You guys probably know more about Facebook protocol than me, so tell me this: After you ‘unfriend’ somebody, is it customary to send them twelve (count ‘em) private messages in which you refer to your new best unfriend—in this case, me—as, among other things, a douche?
I had this peculiar experience with a peculiar homie—a fellow Detroiter and a vegan who ‘unfriended’ me in part because I eat meat. And hunt. And own guns, which I use to hunt, not to murder school children and their principals, even if they happen to be vegans. I do not, as it happens, own a handgun or an assault rifle; I own several shotguns and .22s, some historical pieces from various wars and a Remington Model 74 30.06.
Even so, my opinion on an assault weapon ‘ban’ is uncomplicated, even when unloaded upon an unsympathetic unfriend:
The Second Amendment—as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson—is all of 27 words long, and does not strike me as being particularly ambiguous:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Barack Obama telling me that I can own some rifles, but not all rifles is the same thing as him telling me that I can practice some religions, but not Islam.
What About All That ‘Well Regulated Militia’ Stuff Then?
This: During Colonial times, every able-bodied male was required to be a member of the militia. It was America’s first deep-dive into a system of conscripted duty and no man was exempt without good cause. And the purpose of said militia had nothing to do with hunting ringneck pheasants and whitetail deer, of course—it had to do with scaring off liberty-usurpers, whether or not they adhered to a way of living that sought to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.
Actually, vegans (and their above mission statement) weren’t invented until 1944; the same year that the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division murdered 129 civilians at Maillé, France; the same year that 800 Romani children were systematically gassed at Auschwitz; the same year that The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet debuted on CBS radio.
That year, the term ‘vegan’ was coined by an English carpenter named Donald Watson (1910 – 2005) after dairyban, vitan, benevore, sanivore, beaumangeur and beaucoup d’hypocrites were rejected by his fledgling fraternity of flesh-free fanatics who had recently vamoosed from the Vegetarian Society of Britain.
Despite the fact that in the meantime, the Nazis were unleashing V-2 ballistic missiles on West London and making a moonscape of Norwich, Leslie Cross of the Leicester Vegetarian Society had his priorities straight: He expressed his outrage in the July issue of The Vegetarian Messenger that vegetarians were continuing to consume cow’s milk despite the obvious fact that drinking cow’s milk exploits cows.
My gut tells me that Leslie—who was 29 years old in 1944—should have been on the front lines with his peers fighting for the survival of Great Britain, not vegetating in the East Midlands ruminating about cow secretions. However, it is entirely possible that he’d been able to pull the wool (figuratively, of course, because wool exploits sheep) over the eyes of the draft board since his parents were so ashamed of him turning up his nose at a good, wholesome Samworth Brothers Sausage Pie that they refused to give him a boy’s name.
Likewise, Donald Watson was 34 in 1944—a prime and perfectly eligible age for someone to defend their fatherland. But I suppose if you won’t eat honey because it is abusive to bee colonies or wear silk because it is an imposition on silk worms, you can hardly be expected to shoot at German people who never did anything to you except kill your compatriots and try to steal your country. Incidentally, by all accounts, Adolf Hitler was also a vegetarian—among history’s most curious ironies.
With Unfriends Like That, Who Needs Enemas?
So, back to Facebook. I know that my rather outspoken disdain for vegans—and hypocrites in general—makes me more enemies than friends, but a guy’s gotta do what… You know how it goes.
The straw that broke the exploited camel’s back for my name-calling unfriend was when I corrected a rather silly update he’d posted, which said, in part, ‘150 years ago, if you had called for the abolition of slavery, they’d have called you nuts,’ or something like that—I can’t reference the original because I am unfriended. Anyway, I pointed out that, coincidentally enough, 150 years ago this year, on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, more or less invalidating his ‘150-years-ago’ claim.
Brother, did that piss him off. He accused me of ‘nitpicking’—something I would never do since it exploits baby head lice.
It got worse when I asked him who the phantom ‘they’ in the post referred to, and he said it referred to me. Moi. Yours truly. Chrissy Baby. Which means, in my interpretation, that he is calling me a pro-slavery racist. I am not sure about you, but I really don’t mind being called ‘douche’, but I sort of draw a line at ‘racist’.
In the past, he and me had been around the block on the subject of veganism: I maintain that there are some innate paradoxes in the vegan philosophical viewpoint, not the least of which is that if you are truly committed to a lifestyle that excludes the use of any animal by-products, you are not allowed to drive, fly or walk on asphalt since fossil fuel and petroleum are made from dead zooplankton, and—not to make too fine a point of it—the word ‘zooplankton’ comes from the Greek planktos (πλαγκτός), meaning ‘wanderer’ and zoon (ζῴον), meaning…? Ready…?
Lips That Touch Animal By-Products… Are Sealed.
By ‘sealed’, I assure vegans everywhere that I am not seeking to exploit the kind of seal that clap their flippers and go ‘ort ort ort’, but rather—as much as I would love to name names here and let the cat out of the bag (exploitative of cats, certainly)—there is a certain ethical obligation that we journalists have—a set of self-regulating rules referred to by professionals such as myself as ‘limitation of harm’. In a vegan-friendly nutshell, our discretion is required when we consider sharing the names of people, even unfriends, who are 1) the victim of a particularly heinous crime; 2) minor children; 3) whistle-blowers or 4) vegans who one is exploiting as column fodder.
The codes and canons of journalistic ethics are intended, of course, to guide us through conflicts of interest, moral dilemmas, the rights of…
Oh, hell; who am I kidding? I’m not a journalist. I’m a douche, right? His name is Brent Maxwell.
Vegans Are Keen on Quinoa
Of course they are. So dull must the typical meat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, logic-free diet be that vegans are always looking for some exotic, edible gimcrack to liven things up. Avocados, for example, are so popular in this lifestyle that great swaths of South American rainforest have been razed so that farmers can plant more avocado trees and cash in.
Quinoa first came to national notice a couple of decades ago as an unpronounceable Peruvian ‘wonder grain’ (it’s a seed, though, not a grain). From the giddy-up (sorry, horse non-exploiters) quinoa seemed ideally suited for the vegan diet as it is unusually high in protein (up to 18%—three times higher than cow secretion juice) and contains a potpourri of essential amino acids that many vegans require, but don’t necessarily get.
Considered sacred by the ancient Incas and developed into spaceman chow by NASA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations likewise creams all over it (that would be natural almond and cashew MimicCreme©, of course) and has declared 2013 ‘International Year of Quinoa’. The FAO even sponsors a Facebook page dedicated to quinoa which you can join without fear of being unfriended so long as you do not mention your gun collection.
Me, I can’t join, because the most popular Peruvian variety is called quinoa negro, and I’m a racist.
And that is all well and good, so it is with great regret that I, in this, the Year of Quinoa, must share with vegans everywhere that quinoa winds up being but another nail in the coffin of your holistic hypocrisy.
Without statistics to back me up, I would venture to guess that there are very few poor vegans, unless they are forced to adopt that deeply-philosophical, earth-embracing lifestyle because they don’t have enough money to buy a Big Mac. For the most part, third world cultures consume about a third of the animal products that Americans do, and about a quarter of the dairy. According to the National Institute for Health, by 2020, these developing nations will wolf down 107 million tons more meat and 177 million tons more milk than they do today, dwarfing our own predicted increases of 19 tons of meat and 32 tons of milk. So, if there is some moral imperative to being a vegan, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Chad, Tuvalu et al. better get while the gittin’s good.
Ah, but what happens when the price of a healthful, traditional meat alternative like quinoa rises beyond what the very folks who have grown it, relied upon it, and consumed it for millennia can afford? What if, based on quinoa’s newly-found star-status among vegans, vegetarians and the occasional metrosexual, it becomes a global commodity and the pesos-per-peck price rises accordingly, until it is too expensive for quinoa farmers to afford for themselves, and a Big Mac actually winds up being cheaper?
They eat Big Macs, that’s what.
‘Veganism excludes no sentient being–animal or human– from its commitment to compassionate, gentle benevolence. To show tender regard for the suffering of animals, yet treat humans with callous contempt, is a disheartening contradiction of Vegan principles’.
– Stanley M. Sapon, Ph.D, Veganologist
I like the ‘callous contempt’ part, because that is exactly how the frequently subsistence-level human beings who raise quinoa in Peru or Bolivia are being treated. Quinoa prices have tripled in the last ten years, and vegans who sanctimoniously shell out ten dollars for a pound of meatless Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Quinoa are apparently failing to connect the dots: When the market price for nutrient-dense Ecuadorian quinoa reaches a level where it makes no economic sense to eat it instead of sell it, farmers will switch to something else. What else? The very stuff that vegans despise: Imported junk food, Coca Cola and the odd guinea pig or two.
How much self-righteous smuggery does your garden-variety quinoa-cramming vegan go to sleep with each night, knowing that his/her veganism is pretty much forcing quinoa farmers to abandon theirs?
You tell me, Paul McFrigginCartney.
¿Cómo Se Llama? Translation: ‘What’s Your Llama’s name?’
As the avocado orchards are to Mato Grosso, so are quinoa fields to the traditional grazing areas of Peruvian llamas. In the rapid quest for more cash-cow (sorry, bovine apologists) quinoa plantations, the llama herds are being removed in favor of the health-food monoculture—and this is happening in one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet, where llama crap is vital for the structure and fertility of the soil.
Meanwhile, South American governments are doling out tractors and similar fossil-fuel-guzzling farm vehicles to assist quinoa growers meet the sudden new Western demand, further wreaking havoc upon the environment. All this so that vegans may look down their noses at us muscle-munching, flesh-feasting, blood-bolting carnivores while they enjoy their kale and quinoa salads?
(By the way, the llama’s name is Tina. And don’t forget to vote for Pedro).
Let He Who Is Without Sin Castrate The First St. Bernard
Now, in this column I have doubtlessly wrung out the vegan-bashing sponge (synthetic urethane, of course; not porifera-exploiting natural sponge), but I can’t resist sharing a true story about this other vegan I know and his talking dog.
You see, unless grandfathered in from before the vegan became a vegan, a vegan can’t own a pet, because ownership of a pet exploits pets. Vegans are, however, fully in favor of neutering pets in order to prevent more pets from being born following canine sessions of heavy petting.
So, while this dude was out the room, his dog turned to me and said, “He loves me. He gives me vegan dog food. He believes that animal life is a phenomenon to be treasured, revered and respected; he acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life and rejects any hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures.
He cut my balls off.”
According to Brent Maxwell, this makes him man’s best unfriend.