By DevWil 268 Comments
I know this isn't the perfect venue and I'm probably speaking to the wrong audience, but I'd like to do something good. How good this thing is and if it's even significant at all is a subjective thing, or is it? That's kind of the subject I want to bring up.
Meat. The Giant Bomb staff is composed of those who may, from time to time, talk about how they enjoy eating meat. The Giant Bomb community seems to largely like to eat meat as well.
This isn't a silly rant about how I feel alienated by the Giant Bomb staff or excluded from the Giant Bomb community and how I think that in itself is outrageous. I laughed at Vinny's joke on an old Bombcast about a 29-year-old lifelong vegetarian who was going to try meat for the first time on his birthday. One staff member suggested that the person may not be strong enough to lift a fork to their mouth (from not eating meat) and Vinny countered along the lines of, "Well his neck would be so long from reaching leaves..."
That's funny. At its core, it's offensive (something Ryan himself acknowledged during the discussion), but it's clever and didn't seem to be said in a way that indicated that Vinny really hated vegetarians or anything.
However, let's get to the issue itself:
Isn't eating meat just...kind of a dick move?
Humans are (apparently) supremely intelligent. We can create awesome works of film, music, video games, etc. However, we're still animals. Any biology textbook will tell you that. Other animals have emotions and can sense pain just like we do. The double standard of people in the West cringing at the thought of eating a dog and salivating at the idea of eating a cow is ridiculous. Sure, cows may be way dumber than dogs. I don't know. I'm not a zoopsychologist or whatever the correct term is for studying animal intelligence, but why not just leave them be?
We as a species spend enough time ruining each others' lives; why rope more species into it?
My worldview is heavily influenced by Buddhism (and I self-identify as a Buddhist) and it shouldn't come as a surprise given the focus of this post. While I don't hold a eulogy if I accidentally hit and kill a moth as I'm driving, I don't want to consent to the killing of another living being. If these creatures didn't want to be alive, they'd stop eating and lie down and die. They have a will to live and--while people in the West certainly have a history of being fine with imposing their will on others--it's just a dick move to kill them for food.
I started dating a vegetarian in Fall 2007. I'm still with her. After about 8-9 months of being with her, I figured "maybe I'll give vegetarianism a go" after no pressuring from her. Once I ate a hot dog, mini-BBQ-rib-thing, and hamburger in front of her in a single sitting without her suggesting that I was morally inferior. I never expected vegetarianism to stick (at least, not on the first try), but it did and I've been a vegetarian for two years.
It is so easy to cut meat out of your diet. I'm not the healthiest person in the world (far from it as I--surprise, surprise--have a very sedentary lifestyle), but I am absolutely no less healthy than I would've been eating meat. You don't need to take 8 pills a day to replace nutrients found in meat. Want a view into my super-crazy, hippy-dippy vegetarian diet?
A very ordinary day:
It really sucks just eating iceberg lettuce and plain celery all day, guys.
Now, obviously this is subjective: but my favorite pizza toppings have never been meat. Green peppers and mushrooms have been my 1 and 2 even since I would eat a hamburger without any guilt. YES, YOU CAN EAT NORMAL PEOPLE FOOD WHEN YOU ARE A VEGETARIAN. Guess what I had this afternoon? Ice cream. I'm not an alien. I'll be the first one to admit that eating out gets a little trickier (Chinese and Indian food become much more commonplace--but who cares, Indian is delicious) and I understand peoples' suspicions about faux-meat products. Trust me, though. Fake chicken patties taste a lot like chicken patties. And nobody had to die! Not every meat has an acceptable vegetarian substitute, but the options are a lot better than most people assume. Raw tofu is kind of gross, but so are so many other foods when they're not prepared well.
I decided today that I'm going to start promoting vegetarianism when I'm out with friends and family rather than just be the guy who gets stupid questions like "so you eat Turkey burgers instead?" and "wait, can you eat eggs?! those are baby chickens!!!!" and answers them politely and sheepishly. And then I wrote this blog.
Eating meat and not eating meat are directly comparable and there is really no coherent argument that I've heard for eating meat being the superior position. I understand that some people are simply not interested in the welfare of animals or the process behind what they eat and this blog won't change those peoples' minds. That can be such a deep-rooted value that I have no delusions of getting someone who simply doesn't care to stop eating meat. However...if you're a little more compassionate/sympathetic and actually think about the consequences and morality of your actions...consider if you want to keep doing the dickish thing and kill animals just so you can have a trivially different diet.
* As this blog is pretty stream-of-consciousness-y, I can guarantee I'll wish I wrote things differently later. I'm definitely not going to shy away from discussion, but if it's nit-picking about the blog rather than arguments for/against a position that fuels the commentary, I'll probably just ignore what you have to say (or try to). *