Friday, 22 November 2013

There are so many ways to be a dogmatic 'ass'hole*

A musician named Grimes' described by some sources (including herself) as a vegan, has caused a bit of a stir by posting a picture of herself holding a tub of icecream and declaring a 'one-day hiatus' from veganism. Suffice to say, this was not a situation in which the non-vegan food was standing between her and starvation, neither was she eating it at gunpoint. It was completely avoidable in all senses of the word. Unsurprisingly, vegans reacted.

Grimes' defence is, well, interesting.

First of all: 'Part of the reason I posted the ben and jerry’s thing is because I like to encourage people towards a type of veganism that is inviting and accepting. For the longest time I was vegan but I just wouldn’t say I was because of the bad reputation of veganism. most of the vegans i know are dogmatic assholes, and it completely turns people off.'

Now I'm no fan of being an arsehole (sorry, going to speak my native language here :p ) and have no illusion that all vegans are saints, but I also suspect that some of the 'dogmatism' going on here is a response to having an acquaintance who proudly proclaims 'hiatuses'  and tries to 'encourage people to towards a type of veganism' that is, to be blunt, not vegan. I can't imagine any other moral decision where it is considered acceptable to go back on what you apparently believe in the name of being 'inviting and accepting'. In fact, I even struggle to think of a remotely plausible example for illustrative purposes, which is usually a dire situation for someone who teaches ethics. Sure, being an arsehole is offputting, but consistency shouldn't be.

I believe more people would be drawn to having more ethical diets if they didn’t feel bullied to do so, or if they felt they were entering a welcoming community.

Sure, some vegans are perfectly capable of bullying, but they're not the majority. To a great extent the community is pretty welcoming to those who don't snap pictures of themselves with nonvegan food to make some faintly ridiculous point. But what really gets me about this statement is the idea that people would be 'drawn to having more ethical diets' if they didn't actually have to be more ethical. Defeating the purpose much?

And then we have this complete doozy: 'My brand of veganism is one wherein if your grandparents have no idea what you are talking about then you eat their beef stew rather than upset or confuse them. or if you really want to have cake with an egg in it on the holidays then you have that rather than just not being a vegan because you don’t want to give up occasionally having something that you love.'

My brand of anti-racism is one wherein if your grandparents have no idea what you are talking about you join right in with their ill-informed prejudices and offensive language rather than upset or confuse them.** My belief in workers' rights encompasses the idea that I can occasionally stick a small child up my chimney if I really want it cleaned the old-fashioned way.*** And why should I give up shitting on my neighbour's lawn every once in a while, as opposed to not being a person who generally respects their neighbours because I don't want to give up occasionally doing something I love?**** Obviously being remotely consistent here would make me a dogmatic arsehole, because there are so many issues on which short-term personal gratification could override a moral stance...


*Sorry, I'm British, it is arse all the way unless in a direct quote
**Sarcasm, for those who have trouble picking it up.
***Sarcasm again.
****Sarcasm for the time being as I like the current neighbours*****
*****Mildly tongue-in-cheek


HC said...

I think the whole vegans as self-righteous dbags trope needs to be retired ASAP. I've never met a vegan or vegetarian 1/3 as aholeish as an adamant carnivore (my god those make-believe "paleo" types are the worst!) it's just hippie-punching, a way to mock people you secretly know are probably right.

Vanilla Rose said...

I now want to go and poop on someone's lawn. Because, you know, dogs do that and I don't want to hurt their feelings by rejecting their values.

Or something.

Vanilla Rose said...

"People would be more drawn to ethical diets if they didn't have to take ethics seriously," said Grimes. "It's absurd to think that people are meant to actually, you know, not eat delicious ice cream just because you care about cows."

Vanilla Rose said...

Seriously. It's not us who get hurt by stuff like this. It's animals. She may think she's teaching us a lesson, but she's really saying that animals don't matter enough to her for her to actually be vegan.

Imogen Michel said...

Great blog! I really don't believe someone can ever meaningfully be a "part-time vegan". It's like being a "part-time non-racist" or a "part-time anti-sexist".