the smoking vegans

Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

The incognito vegan

Sometimes I feel like the vegan in disguise. This is especially true when it comes to the opposite sex. Some strange part of me feels as though were I ever to reveal my true vegan self, I'd be perceived as far too weird to date. I imagine this is something like what Batman, Spiderman, and other such hidden-identity folk feel, who also have women problems in a similar-but-not-so-similar vein.

Like last night. I'm out at my bar with my omni chef housemate (and one of my best friend since high school), and not wearing any overt vegan-messagey type stuff. Once there, we bump into one of his old acquaintences from cuilinary school, who happens to be a very cute punkish (in the real, not Hot Topic way) girl. I don't remember a lot of what happened after that, but needless to say I did not sleep with her. Fine by me, but here's the rest of the story and what I've been chewing on all day since then: She could have been at least a veg*n, but how am I to know? It can be bad to come off too strong about stuff like that, and sometimes my shirts and veganwear probably make me seem a little less approachable than I actually am. But the point of wearing that stuff, ostensibly, is to throw the vegan thing out there, so people don't have to find out later, and no weird omni chicks approach me. Also, it means I don't have to ask, "So, are you a vegetarian/vegan?" (this can kind of be a conversation killer at times).

So here's the bitch of it all: like our incognito comic book friends, am I destined to eek out a loveless existence? Do I advertise the V-factor more, or tone it down? What to do.

 

Cookies, muthafuckas!

Update: Thanks to Pleather over at veganfreaks for alerting me to the fact that Liz Lovely was hiring. Thankfully, I got the job, and will now live out the rest of my days (at least for awhile) making delicious vegan artisan cookies. Not sure yet how this will affect my blogging, but I'll find a way to make it work. And now, back to your regularly pissy blog.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

Excuses, excuses

Sometimes I have to make excuses for myself. This week is probably one of those times. It's a hectic week, and I can't guarantee the posts will be coming on a daily basis as they normally do. Hopefully I'll be getting every vegan's dream job. Supposedly, I'll find out about this today, and will be sure to keep folks posted. If I get this gig, bear with me, as it might interrupt the blogging a bit by interfering with my daily internet access (I don't have any from home at the moment). If it gets bad, and if time permits, perhaps some guest bloggers will take center stage. We'll see. Until then, keep checking the smoking vegan for your near-daily dose of raging soya, so I don't have to bust out some of my patented Ve-gan-do on your bitch ass. Because nothing hurts like a celery chop or a flying, roundhouse broccoli kick to the junk.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Pets or slaves?

Recently, the kindly folks over at veganfreaks posted a response to the recent controversy over the PETA van o’ death. The comments section sparked an interesting discussion. Most interesting of all the comments, I think was one which suggested that the PETA murderers were in fact committing mercy killings, because pet ownership is “slavery.” Here’s the full comment:

PETA is doing the right thing. These animals didn’t suffer – they were euthanized. And they are better off dead than locked up in someone’s house somewhere.

Pet Ownership is Slavery!!! –Deniz

This got me thinking. Let’s parse this statement, shall we? First, “These animals didn’t suffer – they were euthanized.” That seems fairly subjective to me. From most evidence, we know that the chemicals used in lethal injections can cause a significant amount of suffering. But of course, we don’t know for sure, because none of us have ever received a lethal injection. While I wouldn’t say I know for certain they “suffered,” I would say that unnecessary death (the whole reason that many of us are vegan) is a horrific thing, and I would definitely not say that I knew for certain, as Deniz seems to, that they “didn’t suffer.”

Next, “they are better off dead than locked up in someone’s house somewhere.” I guess I’m not so sure on this count either. In fact, I’d say this is a pretty fucking dumb statement. Perfectly healthy animals were better off receiving a lethal injection than being loved and cared for the rest of their perfectly healthy lives? Give me a fucking break. This segues nicely into the final statement, “Pet Ownership is Slavery!!!”

This is something I’ve given a lot of thought in the time I’ve been vegan and an abolitionist, and frankly, “Pet ownership is slavery” is perhaps one of the singularly most retarded, asinine fucking statements I’ve ever heard. Here’s why: if you have a pet, chances are, it’s not out working the fields. In fact, unless you own a sheep, chicken, or other sort of farm animal, chances are it’s not producing anything for you at all. You, having a pet, extract no profit from said pet. There are certainly people who shouldn’t have pets, who abuse or neglect them, but they are a very small minority. In the same respect, there are many people who shouldn’t have children, who abuse or neglect them, but they are a very small minority as well, and this is hardly a justification for a statement such as “Having children is slavery.” Like having a child, having a pet who is loved and cared for is certainly not a form of slavery, and stating otherwise displays an level of total fucking ignorance I can’t begin to comprehend.

In reality, we are all subject to a form of very real slavery in the form of capitalism. People like myself and Deniz are owned by money and our jobs (assuming Deniz is employed), and live a life of guided in nearly every respect by force and coercion. This is something that at least pets don’t have to suffer. Yet I would never suggest that, were I to rent a van, toss Deniz in the back, and give Deniz a lethal injection, that, “Deniz didn’t suffer – Deniz was euthanized, and better off dead than working some day job, having all of his/her labor extracted by a brutal, profit-driven system. Capitalism is slavery!” Then again, perhaps as far as the abolitionist movement is concerned, this might really be a mercy killing after all. Just not for Deniz.

Lastly, let’s get real for a moment. We in the abolitionist movement have some pretty limited resources. While I can’t say that Deniz is definitely not an abolitionist, s/he does seem to be a PETA supporter (so probably not an abolitionist). Regardless, we need to think well and hard about how we allot our extremely limited time and even more greatly limited resources. Factory farming or pet ownership? Fur farming or pet ownership? Animal exploitation or pet ownership? Making more vegans, making connections between animal exploitation and human exploitation, or pet ownership? The fact that this is even debated speaks volumes to just how totally fucked up the AR “movement” really is. Thank you, Deniz, for being a shining fucking example of this, and helping to illustrate a much-needed point.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

 

The Holocaust Industry, PETA-style

In his groundbreaking book, The Holocaust Industry, Norm Finkelstein outlines his case against major Zionist organizations. Essentially, Finkelstein argues that major American Jewish organizations have turned the Nazi Holocaust into a fundraising machine, absorbing cash in the form of donations and “reparations,” little or none of which survivors of the Holocaust or their families ever see. Rather, this money is re-invested in what Finkelstein terms “the Holocaust industry,” which serves to perpetually enrich Zionist elites while deflecting legitimate criticism of the Israeli “state.” In the end, Finkelstein posits, this hurts world Jewry far more than it helps, and only serves to whip up further anti-Semitism while bolstering support for an apartheid state.

How does this relate to animal rights or veganism?

I’m glad you asked. Aside from the fact that many vegans, including myself, see numerous parallels between the Nazi Holocaust and the animal exploitation industries, the connection in fact runs significantly deeper. PETA and similar “animal rights” organizations, which are in reality incredibly reactionary reform groups, turn the animal holocaust into a fundraising machine, absorbing cash in the form of donations for and endless series of campaigns that accomplish little but talk big. What their campaigns do accomplish is to make people more comfortable eating at McDonald’s, because now they supposedly treat their animals “more humanely.” Just as the links between Zionist leaders and the Nazis is well-established in their strange convergence of interests, so to is there a bizarre symbiotic relationship between groups like PETA and the corporations the purport to be “against.” The animals never see the results of these campaigns because there are no real results. The money from these endless fundraising efforts is reinvested over and over again in a similar holocaust industry—the Animal Holocaust Industry—which serves only to enrich PETA and the animal rights aristocracy, whose elite live quite comfortably, while simultaneously deflecting legitimate criticism of the strategy, theory, and tactics of these organizations. They shut down the opposition. Like the Finkelstein’s Holocaust Industry, in the end, the animal rights/abolitionist cause is hurt by these organizations far more than it is helped, organizations that only seem to be good at making more anti-vegans than vegans.

The animal rights aristocracy has truly struck gold. If the lessons of the Nazi genocide have taught us anything, it’s that nothing makes money like a Holocaust Industry. As Abba Eban once joked, “There’s no business like Shoah (holocaust) business.”

PETA and the merchants of misery are truly a partnership made in Dachau.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Why I will no longer link to PETA

While I'm sure this is no crushing blow to the behemoth that is PETA, I can't in good conscience keep them in my links anymore. If you follow my blog, you already know I'm not a big fan, but really I just abso-fucking-lutely hate them, and the following links should provide you with sufficient reason why.

PETA is pro-war and sexist.

PETA are fucking murderers.

PETA engage in theatrics that hurt the vegan cause more than help. See their main site, you won't have much of a problem finding exactly what I'm talking about.

PETA engage in pointless reform rather than focusing on important issues and structural change. According to PETA, McDonald's is getting better with its animals, but KFC is getting worse. Are you fucking kidding me?

PETA is prickishly narcassistic, somehow delusional enough to believe that they are the animal rights movement.

I've replaced the PETA links for now with a link to the Vegan Society UK. For some reason there appears to be no Vegan Society U.S., which I suspect has a bit to do with PETA.

PETA are not the animal rights movement, they are a cancer on it.

 

Ex-smokers, ex-vegans, ex-girlfriends

What do all three have in common? They are each a form of fucking G-dless, irritating apostate. And while I find all three really abhorrent, I'm going to focus primarily on the first two because they get under my skin the most, and frankly--given my track record with "the ladies"--I also have a lot more experience with the first two.

Ex-smokers and ex-vegans share a lot in common. They both mouth-up at really inopportune moments. They both love telling you how much "healthier" they are now than they used to be. They both look down their noses at you for not being ex-smokers or ex-vegans as well. They both engage in relentless, highly ritualized spousal abuse, and also, if that's not enough, I'm pretty sure they both hate fuzzy kittens (this last one goes for the ex-girlfriends as well).

Yes, like ex-smokers, whenever I go out there always seems to be an ex-vegan that crops up too. They are intent on ruining any fun that I have, usually by peppering me with fucking obnoxious quasi-questions and statements, like "I don't get how you can do it," and, "I used to be vegan. But I just couldn't do the cheese thing." "I couldn't be healthy when I was eating like that." Similarly, I catch flak from ex-smokers like, "I feel so much healthier now," "You know you really should quit," and then they do retarded shit like waving their hand in front of their face when I walk back into a room from having a butt because they "can't stand" that smell. Yeah, well fuck you assholes. Ex-vegan? All that means to me is you never really were vegan in the first place. Ex-smoker? Fine. Same goes for you. But don't lecture me about it, and don't act like a two-year-old with your dumbass gestures. All it makes me want to do is smoke more, but without the added courtesy of not doing it around you. Stop evangelizing like a bunch of goddamned scientologists.

The worst, of course, is someone who is both an "ex-vegan" and an ex-smoker. This is a rare breed of nuisance, and hopefully they will simply become extinct with the increasingly rapid global climate shift, or some shit like that. But if you think either one is irritating on their own, you should see these two in tandom. You get two apostates for the price of one. They have something to say about everything; yet, most of what comes out of their mouth is a whole lot of fucking nothing. This particular group of annoyances should really be shipped off en masse to an island colony where they can patiently await the coming tactical nuclear strike whilst irritating the shit out of each other.

To the ex-smokers and the "ex-vegans," I have but one thing to say: quitting is for quitters. Bitches. And please, stop the relenteless, highly ritualized spousal abuse.

Oh, and as for the ex-girlfriends-- well, I'll leave them to their goosestepping, fuzzy-kitten-hating/stomping, gestapo-like ways.

Monday, June 20, 2005

 

In local news, area vegan attends clambake-themed wedding

Yes, that was me. This last weekend I had the honor of attending the beautiful wedding celebration of two very dear friends of mine. The kind omnis that they are, they included a vegan menu option (vegan eggplant parm) on the wedding invite. There was also a vegetarian option (regular eggplant parm), and the omni meal—lobster. Needless to say I checked off the vegan option on the RSVP. Unfortunately, the catering company that made the initial offer to have a vegan meal reneged on the spot. Even some of the vegetarians were left, like me, drinking their dinner from the open bar.

That in itself wasn’t really so bad. After all, I was there for my friends, not the food. Of course, the open bar also helped (I was informed upon departing later in the night, by the bartenders, that I had single-handedly consumed more alcohol than anyone else at the wedding, which happened to be a mostly Irish wedding if you need some kind of reference point). No, what killed me was the lobster.

What’s strange is that I grew up spending vacation time in the summer at my grandparent’s place in Orient Point, Long Island. My step-grandfather was a vegetable farmer by trade, but an avid seafood eater by hobby. We used to go clamming together, and the one thing I always looked forward to on every trip was the lobster. So when I heard lobster was the entrée, I figured, “Eh. I can deal with that.” Fuck, I’ve been around plenty of people eating lobster before. When they finally brought them out, right after the clam chowder and mussels, it dawned on me that I had never been around a hundred people eating lobsters. In a tent. Did I mention we were in a tent? Oh, and it was 85 degrees outside. Truthfully, I left the tent when the mussels came out. The smell was—no offense to my gracious hosts—absolutely horrendous, at least to a vegan. Perhaps most amusing of all was that the stench was bad enough to drive several vegetarians out of the tent as well. (My point here is not to knock the veggies, just that if it’s so offensive to them, imagine the vegan reaction).

In an effort to avoid thinking too much about food, I lit up and rang my personal vegan support network on my cell (I should say here that I really loathe cell phones). Being able to kvetch about it helped enormously, and kept the day a happy and thoroughly alcohol-drenched day for me, the way wedding celebrations are supposed to be. But there’s something about boiling an animal to death that makes me a bit queasy. If they had all been eating steak or some shit, I’m sure it would have been more tolerable. The stench isn’t nearly as strong. But there’s something about the smell of seafood that I just can’t tolerate any longer. Perhaps in some psychological way it subtly reminds me of some omni girls I used to date. But more than that, I think it’s mostly the whole boiling thing, which is fucking atrocious.

My friend Sophia came out to offer me some corn on the cob and potatoes, which was very sweet of her, and a lot of effort. She had to harass the hell out of the caterers. This actually made my heart sink a little more, because I had to inform her later that they had been boiled with the lobster, as was obvious the moment I peeled back the husk from the corn. The darling that she is, she understood. But fuck if I didn’t feel like a real asshole at that point. I had thought of simply dumping the plate of food she brought in the rhododendrons, but figured that the only honest thing to do was thank her and politely say that while I appreciated the effort more than she will ever know, I just couldn’t eat it.

Once the main course was over, and the smell had largely wafted out of the tent, I was able to return for my smokes and stop bumming off of my friends and old college advisor. And, of course, I got more beer. And whiskey. Did I mention the whiskey? There was a lot of it. That I drank.

The day taught me several important lessons: 1. Never fucking trust a fucking omni.

Okay, I’m just kidding. Everyone—minus the catering company—did their best to be far more accommodating than necessary. But I did learn a few things. 1. Always bring some food with you anywhere you’re going to eat, no matter how reassured you’ve been that there will be vegan options. 2. While dry-roast and honey-roasted peanuts are not vegan (though there are some exceptions with the dry-roast), mixed bar nuts are not only vegan, but really delicious with any form of alcohol. 3. Cigarettes and cigars are not food, but they’ll do in a pinch. 4. Unlike funerals, at weddings people notice when you’re not eating.

Next wedding, I’ll be prepared.


Friday, June 17, 2005

 

"But Hitler was a vegetarian..."

Vegans get a lot of dumb comments thrown their way by omnis with nothing better to do than "challenge" their veganism. The most obnoxious part of this is the way they seem to think they are the first person to think of this or that particular one. The most obnoxious, and my favorite, is being informed that "Hitler was a vegetarian, you know."

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard this one. On a fundamental level, I'm not sure what the fuck this is supposed to mean. A good answer is, "So what?" Hitler, on several occasions, affirmed that he was a Catholic. Do I try to "challenge" Catholics by saying, "Hitler was a Catholic, you know." Could one seriously imply that because Hitler professed to be Catholic that there is some sinister link bewtween Catholicism and Nazism, and that all Catholics are Nazis.

Another good answer, of course, is that Hitler was not a vegetarian. Later in life his doctor put him on a largely vegetarian diet to help with some gas problems, but Hitler enjoyed a variety of foods, such as Bavarian sausage, ham, and stuffed pigeon, among other things. His person cook noted, "I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab [pigeon], but you might be interested ot know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler..."

Sometimes these same assholes also claim that the Nazi regime banned vivisection, and hence, opposing animal testing is also akin in some warped way to support for Nazism. Aside from the monumentally flawed leap in logic necessary to make a statement like this, it should be noted that the Nazis never banned vivisection. Author John Vyvyan writes, "The experiments made on prisoners were many and diverse, but they had one thing in common: all were in continuation of or complementary to, experiments on animals."

On the flipside, I don't think any vivisectionist is very different from Josef Mengele, and I don't see factory farming and the animal exploitation/murder industries as particularly different from the labor and death camps that dotted the Polish landscape prior to and during World War II. But you know what? Whether you agree with it or not, at least that's substantive.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

Slow drivers, stupid drivers, Connecticut drivers

What the fuck is wrong with you? Why do you drive so slowly? I have to get to work! Do you not work? Are you just joy-riding during rush hour? Give me a fucking break! Just let me pass! Oh, thanks a lot asshole. Thanks. Nice turn signal-- yeah, you know, the one you didn't use. Why don't you look at the road instead of gabbing on your goddamn cell phone, you fucking schmuck! If you make me miss this red light, I swear to god, I will abandon work, follow your car to its destination, and beat the ever-living piss out of you. I swear. No, I promise. Oh, what's that? "W" stands for "Women"? I thought it stood for "Wanker," you H2-driving blueblood piece of shit. If only I had a handgun in my glove compartment right now. If only. Have fun rolling when you try to get off the interstate. And while you're at it, thanks for cutting me off. I hope that's your first-born in the back, so when I drive by your mangled, firey car wreck, I can laugh. That's right-- laugh, motherfucker.

That's me, smoldering, on the way to work every morning-- but toned down a bit for the kids. (They have sensitive minds.)

If you're anything like me, then bad drivers piss you off more than just about anything else in the entire world. I don't know where they come from (okay, not true--they come mostly from Connecticut), how they breed, or why they are allowed to exist, but for some cruel reason I will never understand, they are.

It's funny how accute one's sense of how other drivers will behave becomes after working a job requiring you to battle morning traffic, let alone evening traffic. You can predict things. Example: I'm driving to work yesterday morning. I pull up to an intersection in the left-most left turn lane. In front of me is a youngish guy driving a Subaru. To his right, in the right-most left turn lane, is big ass pickup truck. Behind the truck, to my immediate right, is a van. Behind me is a really expensive audi with a middle-aged guy driving it. Before the light goes green, I know how it's all going to go down.

The guy in front of me is going to go kind of slowish, but he'll probably beat the pickup truck because he's making a tighter turn, which will be good for me because I'm behind him. Ideally, I'll need to pass the pickup truck. The van isn't going to be a problem, because people in vans drive slowly. The guy behind me? Well, he's kind of the wild card, isn't he? You can never tell with middle-aged single guys driving really nice sports cars. Some drive like grannies, some like drunk 17-year-olds.

Of course, my mental bet was right on the money in the case of each car/driver, except the Audi guy, who doesn't really count anyway since he's behind me, and hey, he was the wild card.

I don't fuck around on the road. I wouldn't call it road rage, just the desire not to be stuck behind a bunch of pokey assholes who seem to have no idea where they're going, as they drift blithely from one lane to another, don't use signals, cut me off, drive 10 mph under the speed limit, etc.

Just thinking about it all makes me livid. At least after the ride from work I get whiskey. (Yes, *after* I'm done driving, not while).

 

I may be vegan, but I still hate pigs

Before you get up in arms-- no, I don't mean the loveable, treyf little squealers. In this case, I most definitely mean the police.

Thankfully, most of my friends have come around a bit from the "Officer Friendly" image they grew up with about the five-oh. For those who haven't, I try, as with veganism, to avoid the issue with them. I also try to avoid going to the bar with them, as I have a small habit of yelling at and/or berating the Klan in blue when I'm drunk and they're "working the beat" (read: harassing and manhandling black kids).

For some reason a lot of folks think the police are some benign neutral force, and stand between a world of chaos and, well, the rest of us. The world's first "police force" was started in Britain. Their purpose? To break strikes. Unfortunately, they had a tendency to join the strikers. In the end, the British government decided to give them uniforms adorned with copper buttons-- hence the nickname "coppers" or "cops."

The pigs serve a very specific interest: they are the frontlines of the armed wing of the state apparatus, whose purpose is to protect the wealth and property of the ruling class and to brutalize workers (and especially fuck up black and Latin workers).

This is why pork really is "the other white meat." Just not the kind you find your grocery store. It's also why pigs are totally non-vegan.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

Vegan dualism

Inside us all, we are governed by two vegans: the pragmatic vegan, and the real vegan. The real vegan is who we are at heart; the pragmatic vegan is the way we interface with the rest of the world (omnivores and vegetarians, family and friends), and requires a very large “sense of humor” and a readiness to laugh at oneself.

What determines on an individual basis which vegan comes out the most, and when? For some of us, the world sees the pragmatic vegan in us more, while for others, it is the real vegan that manifests itself publicly. Let’s look at an example.

You’re out eating at a restaurant with a group of friends, and maybe even some of their acquaintances as well, who you don’t really know. One of the acquaintances notices you’re the only one at the table ordering the one tofu dish on the menu. “Oh, are you vegetarian?” they politely inquire. As much as you just want to eat your grilled tofu in peace and quiet, at this point both the pragmatic and the real vegan force the response, “No, actually, I’m vegan.” This, as usual, opens the whole can of worms. But how the conversation proceeds is largely up to you; by which I mean it is largely up to which of the vegans inside us governs you more.

If you are more apt to default to the pragmatic vegan in such a situation, the conversation will continue something like this: “Which means..?” “Which means I don’t eat, wear or use anything made of or containing animal products or byproducts.” “So you don’t eat eggs? Or cheese?” “Yep.” “Now, why do you do that?” “I just think that the dairy and egg industries are inextricably linked with meat production.” “Oh, well, I hope it doesn’t bother you that I’m eating meat right in front of you.” You just smile. If the inquiries continue, the pragmatic you will likely end up saying something like, “In all honesty, you probably don’t want to get into this while we’re eating.”

How would the real vegan inside handle this situation? Let’s have a look:

“Which means..?” “Which means I don’t eat, wear or use anything made of or containing animal products or byproducts.” “So you don’t eat eggs? Or cheese?” “No, do you?” “Well, yes, I mean, it’s natural.” “Well, not really. Would you drink another person’s breast milk? I mean that’s just fucking gross.” “So why are you vegan, then?” “You can’t separate out the meat and dairy and egg industries. Each one fuels the other.” “But cows need to be milked.” (This is wear you reach under the table and make sure there is already a bullet in the chamber the handgun that the real vegan always carries around.) “Actually, that milk is made for the calves. It’s not like cows just magically produce milk. They have to get knocked up by a machine first—i.e., raped. Want to know what happens those calves, by the way? Veal.” “Oh, well I hope it doesn’t bother you that I’m eating meat right in front of you.” “Not really. But it should bother you. The chicken in that curry? That thing probably lived in a battery cage for its whole life—that is, right after it had its beak chopped off.” Noting the looks of puzzlement on the inquisitors face, you add, “Yeah, they have to ‘de-beak’ them, otherwise they tend to cannibalize each other when forced into such small spaces. They go insane. That, and the battery process screws up their natural pecking order.”

At this point the person asking the questions is probably starting to get a little uncomfortable. The real vegan smells blood, and moves in for the kill.

“Yeah. Their feet get crippled too, because they are wrapped around the wire floors of the cages. Did I mention the cages are stacked? Yep. Those birds shit all over each other.” As the color begins to drain from the face of your new friend, and you can tell they suddenly aren’t so hungry, the real vegan inside keeps going. “Also, they shoot them up with all sorts of shit. Ever wonder why the chicken you buy in the supermarket has that ‘healthy yellow’ color? That’s because the get injected with yellow dye. No, really. They inject them with yellow dye to enhance the appealing ‘color’ of their dead flesh, and to make the yolk in their eggs brighter. Of course, that’s not all. They shoot them full of antibiotic cocktails too, which is half of the reason the penicillin you took last time you had an ear infection didn’t seem to work quite as well as it used to.” You pause and smile. Now the real fun begins.

“So then, if they can unwrap the chickens’ crippled legs from around the battery cage floors—the feet start to actually grow around the wire, you see—they take the chickens by the legs, strap them upside down onto a conveyor, and dunk them in a ‘stun tank,’ which is a euphemism for electrified water. A lot of times they miss the tank, or it just doesn’t work, although I’m not sure which is worse. Either way it doesn’t matter much, because then the conveyor takes them by a row of nice folks with knives that slice their throats wide open. And man, you should see the wall of the kill floor, the one behind the conveyor—covered in blood. I mean blood everywhere. The whole system is really more efficient than the Nazi Holocaust.” “So you’re calling me a Nazi now?” “No, I mean the Nazis didn’t eat the dead bodies, they just burned them.”

By now, the friend—if they’re still even at the table—is probably shouting and waving their arms—“Stop, stop, I don’t want to know this shit!” “Yeah, well, if you don’t want to know then you probably shouldn’t be eating it, should you, asshole?” And really, I don’t feel bad when I unleash the real vegan, because frankly, some of these seemingly innocent fuckwits deserve it.

I have been in this situation countless times, as have most vegans. I’ve also played it from both angles—the real vegan, and the pragmatic vegan. Sometimes you get to choose your path, deciding which vegan you’ll let loose. Other times, one will just come on out almost instinctually. My question to you, dear readers, is which vegan in you comes out more? Let me know in the comments section, and be sure to include lots of juicy stories and/or conversation.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

Honey: still not vegan, assholes

I have a running list of topics I keep. This one bumped a few others, that piss me off slightly less, out of the way.

It began yesterday when I was looking for a vegan recipe for challah. For those of you unfamiliar, challah is a Jewish bread that contains lots of eggs, buttermilk, and honey. The first recipe I found contained two tablespoons of—you guessed it—honey. So I pose the question: what the fuck is wrong with these assholes, anyway?

Some vegans refer to this as the “honey debate.” This would be acceptable were there a debate to be had. Unfortunately, there is not. Let’s be clear about it: HONEY COMES FROM AN ANIMAL. VEGANS DO NOT EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS OR BYPRODUCTS. Therefore, HONEY IS DEFINITELY NOT FUCKING VEGAN, JAGOFF. Saying you’re a vegan that eats honey is like saying you’re a vegetarian that eats fish. More simply, it’s no different from someone that says “I’m vegan, but I still drink milk sometimes.” There’s a word for that sort of thing—Horseshit. Although perhaps that’s an unfair label, because at least horse shit is technically vegan, as the animal is not “forced” to produce it, and does nothing with it. That said, I cannot think of a better word.

Of course, it didn’t really begin yesterday. This is something I’ve encountered repeatedly. Local over-priced B-town hippie eatery Stone Soup specializes in making vegan goodies. They even go so far as to list the ingredients below on the name placards for each tray of treats. Once upon I time, I moseyed in, eyed some desert items, and lo and behold, one of them was labeled “vegan,” but also contained honey.

For the doubtful who lack an understanding of basic biology or entomology, here’s how it breaks down: bees are animals, feel pain, and produce the honey for themselves to eat. There is little difference between the consumption of honey and the consumption of milk. If someone calls themselves a “vegan” and still eats honey because bees are not cute huggable animals, they are no better than the folks who would not eat their pet kitten, yet has no issue eating a “stupid chicken.”

For the extremely mentally impaired, deeper explanations of why honey is not vegan can be found at:

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

and

http://www.vegansociety.com/html/animals/exploitation/bees.php

However, if one is “vegan” but deeply committed to honey, I suspect only repeated sessions of electroconvulsive therapy or a bat to the head will suffice to drive the point home. Consumption of honey violates the most basic tenet of veganism, that animals are not simply ours to use as we see fit. If you feel some bizarre need to eat honey despite the vast number of alternatives—golden syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar—then whatever. Fine. Just do the rest of us a favor and don’t call yourself “vegan.” It only muddies the definition of “veganism” while solidifying the definition of “dumbest motherfucker alive”—you.

On a related but less angry note, is it vegan to call your significant other "honey" or "hon"? I think it is, so long as it's spelled "hunney," or "hun," not that I have an S.O. But it's surely less awkward than saying "Agave nectar, can you turn out the lights before you come to bed," or "I love you too, golden syrup, now go mow the fucking lawn." Do let me know what you think about it, though.


Monday, June 13, 2005

 

Looking for love, among other things: The Single Vegan

I’m vegan and single.

No, this isn’t an invite for comments asking to meet up or date (although if you are a cute, smoking vegan female, age 21-27ish—being Semitic can be a plus as well, but certainly not necessary—then do leave a comment or email me. No psychotics with anger management problems, please). Rather it’s my way of introducing the shittiest combination of adjectives on Hashem’s green earth.

Are you an omni? Think you’ve got it bad? Try taking all the shitty awkwardness, stupidity, and horror of what dating is already like for everyone else, and then add being vegan to the mix. To omnis and vegetarians alike, that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. But that’s because you’re not vegan. Allow me to expound.

I've been vegan for a pretty damn long while (about six-and-a-half years). It's not something I ever think about on a day-to-day basis anymore, except when I'm blogging. It's almost never an issue anymore, minus the typical bullshit even veteran vegans get, except when it comes to dating. The, suddenly, it's a big fucking issue.

Any given night you’ll find me in one bar or another. Of course I have my favorite***, but I like to circulate as well. Truth be told, bars are not the greatest place to meet prospective dates, but there’s something about a woman that likes her whiskey that I find irresistible. Chances that this same woman will be vegan? Let’s put it this way: there’s probably a better chance she’s been struck by lightning and met the pope (which pope? I’ll leave that up to you, dear reader).

Why does it matter whether or not she’s vegan?

While I don’t have the most amazing luck with women—the goodly proprietors of veganfreaks.org can attest to this, as could my own mother, I suspect—I’ve been around enough to learn a few things.

Things I’ve Learned:

Omni chicks just don’t get it. Omni girls don’t get the vegan thing. You become an oddity at worst, and fetishized at best for your veganism. Worse yet is meeting omnis that “used to be” veg*n. They are just fucking obnoxious.

Omni women smell bad. Yes, up top and down below, omni women are, shall we say, unpleasant in the fragrance department. I never used to believe this until dating a few omni girls, and nearly across the board I found this to be the case. I know it sounds bad, but what the fuck ever, it’s the truth. It’s probably trite, but if you’re vegan and you’ve dated omnis, you probably know this to be true as well. Omni chicks are totally fucking treyf.

Vegetarian women can be converted. I don’t actively recruit for the Church of Veganism, and especially not in relationships. But I have dated a couple of veggie girls for a while, both of whom eventually just became vegan over the course of the respective relationships. This isn’t a bad thing, then; just something I’ve learned. Here’s a bad thing though: Most veggies dislike/hate/feel uncomfortable around Vegans. That’s because veggies subconsciously feel like they’re half-assing it when they are around vegans, and why they are often more hostile to us than even the most meat-loving omni. At least, that’s how I rationalize their juvenile bullshit to which I am frequently subjected.

Many vegans are hippies, trustafarians, or some other sort of ass-chapping personality type. I hate jam bands. I especially hate Phish. With scant exceptions, dreads are not meant for white people (I say this as an ex-dreadhead). Bob Marley is okay as background music at the Caribbean restaurant, but I can’t really listen to much music that glorifies psychotics like Haile Selassie. I don’t have a Ben & Jerry’s bumper sticker that reads, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” I am not really that into Foucault, patchouli, cocaine, white water rafting, hiking and camping, pacifism, Zion or Zionism, the Green Party, Gandhi, knitting circles, yoga, realigning my chakras, going to that sand mandala showing, or freeing Tibet (i.e., I’m not quite that “down” with feudal theocracies). Sorry.

Even if you meet a vegan, there’s no guarantee things will work, or that they will even like you. Most of my omni friends worry they’ll never meet that special someone. On the off chance that I even meet another vegan—and you’d think in B-town it wouldn’t be that hard, but it is—there is an excellent chance that things will not work anyway. That’s because things like personality, looks, and all the other qualifiers that omnis have, come into play right after someone passes the V-test. This is perhaps the ultimately shitty part of being vegan and single: knowing that even if by some stretch of the imagination you meet some other cute vegan, they may not even like you. And even if they do, there’s an even better chance that things will just not work. Go ahead and call me pessimistic. Then again, I’d rather be pleasantly surprised when my pesimism (I call it “pragmatism,” but whatever) is proved wrong, than be an optimist and be surprised by constant disappointment.

Sure, there’s plenty of other things I’ve learned when it comes to being vegan and single, but for this blog’s purpose, these are probably the biggest. Or at least, they’re what I feel like writing about at the moment.

I realize that this stuff is probably a little different for vegan women seeking vegan guys, or vegan gay men seeking vegan gay men. Feel free to add/suggest/modify or just kvetch about the stuff I’ve left out in the comments section.

But where does this leave all the vegan singles? Are we doomed to online dating? Or attending hippy parties that a friend invites us along to, in hopes that some other non-hippy vegan will also be there, thinking the same thing?

Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have most of the answers. But seriously, what the fuck?! It all gets a little tiring after a while. The dietary aspects of veganism are really quite easy. And Lord knows, the clothing thing ain’t that rough either. But dating? I’d probably have more luck finding gold bullion out there on the beach with all the metal-detector-wielding octogenarians than I would finding a decent girl out there (let alone a vegan one) to waste life with.

Again, I’m not sure where all of this leaves me, or where it leaves you other vegan singles out there, but chances are it’s nowhere good. I'll have more thoughts on this to come, but in the meantime, what say you vegan singles out there?

(On a separate note, Happy Shavuot, and thanks to my BFFs over at veganfreaks for the shout out. I suspected as much had occured when I noticed there were suddenly comments on tsv).


***JP's on Main Street. Any cute vegan B-town girls out there reading this? Can I buy you a whiskey? Pabst? Fallafel with tahini at KKD? Watch some Mr. Show episodes? Just look for the Marxist pins I'm always wearing. I'm not hard to miss.


Friday, June 10, 2005

 

The PETA conundrum

Does PETA do more to help or hurt the cause of animal rights? It’s a hard question, and there is no easy answer, at least not so far as I can see. Nevertheless, it’s one that needs to be addressed.

PETA has done some great things, their undercover video exposés of factory farms, laboratories, and fur farms being among the most notable. These documentaries are hard-hitting and to-the-point. These videos expose the horrors of animal oppression, and make great agit-prop. They are, in this vegan’s opinion, what PETA is good at.

Then there’s the folks in giant chicken costumes picketing in front of KFC. The more theatrical aspect of PETA’s work represents their vegangelical side, and makes it nearly impossible for anyone to actually take the animal rights movement seriously. If it had been for PETA, I probably would never have gone vegan, if only for my utter resentment of silly, stupid tactics like this.

Maybe it’s just me, but when PETA makes Bread & Puppet Theater look like the Weather Underground, there is something seriously fucked a’brewin’. How are we supposed to be taken seriously with this bullshit? It reflects poorly on all vegans, and even vegetarians (not that I really give much of a fuck about the lacto-ovos, since they seem to hate vegans more than most omnis, but not even they deserve some of the shit PETA pulls).

Ingrid Newkirk, I beg of you: in the interest of ever winning anyone to veganism, please cut the kid shit.

And while we’re on the subject, what’s with these lame-ass campaigns to make KFC, or McDonald’s, or whoever the corporate bad-guy-animal-abuser-of-the-moment is, simply “reform” how they slaughter and abuse their food animals? Are you fucking nuts, Ingrid? Should we all sleep better at night because KFC might make sure their nuggets-to-be get a dunkeroo in the ol’ (and oh-so-humane) stun tank before they get their throats cut while they’re still alive? Why does PETA focus on making the torture more humane as opposed to just fighting tooth and nail to stop it? Do you think the inmates of Birkenau would have died just a little happier if the Zyklon-B was mint-scented?

But that’s PETA. They put out a good video every once or twice a year, and the rest of their time and money they dump into ridiculous theatrics that only push potential veggies away, and campaigns to make the massacre somehow more “humane.” With friends like PETA, who needs McDonald’s?

Huh; maybe it’s not such a conundrum after all.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

Cheap beer & slumming it: The Alcoholic Vegan

I’m not going to lie about it. I like cheap beer. Beast, Nasty, Old Mil, and the like. They’re all okay. But nothing beats the heat for me like a nice, cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Because I’m not just a smokin’ vegan. I’m also an alcoholic one. Well, that’s what my friends say. But what do they know? Fuck those assholes. I just like alcohol, that’s all. Forties, cans, bottles, carbonated, whiskey, whatever. Anything that’s not tequila is great. Anyway, let’s talk about why I love Pabst before moving on to the angry rant portion of my post.

Pabst. It’s cold. It’s delicious. It’s even delicious when it’s not cold. It comes in bottles, it comes in cans, and it comes in pint cans (which can’t be beat). Best of all? It’s union-made. Second-best of all? I can totally afford it.

This raises a question: if I could afford better beer, would I drink it? Yes. Well, no. Because if I could afford better beer, then I’d probably just buy whiskey instead. But in theory, yes, I would ditch the Pabst in favor of Lefe, or Long Trail, or Blue Moon, or Magic Hat, or Negro Modelo, or whatever. So it kills me when I go to bars and see the college kids slumming it on cheap beer because they think being without money (or “sin dinero” as my Hispanic friends say) is the next big fashion statement.

I don’t know how it is in other college towns, but when did Schlitz become cool? I wouldn’t even drink that shit! I’d call it dog piss, but that would be unfair to the dog it came from. Not only that, but when did all these donkeyfucking nitwits from Connecticut decide it was “hip” to drop $3.50 at the bar on a can of the junk?

In the end, it amounts to mockery. They could afford better beer, and they don’t abstain from it at the bar because they’re being frugal. They just think it’s fun to be “poor” for a night. Walk into any bar in the town, and it’s easy enough to pick out who’s drinking the Pabst because that’s what they can afford (and as such, they stand by it as “their” beer), and the dickweeds that are just out for a night on the town before driving back to campus with their absurdly attractive girlfriends in their cush out-of-state suvees.

God help them that by the time I start getting really riled about this, it’s usually after drinking a bunch of Pabst and not a bunch of Jack or Jim. Because the minute I hear some bitchy-ass frat boy holler at the bar tender he gives two shits about, “Yo, gimme a pee-bee-arr,” I want to smack him in the back of the fucking head. First of all, it’s a Pabst. If you’re feeling formal, it’s a Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s a beer, not an acronym. Second of all, don’t fuck with drunk vegans. Some of us have a lot of pent up aggression, and I, in particular, don’t deal well with the ubermenschen slumming it. And last of all, if you want to slum it in a yuppie bar, fine. But keep it there. Don’t take that shit into the townie bars. We don’t go to your bars for a reason: you. So stay the fuck out of ours, and find a new place to drink your Schlitz.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

 

Where (some) vegans graze

If you’re vegan then you’ve been inside them. And if you’ve been in one, you’ve been in all. They smell exactly the same. Items are located by shelf in approximately the same array in each. The staffers are alike. You reach for the scoop in the large-flake nutritional yeast bin as the air conditioning blasts above you. You glance askew at the dreadlocked trustafarian several feet away, loading up on granola or muesli. You are overwhelmed by the urge to kill (or, that might just be me). You have entered The Co-op.

What’s my gripe with co-ops? After all, they serve a purpose. Ostensibly they provide local producers with more equitable prices for their goods, the items on the shelves are fairly priced, and they are an alternative to big chain stores.

But that’s not what I see when I make one of my oh-so-rare trips to co-ops and health food stores to buy a bag of nutritional yeast or vegan shampoo. Increasingly, co-ops mirror big chain grocery stores in almost every aspect, from size to selection of products to their corporate “ethic.” Our local co-op actually fought tooth and nail against the (ultimately successful) unionization of its workforce.

One aspect in which they still differ from the big grocery stores is in the area of pricing. They cost infinitely more. How the fuck am I supposed to actually buy all my groceries at the co-op when the markup on goods is almost twice that of a regular grocer? And more importantly, why would I want to include myself as part of the dubiously superior clientele that would sooner eat a hamburger than lower themselves to shop where (gasp) poor people shop. It doesn’t take a Marxist to figure out that co-ops and similar grocers are about as bourgie as it gets.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to eat organic stuff when I can get it. I’m not a crunchy type, but god do I fucking loathe GM frankenfood corporate bullshit. The problem is, shopping at a co-op is a class privilege and most of the assholes that shop at them (note, not all co-op shoppers are assholes) don’t understand the class nature of the place they buy their groceries.

I get looks of horror when I tell B-town hipsters, veggies, and vegans that I buy my lunches at the local Wal-Mart. Then again, one look at my paycheck and monthly bills will give you a pretty quick idea why. So why do I deserve to get shit from some holier-than-thou douchebag because I can’t afford to eat the nice things that they get from the co-op? Fuck those assholes.

Some day I’ll be happy to shop at a co-op—when they live up to their image. Until then, I’ll get my produce direct at the farmer’s market, and everything else wherever I can afford it. There are more important battles to be fought, and more important things to being vegan than where the hell I decide or can afford to buy my groceries.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

 

The many uses of Vegenaise

I’ve been away for a while. You probably haven’t noticed because not a lot of people read this blog. I don’t really feel I owe an explanation, but I’ll just say that life has been hectic, I don’t have reliable internet access, and I work for a living.

That said, I’m going to do my best to pick up on my neglected little anger management project known as The Smoking Vegan, as I haven’t vented in a while. Also, I know I promised I’d come through with a review of the hookah I ordered, so here it is: it fucking rocks my fucking socks. Although I do think I got jacked on a pack of shisha, the peach and apple flavors are de-lish.

On with the blogging, though.

Today: The Many Uses of Vegenaise.

We’re entering summer now, and that can only mean one thing: hot, nasty, vegan sex. How does this relate to Vegenaise? Be creative. I’m sure you’ll figure something out. But more importantly, hot, nasty, vegan sex in the summer can only mean one thing: you’re going to need to gorge yourself on some vegan food afterwards. And that means you’re going to need yourself some Vegenaise.

For those of you unfamiliar with the stuff, it’s like mayonnaise but without all the eggs. Also, it tastes much better (you’ll find most non-vegans will agree with this statement). In fact, it tastes so good, I’m convinced they used highly-refined Afghani heroine in the production process.

There are actually a number of vegan mayo substitutes. Unfortunately, Vegenaise makes all other substitutes its bitch. Take Nayonnaise, for example. The ‘N’ doesn’t stand for ‘Not.’ It stands for ‘Nasty.’ And then there’s you’re local generic store brand. Let’s not even go there.

No, if you want to do it right—or do it right, after you do it—you’re going to need Vegenaise.

Now, there are a few different types of Vegenaise. There’s the normal kind with the blue label, the Expeller Pressed kind with the green label, the Grapeseed Oil kind with the purple label, and the Organic kind with the gold label. I prefer the original, but you might like one of the other kinds better. While they’re all basically the same vegan goodness, they have slight variations in texture and flavour.

What can you use Vegenaise for? The short answer is, “Anything you would use mayo for.” But if that’s all I gave you to go on, I’d be holding out. Vegenaise certainly can be used in lieu of mayo in the standard mayo faire, such as sandwiches, pasta/potato/eggless salads, french fries, etc. But why stop there? Here’s some things to do with Vegenaise you wouldn’t dare try with your Grandma’s mayo:

Want to add some zing to that cheeseless vegan veggie pizza you got from your local pizzeria? Spread a healthy helping of Vegenaise on top.

Like cheeseless bean burritos but think they’re lacking something? They are. They’re lacking Vegenaise. Spread it on top or use it as dip—either way you’ll be eating a little bit of heaven.

Mix Vegenaise with ketchup (approximately half-and-half, or three parts Vegenaise to two parts ketchup) for a french fries, burgers, sandwiches, etc.

Use a thin layer for edible body paint (the stuff can get a bit rich, so let me stress the “thin” part in that last suggestion).

Ring stuck on your finger? Car making funny noises? Well, normal Vegenaise is mostly canola oil. If you know your history, that’s the shit they used to use as industrial lubricant before some genius decided it was safe for vegans to eat. That said, Vegenaise now makes a great lubricant. (Just kidding. Well, about the “safe for vegans to eat” thing. It is safe to eat, but rapeseed oil—rapeseed being the plant that canola oil comes from—really was used as industrial lubricant. If that bothers you, then maybe try the Vegenaise with the purple label instead).

Have an asshole college roommate? Spread a little Vegenaise haphazardly around the portion of their bed where their nether-regions usually go. When they get back to the room and ask what the gooey white junk on their bed is, just smile and say, “Sorry, I figured you wouldn’t mind.”

In a pinch, the stuff can also stand-in for KY. I should say I have no basis for writing this, but it’s probably not far off the mark.

These are just a few suggestions. I encourage you, dear reader, to experiment to your heart's content. You'll never get tired of Vegenaise. It's something no self-respecting vegan should go without, even a piss-poor one like me. And remember to follow the Smoking Vegan's motto when it comes to mayo substitutes: "When it comes to masturbation, accept no imitation." You want Vegenaise.


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