Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Meat rage

Just why do meat-eaters have to be so viciously abusive to vegetar-ians? I mean, what is their problem?

Harriet Walker in the Independent directs a tirade of insults against us meat refuseniks as if we were some alarming social menace. So what did we ever do to her except decide to eat differently?

Referring to the PETA* ad in which a scantily dressed Pamela Anderson is marked with the sort of prime cuts you see in a butcher, she says " Let's face it, there's nothing sexy about vegetarianism. As the thousands of beardy, socks-and-sandals wearing diehards will attest, this advert is the raciest thing to have happened to the movement since Linda McCartney."

Well now, Harriet, let me point out a few things:

1) Why should vegetarianism be sexy? It's a diet choice, not a miniskirt. If I want sexy, I'll watch a Penelope Cruz movie.

2) I don't have a beard and don't wear sandals. I do wear socks though, since tights might raise a few eyebrows.

3) Oddly enough, women vegetarians don't have beards.

4) I'm no more a diehard than those who insist on eating meat and dismiss vegetarianism as rabbit food. I simply dislike the unnecessary killing of animals.

5) The advert is only racy if you think a bikini-clad Pamela Anderson is cutting-edge erotica. In this day and age, I think not. And again, why do stuffed peppers and pumpkin risotto have to be racy? Is there nothing free of sexual innuendo?

Still, perhaps we should be more sympathetic. Such irrational torrents of abuse are of course a typical side-effect of eating large quantities of meat. She really can't help herself, she's the victim of an uncontrollable addiction. I do hope she gets better soon.

*PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

31 comments:

e said...

Personally, I think being a vegetarian is one of the best things one can do for the planet. It isn't only the killing of animals but their raising and its impact on soil, water and other resources that we should be concerned with. Have you read Micheal Pollan or John Robbins?

I could go on, but won't, except to say that vegetarians can indeed be sexy.

Grannymar said...

Vegetarians like omnivores come in all shapes and sizes, belonging to either group will not make you grow two heads. It is a personal choice which side of the table you sit and should be respected as such.

I often tease about eating rabbit food, but it is usually in summertime when I am happy to live on salads with or without meat. A salad is so simple & versatile and with fruit, nuts and seeds it can be a total different experience every day of the week.

kylie said...

great post, nick!
i'll be back.....

Nick said...

e - Absolutely, vegetarianism is good for the environment too. No, I haven't read Pollan or Robbins, I must check them out. Vegetarians ARE sexy? Goodness, does that include me?

Grannymar - Exactly, meat-eaters happily eat salads. Do I hear them complaining they're vegetarian rubbish? Can't say I do.

Kylie - See you later....

e said...

Nick, of course...

secret agent woman said...

I hate that ad. I think using a plasticized woman to advertise an environmentally sound lifestyle choice is both absurd and offensive.

That aside, I follow a pesca-vegetarian and I am often flummoxed by people's defensive response to it. I have never asked anyone, not even people I date, not to eat meat. I have never made a snide remark about someone's steak, never grimaced at the chicken on someone's plate, and so on. So I wish those who do chose to eat bird and mammal to leave me the fuck alone about my choice.

secret agent woman said...

I mean I follow a pesca-vegetarian diet.

Megan said...

The Omnivore's Dilemma!

Wisewebwoman said...

There is something about PETA that seriously disturbs me. Intuitively. Can't quite nail it but ads like the Anderson one offend me. One of the most plastic women on the planet advocating a vegetarian lifestyle? I wouldn't want to be in a club that had her as a member.
All that said, I was a vegetarian for years and years and had to add fish. I have the odd bit of meat.
Live and let live is my motto when it comes to food. Why do people get so worked up about it?
I try and eat 'happy food' i.e. no animal/fish/fowl suffered on the way to my plate.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

e - !!!!!!

Secret Agent - Well, yes, they could have chosen a more untampered-with woman. But still, she makes a valid point about prime cuts. Me too, I don't rant and rave at meat-eaters, why can't they reciprocate?

Nick said...

Megan - The Omnivore's Dilemma? No dilemma for me, I decided way back in 1973 that I didn't want to eat animals any more. It was a very easy decision, prompted by a couple of gay vegetarians I stayed with.

www - Let's not be too harsh. There are an awful lot of plastic women out there, trying to survive in a male-dominated world. Indeed, live and let live. Why get so hysterical about other people's harmless choices?

Megan said...

I can't promise. I just can't. But I will try. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a book...

Nick said...

Megan - Oh I know it's a book, I googled it! I'm not clear exactly what Pollan's personal dilemma is, as his book covers all sorts of topics.

rummuser said...

I live in India where vegetarian food is more or less the staple food and non vegetarian the exception even for those who eat the latter regularly. I was a non vegetarian till 1998 and purely for aesthetic reasons, I stopped all non vegetarian food. I cook for my father and my son who are both non vegetarians, and they do not consider me odd nor I them. Each to his own!

Nick said...

Ramana - I like the idea of describing meat-eaters as non vegetarians! A fine live and let live approach in your household.

I Wonder Wye said...

good lord, who peed in Harriet's coffee? I have not heard of people being that vicious about vegetarians. I have the highest regard for people who make that choice. I do eat meat but typically prepare at least 3-4 vegetarian meals a week for the benefit I feel they do for the planet and one's body -- if Excy didn't like meat meals I'd do more. I make sure the meat I do buy is not from a CAFO and has raised the animals humanely...I liked reading your profile and wish you and J well. I have vacationed in London twice (Excy designed a remodel of a townhouse on Sloane Square -- he is an architect and I a writer). I would love to go to Ireland and Scotland - where Excy's relations are from. They had a castle, and still retain the Johnstone title,

Eryl said...

These rants invariably come from people who can't defend their own choices using reason. I guess Harriet Walker likes eating meat but feels guilty about it given the compelling environmental arguments against producing it. Silly woman! And to excavate all those old clich├ęs, how dull or her. I wear socks and sandals (sometimes even together), and I eat meat.

You make a very good point, too, Nick: why does everything have to be sexy?

Nick said...

Wye - Pee in coffee indeed. As you say, vegetarian meals are good for body and planet, and don't depend on CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations - a good term, I don't know any British equivalent). The Johnstone title - that sounds very posh. Does that grant you any special privileges?

Eryl - Absolutely, she'd have difficulty defending her own eating habits other than to say she likes the taste and everyone else eats the stuff.

kylie said...

of course everything should be sexy!

Nick said...

Kylie - But some things are intrinsically UNsexy. Try as you might, you'll never get a sexual frisson out of steering wheels or oven gloves or potted plants.

rummuser said...

Air India and all airlines operating to and from India offer two cuisines. Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian. It is now common to come across Veg and Non Veg, shortened forms. In India, you will see restaurants with signs announcing Veg only or Veg and Non Veg!

Nick said...

Excellent. India is far more enlightened than the intolerant UK in this regard.

Liz said...

What's Round? I don't recognise that cut.

That aside - great advert.

Welcome to my world of being a Christian - roundly abused in some circles.

I'm glad to hear you don't wear socks and sandals and shorts. Especially grey work socks.

Nick said...

Liz - I didn't notice that. Yes, what exactly is Round? I know, believers get their fair (or unfair) share of mindless insults as well. I do actually wear socks, and they're all black. Is that better than grey?

kylie said...

i have seen sexy steering wheels!

Nick said...

Kylie - Sexy steering wheels? The mind boggles. What's so sexy about them?

kylie said...

hey! a sports steering wheel is prolly sexier than the whole sports car!

Nick said...

Kylie - If you say so! Regret to report my knowledge of sports cars is zilch. Call me old-fashioned but I still find a car's occupants sexier than the car.

Anonymous said...

It's a good article Nick about aggressive meat eaters.

Although I think you are being harsh on Harriet Walker. I wrote to her joking the same as yourself - where are these vegetarians with beards and sandals and pointing out there's loads of sexy vegetarians!

But ok she made a few light remarks like that, but her article also contained drawing a parallel between modern day meat eating and the worst abuses against humans that are now shunned. She suggested it meat eating might be seen as bad in the future one day. But mentioned Pamela Anderson appearing in soft porn adverts for vegetarianism won't what will sway her. Fair enough.

She did an excellent article on the vegan Natalie Portman praising her for making vegan shoes for some green clothes company so vegetarianism and veganism appear to be causes she is aware and sympathetic to, albeit while willing to poke a bit of fun at too.

Anonymous said...

Continuing what I said, HarrietWalker gave the vegetarian and animal cause a fair of bit publicity andcut through the little jokes it was good publicity :)

For genuine, aggressive anti-veggie columnists I'd direct you to a couple of pieces the Daily Mail's Jan Moir wrote!

Best wishes

Nick said...

Anon - Thanks for the comments. Okay, I accept that Harriet Walker might be more pro-veggie than she appears from that article. But it was still a bloody silly article! And don't get me started on the Daily Mail, I might get a fit of apoplexy....