fun with democracy; tricking nonvegans


I know it really stinks that Pete Healey won’t be on the New Paltz Village Board (until he gets reelected in a special election when Mr. “I can’t speak or write a sentence that doesn’t include 50 ‘likes'” Kimbiz drops out or is kicked off the board, but, oh my oh my, this is so SO! much fun.

Also fun: two of you are actually doing the douche challenge! It’s triple-exclamation-point-worthy awesome!!!


Oh, and Kat at The Cheese Plate (the cheese shop where I sell my truffles) and Jacob and I were talking about how neat it is that I sell the truffles there. She was saying how she used to be “vegan-skeptic” but now she unhesitatingly recommends the chocos to people and never mentions that they are vegan. There is a tiny sign that mentions it, but most people miss it. I sort of like this, and so does she. She said that sometimes people come in and ask if there is anything vegan and they are super happy when they see a giant shelf of gorgeous (if I do say so myself) chocolates. I was saying how I once wanted to open a completely vegan restaurant or bakery or something and never breathe a word about it being vegan to anyone. This is pretty much what I do now, but I also want to make sure that vegans know that my food and chocolates are OK, so I’m sort of stuck in a bind. As a chef who primarily thinks of her food as activism, I want more nonvegans than vegans to eat my food. I love feeding vegans because it makes them so happy, but I’m even happier knowing that people are eating my food who would have been eating slaughterhouse meat or something.

So Kat had the great idea to create a secret symbol to put in the window of bakeries and restaurants (and, uh, cheese shops!) that would tell vegans that there was edible food inside but which wouldn’t scare away silly animal eaters who are more terrified of the word “vegan” than they are of “chocolate vulva.” I know there’s this, but it’s a little showy. I like the secret symbol idea. It’s not that I’m not proud of being vegan, it’s that I think we now need to make people understand that vegan food is just food, and maybe the way to do that is not to segregate it. I mean, I still think it should be segregated on grills and things, just not in crazy nonvegans’ heads (and is there any other kind?), you know?


14 Responses to “fun with democracy; tricking nonvegans”

  1. Gary Gaetti

    Hey Lagusta,
    I love your blog but I have a bone to pick with you (and Brittany, but I value your opinion more so I’ll post here). I campaigned for Pete informally before he was first elected but I’ve been disappointed so far. Has he really contributed much to an already lackluster board? I know nothing about O’Donnell and couldn’t pick Kimbiz out of a lineup but frankly, I think it serves Pete right. Did he want to be on the board? Was he really so arrogant as to think that he didn’t need to vote for himself? Poor syntax aside, Kimbiz’s NPGP questionnaire responses looked reasonable at the very least, especially in regard to environmental issues, which I care most about.
    Anyway, I think this whole fiasco is exactly why anarchists like ourselves are best served saying “good riddance” to all the false hopes and empty promises of representative democracy.
    And, as a former classmate of the soon-to-be youngest ever school board member I can say confidently that Kimbiz will have competition in Brittany’s “most regrettable electee” sweepstakes.

    Keep it up!

    And PS-can I buy your dazzling, new Bluestocking Bon Bons at The Cheese Plate? Or just the old standards?

  2. Stephanie

    I LOVE tricking non-vegans. I got some of your chocolates for Xmas last year and I planned to horde them for myself…. but it was just too much fun feeding them to unknowing omnis. And of course telling them the chocos were vegan only after they told me how good they were!!!

  3. lagusta


    Wow, I am totally freaked/touched that New Paltzers are reading (and loving!) my blog!

    Don’t value my opinion more than Brittany’s–she is about fifty times more knowledgeable about the issues and ins and outs of the political scene than me! I just curse a lot.

    Pete Healey. Hmm. Can I take an easy out and say that for once in my stinking life I will be diplomatic and not say much? Because I like Pete. I’m happy to call him a friend. I think he’s smart and has GREAT ideas and great drive and his heart is in the right place. We’ve had some political blowups before, but those are in the past, we talked it out.

    The thing about Pete is that he is 100% all about unification. He said very clearly at the Green Party interview recently that that is his one and only issue. I find this short-sided. I don’t, however, think it’s really his only issue, I think he was trying to make a point about how important it is to him. I think he was/will be again a good counterbalance to the sheer ridiculousness that is the rest of the VB. Could he be better? Yes. Could I not spend so much time taking pictures of my hair? Yes. So I guess I can’t complain.

    The fact that he didn’t vote for himself out of “principle” I find so Shakespearian I don’t even know what to say. Either Pete is brilliant and has integrity beyond my wildest comprehension, or….not.

    Moving on. I would normally agree that syntax alone does not a horrid trustee make, but I have had the sad experience of witnessing The Kimbiz’s performance at a very low key Green Party interview, and it was, well….”terrifying” is about the only word that comes to mind. I hate to say this because it’s deep-down, straight-up mean, but I don’t think the dude is smart. I just don’t. However, I don’t think that really anyone else on the VB is that smart either, so who knows. Maybe his newness and youth and idealism alone will make something happen. Maybe he’ll turn out to be amazing and prove us all wrong. Maybe he’ll realize how in over his head he is and that will terrify him (it should, because he terrified us so much) and he will become amazing out of sheer fear. Let’s hope.

    It seems to me that Kimbiz is the very worst kind of environmentalist–a treehugger without facts or knowledge enough to make anything happen. And this is coming from someone who literally hugged a tree yesterday, OK? It looked a little sad. But I don’t pretend that it will accomplish anything beyond brightening that one tree’s day, at least.

    I’m totally with you on the anarchist point. I’m the worst anarchist ever—all I ever do is work to make our crap corporate-capitalist one party janky system better. It sucks, it’s no good in the long run, but oh, I don’t have the energy for revolution sometimes. I do think reform of the system can work in small towns. To a certain extent. Ugh, I’m just a hypocrite!

    Oh noes!!!! I’m kind of in love with Dan Torres, don’t harsh my Torres mellow! I just made a bet with someone that he would grow up to be president of the US!

    Dang. OK, share your dirt, sir.

    oh! And I was just talking with Kat about carrying the bonbons at TCP—check back in 1-2 weeks!!

  4. lagusta

    Stephanie, how rad that you are carrying out my nefarious plan!

    And how rad that my blog readership is 1 part crazy vegans (crazy awesome!) and 1 part crazy New Paltzers (mostly crazy awesome!).

  5. pete healey

    I wasn’t arrogant about this election. Overconfident, yes, as it turns out but that isn’t reasonably predictable. I worked hard in my one year term and can list several accomplishments. I campaigned on three things last year- starting a local bus system(we now have the LOOP), improving channel 23(we now have a videographer/coordinator for both the town and village), and unification(Both the town and village agreed to apply for a study grant to work out our best options. It is expected that the grant award will be announced any day now). There are several other “little things” I could also call accomplishments, but I won’t go on and on here except to add that I spent lots of my time blocking initiatives by the mayor to restrict public comment at meetings and restrict public access to meeting rooms, and generally run the village government as if it was a private organization.
    I worked many long hours in the month of April on our budget, which by all accounts was the most difficult in many years. We finished by keeping the tax increase under 2%. I might have spent lots more time campaigning if the budget hadn’t been due at exactly the same time(it was), and if it was at all clear that the write-in candidate was working hard(it wasn’t).
    I reached out more than once to the write-in candidate, I spoke publicly and repeatedly that he should have been allowed to conduct a “regular” campaign and should in any event be included in campaign events. He didn’t respond in kind. NYPIRG last year organized a public forum on campus for the candidates, not this year. The Oracle last year profiled the candidates, not this year. One candidates’ forum was held in the village, and I made certain that Brian was invited. He failed to show. The video of this forum was scheduled to be aired several times in the week before the election but it was inaudible and the video was nearly as bad, and it was pulled off the air.
    The write-in candidate went underground when the political establishment ruled his petition signatures invalid(mostly because he himself was registered to vote in Islip until three weeks ago!), so there was no light on his campaign. He should have been publicly called to account for the badly mistaken statements on his website about the size of the village government and the population of New Paltz and on public policy issues, but he wasn’t. Lots of officials of this government, including a village board member and the chairs of various boards and commissions, didn’t bother to vote at all, and I shouldn’t be required to call them and beg them to do their civic duty on behalf of a government of which they are members. And the chair of the village Environmental Conservation Commission preferred to vote for Patrick O’Donnell and HER DOG than for me. This person also voted for her dog last year instead of me, and I swear I’ve never done her any harm. I’ve never physically or verbally abused her and I will be a long time getting over this continued insult.
    There is more, much more, but I hope this gives a sense of the reality of this situation and my role in it. I believe I acted responsibly and made some mistakes for which I’m paying, but there is a lot of “blame” to go around. The system sucks great big heaping helpings of bilge water and I’ll continue to work to change it, mostly from within. I’m still the same guy and I’m gonna continue what I was doing, I’m just not gonna be doing it on the village board.

  6. Gary Gaetti

    Thank you Pete for this response. I obviously overlooked some things.

    Lagusta, where in NP can I get bonbons for my dear old Women’s Studies professor mother?

    • Dustin Rhodes

      Maybe the super secret symbol could be a vulva. That would throw everyone off.

  7. lagusta

    Gary, right now the only way to get the bonbons is to email me your order (you can see which boxes you want at and if you’re in NP I’ll bring them over to you! It’s a little free service I provide for New Paltzians. Don’t place an order through PayPal on the site, though, because it’ll charge shipping. :)

    Dustin: Oh my. YES.

  8. DSM 4

    narcissistic personality disorder

    “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy”

    DSM IV-TR criteria

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:[1]

    1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    3. believes that he or she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, people (or institutions) who are also “special” or of high status.
    4. requires excessive admiration
    5. has a sense of entitlement
    6. is interpersonally exploitative
    7. lacks empathy
    8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

  9. Chutney

    I am in awe of your copy and pasting skills, anonymous jealous person.

  10. lagusta

    Seriously! I emailed them to see WTF, no answer yet. You think I’m a narcissist, let’s talk about it! Let’s talk about me! Me and my self-obsession! Bring it on! HA!

  11. ASB

    Love the idea of the secret sign. I get that “vegan” is a scary word to the non-vegan population (ok, I don’t really get it, but whatever) but I’m kind of tired of vegan cafes calling themselves vegetarian cafes simply to seem less extreme. BUT, the truth is that it does work. All kinds of carnies unsuspectingly visit non-advertised vegan establishments and only like it because they don’t know. But then there are peeps like me who have walked passed The Cheese Plate (on my way to the loo from Karma Road) and have never suspected that there was vegan booty to be had inside.

    • lagusta

      Yeah….I think Kat, who owns TCP is in the same boat: she doesn’t want to scare off cheeseheads, but wants to find find vegans to eat the truffles. Thus, the need for the symbol!


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