If there's one thing that pisses me off about fellow vegans (or anyone, really), it's when they seemingly go around looking for things to get pissed off about. I often say that if you look for something to be offended about then you will invariably be successful. Usually when self-righteous vegans go the "OMFGZ this is SO offensive" route it's in the form of criticizing something an omnivore wrote or said about the vegan diet. Often times this involves simple ignorance or bad logic being misinterpreted (often willfully) for maliciousness and deceit.
I'm not a guy that goes around being angry all the time. I'm like this in my everyday life, and I take that with me in my animal rights stances. I like to think I take things in stride. Sometimes though, I come across something that legitimately makes me rage, and this often comes in the form of vegans criticizing other, "inferior" vegans. There are two common types of sniping attacks vegans make against other vegans. The first is healthier vegans are better than vegans that eat bad-for-you food. Obviously I don't buy into this "philosophy" at all. I'm vegan for the critters, not for myself. The second type of vegan on vegan crime is a self righteous anti-fake meat position.
Now if you want to eat your super healthy hippy shit I'm cool with that. Just because I'm willing to put stuff that's less than good for me in my body, and believe that exercise is for women doesn't mean that I expect you to agree, much less live by this ethos. Similarly, while I love fake meat, I realize that the very thought of meat grosses some people out, so if they don't happen to share my personal tastes I try not to take it personally. I mean, that's just more seitan for the rest of us.
But I refuse to feel guilty because of my tastes, and when some self-righteous asshole tries to put me in my proper "place" I'm gonna call him on his shit! Case in point: this bullshit.
Yeah, well I know maybe I should expect this kind of nonsense from a mushy-headed liberal outfit like alternet, but unfortunately this kind of sentiment has a lot of currency within the vegan community at large. There are a lot of high-horse vegans that look down on people like me, that love seitan, Boca nuggets and chik patties, and those awesome Morningstar Riblets.
This is the thing: I LOVED meat. I didn't give up meat because I didn't like it, but rather because I didn't think it was right to eat it. Giving it up was not easy for me. It was damn hard. Frankly, it would be much harder to be vegan if it weren't for fake meat. So when someone writes something like this, I have to shake my head.
...the next time you go shopping, imagine what a kid gleans from veggie burgers, veggie bacon, veggie sausage patties, veggie hot dogs, Tofurky and all the other similar fare that defines a modern plant-based diet. While none of it contains meat, it is all marketed as emulating meat. In advertising terms, that’s the “unique selling proposition” -- to give you the epicurean benefits of meat without any of meat’s downsides....[This is] the vegetarian industry selling itself to meat eaters by suggesting that its products aren’t actually all that different from meat. The problem is how that message, like so many others in American culture, reinforces the wrongheaded notion that our diet should be fundamentally based on meat.For those who have chosen to be vegetarians, this message is merely annoying. But for those like [the author's young son] who are being raised as vegetarians, the message is downright subversive. It teaches them that as tasty as vegetarian food may be, it can never compete with the “real thing.”
Raising your kid vegetarian is great -- if I have kids I plan to do that myself. But if you have trouble coming to terms of how to explain to your kid that seitan, Tofurkey, and fake nuggets are different from meat, well no offense, but maybe you should not have had kids in the first place. Call me crazy, but stuff like sex, drugs and the like are the thing I know that I would worry about, not concern of explaining to my kid why these horrible things called Gardenburgers exist.
Make no mistake -- this kind of bullshit it NOT about concern for animals. This is about aesthetics. This is about people have an ideological problem with even the idea of consuming animals, and finding animal products undesirable for stylistic reasons rather than ethical ones. Ultimately this kind of all-or-nothing stance is not only detrimental to veganism and animal rights in general, but it's downright cult-like, imposing limitations on not only what we consume but imposing criteria on how we are supposed to think about what we consume. And we wonder why some people associate vegans with being cultist! It's dumbass garbage like this -- some of us unfortunately ARE cultists! (And hiding behind your child to justify your Orwellian views is not only lame, it's fucking pathetic.)
Like it or not, humans evolved eating meat. Many of us crave it (I know I do), probably for evolutionary reasons. This does not justify it from a moral perspective; just because something is "natural" doesn't make it moral or ethical. We don't need to consume animals to live, or even to live comfortably. Thankfully, thanks to some really great meat substitutes I don't need to kill an animal to get my meat fix. And I know I'm not alone. I honestly don't know if I could be vegan if I could not satiate my meat tooth -- I like to think that I could (I am pretty serious about being vegan), but there would be a lot of people that gave up being vegetarian if you get rid of the fake meat products.
So you keep brainwashing your child Mr. David Sirota, instilling him with the evils tempeh BLTs and Tofu Pups. I'll keep making my vegan Alfredo sauce, my awesome seitan, barbecue sandwiches, tacos, and the like. And if you think I'm hurting the movement, then you may kindly kiss my chubby vegan ass.