Thursday, September 11, 2008

rhetoric


Unbreakfasted, I had a jones for food porn this morning...so, of course, I headed over to The PPK. Mmmm, PPK. Mmmm. I wanted pictures of saucy barbeque tempeh and roasted everything and great heaps of quinoa.

I didn't want conflict. Of course, I found it. Urgh. Unappetizing.

Toodling through, I ran across a link to someone else's blog. He's a dad, and he writes a lengthy treatise about the high instance of "kid hating" in the vegan community. It sparked a, um, heated debate. There's a lot of name-calling, holier-than-thouism on all sides, and even the obligatory attack on someone's mother. It's a fracas.

It made me think rather seriously about the vegan community, and my place in it. I've been trying in earnest, lately, to find a foothold in it - and it's not going well. There are so many criteria! In my engagements with other vegans so far, I feel like I'm presenting a resume. It's exhausting.

I'm not raw, nor will I ever be. I wasn't raised vegan. I wear leather things that I bought before I was vegan, most notably my motorcycle gear. I'm not an anarchist. (Why is that even an issue?) I ride horses, and would like to do so a lot more often. When I'm working, I must eat out every single day, and the restaurants production orders from are never vegan. I don't make a habit of checking my beer and wine for veganness. My cat is not a vegan.

I've got my own issues and contentions, of course. After much mulling and research, I don't believe that lacto-ovo folks can use the term "vegetarian" to describe themselves - and I'm currently deciding if, considering our universal and pervasive dependence on fossil fuel, anyone is truly vegan. At work, I'm wearing thin on defending my veganism to every new team I work with (and, in commercial production, that happens a lot.) And I'm also wearing thin on hearing folks defend their own lifestyles back at me, rather retort-style, as though I've inherently questioned their ethics through simply living my life as I choose to. I'm just vegan; I don't always feel like talking about it, though I feel that I must do so when asked. I fuss at myself sometimes that my responses aren't ironclad enough, and that the facts and figures don't roll effortlessly off my tongue, and that my questioners are mysteriously determined not to hear it anyway.

As for hating kids - gosh, I don't hate kids. I'm just never going to have any, and I don't like spending more than a couple of minutes around them. If that makes me a bigot - well. Fascinating.

2 comments:

Keith Berger said...

Hi, it's Keith (veganmusician) from VeganWorld. I know I've said it before, but it certainly bears repeating - you are a VERY gifted writer!

I'm finding some facets of living vegan to be tiring, as well. The frequent attacks on my vegan credibility (nagging conscience, anyone?), the mocking of my mock-meat (which reminds me of the 1st vegan joke I wrote: "I'm so vegan, I won't even wear a [mock]turtleneck..."), the lack of people to rant to who'll actually "get it"... This is why I'm seeking to start some sort of vegan support group.

Anyway, please keep doing what you do, 'cos you do it soooo well!!! You might just be my inspiration to pick up my own blog again.

Foodeater said...

What you've written reflects my thoughts almost exactly (well, except for the horse riding part). Like it isn't hard enough being on the defensive all the time about why we choose to be vegans to the non-vegetarian world, we also have to defend just how vegan we are to other "more-veganier-than-thou" types. It's all nonsense and labels anyways. Ultimately you can only do what's right for you, what you feel is right for the world you live in. Fuck it if some fanatic doesn't think it makes you vegan enough. You're right, it's totally exhausting. I've decided to just not care about what anyone else thinks, be they vegan or not. I'll never be able to meet anyone elses standards other than my own, so as long as I'm true to that, everything else is just noise.

Thre's a lot of that sort of shit on the PPK. I love the site but mostly I only hang around in the actual sections where people talk about food, not "the issues", because when I go into those areas I just leave feeling pissed off. Or worse, I open my mouth and get in trouble.