Let’s see… something interesting, something interesting… Hmmm… She thinks fungi are animals!
Did the lives of nematodes and fungi matter? Why not? … Because they were on the other side of an intellectual Maginot Line of us/them? But I was supposed to be one of the brave ones who refused to draw that line, who didn’t put humans above animals in a hierarchy…
Nematodes, humans, fungi. One of these things does not belong in a classification with the others. (Psst: nematodes are animals. So are humans.)
Soapbox time again: outside of humans fucking them over, I don’t really care about the lives of animals. Sure, I wish them well in a sort of abstract way, and I love the animals I’m friends with, but really, it’s just not any of my business. I absolutely reject the idea that humans are entitled to meddle—that’s how we got into this mess in the first place, after all.
One of the fundamental tenets of animal rights is that animals have sovereignty. They have the right to be left alone. Humans should not fuck with them, ever, at all, because we do not have the right to; we can interact on an individual/individual basis, but other than that, butt the fuck out.
In this way, my lack of caring for the lives of animals not impacted by humans in any way (not that there are many of those left. Thanks, human supremecism!) is a measure of my respect for them. Part of the legacy of human supremecy as an ideology has been that, because humans are better than anything ever, they have the right and the obligation to “save” animals—whether or not they like it. Of course, almost all of our attempts to “save” animals get botched and make things worse, and they’re always precipitated by something we fucked up in the first place. Humans are just dumb, yo, and the arrogance to believe that we can get a grip on this just makes us dumber—like a four-year-old who found the keys to a caustic chemicals lab. Thing is, we just don’t get it, and one of the benefits of evolution is that complexity can occur in practice without ever having to actually, you know, try to design it.
I’m not a savior. I understand that Keith sees herself as one (first to the oppressed, now to vegans), but I just can’t. I don’t get to care about the lives of nematodes because it’s fucking presumptuous and insulting of me to assume that my care would really matter, that it’s something that they (in their poor, deficient, non-human little lives) would really suffer without.
We are currently seriously fucking over billions of fucking animals worldwide, imprisoning them on a massive fucking scale. I care about that because if I do not, then I am tacitly supporting that oppression.
It’s not my place to care. I get no say. As long as one of my own isn’t screwing with them, they are perfectly capable of managing their own lives. And if one of my own species is—well, they best check themselves ‘fore I get there.
That’s complexity. That’s capacity. That’s humility. That’s knowledge.
… who reverenced the natural world…
I don’t “reverence” the natural world; that separates me and my actions from their direct impact on the natural world. You “reverence” something you’re exploiting when you’re trying to hide it—hunters have a “reverence” for their victims, and I’m sure Keith has a “reverence” for the animals she imprisons and later kills. Men “reverence” women when they don’t actually want to treat women like people. White USians “reverence” Native Americans and their cultures when they don’t actually want to stop fucking genociding them. Get in line, Keith.
I am impressed by nature. I am enthralled by it. I am awestruck by its complexity, something that goes beyond the black-and-white issues of LYFE AND DEFF. But I do not hold myself apart from it, so there’s no need for me to have “reverence” for it. That’s othering, right fuckin’ there.
… and all capital-H Her creatures.
Not comfortable with this. I have serious problems with idolizing women on the basis of their uterus and supposed ability to give birth in the first place; it doesn’t make it any better when you combine it with a derivative of monotheism, parent-owner status, and the obliteration of all the smaller ecosystems in the world.
One of the ideas that supports human supremecism is that the Earth and Nature is a monolithic mass. It’s not. Ecosystems are more like individual communities, countries even, and while they work together in a very limited way to sustain the atmosphere and the like, that doesn’t mean they are All One.
Part of “othering” is imagining the group you’re othering to be a monolithic mass—not like you, someone who’s an individual.
Page 19. Keith still refuses to believe that veganism is more complex and intense than the pale, anemic crap she swallowed. She also believes that humic acid is a “creature of mystery, very much alive,” because a scientist she quoted earlier says that it acts like a living creature. Ecosystems do, too, when looked at from far away. I am unimpressed by this distortion and lack of reading comprehension.
The soil wasn’t a thing, it was a million things, and they were alive.</blockquote?
Okay, seriously, I'm moving on now. It says more about her that she finds this so damning of her idea of "veganism" than it does about anyone else.
Page 20. Previously, she talked about NPK as a "Triple Goddess" of gardeners. Ugh, essentialist misogyny, again? When are people going to get that Gardner was a flagrantly sexist twit who made the "triple goddess" ideology—it actually doesn’t exist in pagan religions outside of your imposition—in order to safely and hygenically categorize women so that they were no longer threatening?
What did soil and plants eat [sic] and where would I get those substances? … Nitrogen was the big one. There are plants that fix nitrogen. Wasn’t that enough for my garden? Couldn’t it be? I begged. … No nitrogen-fixing plant could make up for all the nutrients I was taking out. The soil wanted manure. Worse, it wanted the inconceivable: blood and bones.
There are a few things you need to know in order to realize why soil needing blood and bones is bullshit (lol).
1. I’ve done aquaculture and I fucking adore fish even though I don’t keep them anymore. One of the things you learn is that all organic substances break down into nitrates and nitrites—that is, nitrogen-containing molecules—and you need to know this because too much of some of them can actually poison the fish. Bacteria within a healthy aquaculture will transform fish poo, leftover food, and dead plant parts into relatively harmless nitrogen compounds, which can then be used by aqueous plants as sustenance.
All decomposing organic material breaks down into nitrogen compounds. Get thyself a good long-term compost heap—you don’t need blood and bones. Need phosphorous? Pee on it. (Seriously, it helps break it down and pee is sterile. Also keeps centipedes out of your heap.) Potassium is already present in plants—and much moreso in plants than in animal products.
If Keith had actually researched these things, she would’ve known better than to jump to that conclusion. Manure is primarily used because it’s quick, not because it’s better—same as grafting. If you want your compost heap to grow really, really quickly, go raw or high-raw for a month or two and toss every scrap of produce you have in the pile. You’ll wind up spending less on trash bags, too.
2. In order for the bacteria in the soil to require as much animal product as Keith believes, animals would have to die far more often in nature than they actually do. Blood and bones don’t plop down on every inch of soil even once every few months—especially when you’re considering insects as the most numerous animal species on the face of the Earth.
This is something fairly basic in evolution. For something to be evolved to, it has to have been consistently present throughout a long evolutionary period. This is why I don’t really buy it when people say humans need meat, eggs, dairy or honey because we evolved with it. If you actually look at humans’ capacity for hunting, and the viciousness of animals when you’re getting close to try to fuck with them, it’s not very plausible that humans would have gotten any of these things more than once a month at most, and more than a scrap even then.
Animals simply don’t die that often—and even if they did, it would be on the part of insects, and you’re better off getting “insect-friendly cultivation” going in your garden than you are using blood and bones. Which is a good idea. Do it. And question things, because Keith didn’t and look what I’m having to slog through now.
Manure, blood and bones are the easy answer for carnists, but unfortunately they’re not really truthful. But hey, why actually look at nature when you can get justification for the oppressions you participate in?
My garden wanted to eat animals, even if I didn’t.
I should really be taking notes on self-justification from this. Amazing, amazing. *golf clap*
I’m going to skip the rest of this half-assed “research” and get straight to the next egregious claim. Again, this should further cement the fact that Keith was a vegetarian, not a vegan:
It turned out I knew the woman who had owned the [dairy farm] goats and she was a decent person [sic]. Her animals would have been well cared for, indulged even.
Woooow. That is some rationalization, there.
FYI, this is why I’m an abolitionist, not a welfarist. No matter how nice the upholstery is, a gilded cage is a cage is a cage. And even so… what about the kids? Were they the ones in the fucking fertilizer? Did the humans fucking drag them away from their mothers? Has she ever met any of these goats kept on dairy farms? I have. They’re fucking traumatized. Touch-shy and too mild for goats—they’re scared of humans, all humans, even the goats used for “breeding.”
It’s easy to refuse to face abuse and its effects, but for someone who focuses on exploitation, quality of life, and real, meaningful freedom, abuse—terror, pain, despair, powerlessness, trauma, flashbacks, triggering, being trapped—is the salient aspect of all farming, including herding.
Hearing a carnist talk about “indulging” animals being used as property is just outright bizarre. How many reasons do you have to believe that’s actually true to the animal? And how few reasons do you have to actually develop some fucking perspective?
She mentions lettuce and tomatoes… I’m unsure if she ate anything else. Chica, eat a goddamn banana already! You’ll feel better!
Years later, I would have a discussion with an earnest young vegan.
“They take dead chicken parts and spread them on the fields.” His voice was shaking. He assumed I’d sympathize, that anyone with my politics would automatically be appalled. His eco-pure, non-violent, plant-based diet was being violated by the forces of evil, by death.
“Plants have to eat, too,” I tried to explain. “They need nitrogen, they need minerals. You have to replace what you’re taking out. Your choices are fossil fuels or animal products.”
“But—but—” Now his body was trembling as well as his voice. I knew what he wanted to say. It’s not true. It can’t be true. There’s a way out of death and I’ve found it.
“No,” was the only word he could come up with. Then he walked away.
Fuck. You. Lierre. Keith.
How are we supposed to know this is real, that this is what was actually going through his head? How are we supposed to know that any of this is true? How are we supposed to know that what we see here isn’t just more of Keith’s self-serving, insulting, arrogant, fucknecked projection onto others? Because it is. I am shaking with rage because of the way Lierre Keith treats everyone who doesn’t agree with her with condescension. Patronization.
She’s fine with not getting information. She’s fine with lying to him. She defends the use of animal products because she does it, herself, and she’s a fucking carnist too. She’s ignorant. She’s half-assed. The information is right out there in front of your face and she didn’t bother to turn and look because she still wanted to use animal products. And she never bothered to see him as he really is because that would break her ethical system right now, because right now Lierre Keith’s “ethical” system is based on the total caricature of all vegans and all animals and a distorted fantasyland delusion about plants and fungi and the rest of the fucking world.
Eruptions, what a fucking filthy person. The more I read this—the more I read the passages where Keith tries to portray herself in a sympathetic light—the more I really, really despise this person. She’s so fucking fake, condescending, ignorant, self-absorbed, uncritical, incurious and narcissistic I can barely stand it.
FUCKING COMPOST HAS BEEN USED FOR FUCKING EONS, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?
I’ll come back to this next time. My patience for this… this is wearing thin.Advertisements