“With regard to the lower sort, and many of a middling rank, the scene was still more affecting; for they staying at home either through poverty, or hopes of succour in distress, fell sick daily by thousands, and, having nobody to attend them, generally died: some breathed their last in the streets, and others shut up in their own houses, when the stench that came from them made the first discovery of their deaths to the neighbourhood. And, indeed, every place was filled with the dead.”
-A description of the Black Plague of 1348 from Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron
As a sheltered, suburban child, I remember many public "awareness" campaigns that were designed to scare me straight. Many of these campaigns had the intended effect. I never abused drugs, smoking cigarettes never stuck, and sex was a highly-plasticized, "safe" experience.
I have been thinking a great deal about the future lately. The curse of owning a human mind is the endless speculation that goes along with consciousness. Who can say if that speculation is rational? All I know is my mind likes to wander.
Respect. It’s a word hoisted to near-sacred status in the press, in literature, and in song. We all want respect, despite the fact it is an ill-defined concept at best. Non-vegans use it in attempts to silence vegans, telling them “You should respect my choice to eat and exploit animals.” Thought Police Vegans (the dreaded TPV) use a loose, indiscriminate notion of respect to bully other vegans, trying to shame them into pre-conceived notions of what is politically correct.
On September 28, 2014, I personally participated in a Direct Action Everywhere event as part of a World Farmed Animals Day protest organized by young activist Alex Corrigan. I have changed my mind about DXE and I no longer think they are obsessed with Chipotle, having actually been in a non-Chipotle protest yesterday. So I will be appending my DXE essay of a few months ago and writing a new essay to follow up. Please watch for it.
Above are medical photos of little girls suffering from a rare, awful disease called Treacher Collins Syndrome. TC is one of the many horrible disorders visited upon innocent children by a supposedly all-knowing, merciful God. It is a disease marked by what is missing: TC babies are often born earless, missing part or all of their lower jaws, and/or bereft of thumbs.
I do not consider myself poor. What is poor? Poor is going without a day or more’s worth of meals so someone else in your family can eat. Poor is wearing through your only pair of hand-me-down shoes until your frostbitten feet brush snow. Poor is living out of your car because the monstrous corporate entity that took over your town cannot pay you a wage that puts a roof over your head, let alone “luxuries” like health insurance.
I'm always a bit late to the game when it comes to viewing theatrical releases. I finally had the opportunity to watch 12 Years A Slave, a multi-Oscar winning film adaptation of the real life, 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a black violinist who was born free in New York.
Solomon is a well-respected musician and a member of his community in Saratoga Springs, where has a blissful life with his wife, son, and daughter until the day he is drugged and kidnapped by two men promising a music gig who instead sell him into slavery.
Vegans are a small group, less than one percent of the world population. We have to stick together. I get it. That's why I haven't always felt good about making noise in particular vegan cliques I have been part of. We are all supposed to get along. We need a unified front to stand up to the hordes of people who still don't get it that not eating animals is the most important social justice issue of our time.
You seem like a good person. I know you did not ask for my judgement; oh well. Here goes. I estimate you as genuinely good, meaning you have cooperation and altruism in your heart. You have done inspiring work, including building yourself up from nothing and using your power and influence to help women across the world. If nothing else, you are a shining example to any woman born in poverty that she can be any person she wants to be.