In the months before I went vegan on July 26, 2010, I flirted with veganism. My earnest investigations (Are all vegans weak and sickly? What really happens to momma cows?) led me to one of the largest vegan/vegetarian websites on the internet at the time. Among the other earnest seekers, warm souled activists, and few veteran vegetarians, I stumbled upon the most dreaded, repulsive, arrogant, pathetic, officious breed of people ever to disgrace our tiny planet, a person I have now come to brand as the Thought Police Vegan.
Here are some questions often asked of vegans (Hey! Wait a second! I'm a vegan!!) After reading the wise, mature, measured responses of thirty-five year vegan Butterflies Katz, the well respected blogger of Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come, this is how I would answer the same questions.
Humans need animal products for survival. You will die earlier. There are things in meat, which your body needs and you cannot get from any other kind of food.
A. Oh, hell no. Saying PETA represents all vegans is like saying Madonna represents all women over the age of 50. PETA is part of the vegan family even though a great deal of the family ignores her. She is very troubled and there's been a nasty rumor going around that she's not vegan at all. I recognize her as part of the family, however, I personally refuse to associate with her because of her erratic behavior. PETA is our doofus, not-very-bright cousin. She's got problems.
I recently read Orange Rain, a novel by Jan Smitowicz. Orange Rain is a revenge story about a suicidal, heroin-addicted paraplegic Vietnam veteran with leukemia caused by Agent Orange. He teams up with a Mai, his favorite Vietnamese prostitute from a massage parlor to go on a cross country adventure to destroy Monsanto, the evil corporation responsible for destroying Max's health and for poisoning Mai's forest village.
One of the clear signs meat-eaters are on the losing side of the ethical battle for our plates is the awesomely fallacious "plants are sentient beings" argument. "Plants have feelings too!" the meat-eater bellows, his fancy taking flight to a mystical land of anthropomorphized carrots and talking watermelons.
When Angelina Jolie announced her preventative mastectomy, perhaps you presumed my first reaction was snark because she isn't vegan. You would be wrong in that presumption. I honestly felt sorry for her. However, if your own reaction to her surgical news was snarky, you were not alone.
We are about the same age, you and I. You are a little above forty and I am slightly under it. We both look very young for our age and can be considered to have hot bodies. Nevertheless, even if I had the opportunity to go onstage and proffer my thinly-sheathed vulva for the world to see, I wouldn't. The difference between us is not a level of prudery as my happy husband will attest. The matter lies entirely in the nature of the impact I wish to have during my finite time on this planet.
Lest you think I'm singling you out, you are one of a crew of vulva-thrusting matrons: Madonna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, et. al. The aforementioned women may or may not be your friends, however, you have a great deal in common with them. You are all mothers. You have all had at least one form of plastic surgery. You are all apparently concerned about the loss of your looks to aging. Like it or not, you are part of a club of increasingly desperate female entertainers caught in a monkey trap. For those who are not familiar, there is a system of trapping monkeys that originates from the jungles of Southeast Asia. In order to trap a monkey, the trapper creates a container with a hole just wide enough for a monkey to stick his or her hand into. The monkey reaches in for the bait but even as the trapper approaches, net in hand, the poor monkey will desperately cling to the bait, unwilling to just let go of the prize and avoid capture.
In my late teens, I used to believe in faeries enough so I painted a series of faerie oil paintings, all but one which have been lost or given away. My friend and I used to walk in the forest preserve and we convinced ourselves sprites were speaking to us, responding to our spells, and revealing to us their wonders.
As a diminutive, attractive female within my reproductive years, I have often been subjected to many an ostentatious male display meant to enchant with the implied promise of virility. Men make spectacles of themselves by nature, especially when they find out that the attractive female in the room is a VEGAN. Suddenly, a new unspoken contest is born: Is not the meat-eating man inherently superior to his few vegan competitors? Who will win in the contest to seed his dominance among the most attractive childbearing-age females of the species?