hot pink nesting doll lovers against useless death and suffering

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This is going to be a bitchy, annoying post, so I’m going to make it go down a little easier with photos of the most odd, charming place I think I’ve ever been to: a hot pink world 1/2 hour from my house aptly and simply named “Nesting Dolls.” (Or, more accurately, “NESTING…………dolls.”)

Guess what it is?

A store that sells nothing but nesting dolls.

It’s awesomeness is going to blow your mind (though my ultimate hero James Howard Kunstler, [he of the must read The Long Emergency] hates it, but I pretty much completely disagree, these days anyway, with his views on architecture, so whatevs.)

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OK, so: I’ve got a little irksome nag that I have to vent about:

It’s the oldest irksome nag in the world to a vegan, and it’s been so discussed and played out that I feel silly bringing it up, but oh well.

So, most of my true friends are vegetarians and vegans. I mean, how could they not be, right?

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That is the question.

Lately for whatever reason I’ve been rubbing up against nonvegans of all kinds (that sounded sort of dirty, didn’t it? I’m going to keep it.), and it means that for the millionth time I have to work out my feelings about how best to handle that most annoying and indelicate of situations: eating in restaurants with flesh-eaters.

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I’m not worried about how to externally handle it—I think I’m pretty graceful, in truth. Only with my true BFFs do I dare to hate on them for ordering nonvegan food. With everyone else I am the fucking picture of the nonviolent, politically correct, serene-in-my-choices, live-and-let-live vegan that I believe vegans should be when forced to eat meals with flesh eaters. Killing them with kindness is my general policy. (Are you getting the meat-eating ironies I am injecting into these sentences, people??)

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My goal: politely ignoring the fact that my dining companions are engaging in an act which I find so intensely morally inconceivable as to be literally stomach-turning.

Lately it’s been difficult, again, not actually physically at the restaurant, but in my heart. Not because I know assholey non-vegans—that would be easier. Assholey non-vegans can so easily and cuttingly be dealt with: assholes always want to fight, and I’m amazing at fighting and always win, so that’s all well and good.

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No, it’s because I know some sweet, kind, intelligent and generally awesome non-vegans. They know not what they do, I tell ya. At least…that’s what I have to believe.

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Here’s my take on the whole thing:

Unless explicitly asked, I never talk about veganism, and I’m even moving away from introducing myself as a vegan chef (I just tell people I make vulvas.). My strategy is to change minds through impeccable example. It works all the time. It takes years, but it works, and none of my unintentional converts have ever converted back. (On the other hand, all the high school and early college friends I pretty much forced to be vegan by screaming at them are a) not friends with me anymore and b) meat-eaters.)

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Most of my friends who aren’t vegan are those (take a deep breath, O vegans, because there is a trigger warning coming right at you:) “vegetarian-but-I-eat-fish” people.

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I won’t even pretend to understand it. I know like five good friends who rarely eat eggs and cow dairy or dead cows or pigs or even chickens, but who will slurp up plates of oysters and salmon mousses and whatever the fuck else people make out of fish (I’m going to link to my essay on fish every single time I have to use the word, OK?) with no compunctions. They have iPhone apps that tell them what fish are, like, not going to instantly cause total extinction of that particular fish species, and they belong to a CSA and love going out to good restaurants, and it all just blows my mind.

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Of course, being in the Slow Foodie sort of circle I run in I also know oodles of those nose-to-tail eaters who so delight in talking about the pig’s feet they had for lunch, and this depresses me in that special way I call, with a special sigh, “Fucking Nourishing Fucking Traditions,”* because of the book that talked a whole socioeconomic demographic (white, Brooklyny, annoying) out of being vegan.

Related to this are the farmers. When I’m being the farmer-groupie that I am in my professional life, I constantly run into Slow Food-esque nouveau farmers whose delight in using all parts of their pigs, and their CSA customers’ delight in sharing those pig parts, routinely hurts my heart so horribly that it’s hard to buy my hundreds of pounds of produce from them (which is why I buy veganic produce whenever I can).

I know that by not participating in the factory farm system that they are doing good, but after we get past those issues, we bump into another one: these people, these farmers whose livelihoods I so cherish and respect and support, have no problem uselessly killing beings that do not deserve, in any way, to die.

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It’s rough.

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But back to dinner with pals.

Here’s what I wish I could say to those friends of mine:

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“Dearest friends of mine! You are so dear! I’m so happy we are pals! And I would never say that you couldn’t order whatever you want when we go out to dinner, that would be just rude. But I have such deep-down bedrock ethical issues with your meal right now that it’s sort of harshing my mellow in a really major way. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know** is that sometimes it’s sort of hard for me to keep driving when I see roadkill on the road. I’ve got a tender heart, OK? And I like animals so much more than people, which makes everything difficult in this world of ours. So, dearest friends, how do I be OK with your animal-eating ways? I mean, I don’t want to be OK with it. But I want to have a good time tonight. What to do?

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“What? What’s that? Fish?

“Oh.

“Well, since we’re talking about it, you want to hear my thing on fish?

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“Sigh. I hate this.

“I’m becoming sort of didactic and overly moral for a fun dinner out, but oh well. Now that it’s started I won’t be able to stop, so I apologize in advance.

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Fish. Personally (and by “personally” I mean: everyone in the whole world should feel exactly the same way I do), I think eating fish is worse than eating “meat.” Because you get what, like 100 hamburgers out of one cow, plus leather shoes and whatnot? See, that whole fish you’re eating right now is a whole entire being, a being that lived in agony***  and suffocated to death for no reason other than so you can eat it, even though you didn’t need to eat it. My cycling book right now is this history of vegetarianism, and it’s sort of boring actually (T. Colin Campbell liked it a lot though [scroll down to read his review], so I’m sticking with it), but it’s interesting as a reminder that there have been vegetarians and, lo!, vegans, since, like, um, the dawn of time. That whole “we need meat to survive” argument just doesn’t hold water. But of course you knew that. You’re my smart awesome friend!

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So I don’t get why you eat fish. Maybe you believe that it’s better on the environment [this is an argument so ridic I will not stoop to refute it, though my fish essay does!]. Maybe you believe that cows are somehow higher beings than fish. This just irks me.”

(deep breaths at this point will not stop what is coming)

“And now we’re going to start talking about killing flies or something and someone at the table is going to say something like, “well, you just do what you can do, la di da la la la” and my face is going to get red and I’m going to say that YOU CAN NOT EAT FISH, THAT’S SOMETHING YOU CAN DO” and I might use a swear word.

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And.

This is why I’m writing this blog post, so that doesn’t happen.

Because I want to be sweet to my sweet friends, but darlings,

you’re fucking killing me.

OK?

Phew, I’m so glad we had that little talk.

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.

*While I agree with some of its points, blah blah, oh look, I already wrote about it in this post that makes everyone so very angry!

**When I get nervous I start quoting Salinger, what can I say?

***Do some research on fish farms before you start talking crap about how sweet fishies are just swimming around all happy until they get a hook to the mouth, OK?

39 Responses to “hot pink nesting doll lovers against useless death and suffering”

  1. ecclescake

    Ha! “Fucking Nourishing Fucking Traditions!” Amen!

    And those photos…wow…I miss the green so, so much. Stupid desert.

    Reply
  2. zoe p.

    As a practicing non-vegan, I think you should simply ask your friends not to eat meat and dairy when they eat with you. I respect the values and beliefs of my friends and family, and they routinely ask me, nay, invite me to share those values when we enjoy the luxury of sharing time, meals, homes and holidays together.

    Besides, I’d rather eat a vegan restaurant with a vegan, than have them cross-question the waitstaff at a Thai restaurant.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yeah….I guess. It’s all awkward. I feel really super assholey asking them not to order meat, and I also feel that if they really cared, they wouldn’t order it anyway (which most don’t, really). I would be super annoyed if, for example, some insane wheat-free person (aren’t they all? Oops, did I just let that slip?) asked me not to order anything with wheat, and though I feel that my veganism is ethical, not health-related and thus it’s different, I can see how someone who doesn’t understand the difference could be annoyed.

      Yeah, of course, going to vegan restaurants solves all problems!

      Reply
  3. zoe p.

    I feel like you’d only have to ask once, maybe *not* when folks are about to order, but late one hot friendly night, over wine and pretzels.

    Now that we’ve solved that, what about pets? It is a deeply held value of mine that pets are wrong. What do *I* do?

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yep, I’m with you on that. I am a total hypocrite for believing in animal rights and keeping three cats locked up in my house. In an ideal world, pets wouldn’t exist, surely. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have domesticated animals in the first place, and in an ideal world we’d be working harder to stop domesticating animals today. But on the continuum of transgressions, giving domesticated shelter cats a happy, pampered life in a completely unnatural environment seems like a minor crime most days. When people tell me they bought animals at pet stores or breeders, however, I get so angry I think I just might explode.

      Reply
  4. Christy

    You’re right, you’re right, about the fish. I was in that transitional uncommitted sushi eating phase that is, apparently, so annoying to vegans. Partly for my convenience (because I was afraid I’d have to go hungry, or eat salad every time I went out), and some for other people’s (because I’d didn’t want to refuse everything, or make special requests). HOWEVER, after listening Teri Gross interview the makers of The Cove, the movie about dolphin slaughter in Japan, I could no longer feign ingnorance about over fishing. Dolphin slaughter is a direct result because dolphins are seen as competitors, and pests by the fisherman, and therefore killed. The dolphin part in Earthlings was particularly haunting to me too, and as soon as I made the connection, I was done. I’ve joined your vegan army.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      My heart sings. Yeah, I listened to that interview too, it was pretty heartbreaking. (And not just because Terri Gross says “like…um…tee heee” every second)

      Reply
  5. Rabbit

    There was a barbeque at my work yesterday, and although there was a box of “Gardenburgers” purchased, I had to contend with bowls of cow blood and bloody knives and bags of raw flesh all over the break room table as they were preparing it. I felt as if it were super unsanitary and just absolutely repulsive. As the only vegetarian in the place, I just get chuckled at as though it’s a silly whim of mine to feel something for the butchered remains of animals. It was cranky inducing.

    Reply
  6. Ilene

    ” I would be super annoyed if, for example, some insane wheat-free person (aren’t they all? Oops, did I just let that slip?) ”

    Yeah, you did, and I’m having trouble understanding why you would say something so stupid and insensitive. I guess people with diabetes are crazy, too.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Ooh, I knew I was going to get in trouble for that one! It’s just because I truly think that the vast majority of people trying to eat wheat and gluten-free diets don’t need to be putting themselves out so much. Of course many people do suffer from wheat allergies or insensitivities or celiac, but if you do not, there is no reason not to eat wheat and gluten. Particularly with gluten, there are absolutely no benefits from excluding it (a recent issue of Eating Well magazine has a great article on this…sadly I no longer have the article, alas). I can understand not wanting to eat wheat because most mainstream eaters eat way, way too much refined wheat products, but it does seem to me that it’s become a trendy thing to avoid. And of course, it’s not rooted in ethics, which makes me suspect of it right away.

      Reply
  7. Ilene

    Fair enough. Lots of people do avoid wheat for no good reason. And I’m sure that as a chef for people of a certain socio-economic class you get a lot of people who avoid all kinds of foods for non-medical reasons. And I’ll go further and speculate that some of those clients are probably fairly annoying. But celiac, as I’m sure you know, is a very real, fairly common, life-threatening disease for which the only cure is total avoidance of gluten. There is nothing at all to be suspicious of, any more than you would be “suspicious” of a child who goes into anaphylactic shock when s/he eats peanuts.
    (We can go back to the love-fest now.)

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yep, I gotcha. And yep, you perfectly understand my cooking life and my insane UWS “I- read-an-article-saying-wheat-will-kill-me-i-can-no-longer-have-even-a- drop-of-shoyu” clients!

      Reply
  8. Doug

    Maybe there’s something in the air, because I’m lately feeling more irked than ever over all the woo-woo around “good” flesh-eating that’s so prevalent these days. I read your other post on Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, etc., and dug it. It’s interesting that so many of the folks in the “good” meat crowd were previously veg*ns. How’d we lose ’em? How do we get ’em back? I suspect that there are larger historical forces at work that will become more clear in retrospect; my guess is that the technological and political landscape has evolved so fast and crazy (the past ten years in particular) that people instinctively cling to comforts and “Nourishing Traditions,” so to speak. Being veg*n is a real effort, and when people are worn and subject to so much change they easily lose their vision and resolve…

    Anyway, just to wanted to let you know that your blog rocks and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone with these sort of feelings.

    Reply
  9. Christy

    James McWilliams was just on NPR Science Friday with Michael Pollan to talk about his new book JUST FOOD. He’s kind of post-locavore, and I was gearing up to dislike him, but how could I when one of his points was if everyone gave up meat for only one day a week, it would have the equivalent effect of everyone buying locally. I don’t know how such things can be quanified, but who cares. Going to the farmer’s market is great, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus one’s sustainability effort. Being meat-free, and least one day a week, gets you more bang for your buck environmentally. http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200908216

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yeah. It makes me ashamed that I just started a big fight on Facebook with a friend of a friend I don’t even know that began with me saying that anyone who believes in religion is just plain old BAD. Argh argh.

      Reply
      • lagusta

        Wait, that comment didn’t make ANY SENSE, did it? Pardon me for that.

  10. AB

    I am a former vegan who has switched to a diet of mostly plants with a small amount of organic local animals products sprinkled in. I became a vegan after becoming disgusted with the entire animal food system. Since then, I have realized that plant foods are just as much of a part of the problem. I have since started growing as much as I can and supporting my local farmers when I can’t produce something myself. I have trouble understanding your true reason for being vegan. Is it because you don’t want innocent animals to be slaughtered? If that is so, then most animals (cows, goats, sheeps, etc.) would probably cease to exist! Do you believe that the entire world should strive for veganism? What is the difference between keeping cats as pets and chickens (who live a wonderful free-ranging life) as pets? Do you believe it is Ok to eat the eggs that they generously pop out every day? If not, what should be done with the eggs?

    Also, what are you feelings on raising children vegan? Do you believe that it is just as healthy for children to grow up on a vegan diet? Yes, I know some wonderful vegan children, but I still worry about the long term health effects IE brain development. I am not talking about the alternative to veganism being children eating McDonalds every day. I am talking about children who eat small amounts of animal protein rarely.

    I’m not trying to be patronizing or egg you on. (pun intended) I am genuinely interested in your response!

    Reply
  11. lagusta

    Heya AB!

    Why does Chutney think your name is Karen, I wonder? Oh, internet.

    OK, here goes, and I’d love other vegans to hop onto this one too.

    I’m vegan for every reason there is to be vegan, but primarily it is because I just don’t believe that it’s morally permissible to eat animals. When you come at your eating from the point of view of doing the least harm and allowing nonhuman animals their own right to simply live, you can’t keep eating them and feel OK.

    I’m truly not trying to be annoying, but do you REALLY think that food animals would “cease to exist” if we didn’t eat them? We don’t eat sharks or elephants or squirrels in mass quantities like we do cows and pigs, etc, and somehow they go right on survivin’….

    And to your other questions:

    “Do you believe that the entire world should strive for veganism?”

    Honestly, I try to live in the realm of the possible and keep theoretical questions out of my every day life.

    “What is the difference between keeping cats as pets and chickens (who live a wonderful free-ranging life) as pets?”

    Nothing, I guess. I don’t believe in either, but am only a hypocrite about one.

    “Do you believe it is Ok to eat the eggs that they generously pop out every day? If not, what should be done with the eggs?”

    I believe that on the scheme of sins, having a couple chickens and eating the slimy detritus that slides from their genitals is a very small sin. Most of my friends here in the country have a few chickens and enjoy their eggs. The idea of eating an egg makes me queasy.

    I also do not eat the sleepies that come from my cats’ eyes. Or the cervical fluid of my girlfriends. I see absolutely no difference between things like that and eggs, but apparently that’s just me.

    “Also, what are you feelings on raising children vegan? Do you believe that it is just as healthy for children to grow up on a vegan diet? Yes, I know some wonderful vegan children, but I still worry about the long term health effects IE brain development. I am not talking about the alternative to veganism being children eating McDonalds every day. I am talking about children who eat small amounts of animal protein rarely.”

    I know a slew vegan children, all of whom happen to be super healthy. Like all children, there are healthy vegan kids and unhealthy ones. I’m no expert on kids, in fact I kinda hate most of them, so I’ll just wait for some vegan mom to jump in and give you some resources for this. I’ll just say that there have been vegan kids since the beginning of time–veganism is in no way a new diet. Factory farmed foods in our diet, however, is the true worry. Which it seems like you are worried about, of course.

    I’ve got a question for you: when you found out that “plant foods are just as much of a part of the problem”, I don’t get why that made it OK for you to eat meat—why not just work harder to bring about a veganic local foodie utopia?

    This is the constant question I have for all the locavore snobs in my town who think I’m childish for not eating local “happy meat” –A does not follow B. Just because A (the industrial farming system for veggies) is fucked up, I really don’t get why that leads to B in so many people’s minds (local meat from animals that lived good lives before they were uselessly killed).
    I hope that helps!

    Reply
  12. Dustin

    The thing about ~my~ understanding of veganism versus a “former vegan’s” understanding of it is: Veganism isn’t a social protest of worst animal agribusiness practices; in other words, if all factory farms cease to exist, then that doesn’t mean veganism is no longer relevant. The difference is, the veganism I practice is a radical challenge to human domination. Domination over non-human animals, other humans, the environment… the whole she-bang.

    Therefore, AB, everything you wonder about is answered in that statement. Yes, it’s wrong to have pets (even though I do…but rescued pets are refugees and thus deserve human care until they no longer exist); no, domesticated farm animals would not exist, and hallelujah when they don’t. Blah blah blah.

    Non-sequitur: I wish people would stop calling themselves ex or former vegans. What bullshit. And why on earth do you always harass vegans? It’s endlessly annoying. Besides, what kind of ex-vegan would ask such obvious Vegan 101 questions? If you really ever understand the radical nature that is the practice of veganism, you should be ashamed to call yourself a quitter. I hope you are just one of those people who thought they’d live to be 350 because you ate salad all day.

    Oh, and I’ll just admit: I have no doubt small amounts of animal products are perfectly fine. Maybe even healthy. Maybe even VERY HEALTHY. THAT’S NOT THE POINT*. I don’t think science will ever prove otherwise. If some crazy health nut vegan tries to claim otherwise, they clearly live on Uranus. See * above.

    [I am being such an a-hole and bad ambassador today…sorry].

    Reply
    • AB

      Thank you Lagusta for answering my questions. I have followed your blog for a long time and although I do not always agree with your beliefs I respect the work you do as an activist in our community. I do not think you are childish. I believe that diet is a very personal choice and there is nothing wrong with choosing veganism. There should not be judgment on either side though. I chose to start eating animal protein because it…felt right for me. I started working on a farm and saw positive ways that animals can be integrated into the food cycle. Yes, some of them must die an “untimely death.” But all animals die. I know that you disagree with this point.

      Dustin, I take it that my questions hit a raw nerve. I asked Lagusta those questions not for a vegan 101 or to “harass her” but because I am genuinely interested in her personal reason for being vegan. She has decided to put her views out on a public forum. Dialog seems to come with blogging territory. Not every person is a vegan for the same reason. I was vegan for animal rights reasons. As for the point on human domination, isn’t all food consumption a form of human domination over the earth. For example, the plants we eat, the plants and animals that are sacrificed in the name of food, the ways that the land itself is affected often detrimentally etc.? There is not such thing as true veganic farming! (Sorry Ron and Kate.) Some animals must die so that we can eat. Obviously there are ways to farm so that a lot less animals are affected but some worms will get chopped by a hoe and some Colorado potato beetles will be thrown into a bucket of soapy water….you get the point. Maybe this is all semantics….or maybe not. Keep up the fight! The world needs more angry vegans.

      Reply
  13. lagusta

    Heya AB!

    Do you live in The Paltz? Are we, like, personal friends and I have no idea? What a weird world!

    Two quick things:
    “There should not be judgment on either side though.”

    This is a pet peeve of mine. Sorry–of course there should be. If you feel I’m doing something morally wrong, I want to know about it. I want to hear your thoughts and I want you to judge me and I want to change. I judge you for eating meat, for sure I do. There are absolute standards of right and wrong (none of this Zen shit for me), and people should be looked down upon when they fail to stay on the right side of the line. If you throw litter out the window of your Hummer, I am going to look at you like the inferior creature that you are. This is as it should be.

    “I chose to start eating animal protein because it…felt right for me.”

    I’m searching for some sort of punctuation mark or something that can convey how —————- this statement is. Do you do everything that….feels right for you?

    “I started working on a farm and saw positive ways that animals can be integrated into the food cycle.”

    Ditto.
    ————————- [insert rant here]———–
    I guess I’ll just put quotes around a few words.
    “integrated”
    “food cycle.”

    Yep. Animals are not here for us to “integrate” them into anything, much less our own “food cycle.” They just ARE.

    OH SIGH! I was trying to be so super nice. I do really respect the fact that you are putting your opinions out here, though I don’t respect the opinions themselves of course.

    It’s just that your opinions are the same ones so so so many others have that I hear so so so so many times, and they are….I don’t know. So incredibly easily refuted. So incredibly bizarre, when you start thinking about it. So often repeated, like a mantra. Food cycle, etc. That HILARIOUS plant argument. (so…grass-fed beef doesn’t use plants at all?)

    The whole “it’s impossible to be perfect so I gave up trying” thing.

    It’s just so done, and trite. Bring me something new.

    Reply
  14. Dustin

    I have to agree with Lagusta here, and it’s not just because I worship her, because of course I freely admit that I do.

    Seriously: ever cliche thing you’ve written here about eating animals and being an ex vegan has been said by every single person in the universe who wants to eat bacon double cheeseburgers that are free range and locally produced so they can feel good about themselves.

    I doubt there’s any thing a vegan can say to change your mind. But you should keep this shit to yourself, because it’s like a horrible echo inside any self-respecting vegan’s head.

    I know you’re probably thinking, “good goddess, what an obnoxious vegan! Vegans are all so self-righteous!” blah blah blah. But it’s really just directed at the ex-vegan set who’ve written every single thing you’ve written, as though it’s interesting or deep or even makes any sense at all.

    //dramatically, and as gay as possible, throws his hands up in the air, like he just don’t care//

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Nope! Because there are a zillion ways to be vegan. Everyone does it differently, as they should. Is there only “one way” to not walk down the street murdering people?

      Reply
  15. Chutney

    From Mean Girls:

    Karen: If you’re from Africa, why are you white?
    Gretchen: Oh my God, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white.

    I ruined it though.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Oh thanks!!! I thought it was probably something pop culturey like that.

      Reply
  16. AB

    Yeah, we have some mutual friends, I believe, but we haven’t met.

    I’ve spent a lot of time working and living on a local organic farm, completely immersed in food, food, food, of all sorts. Happy, healthy, food, might I add. Growing your own food gives you a completely different perspective on so many things. I left that farm changed, empowered and full of inspiration.

    So yes, I do feel completely confident in saying such naughty, taboo words such as “integrated” and “food cycle”. Sorry if those words make you feel uncomfortable, but take comfort in this: We live in an agricultural society. There would be no happy healthy food if we didn’t INTEGRATE all sorts of animal related goodies into our (organic) FOOD CYCLE. Horse manure. Fish emulsion. Compost (full of worms! Nematodes! Bacteria! Bugs of all shapes and sizes! Working so hard to give us something so precious and free and it’s all those little beasties have ever done and will ever ever ever do) Chicken shit! What great fertilizer. And those happy little chickens live their lives out in peace, doing what chickens love to do all day long. If we stopped raising them? If we stopped raising cows and sheep and goats and pigs, all of whose docile, DOMESTICATED natures have been unnaturally selected for over the many years humans have co-existed with them, well, I do believe that the fate of these guys would be a lot less pretty than you might imagine. Domestication means dependent. The ancient ancestors of these animals were a far wilder, far far far more self-sufficient brand of critter than the one you see today. I’m sure you know this, but your whole shark/elephant/squirrel argument begged a response. Do you know that in most chickens these days, the very instinct to mother, to brood, so to speak, has completely been bred out of them? In that case, it seems like chickens are completely dependent on us, and may very well cease to exist if we stop raising them.

    Yes, so called veganic farming happens, (despite whether it’s actually vegan) but I don’t see it by any means as the best choice. I strongly believe that what is right is what’s best for the earth, and that usually means what we can produce ourselves, closest to home, with the fewest (environmentally responsible) resources possible. Our planet is an organism, and every time we alter it, we affect it either in a positive or a negative way. Maybe you are annoyed with how the whole localvore movement is stealing away vegans and vegetarians, but have you ever thought that maybe local is the only way that this earth of ours is going survive? Pretty soon fossil fuels will be no more. Then how will we ship our organic fair trade whatever (choco-cough!-late-cough!) thousands of miles to arrive seemingly effortlessly in our grocery bags or in our fields? I just think that this whole debate is SO SO SO much more complicated that you’re giving it credit for. Forgive me for ranting, but hey, you seem to know just how to light a fire under my egg-eating, compost crunching, Michael Pollan loving middle-class ass.

    I know I’m not going to change your mind about veganism, and I really don’t want to . I respect your choices. I just wish that we food-conscious people could band together in our solidarity to make our food systems a healthier, more functional place, verses ostracizing each other based on moral differences, that frankly, aren’t likely to change. I look at it as a part of the “greater good”. And that greater good is made up of lots of little parts that forge a whole. You’re doing your part by being a vegan. I’m doing my part by raising my own chickens for eggs and not buying into corporate agribusiness.

    Dustin: Everyone is different. We all make choices in our lives for a ton of different reasons. Don’t jump to clichéd assumptions about me, the “dum dum duuuuuuuuhhhhhm, ex-vegan!”. What makes you so sure that I’m eating bacon cheeseburgers, anyhow?

    Ok. I’m going to cut myself off here. With all due respect, I think that you are wrong in your refusal to respect other people’s well thought out, socially conscious choices. But, hey, it sure is fun to debate!

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Well anyway, we just disagree.

      Two points: 1) Can you possibly think that I think domestication of animals is a good thing?? Oy! The point is to stop it and see how we can begin to reverse it! 2) “have you ever thought that maybe local is the only way that this earth of ours is going survive?” Just so we’re clear: I hope you are aware that I spend THOUSANDS of dollars on local produce every season. It’s my life. I am a locavore, absolutely. My entire point in life is to show people that there need not be this clash between local eaters and vegans. I think about how I can make my business and life more locally-focussed pretty much every minute of every day. Chocolate is not ideal, for sure. I buy some USA chocolate, I do what I can, and admit I’m far, far, far, far from perfect. 3) “What makes you so sure that Im eating bacon cheeseburgers, anyhow?” I don’t think anyone thinks that. I definitely give you karmic points for eating dead animals in the mindful way that you do. It’s just, you know, not enough. 4) The ex-vegan thing annoys every vegan, just FYI, because we think (I’ll just speak for all of us here) that you should just call your self “not vegan.” Saying you used to be vegan says, to me at least: “I used to be awesome and now I’m not,” and why would you want to say that? 5) You’re right that we are, in the grand grand scheme of things that I am way too bitchy to ever see, splitting hairs here and really we all (even Dustin!) are on the same side. That said, I don’t think our differences are minor at all, either. Can both of those things exist?

      So, OK, five points.

      Much love to everyone, even people with rotting animals in their intestines, on this moonless midwestern night*,

      lagusta

      *I’m in Chicago for three days—I went to Alinea tonight! Report to come!!

      Reply
  17. wintergreens

    Wow, I was gonna leave a little tidbit about bottle trees here, but there’s this intense discussion about veganism and ex-vegans and ex-vegetarians! A woman in our little fledgling animal rights group got an email from an acquaintance last night when she got home from the bake sale saying she was “concerned about your health and well-being” and “I’ve worked with a lot of ex-vegetarians and would be willing to work with you and discuss why a vegetarian diet is bad for your health.” WTF???? Maybe she runs an ex-gay ministry in Beacon, too, yee-haw!

    Anyway, this nesting doll place is in New Hamburg, though sort of Wappingers-ish. But I think officially New Hamburg. I’ve never been brave enough to go inside, so kudos to you. It used to be baskets, then switched over to nesting dolls about two or three years ago. The garden does look gorgeous and I love the paint job, but those dolls scare me. Almost as much as “ex-vegetarians.”

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yes, the dolls are terrifying–the Obama family one still lives on in my mind in an unpleasant way. Michelle lives inside Barack, etc. There are baskets too, but what I bought were amazing USSR-era Russian postcards ($1 each!!!) which my cat subsequently sprayed on—but they were nice while they lasted. I had a feeling you’d know where that place was…

      And yeah, WTF, wow. Wow. Wow. It makes me thankful for your lovely new group!!

      Reply

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