Laura Miller: “We’re so used to linking masculinity with carnivorousness that we seldom stop to recognize how illogical it is. Just because vegetarianism is correlated with pacifism — people who draw the line at killing animals are probably loath to kill human beings, too — it doesn’t follow that eating flesh, and especially the flesh of mammals, causes the battery of aggressive behaviors we choose to call manly. Yet even today, insulting vegetarians is presented as a display of bold, defiant machismo, a way of saying, ‘I understand and embrace the bloody truths of life with lusty vigor, unlike you salad-noshing pansies!'”
I wish that book were better – it seemed like a good article to me, Miller should have writen the book instead!! I liked the Anthony Bourdain article she links to as well. I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t like the self-righteous douchebag vegetarians either (or the self-righteous douchebag carnivores, there’s a lot of those too). It doesn’t really help your cause to preach or align yourself with crazy people.
“Just because vegetarianism is correlated with pacifism…”
Hmm, wasn’t Hitler a vegetarian? Incidentally, my good friend Jim Harrison has a recipe for mesquite roasted doves in yesterday’s Times. Money quote: “be careful not to overcook the doves or they will turn into ‘billiard balls.'” I’ve already tried his wife’s polenta recipe and it’s brilliant.
Insulting vegetarians is a way to defeat capitalism. It’s hard to think of anything more free-market happy than choosing to not eat hamburgers. It also, insulting vegetarians, feels good.
Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian – that’s a myth. He did reduce meat from his diet, but he didn’t exclude it. He did at times claim to be a vegetarian, but still ate meat on occasion, which a lot of “vegetarians” still do today. Many carnivores are threatened by vegetarianism because it makes them feel like they’re doing something wrong. So if a bad person like Hitler is vegetarian, then they can feel better about themselves. Really, it doesn’t matter if Hitler was a vegetarian or not, it has nothing to do with his behavior.
That was one thing that bothered me about Miller’s article (and possibly the book she was analyzing) – she mentions that Hitler was a vegetarian. She never bothered to look into it – most people don’t.
People who insult vegetarians really annoy me, personally. I feel diet is a personal choice, and I don’t tell other people what they should or shouldn’t eat. There are some that do, sure, and they are annoying, but they don’t represent all of us. It’s a kind of prejudice. Yet, I’m harassed for my choices all the time. The defensiveness can only make me think meat eaters feel guilty about what they’re doing.
Anthony Bourdain makes the point that he feels vegetarians are rude and offend other cultures by rejecting meat. Does he think Buddhists are rude? What if it’s your culture to not eat meat? I’ve had exactly one experience where I had to leave a restaurant because there was absolutely nothing that could be made meat-free for me, in a Somalian restaurant. I felt bad about it, but eating meat would have actually made me physically ill (once you’re a vegetarian for a while, your body quits producing the enzyme that helps you digest meat).
Capitalism and fair trade is partially fueled by the methane of cows, as is the destruction of our environment. I hardly think insulting 0.3 to 1 percent of the US population will defeat it.
Free trade, I meant, not fair trade. Although there may be fair trade involving beef, I don’t know.