts crops across the globe.
But to put down anyone who eats meat on “moral” grounds?
And make distinctions between, as many do, MAMMALS, and you know, fish. Or eggs and cheese. Or whatever. Vegetarianism has a lot of good things going for it, but religious ardor isn’t one of them. Things die and are eaten at every level on this planet. The life forms on this planet constantly consume one another. To start drawing such lines is absurd. Our existence kills other existences, because WE CAN’T EAT ROCKS.
Salt is the only rock you can eat.
So, animals eat grass and we eat grass-eating animals. When there are nothing but grass-eating animals and no grass to eat, you eat the buffalo. When animals are scarce and plants are abundant, you eat plants.
There is no “morality” involved, and you don’t make any converts trying to shove it, literally, down the throats of your audience.
It used to be that food fights were confined to junior high school cafeterias and Charlie Chaplin films.
I doubt that many vegans, facing starvation, would be so picky. I was just reading of a member of deVargas’ re-Conquistadores in New Mexico in 1690, whose horse was killed when rider and horse fell into the Puebloan equivalent of a “tiger trap,” complete with sharpened sticks in the bottom.
The soldier, many days from his base was suddenly thrown into a survivalist nightmare, which he was forced to solve by killing and eating his dog.
(Later, the Donner party was forced into a non-vegan diet to survive, as well.)
I don’t recommend the diet, by the by. But I am saying that being snooty about what you eat is a luxury that only a spoiled and pampered member of a rich society can afford. But let me set the stage for a moment, because we’re, once again, faced with a rise in the very self-righteous, brook no differences, fanatical ideologues that spurred the P.C. movement, which the current Republican madness is a reaction against.
As were the PeeCee darlings reacting against McCarthyesque anti-commie lunatics, as were the McCarthyites reacting against the quasi-socialism of the “New Deal” as were the New Dealers reacting against the “free-market” excesses that led to the Great Depression and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
Round and round it goes, endlessly and eternally, which is why I subscribe to Buddhist Moderation, and the Greek Golden Mean. Which makes me, I suppose, a “classical” moderate. And which is why madness on the Left is no more preferable than madness on the Right … with one caveat.
When the Left gets totally out of control, more often than not, it is silly and absurd.
When the Right gets totally out of control, it is almost invariably FRIGHTENING.
(Witness the present day: secret prisons, torture, secrecy, wiretapping, surveillance, etc.)
What was odd about listening to the “vegan” show (pronounced “VEE-gun”) was listening to the “guest” with some sort of bad Eastern accent, blathering on and on to the show’s host about all kinds of vegan “facts” that were, as often as not, sheer nonsense.
An example: most empires were belligerent and warlike because they ate meat. The big meateaters were the big empires.
There are so many things wrong with this claim, it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ll just toss this in: the Roman army conquered the world on a vegan diet. Grain, e.g. “Roman Meal.”
And no one ever accused the Romans of being slouches in the brutality department.
Or this laughable rationalization: Hitler WASN’T a vegetarian.
Well, that falls into the “Jesus was a vegan” camp, where you manipulate your facts to fit your ideology. (Gee. How come that sounds familiar?)
Hitler was a dietary vegetarian. He wasn’t a “pure” vegetarian and might have eaten (gasp!) some meat. But the attempt by Numnutz McBrokenbrain to disavow Hitler, and embrace Buddha are the fevered ravings of a mind overwhelmed, perhaps by brussels sprouts.
It is a distinction without a difference, and as fallacious as claiming Buddha and Jesus as “vegans.” Facts don’t matter to these folks, either. The Righties have no monopoly on manufactured “truth.”
Here’s another howler: TOTEM poles. That’s right, Moronnie McDumbass claims that totem pole Indians carved both family members and animals onto their totem poles, and would no more eat, therefore, animals than they’d eat their relatives. Er, WRONG.
And then he names “Algonquin and Ojibwe” tribes. I gots news for Microencephalus McDipstick: the “totem poles” are Pacific Northwest, and the tribes he names are Eastern tribes. (Ojibwe = northern Michigan; Algonquin = Quebec).
[The word "totem" comes from Ojibwe.]
Totem poles? Wikipedia: Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands, from whence it spread outward to the Tsimshian and Tlingit ( “The Haida were hunters and gatherers. Because they lived so near the sea, fishing was crucial to them. Salmon was a main source of food, which was filleted & smoked to keep through the winter. The skeleton of the first salmon caught in a season was always placed back where it was caught. This was an offering, so the Salmon would return the following season.” Er, NOT vegetarians.)
I have a friend. He used to run a gas station on the Hopi Rez. When I would see him, I asked “What is the dumbest question you’ve gotten today?” There, below the astonishing mesa-top pueblo of the Hopi First Mesa, the three villages of Hano, Sichomovi and Walpi, he said “Where are the teepees?”
Teepees, for you Eastern gringos, were used pretty much exclusively by the plains tribes. Algonquin and Ojibwe, on the other hand, lived in “longhouses.’ Five hundred and fifteen years later, those of European and African descent in this country STILL have no idea in Hell who the five hundred tribes that inhabited and inhabit the part of North America and the island chain we claim as “USA” proper were and are, not to mention the original inhabitants of our “protectorates.”
And, claims Bozo McWrongowitz, the Totem Pole Indians were all vegetarians.
Where are the teepees?
Finally, calling those who don’t adopt your diet fundamentally immoral, idiots, animal haters, lacking in compassion, unhealthy, smelly, etc. etc. etc. ain’t the way to win friends and influence people.
Frankly, listening to the mentally erratic and hateful thinking of these “vegans” is the best commercial for being a carnivore that I can think of. Now, I’m going to go and have a buffalo burger*.
(* No kidding: we buy buffalo whenever we can. Much leaner meat, and a healthful staple of the North American diet for 17,000 years.)
Now, I’m going to channel the ending synchronistically. Attempting to fact check, and get some quotes, I downloaded this week’s program. Except, alas, it was LAST week’s program–08 December. Which contained this astonishing interchange between the host and himself playing a radio station executive in Los Angeles, I guess. It’s one of the most hilariously clueless performances in radio history, and well worth snorting milk through your nose over (mp3 excerpt here. Following the bouncing cerebral cortex. WARNING, May Cause You To Snort Liquids Out Your Nose):
starts @ 11:43
[Reading KPFK reply letter to Bob Linden's application for an open time slot. KPFK is the hyper-liberal, Los Angeles sister station of hyper-liberal Pacifica station hyper-liberal KPFA in hyper-liberal Berkeley, California.] KPFK: I’m really turned off by the tone in the proposer’s pitch: “THE MOST IMPORTANT PROGRAM”? What indication do we have that this show would not be shrill, whining arrogant, and classist — as many of the most militant animal rights advocates tend to be, in my experience? Should KPFK embrace a program devoted to a particular point of view on a particular program?
“Wake up! Stop silencing voices that matter!”? Why is the proposer browbeating the programming committee? $200,000 a year in production costs for a once-a-week, one hour show? Huh?
[...] The cruelty details are thrown at the listener in a style that comes across as haranguing, rather like the program proposal. The program isn’t exactly whiny, but it’s kind of militant and accusatory. The host says things like “You are killing the planet by eating meat!” rather than a more generally descriptive explanation of how meat consumption drives environmental destruction. It’s very blunt and propagandistic.”
Then, noting himself quoting himself, Bob the Vegan reads his reply, with these points that neatly “disprove” the haranguing and accusatory characterization of the KPFK letter:
… I find the observations by Evan chilling and frightening, and I am concerned that the KPFK program decision process has merged with Fox or NPR.
First of all, did someone appoint him the ‘tone censor’? Maybe KPFK needs some tone. And while I believe that most KPFK programming decision makers probably would not find my program shrill, arrogant, whining and classist, who is Evan to decide what is shrill in the face of the most immediate and immense and shocking suffering imaginable? If Evan is not aware of the magnitude of the torture and murder of innocent sentient beings on factory farms, in research laboratories, on fur farms, if he’s not aware of the broader spectrum of irrefutable issues related to human health, war and peace, world hunger, environmental devastation, then his qualifications to participate in the decision making process for KPFK must certainly come into question.
This is baffling narrow-mindedness. His limited, seemingly species-ist and censorial view, obstructing representation for animals and their advocates* on KPFK will block meaningful discussions of diabetes and its simple reversal, the hazards of dairy for people of color, constitutional violations legalized by the animal enterprise terrorism act, etcetera etcetera etcetera, and yes people whose only crime is kindness to animals are currently jailed for years as terrorists merely for exercising their constitutional rights! And Evan is worried that we might be “shrill”?
I worry that Evan ISN’T shrill! We’re at war for that gallon of gasoline for each pound of beef and Evan is worried that we might WHINE about it? …
Good job, Bob. You sure refuted the KPFK letter. I’m sure they’ll pick up your show now.
[* "representation for animals and their advocates"?? Does he interview parrots, minah birds and talking mules?To listen to Bob's rant in all its frothing-at-the-mouth glory, right click here, and "save as." 1.4 MB, 5:53, .mp3 mono]
There’s nothing more than I can add.
Oh, this: There are 401 days left before Bush is supposed to leave office.