We’re on page 24. I’m going to skip past Keith waxing poetic about how blissful human privilege in a human supremecist society is and go straight back to the apples. (What is with her and apples?)
The fruit tree gives me my food and I give back the seeds to nature so other trees can grow. The last time I ate an apple, I counted. There were ten seeds. Set aside for a moment that those seeds won’t produce edible apples … [script emph]
We just got through several pages in which Keith details how she “needs” to use animal products to grow a garden, and specifically how she “needs” to farm animals in order to do so. It’s hypocritical of her at this point to insist that compost cannot be considered as “giving the seeds back to the Earth so that other trees can grow.” This is a tactic people use when their argument rests on very, very thin grounds—they take the extreme literalist route, because it’s easier to argue against and because it sounds more convincing, even though it’s not nearly as truthful or accurate.
I like to jab at her, but at least I admit that’s what it is: jabs. I cannot bring myself to deliberately misinterpret her words for my actual arguments, because that would be a) unsatisfying, b) not fun, and c) not nearly as powerful as the argument I could make. So, for you pseudo- and anti-feminists out there, yeah, I really do believe Keith’s behavior is similar enough to sexual abuse to be compared. Go watch your rape porn and cry about it.
The author clearly yearns for food—for a life—based on reciprocity, not exploitation, and he believes that plants count as partners, as participants.
Keith, on the other hand, knows this is false. She starved herself and called it “veganism”; how could anyone do anything else while vegan? Obviously, the only real way to survive is to use animals as property, even though in Massachusetts she could easily get a hunting license and travel up into Canada to kill several elk and/or deer and eat their bodies. She clearly has the money—according to her, she eats a lot of grass-fed beef and dairy, and that shit ain’t cheap.
Additionally, it’s telling that she never once contacted the author to find out if it was true. Most fruitarians like their trees, but that hardly means they’re delusional enough to attribute first-person experience of life to them.
Having included them in the “us” of sentience and agency, he can’t just take. He needs to know that he is giving back, part of a circle of exchange, instead of the one-way extraction that he identifies as death.
1. “The fruit tree gives me my food and I give back the seeds to nature so other trees can grow,” doesn’t imply sentience and agency. Come on, Keith, reading comprehension.
2. “… that he identifies as death.” We know that’s not true, because Keith farms animals and she says it’s not a one-way exchange—she loves the animals she
owns uses traps takes care of! Only Keith’s lifestyle isn’t a “one-way exchange,” you see, because, um… HEY YOU’RE ANTHROPOCENTRIC.
That’s really the only feasible argument she’s giving me here, and that’s pretty damn sad.
But it also reflects the ignorance. He doesn’t know that apples eat, and what they eat is animals, including us. They need our excrement—the nitrogen, the minerals, the microbes—and our flesh and bones.
In actuality, this reflects Keith’s ignorance. I debunked the animal-requirement myth she’s presenting here in the last few installments—I’m not going to go over it again.
But I do want to harp, again, on two things: first, that she doesn’t actually give the trees her excrement—she insists on owning animals for that, even though there is no fucking way that animal products make up a really significant portion of the world’s topsoil. Second, she accuses others of ignorance all willy-nilly when the answer is out there for the taking—all you have to do is have a hunger for knowledge, real knowledge, and not merely take the easy way out. In a society that desperately wants to believe that domination and subordination are natural and necessary, the easy way out will always be the first answer you get.
There is a reciprocal relationship between animals and plants: predator and prey, until the prey becomes predator.
One of the basic concepts of “prey” is that, if you are eaten, you die. Your life—all of it, not just your fruits or a part of it—ends because someone else wants to eat you. I’m fine with that. But clearly, the “predator/prey” relationship that Keith is asserting between animals and plants looks nothing like the actual predator/prey relationship between wild animals. As such, I’m going to argue that Keith is wrong—that these relationships are not the same because they do not mean the same things for the participants.
Prey cannot generally lose a limb and survive, not just because of bloodloss and inhibited movement but because of the shock that sets in to avoid pain. Plants can, though. Losing a limb does not mean the same thing to plants that it does to animals—not from an objective or subjective viewpoint.
False equivalence is one of my pet peeves. Just because you say it is the same thing doesn’t mean it actually is the same thing; you have to describe how those things behave in the same ways in order for your argument to be valid.
It is only our attempt to remove themselves from that cycle that destroys it.
And what Keith chooses to do is exactly that: farming.
By farming, she shields herself from every aspect of a predator’s life. She doesn’t have to hunt, to practice, to learn to chase and climb and strike quickly with your teeth, and as such she doesn’t have to face the reality that humans aren’t predators at all—we’re bad at it, yo: our bodies say so. Even the fucking Masai have to train themselves up to catching gazelles. She doesn’t have to face starvation as a fact of life if she can’t hunt well enough—there is no failure rate, because her property can’t get away from her. She doesn’t have to face her own sociopathy—she can just ignore the fact that predators do not typically kill those they love, even if they are “prey animals.”
I ain’t gonna claim that grain farming isn’t self-deluded too, especially in that it provides a similar sense of security. I am gonna claim that the defense of grain farming isn’t usually made on the basis that humans naturally eat grains and that they have nutrients we can’t survive without. I am gonna claim that grains don’t experience being used as property because they simply don’t have the hardware for it.
Keith criticizes grains and then does the same damn thing, except with actual people who can actually experience betrayal and pain and horror, all the while pretending that she’s not farming because… something. I don’t know. She’s merely implied this entire time that it’s not the same thing by bitching about one kind of farming as though it is the only kind there is, and therefore she does not belong in the same category.
There’s more ignorance. He doesn’t know that seeds are alive.
Keith is again the one who’s ignorant here, and in fact she’s gesticulating rapidly at a row of dark iron kettles. Seeds are not necessarily alive; they only become “alive” once they germinate. They can be fertile, but one of the defining characteristics of life is that it requires metabolic energy expenditures. And one of the reasons that plants are considered “plants” and not, say, animals or fungi is that plants can lay dormant—in winter, in seed—without actually dying. Hibernation in animals is similar, but not the same, because animals still use energy the entire time they’re hibernating—that’s why bears stuff themselves and get luxuriously fat in the fall; because they’re going to be using that energy the entire time they’re in hibernation.
Seeds are not alive. Plants, in winter, are not technically alive. They can remain that way virtually indefinitely as long as they don’t have to deal with any physical or environmental damage.
I knew I was going to have to give a Biology 101 class here, but I was really hoping I wouldn’t need to. Dammit, fuckheads, love life and knowledge enough to never be satisfied with this kind of half-assery.
Since killing is the sacrilege in this moral system, he can’t acknowledge that in actuality he’s eating something alive.
For those who think that this might actually be true, allow me to burst your bubble. One of the basic reasons that most raw foodists will not eat animal products and instead stick specifically to plant foods is that they want to eat “living foods.” That’s actually another name for raw foodism—a “diet of living foods.” This is not metaphorical. All you need to do is Goodsearch “living foods” and pick damn near any page. Raw foodists and fruitarians specifically choose to eat produce because it is living.
Therefore killing itself, death itself, cannot be a moral wrong in a world of raw foodism. Ergo, Keith’s entire argument here has just been completely nullified. It didn’t have to be. She could have avoided this weakness in her position with just seconds of research—so score another one for honestly searching for information.
There is a relationship of reciprocity built into the human-apple exchange, but it’s not about humans planting their seeds.
Well, even assuming that there’s a “human-apple exchange” in the first place. I’ll repeat myself again: humans have not evolved to actually survive without a crutch in the climate and territory where apples naturally grow. There can be no biological “contract” between two creatures that never evolved around each other—because that “contract” usually takes the form of an ecosystem, and if you don’t have a place within the ecosystem, if you can’t survive within it without the use of technology and shelter and civilization, then you can’t be part of the contract.
It’s about humans grafting, planting, and tending the trees and extending their territory.
So the way to fight civilization, agriculture and colonization of the Earth is:
I. Civilization to allow us to go into areas we aren’t adapted to.
II. Agricultural cultivation of those species.
III. Colonizing the Earth with those species (and ourselves, of course) under the banner of “fulfilling the human-apple exchange.”
I was under the impression that one of the most basic parts of radical feminism is the rejection of colonization—of women’s bodies by men, of other countries, of other cultures, straight down to the fundamental idea that humans have the right to the entire planet. How is it that Lierre Keith misses this? How is it that Lierre Keith can be a radical feminist while at the same time believing that nature is inherently colonizing? That colonization is one of its fundamental behaviors? I’m not begging the question. I’m really confused here.
Fuck. Fuck, my brain is broken. Fuck, ow, I think she just gave me a stupidity-induced aneurysm. MEDIC!
Savage Rabbit will be able to come back later, once zie feels better and gets some chamomile in zir. Please accept this adorable picture of a bunny as compensation for the inconvenience. – Aslan