(I wrote this before the outpouring of loveliness from smarties in the post below, when I was still feeling super oppositional. I’m so interested to see what you all [or, as my trailer-park family would say: “ya’ll”] think!)
I’m going to illustrate this post with snaps of me in my new boots that I own thanks to eagle-eyed blog reader Christy. They are organic cotton/bamboo/eco-friendly Simples, and so sooooooo comfy. I love them every day. (Except these days, because I’m not really wearing shoes at all for the next month).
I’m just going to say right away what will make everyone most mad, just for sheer kicks. (Sheer kicks, the best kind of kicks!)
I honestly believe (and please note I am saying this as someone who has been vegan for 16 or something years and would rather die than not be vegan) that in the grand scheme of things–if you take into account environmentalist factors, animal rights, human rights, corporatism, capitalism, etc etc—that making cupcakes with eggs made by chickens who live ludicrously happy lives at the farm down the street from your house (my house is literally two blocks from a farm that has some ludicrously happy and free chickens) is a better decision, on balance, than making vegan cupcakes laced with Earth Balance Buttery Spread.
Yeah, I said it. Wanna prove me wrong? Have at it, I’m excited! (Unless the vegan police, those joyless fucks, swing by. I want to chat this over with interesting, complex people ONLY, ok? Don’t be a sourpuss or an idiot, or I’ma moderate the shit out of your comments.)
A few points:
-Yeah, obviously no one uses eggs instead of Earth Balance in a recipe. I’m not talking cooking here, I’m just saying in general.
-While I believe this to be true, I also don’t particularly care. That is: I happen to also vehemently loathe Earth Balance, but a few times a year I will happily eat said EB-laced cupcake, because I simply care more about animal rights than any other of those issues listed above (corporatism, environmentalism, etc.). My beliefs are arranged hierarchically (hierarchies! Bad feminist!), and animal rights is right on top. I care about the lives of animals more than anything else. Done. So I don’t eat local eggs, because I don’t have a right to. Simple. But!
If you want to try to disprove my tantalizing theory, here’s what you’ve got against you:
-Local eggs are a sustainable, renewable resource, while EB is made from the insides of trees (palm oil, yo) that will take years and years to regenerate. It also supposedly impacts the habitats of lots of endangered species. (And by “impacts,” I mean “destroys.”) Now, I don’t think of eggs as a “resource,” of course. I still think of them as abortions even though I know it’s not quite right, and the idea of eating one is nauseating and morally reprehensible. Eggs exist for chickens, not us. Coconuts exist for us. (Thinking the natural world exists for humans! Bad environmentalist!) Again, I’m just saying.
-EB is made by a giant corporation, eggs can be bought from your friendly local anarchist farmer. Or bartered! Like I bartered lots of chocolates (made with his raspberries) to my farmer for B-grade tomatoes for sauce-making all summer!
-Thus, egg money can go back into your local community, you locavore freaker you.
-Obvs, local eggs use less carbon emissions to arrive at your doorstep.
-And I could go on. Can’t chickens eat table scraps?
(Wow, I’m really good at playing Michael Pollan when I want to, aren’t I?)
OK, here’s my point:
SOMETIMES VEGANS FORGET TO USE OUR HEADS. We’re so caught up in being right (which we are) that we forget to look at the whole picture. We have to be mindful of the fact that even my buddies olive and coconut oil present some challenges (capitalist and environmentalist) that eating local eggs don’t, and while this doesn’t mean we should eat eggs, it’s a reminder to keep thinking (like my farmer friend Erin). To know that simply being vegan doesn’t solve all problems. Things are, I’m going to say it again, complex.
Which brings me to my gloves.
What I said about them a few weeks ago, on a nameless website:
The animal fibers [the women of Bloodroot] use in their fiber arts are 100% from living animals who are treated well–no animals are ever killed for their wool sweaters. I adore a pair of rabbit fur gloves that Selma made for me–the rabbit fur was spun from a rabbit while it sat in Selma’s lap, being brushed and living a wonderful, pampered life. Selma dyed the fur with natural dyes made from plants grown in her garden, then knitted a pair of gloves I will always cherish.
Oh my god, I am the WORST VEGAN EVER! I know it. I wish I wasn’t on vacation right now in the tropics (she rides on planes! Such a hypocrite!) so I could snap a picture of these beautiful gloves.
Update: Here’s one that shows both the gloves and the boots!! My vanity finally comes in handy! You can’t see it so well in this picture, but the tops flip over so you can use your fingers, and they are a pink-and-red sort of Fair Isle kind of pattern.
The gloves are pretty deeply not vegan, but I stand by them. If you’re going to have pets (which deep down I don’t believe in, but we all make compromises and that’s one of mine), you shouldn’t be against brushing them and making LUDICROUSLY SOFT gloves from their fur. And guess what? I was talking about the gloves with Selma a few weeks ago, and she corrected me—the gloves are actually lined with dog fur, not rabbit fur. From some super soft dog one of her friends lives with. Selma brushed her, spun the resulting fur, dyed it, and presented me with the most beautiful birthday present ever. The dog was just happy to be free of some LUDICROUSLY SOFT hair.
So: let the games begin! Heap your hot coals upon my head! It won’t be the first time!