Thursday, 27 October 2011

Branding (warning: post contains language fitting to the subject matter)

Apparently Russell Brand is now vegan, and for ethical reasons rather than weight loss or personal purity or (on the surface) attention-seeking.

'Vegan' celebrities can often be a liability more than an asset. I've seen a few come and go. Alicia Silverstone came to the conclusion that she should eat animal products in social situations so as not to appear 'rigid and unfriendly', and Natalie Portman had apparently no way of obtaining vegan versions of the baked goods she so desperately needed to get sufficient iron and B12 during her pregnancy. Sadly that is a mixture of direct quoting and paraphrasing, without any need for added satire.

Also, when a celebrity has a tendency towards offensiveness, this can have a certain type of impact on veganism and animal rights more widely. It's similar to the 'because you're vegan' phenomenon that occurs whenever one of us catches a cold, breaks a bone, gets the almighty scours (because *that* never happens to people who eat chicken, oh no) or gets hit by a rock thrown by some twit who must have been secretly monitoring the dietary habits of every passer-by in order to know the right one to aim at. Any and every illness is blamed on being vegetarian or vegan, and every vegetarian and vegan is tarred with the same brush. If the footballer John Terry makes racist remarks it's because he's a dick. If Morrissey does it (even in contexts that are fuck all to do with animals), it goes hand in hand with 'Meat is Murder' and we must all be behind him all the way. To which I say, no, he's a dick. A musically talented dick with one or two opinions that are right, but nonetheless a dick. And Brand has done one or two things that would make me mentally add 'twat' and 'arse' to 'dick' when describing his behaviour.

So Russell and Katy, if you're reading this, I'm very happy you have taken the plunge and wish you all the best for it. Seriously, we're all here for you, if you need recipes, advice on vitamins or toiletries or any of the minutae of vegan life, just ask. If you promote veganism, let people know why - fans going vegan purely because you do it probably won't stay that way, people who are clued up on the issues are more likely to keep it up. If you yourself can't keep it up for whatever reason, don't be a dick about it. And if you do or say anything twatty, I'm the first to say 'not in my name', right? If however you are happily vegan this time next year, you might like to submit your story here* to help other newbies.

Oh, and you might need this...

*In fact, so might other vegans reading this ;)

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