Nature is an ecoterrorist!

Posts tagged ‘vegetarian myth epic review’

Keith’s Myth: Someone Send Keith a Highschool Biology Course Text, Please

“The fruit tree gives me my food and I give back the seeds to nature so other seeds can grow,” writes one vegetarian. Yes, but he isn’t giving back the seeds to nature.

Keith displays here a kind of tunnel vision I find absolutely repugnant, and it’s almost universal among the evo-psych set: nothing in life matters unless it’s reproduction. Quality of life doesn’t matter, only quantity; makin’ babies and spreading your genes. Taken from a primitivist viewpoint—even a viewpoint that does not surgically remove emotion, inner health, empathy and community from nature—this is a horrifying ideology, and it is fundamentally sociopathic: people—again, those who experience their life—are important to nature only in how they can create more.

For someone like us, Aslan and I, who have lived as far outside of civilization as is possible right now in a region humans aren’t native to, it’s obvious. Outside of a system that obsesses over and is terrified of death and will do anything to forestay its touch—exterminating predators, medical intervention, legislation against suicide, assisted euthanasia and abortion—happiness is vital to health and survival. Unhappy animals do not thrive. They get sick; they are slow and unaware of their surroundings from depression; they don’t eat properly and become weak; they may even die straight off in a “failure to thrive.” That unhappy animals have so much stacked against them suggests that happiness, community and joy are a fucking powerful evolutionary imperative.

Keith’s beliefs also portray a profound misunderstanding of nature and life, despite her claims to the contrary. One can understand how the drive towards continuity is embedded in ecosystems and DNA: they are, after all, still here, which after so much time suggests that the tactics employed by these systems are significantly successful.

But continuity is not served by rapaciousness. This is why plague species pass through; they don’t stay stuck in one place forever, or they’d end up killing everything. Overpopulation runs directly counter to the interests of any species—it destroys their ecosystem, and ain’t a species in the world that can live without an ecosystem, not even you. In fact, Keith’s own criticism of that uncited and unnamed vegan’s post points this out:

On the ruminant side of the fence, the wildebeests and friends will reproduce as effectively as ever. … The animals will outstrip their food source, eat the plants down to the ground, and then starve to death, leaving behind a seriously degraded landscape.

I can do it more succinctly. In two words, in fact, without any fuss: “dung beetles.” WHERE IS YOUR PREDATOR/PREY DICHOTOMY NOW?

This is something that many people who fancy themselves scientifically-minded don’t grasp: the ecosystem can only function as a whole. A community is made up of individuals, but the community only functions with the input of all those individuals—democrats will definitely find this true. At the same time, the consideration demanded of all those individuals by the community doesn’t diminish in importance or scope their quality of life.

An ecosystem belongs to all animals who live within it; at the same time, those animals belong to the ecosystem, bound not just by their need for it but for other animals’ need for the same. Keith speaks of kas-limaal, “mutual indebtedness, mutual insparkedness,” but she never seems to understand just how unspeakably complicated that is; she just uses it as an excuse to insult vegans and rationalize what she has always been doing, just to a greater degree: the real fucking harm to real fucking people really fucking experiencing that harm.

One more thing before the next paragraph. An obsession with propagation is colonialist, because that is what Keith’s suggesting here: that for every fruit that’s eaten, six or more (!) trees should be planted to “pay back” the deal. And again, that’s unsustainable even without human interference. Colonization of the entire fucking Earth is not something anything but a sociopath—or an uncritical follower of the ideology of human supremecism—ever thinks of as realistic.

Why are humans allowed to take without giving?

Because humans like to believe they’re fucking superior to everything in the world; we’ve even designed most of our religions off of it. Keith definitely did, complete with “High Priest” Joel Salatin. The idea that humans are superior to nature and other animals is a fucking poison just like other prejudices that justify the subjugation and property status of others. Oh, wait. She was being rhetorical. I see.

Too bad. Keith has an absolutely warped idea of “giving” in the first place—her idea of “giving” to farmed animals (because, again, she is not advocating for a return to nature; she is advocating for “nice” and “sustainable” animal farming) is food and shelter. For that, she will take their lives, their children, their health, their freedom, their right to live naturally in their own territory and their right to live and die by their own means: the right for immediate death to not be an inevitability.

No matter what, the animals Keith supposedly respects as equals are treated as property. She doesn’t intend for them to ever be able to like, resist her and not end up dead or milked—that’s counter to the way she runs her game. It’s the same reason supposedly “respecting-nature” hunters use high powered rifles and high-tech bows: they don’t want to actually, you know, live naturally as predators, including getting your jaw broken from the prey you’re trying to take down. Keith knows what she wants and she wants the whole thing rigged.

Isn’t that called exploitation?

YOU ARE WEARING LEATHER SHOES?!?!?!?!?!!1eleventy

Fruit isn’t, as claimed, “the only freely given food.”

I’ll note that Keith has one citation here for the quote, but nothing for her outrageous claim that trees “want” all their seeds to germinate and grow—a logical impossibility in more than one way. This also makes her claim of a supposed “vegan” on a “vegan message board” who posted about putting up a fence in the Serengeti more conspicuously without citation.

She can provide a citation for an obvious claim, but not a dubious one. That’s… backwards.

Keith continues going on about how the entire point of a tree’s life is reproduction, yawn, like I haven’t heard that from pro-rape evo psychs. I’ll point out that the sprout ratio of a tree’s fruit is extremely low in nature, again. Oh hey, I found something hilarious:

And we take that offspring, in its swaddling of sweetness, and kill it.

AHAHAHAHAHA there is just nothing I can say about this. Next she’ll start going on about how carrots scream when I chop them up but I’m just too callous and not drunk enough meanhearted to hear it! This is especially glaring when she’s talking about killing individuals with actual nervous systems who can actually feel and actually object to what she wants to do with them.

im in ur orchard eetin ur bebbeez, sweet dlishus swaddlez n all

This is not what vegetarians want to hear, at least not the ones I’m calling moral vegetarians.

Well, it’s not what anyone who hasn’t starved themselves for decades would call an argument, so yeah, I wouldn’t want to see this kind of crap come up in any kind of non-comedy book. But other than that, no, please keep going—this is gold!

But the moral argument is the clarion call that rallies most vegetarians to the cause. It’s what kept me unable to examine or even question my vegan diet, despite all evidence that my health was failing.

No, Lierre. It’s not the ethical considerations that kept you from questioning your vegan diet—it’s that you don’t question things. I’ve questioned the diet I was eating when I’ve run into health problems; it’s why I won’t eat candy with artificial coloring, or artificial sweeteners, and why I decided to limit myself to one bowl of ramen a day if I eat any ramen. Artificial coloring spikes my anxiety/agitation level; artificial sweeteners give me crippling stomach pain; more than one bowl of ramen makes me exude salt, or something salty, from my pores and also makes my skin unmanageably papery—though not flaky.

People who don’t question their behavior when something is going wrong are not very smart people. Lierre Keith just compounded the problem by starving her brain of the carbohydrates it needed to effectively process and question information. She still is, actually, which is why this is such a trainwreck.

I wanted to believe that my life—my physical existence—was possible without killing, without death.

So Keith believed a really stupid ideological facet of civilization—that death is bad, terrifying, horrible. To counteract that, she started actively pursuing the other side of that myth—that because death is bad, terrifying and horrible, you have to inflict it on as many other people as possible to protect yourself from it.

No, seriously. Brown rice and soy (and bingeing on eggs and dairy) didn’t work for her, so her obvious solution is instead to eat a diet comprised almost entirely of animal products. What’s missing here? Would it be, perhaps, the questioning of beliefs?

These lead right to the second problem: there are no apples in nature. Apples are domesticated. Apples started as Malus sieversii, in the mountains of Kazakhstan and, once upon a time, they were bitter.

… This is true of most domestic fruits. Their progenitors are almost inedible by humans.

… Um… okay. That’s not actually true; apples have existed all over the world, similar to potatoes, because the fact of the matter is just that they are very good at serving the ecosystems they live within. It is an exercise in navel-gazing to find out where a food “came from” because, ultimately, nature doesn’t work like that—and Keith has proven once again that she doesn’t understand nature.

Hell, she doesn’t even provide a citation. Again, the Keith method of citation: provide them for obvious claims, but not for the most egregious and least credulous ones.

Furthermore, she seems to be suggesting the argument that if apples were selectively bred by humans from this state (which is a big fucking assumption, because why would humans bother with such an unappetizing food in the first place?), all other fruits must therefore have undergone the same process. And I would like to point to a vast continuum of individual “heirloom” varieties of fruits and nature present even in nature—including, especially, crabapples, which are fucking amazingly tasty (if a bit tough) when picked at ripeness. Bananas are a hybrid of two trees not native to human habitat; I never claimed otherwise. I am also not claiming that because bananas were, then all others were. That’s stupid.

We have ample evidence that a) plant types rarely occur solely in one region and b) all species, whether animal or plant, show enormous “breed” variation with relatively minor geographic/weather variations. One only needs to look at humans to see this intense geographic differentiation, even!

And on top of that, hi, all farmed animals are domesticated. Can’t use the “it’s domesticated” argument just for plants; it’s not reasonable or coherent.

“The fruit tree gives me my food and I give back the seeds to nature so other trees can grow.” Really? Dare you. Because most trees that produce edible fruit—and definitely apples—don’t come from seeds. If you actually were to plant the seeds, most of the wildlings that sprouted would be unpalatable to humans. Fruit trees are grafted, not sprouted.

1. This is the second time she’s cited one sentence from one article—she’s seriously padding her citations to make this book look “intensively researched.”

2. THEN WHY THE FUCK WERE YOU GOING ON ABOUT HOW NOT PLANTING SEEDS MEANS YOU’RE “FAILING” THE TREE? THE FUCK, LADY. STOP WITH THE RED HERRING AND GET TO THE POINT ALREADY.

Doing those drawn-out bait-and-switch arguments make you look less credible, not moreso. If seeds are unimportant to a tree, then you shouldn’t construct an entire argument on how you need to plant the seeds—you can’t just compost them—to not be, I don’t know, ripping off the tree or whatever. An argument constructed off an irrelevant premise isn’t an “argument,” it’s a distraction.

FYI, the proper way to use that kind of argument is to give the refutation of the original, then say, “And even if that were true…” Even then, though, it wouldn’t save Keith’s argument—it’s just not really “rooted” in reality. *ducks*

3. If trees don’t come from seeds, then how do they spread in nature? (Some, like blackberries, grapes and raspberries, spread in a similar way to aspens—via root systems that may eventually split into two whole plants. But apples are not capable of this.)

4. “The wildlings wouldn’t be edible”? She doesn’t give a citation for this—she simply expects you to accept it and not question it. What a crock. Fortunately, I have absolute proof that she’s wrong.

Aslan’s raw vegan cousin came, like most of the rest of zeir family, from the southern U.S. And he grew peach trees, a humid-weather fruit more likely to appear in our native habitat than apples. Point of fact, actually, Robin [not his real name] grew peaches everywhere—they were an heirloom variety (most apples are not) and he would collect the seeds and bring them with him to hand out to neighbors and grow them wherever he landed to live.

That’s right, he grew peaches from seed, without grafting. And they were edible. So, Keith: come again?

This is why Keith shouldn’t talk in absolutes and dichotomies. She isn’t curious or honest enough to go looking for information that would give her an actual grasp on the subject, so she’s constantly asserting these ignorant, arrogant inaccuracies. It’s not hard to disprove an absolute, especially when so much of Keith’s argument is just banking on the fact that very few people will actually know better, or enough to question her.

5. Keith is right that most commercial fruit trees are grafted, but again, she’s making an argument from omission—either she doesn’t know herself why fruit trees are largely grafted, or she’s hoping you don’t. However, I am actually interested in plants and plant life and I love learning, so I know a bit on the topic.

Commercial fruit trees are grafted for many reasons.

First, it’s quicker and easier to get a fully-grown fruit tree from a graft—you won’t have to wait for it to grow from a seed, which is much more complicated.

Second, it’s less risky. Often, the host root—what the intended fruit-bearing plant is grafted onto—is already “established,” making it more stable and less likely to up and die. It’s also likely to be of a “sturdy” species and variety to add some extra stability and disease-resistance to a grafted plant. This is why graftings are done for many plants—roses, for example. My mother once bought a rose bush and the grafted-on part died after a few years; underneath was a peony, so it comes up peony every year now.

Third, often commercial fruit (and other plant) varieties are hybridized—meaning that two or more varieties were cross-bred. Hybrid seeds don’t “breed true” if they’re planted—they come up as one of the parents. Only grafting will produce a still-hybridized fruit. However, this should not be taken as evidence that all fruits are hybridized—for example, “heirloom” seeds come up true every time, which is why they’re so highly valued in some circles.

Fourth, seeds from fruit trees just don’t sprout very well. This is what I was talking about earlier—most seeds from fruit trees just aren’t fertile, because they were never all supposed to sprout. This is something that apparently goes way over Keith’s head—it’s sort of like hearing someone claim that your body intends for you to get pregnant every single time you have sex. Not according to the human body, no—given how low our sex:fertility:implantation:birth ratio is.

The “natural” food of humans doesn’t exist in nature. If we are now lost (and starving) in the inedible forest, maybe it’s because our moral map was wrong.

What is this unexplodey crap?

1. Even if apples don’t exist in a human-edible form naturally—which she hasn’t provided any evidence for—that doesn’t necessarily apply to the, literally, hundreds of fucking thousands of other fruit species in the world. Just because something is true for one thing doesn’t mean it’s true for everything else. I know this is an officially-recognized logical fallacy—I just can’t think of it off the top of my head.

In other words, apples and oranges, Keith.

*ducks*

2. If we’re lost and wandering in an inedible forest, it’s probably because we were stupid enough to move out of humans’ native habitat.

3. Or, alternately, that we followed Keith’s map. Sorry, but I seriously can’t trust anyone whose experience with veganism is “brown rice and soy” on how to eat.

To say there is a “freely given food” implies there is a giver—the tree, the cane, the stalk of wheat.

I agree with Keith here. I think that saying fruit is a “freely given food” is a bit over-the-top because, obviously, plants don’t have a nervous system to make any decisions with, much less with the ability to choose to give away food.

Instead, I prefer saying that naturally, eating fruits are a lot less energy-intensive than eating either grain, cane or animal product—the first two require farming for any significant amount and the third requires hunting, which we’d have to make weapons for since we haven’t actually evolved to be hunters, or we’d have to train ourselves for a long-ass time like the Masai.

So instead of saying that fruit is a “freely given food,” I can say that fruit is “a food that won’t require you to farm and/or step on you and kill you.” That makes more sense than the statement she keeps quoting, but it definitely makes more sense than Keith’s false equalization.

To believe in food that requires “No killing or theft from animal or plant” is to fail to recognize that the deaths of animals and plants are not equal and to be as dull and simplistic as I am.

No, sorry. She didn’t actually write that—I just couldn’t help myself. This is what she actually wrote:

To believe in food that requires “No killing or theft from animal or plant” is to recognize that plants and animals love their lives, and their body parts, whether fibrous or muscular.

Plants do not love their lives. They have no ability to feel because they have no nervous system. As such, they cannot love their body parts, either. I am unsure whether animals love their body parts, because that seems very odd and disordered to me, but I am quite sure that they don’t want to lose those body parts.

I am getting seriously irritated with how Keith keeps equating these two things without justifying it more than carnism-excusing spiritualistic mumbo-jumbo. And I am a fucking animist, here—I believe plants have souls, for the love of sweet potatoes!

She just keeps asserting that plants and animals are exactly the same—the same way she just asserted that humans were not ruminants and were therefore predatory carnivores like lions and hyenas. Just asserting this crap doesn’t make it true, but Keith seems to be hoping we’ll just ignore it—hoping that the fallacious combination of her sob story and the offered promise that you won’t be as stupid as those stupid childish vegans if you agree with her will make you uncritical enough to simply accept what she’s saying. We’ve been given this long-ass buildup of ad hominem to assure the reader that vegans are stupid so that said reader will eagerly side with Keith when she “debunks” the “vegan claims.”

I haven’t even covered the additional fact that eating animal products therefore kills many, many more plants than simply eating the plants themselves. Since we’ve already killed so much of the ecosphere, why not just convert all of that to farmland and completely abandon animal farming? Keith doesn’t offer an argument against this, because her argument isn’t against agriculture—it’s against plant agriculture and plant-based diets. She’s repeatedly supported animal farming, using animals that are not native to most of the world and destroy those ecosystems regardless.

But not their offspring? The argument fails right here. If we believe in their sentience, why not in the sentience of their babies?

Ugh.

Despite the royal “we,” I don’t believe in plant sentience, and I don’t know many vegans or fruitarians who do. This is like reading The Never-Ending Fallacy. Will it ever break into reasonableness? Who knows!? But probably not, because Lierre Keith is clearly trying very hard not to exit the realm of “complete fucking bullhonky.”

Keith’s argument failed a long time ago.

I’m done for today. All my Sanity Watchers points have been used up. Have at, folks.

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Keith’s Myth: Tu Quoque

Chapter two is titled Moral Vegetarians.

Start with an apple.

I can’t eat apples; they make me feel like utter shit—fatigued, cranky and faint. Same happens with apple juice. Apparently it’s not exclusive to me, either. Anyone?

A food so nonviolent it wants to be eaten, say the fruitarians, people who try to live by fruit alone, or die in the attempt.

Ooh, fallacious scare tactics already? Especially situated inside a complete misunderstanding of what fruitarianism actually is? Color me shocked!

Fruitarians are actually called “fruitarians” because most of their diet is comprised of fruit—and lots of it. It’s not unusual for a fruitarian to eat in a day ten bananas, four oranges, two pounds of grapes, two bell peppers, several kiwis, and maybe durian. (I’ve never tried it, but I definitely enjoy gineps and guavas.) This is as a start—and it only looks like a lot of food if you’ve never eaten that in a day. Doug Graham, for example, promotes a fruitarian diet that he’s lived on for a few decades and trained atheletes on (and they were wildly successful); one of his recommendations is to eat about 2% of your total calories from tender leafy vegetables (romaine, spinach, chard, lambsquarters, purslane, etc.). A head of romaine is about 50 calories, which meets the 2% mark of 2,000 calories. Again, it’s not that hard, either.

Fruitarians eat many different kinds of raw foods, be it cacao nibs, nuts, leafy greens, sprouts or sweet root vegetables; the reason they’re called fruitarian is just because the bulk of their calorie intake is fruit.

Furthermore, very few fruitarians I know eat a whole lot of apples. I mean, they aren’t exactly native to our naked-ape bright-color-loving habitat.

Some plants surround their seeds with pulpy sweetness wrapped in bright colors to tempt animals to eat them,

Which animals, Keith? Which animals are tempted by bright colors instead of the succulent smell of sweetgrass or the fascinating movement of prey? Which animals adore sweet carbohydrates from day one? Don’t dance around the subject.

… and, in the eating, to carry the seeds to new, potentially fertile ground.

Oh, wow. Lierre Keith has no idea how fruit trees work, does she.

I’ve taken care of orchards and fruit trees—I grew up around them. There are only a few kind of trees that bear seed that can be dispersed like this, and humans don’t eat a whole lot of them.

At least with apples, most of the fruit lands back on the ground; animals actually eat relatively little of the fruit from trees, even in wilderness. Much of the time the windfall ferments and crows, bears and flying insects eat some of it. But inevitably, the majority returns to the soil. It doesn’t even make sense for apples to spread seeds via animal dispersal in most cases—a lot of the time, the whole fruit rolls away from the tree as a windfall and takes root there.

The seeds of fruit trees are dispersed in many, many ways, unlike the simplistic method Keith describes here. They can scatter via heavy rain flow in very wet areas; they can roll downhill and away. Some, like blackberries, become “groves” similar to aspens.

Animals do the work that plants can’t do, rooted as they are to one spot: find a possible place for their young to grow.

Except that the rate of “success” is very, very low. An individualistic propagation-oriented way of looking at the natural world will be necessarily incomplete and ignorant because of exactly this: clearly, a tree’s seeds are not all supposed to sprout. It makes more sense to view it as a communal, semi-symbiotic approach (i.e. ecosystemic): the propagation of a tree is valuable, but not as valuable as ensuring the health of the ecosystem and limited area the tree is in right now.

Lierre Keith, the world is not as species-centric as you seem to think it is.

The first problem is that humans don’t plant those seeds. We discard them. We consciously remove the core to avoid the seeds and then throw them away—”away” in industrial nations meaning sealed in a plastic bag that gets entombed in a landfill.

I agree, this is a very bad thing, but in my experience, most vegans recognize the ecological and ethical problems of landfills. So if the vegans Lierre Keith has been talking to don’t know this, then they aren’t very observant in the first place, and actually kind of bordering on wilfull ignorance. Which, I guess, would make them wonderful conversion targets for Keith. I will point out again, though, that most of the seeds wouldn’t have been planted and sprouted anyway.

Or factories squeeze or chop the fruit for us, rendering it into juice or McPies, dumping the peels and pulp and seeds nowhere near a nice pile of manure in a clearing.

1. McPies? Are you shitting me? What “vegetarians” has Keith been talking to?

2. Since she’s making this entire assumption off of the basis of fruitarians, I must remind you that fruitarians don’t eat either “McPies” or store-bought fruit juices, which are pasteurized and therefore not raw. Most fruitarians make their own fruit juice. Not all fruitarians drink fruit juice at all, though.

3. A “nice” pile of manure is anything but. What kind of “clearings” is she talking about here? Are they animal-farming pastures which keep the animals imprisoned in too small a space to actually wander and their shit to spread, as is natural?

If Lierre Keith wants to pull this shit about how plant foods are so ~unnatural~ and barf, then the requirement is for her to not support something unnatural herself—like a pile of manure that kills plant life underneath and nearby and which never occurs in nature.

Or, if we’re extra eco-righteous…

If you can’t feel the vitriol from that statement, you need reading comprehension lessons.

… we throw the seeds on the compost heap, where time, heat and bacteria kill them. One goal of any good compost scheme, after all, is to kill any lingering seeds.

So, compost is morally wrong. Piles of manure are perfectly right. This is getting really bizarre. Definitely feeling some of that “confusion” she warned us about earlier.

None of this is what the tree had in mind.

Excuse me?

Most seeds from a tree don’t sprout in the first place, and you’d realize that this very fact invalidated your entire point right here. Clearly, trees can’t be making a mistake when only two out of several hundred seeds, if that, will ever sprout or grow into maturity.

And furthermore, fuck this hypocritical bullshit! Being penned up in an unnatural habitat was never what animals intended. Being unnaturally bred, trapped and killed for food was never what animals intended. Being eaten by a fucking delusional frugivore is definitely never what animals intended. But this is just fucking peachy with Keith.

The fuck, you’re not allowed to use an argument that contradicts your own ideology more than the one you’re trying to argue against!

The tree isn’t offering sweetness out of the goodness of its heartwood. It’s striking a bargain, and even though we’ve shaken hands and collected, we aren’t carrying through on our side of the deal.

1. We aren’t natural here. Any ecological “contract” an apple tree would have must be entirely only with animals actually indigenous to the region.

2. Nature. Is. Not. Capitalist. ^&$%*!

3. It’s interesting that Keith believes she knows what a tree “wants,” which of course is drawn from a highly reductionist view of biology and evolution instead of actual observation and an understanding of nuance.

This is a form of what’s called “magical thinking,” which is common to those with eating disorders. It can, and usually does, take the form of, “If I eat more than 400 calories, something bad will happen OR I am wrong, evil and ugly.” However, it can also take the form of, as here, “If I eat the fruit from this tree, I am agreeing to a deal with it.”

It also has some sociopathic applications: “If I feed, shelter and protect this individual, they are accepting my entitlement to the use and/or consumption of their body.”

There’s a glaring anthropocentrism in this argument…

OH DEAR SWEET POTATOES IT BURNS!

I can’t deal with this much projection, hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness all at once. I’m going to go eat some oranges to see if it repairs my brain. If I don’t come back, clearly my spine fell apart on the floor from my EXTREME DIET. ‘Til next time, folks!

Keith’s Myth: Pens are Prisons are Pastures are Feedlots

… Page eleven. Surprisingly, taking this page by page allows me to digest this better and point out all the little shit along the way. It’s a good way to separate the individual strands of bullshit. Even though bullshit doesn’t have strands.

Smokers will tell you there is nothing like an ex-smoker.

No. Go straight to Hell, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

I have done my best to avoid to avoid a tone of moral superiority and aim for engagement. I hope I have succeeded. Ultimately I would rather be helpful than right.

No. I just… I can’t. It’s too much.

The underlying values that vegetarians claim to honor—

Translation: if you really honor those values, you’ll agree with me. Neener-neener.

—justice, compassion, sustainability—are the only values that will create a world of connection instead of domination; a world where humans approach every creature—every rock, every raindrop, all our furred and feathered siblings—with humility, awe and respect;

Slow down there, cowboy! I think we have a misunderstanding here. You seem to be of the mind that “creature” means “any object that exists, ever.” My definition’s different, see—a “creature” is an animal (or, potentially, extraterrestrial organism) who experiences their own life. And “life” means something too: it’s more than an existence. Raindrops and rocks are not organic; by definition, they don’t have life.

Here’s the thing. You have to have the ability to experience, first-person, what is done to you to qualify for the title of “creature.” It’s why I honestly don’t care about fetuses—they’re gestating so that their bodies can get to the point where that experience of life can be supported, and until they are actually experiencing it the point is moot. An animal has the right to be left alone because they experience their lives; an animal (and for the record, I’m not specifically talking about non-human ones here) has the right to not be forced into starvation when there are masses of food just lying around, but the fence wants you to give them money for it. Because the experience of life is valuable, and inherent in that is the idea that quality of life is worthy of being encouraged and not maliciously or capitalistically restricted.

Other things have “rights” by proxy, things that don’t have lives or don’t experience them. I can say that an ecosystem has rights, and what I mean is that humans have an “anti-right” to fuck with that ecosystem-symbiotic and for this purpose synonymous with every individual animal belonging to that ecosystem. In that sense, ecosystems are like a sovereign nation; its rights are the collective rights of every animal within it.

I can be impressed and delighted by rain, but I don’t attribute to it the rights deserved by organisms who experience their own lives.

… the only world with a chance of surviving the abuse called civilization. It is in this hope that such a world is possible that I offer this book.

I get the strong feeling that the world Lierre Keith says would happen if we all agreed with her would actually be entirely nightmarish.

I don’t want your revolution if anyone gets farmed. That’s not a revolution; it’s a ripoff.

That’s the end of chapter one.

Keith’s Myth: Fear and Loathing in the Midwest U.S.

We’re halfway through page 10 and Keith continues talking about the effects of her eating disorder.

Then there was the depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety have absolutely nothing to do with veganism—starving yourself does. Dieting is well-known to cause moodswings, irritability and a lack of emotional stability; fact is, any amount of starving your body will result in this, regardless of how small the deprivation is.

I’ve had depression and anxiety too—when I wasn’t getting enough calories. Fact is, starvation is one of the best conceivable ways to give yourself unbearable clinical depression, but people rarely realize that because they’re so fucking obsessed with fatphobia.

I have had two times in my life where I wasn’t suffering from constant anxiety: when I was homeless, living in a tent (and getting enough to eat!), and when I’ve been 811 raw. And I’m not special. It’s amazing how little heft people give this. They refuse to try it even for three weeks—Bob Torres, at least for a while, was recommending the “vegan three week challenge” but was ridiculously hostile to the idea of trying 811—given that they generally know they won’t develop mineral deficiencies or fall over dead from three weeks. Unless they’re starving themselves of calories and/or carbohydrates from fresh, ripe fruit.

I come from a long and venerable line of depressive alcoholics, so clearly I didn’t inherit the best mental health genetics.

So do I. This doesn’t mean much.

Veganism [sic] wasn’t the only cause of my depression, but it was a big contributing factor. Years went by when the world was made of a pointless, grey weight, endlessly the same, punctuated only by occasional panic. I would routinely dissolve into helplessness. If I couldn’t find my house keys, I’d find myself in a heap on the living room for, immobilized on the edge of The Void. How could I go on? Why would I want to? The keys were lost and so was I, the world, the cosmos.

THE WORLD IS BLACK
BLACK LIKE MY SOUL
BLACK LIKE THE BLOOD IN MY VEINS
BLACK LIKE MY HEART
THAT MAKES ME CRY THESE BLACK TEARS
DARK DARK BLACK —

That’s great and all, but again: Keith was vegan, by her own damn admission, at most a week. She was a vegetarian, and additionally, this is again standard for long-term starvation eating disorders. And furthermore, the sob-story isn’t striking a chord here; it’s just a ham-handed (lol) attempt to make the reader sympathize enough to abandon critical thinking.

And now I know why. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. And there are no good plant sources of tryptophan.

o rly? Then why is it that, calorie for calorie, beef (Lierre Keith’s holy grail) actually has less tryptophan than fruit? (Oranges are just a sample I pulled.)

On top of that, all the tryptophan in the world won’t do you any good without saturated fat, which is necessary to make your neurotransmitters actually transmit.

Keith doesn’t provide a citation for this, which seems to be fairly usual for her, even though it would have been rather easy to find a source in the medical literature that says this. After all, this is basic-functioning kind of stuff: unlike diets, which are fraught with ideology and implication, that neurotransmitters need fat to transmit is something that’s fairly easily cited.

So for all we know, she may be massively misunderstanding what she’s actually saying. The myelin sheaths of nerves need fat to form in gestation, and children need a much higher amount of fat—not animal fat per se, but coconut, avocado, olives, nuts—and parents have actually starved their children to death by having them eat a very-low-fat one.

The needs of a human body vary vastly over time and age; it would be straight-up unhealthy for an adult human to eat to supply the needs of a child. And humans need a really ridiculously low amount of fat, especially when you consider that it’s easily supplied by eating two or three nuts every day in addition to everything else. Omega fatty acids are a slightly different subject, but we’re talking about saturated fats here.

And speaking of which, plants do have saturated fat. Most of the plant foods we eat commonly have a fat content that’s mostly made up of polunsaturated, but seriously: so? If you believe it’s that important, it’s actually quite easy to eat a handful of coconut every day. David Mercola, one of the entrepeneur-nutritionist-quacks Keith cites, recommends and sells extra virgin coconut oil to consume every day—and you can’t deny it’s a major conflict of interest, but seriously. The assertions Keith makes are easily debunked with even a cursory glance through the results of a fucking Goodsearch first page.

All those years of emotional collapse weren’t a personal failing; they were bio-chemical, if self-inflicted.

Yes. It is absolutely fucking unacceptable to blame someone for having an eating disorder and tell them it’s because there’s something wrong, bad and evil about them.

It is entirely another thing to so completely avoid self-reflection and -questioning that you end up blaming it on “veganism,” especially when you weren’t vegan. And it only gets worse if you decide to write a really, really poorly-researched book fighting against a lifestyle you never engaged in, all the while lying to say you have.

Is there anything as boring as other people’s medical problems?

Yes. Reading a book about someone else’s medical problems when it’s clear that the author never bothered to question anything or tally up the symptoms and look for an alternative explanation.

But eating a diet of grass-fed animal products has repaired the damage a bit and made a moderate dent in my pain level.

Wait, so not starving will, over time, repair the damage done by starvation?… Really. Do tell.

FYI: it’s only been a few years since I met Aslan, and zeir starvation-induced problems only flare up on bad days, which are coming less and less often. Zie had zeir eating disorder most of zeir life, too. Judging by the timeline—wannabegan at sixteen for twenty years puts Keith’s meat-eating at thirty-six, and she was born in ’64. This book was published in ’09. It’s been nine years and she hasn’t had more of a benefit from that? Chica, you need to eat some fruit.

Yadda yadda, I’ll get to her claims about diabetes and insulin later, she doesn’t realize that the phytoestrogens in soy are much less potent than the animal estrogens in dairy, will blame soy for giving her cancer (good to know she’s already figured that out, then), she has to take betaine hydrochloride because she won’t eat dark leafy greens and she starved herself, she’s still cold and exhausted.

… Aslan’s cold and fatigue are almost entirely gone, and zeir BMI was, at one point, 14.

Don’t give me this bullshit. If you’re still feeling cold and exchausted after this many years, it’s because your diet isn’t repairing your fucking body. Human bodies, treated properly with lots of raw fruits and leafy greens, repair way faster than this.

She’s “depression-free,” whatever that means for her—I’m betting my idea is what that would look like is a lot different.

You don’t have to try this for yourself. You’re allowed to learn from my mistakes.

Oh, my. Why, thank you for being so magnanimous.

What would those mistakes be? Starving yourself? Not bothering to do any research to see that you had an eating disorder? Being hilariously melodramatic? Believing condescension is endearing and/or an acceptable argument?

Vegetarianism was the obvious path, with veganism the high road alongside it. And those of us who did it long term ended up damaged.

And of course we won’t actually hear about any of them, or what they ate, how much and how often. We won’t hear any of this. Lierre Keith is better than evidence and research and questioning. It’s her fucking religion—and even then, I know a lot of religious people that aren’t this… incurious.

If I’m questioning your lifestyle, your identity, you might feel confusion, fear and anger while reading this book.

In other words: if you do anything but nod blithely along while Keith insults you and makes a mockery of actual honest inquiry, you’re just defensive. Pele’s exploding tits, that’s not an argument—it’s a fallacy. The idea that, “well if you get upset then I must be right” is insulting on its face, and it provides Lierre Keith an excuse for intellectual laziness.

No matter what, you’re wrong and she’s right. If she insults you and you get pissed at it, then she’s right. If you’re unimpressed by her “research” and “citations,” that means she’s right. If you’re confused by the utter lack of serious critical engagement within and with this book, then Lierre Keith is right.

To a certain point, this is understandable. But Lierre Keith has repeated this point so often that it’s clear to me that this is the basis of her argument—deflection. Instead of owning up and actually being honest, Keith uses emotional-abuser fallacies to keep people from questioning what she asserts.

Personally? I’m irritated, as I always am, at the lack of intellectual, journalistic and personal integrity that Lierre Keith is displaying. It’s just even worse that she’s using basic privileged behavioral tactics to try to silence anyone disagreeing with her.

But take my word: you don’t want to end up like me.

Go Ask Alice much. A good argument cannot be based on a cautionary tale; you need to back it up. This is another fallacy—Misleading Vividness.

I’m asking you to stay the course, read this book, and explore the resources in the appendix. Please. Especially if you have children or want to. I’m not too proud to beg.

Fuck, I think I strained my ocular nerve from rolling my eyes too hard. It must have been veganism. After all, if I weren’t vegan, I wouldn’t be reading this unexplodey pile of words.

Keith’s Myth: Eating Disorders are Vegan Propaganda

Page nine. Yes, this is slow going. I told you it would be thorough, didn’t I?

I have other reasons for writing this book. One is boredom.

… And you had to inflict that on me?

Vegetarians can sum up their program in neat sound bites—Meat Is Murder—and self-evident solutions, like those compelling sixteen pounds of grain.

This, beyond anything else, should prove that Lierre Keith was never vegan. These beliefs and sound-bite ideologies are typical of vegetarians, in my experience; but vegetarians also like to believe that they’re not killing or harming animals, when a few moments of cursory browsing of pages on dairy and egg farming would provide the answer. That’s basically why I can’t stand vegetarians: they’re half-assed, but they want you to pretend that they’re doing “the best they can” even when they’re so clearly not. And they throw temper tantrums when you point it out to them.

Keith wants us to believe she was vegan for twenty years when she’s said, in public interviews, that she was only “vegan” for about a week at a stretch (and it is seriously getting painful to hold back the lolanaz “pizza fast!” jokes). Aslan called it; when I told zem about Keith, zie stated flat-out that Keith was lying about having been vegan. And she was. She still is.

It is precisely because of this two-dimensional worldview that I went beyond vegetarianism: I questioned myself. I looked at the world and decided that death wasn’t all the doom and gloom humans made it out to be; I decided that death wasn’t wrong, but that trying to arrange life in neat little rows so it can’t hurt you—like, for example, animal farming, which Keith has repeatedly endorsed by this point—was seriously pathological. Remarkably, even embracing and remaining comfortable with death—and not in the melodramatic fashion that Keith does—I’m still vegan. Maybe it’s because I’ll fucking eat bananas instead of what Keith did, in her own words: “brown rice and soy.”

Keith has gone from a two-dimensional, uncritically faith-based system to another two-dimensional, uncritically faith-based system. I am not going to pretend otherwise. She has shown absolutely no maturity, capacity for nuance, or self-reflection and until she does, she is going to be treated the way she acts.

“Vegetarian” isn’t just what you eat or even what you believe. It’s who you are, and it’s a totalizing identity. … And most of you will react with defensiveness and anger.

1. She acts like this isn’t true for carnists.

2. “Defensiveness” and “anger” mean disagreeing with her and not uncritically accepting her beliefs. You’re not allowed to read her book without coming to believe she’s right; if you do, it means you’re too “defensive” and “angry” to realize that Lierre Keith has The Truth.

3. Gee, the anger part couldn’t possibly be because you’re constantly insulting their intelligence?! When you continually call/imply someone is childish, immature, self-deceiving, ignorant, misguided and pathetic, you are going to get that reaction. I’d be worried for their mental health if you didn’t!

But I’m also writing this book as a cautionary tale.

Go Ask Alice is about as enlightening and respectful of its readers, so she’s in good company.

A vegetarian diet—especially a low-fat version, and most especially a vegan one—is not sufficient nutrition for long-term maintenance and repair of the human body.

I am going to point to Doug Graham, here: he’s not only been vegan for most of his life, but he’s been a “very low fat” raw foods vegan for several decades, too. He espouses the kind of eating I gravitated to and fucking adore because of its immense benefits to my mental and emotional health: of calorie intake, a minimum of 80% carbohydrates, maximum 10% fat and 10% protein (averaged out) from whole raw fruits and tender greens.

I point him out—and myself, and Aslan, who has been vegan zeir entire life—because it proves her wrong. No species has magical “anomaly” individuals that can survive on a vastly different diet; there aren’t segments of any species’ population that need a significantly higher (say, 60%) fat intake than the rest. There are no cats that have to eat exclusively fish and other cats that can only eat rabbits and other cats that can eat everything. There are sensitivities to specific foods—for example, I can’t eat apples or soy because they give me problems—but no vastly different requirements. There is remarkably low variation in the optimum diet for a given species outside of specific diseases and genetic disorders, and even then, it’s something more along the lines of “you need to avoid X” and/or “you also need to get X in this amount.”

That is why exceptions prove this argument wrong. I think Keith knows it, too; in the interviews, she said that she believes “all vegans eat beef once a week.” Which is… an interesting tactic.

Aslan: “Actually, I can’t eat beef; the few times I got slipped it I broke out in a rash. The same thing happens with chicken or eggs—I have a broad avian allergy and couldn’t even touch the birds at the animal rescue I worked at—but my dairy allergy is so bad that even a small amount gives me seizures. The only animal product that I know I don’t have an allergy to is rabbit—and I don’t eat rabbit because I’m vegan.

Keith: “You’re lying.”

Right. Okay. Hey, vegans, it might be time to contact Lierre Keith and offer to let her follow you around for two weeks with a video camera so that she can see that you’re not a halfassitarian. I mean, you’ll have to have a high tolerance for irritation. And snobbishness. And being lectured. But what the hey, right?

To put it bluntly, it will damage you. I know. Two years into my veganhood, my health failed, and it failed catastrophically.

Oh, see? She knows, man. She knoooows.

Lierre, to put it bluntly, you were never fucking vegan and you’re a fucking liar for insisting you were. Vegans, contrary to what makes you feel better, do not actually “binge” on any animal products at all, much less once a week; and we also do not subsist off of brown rice and soy, provided there isn’t another factor at play—like, I don’t know, an eating disorder? What the fuck kind of people were you hanging around that didn’t see that your “diet” didn’t bear any resemblance to actual veganism?

I developed a degenerative joint disease that I will have for the rest of my life.

Mm. Since Keith doesn’t actually name it, I can’t debunk exactly its “relation” to veganism, outside of pointing out that, with a few exceptions, no long-term vegan I know has a degenerative joint disease.

… And those exceptions are the ones who have eating disorders, and do starve themselves; and in fact, everyone I know who is starving (intentionally or not) gets painful, aching joint problems.

Aslan does because of the abuse zeir mom put them through, and it only got worse once zie got taken away from the streets of Denver and moved to another state. Zie has orthorexia, which sounds a lot like what Keith had, sans halfassitude: a feeling of “impurity” so strong and bitter that the sufferer increasingly restricts their food intake, much like the feeling of being “fat” compels anorectics to do the same.

When I met Aslan a few years ago, zeir joint and blood circulation problems were much, much worse than they are now. Zie’s still vegan, and to a large degree eating a diet high in raw foods has really helped. According to Keith, though, that’s impossible—Aslan’s joints should have gotten worse, not better, especially since we always ate a fairly low-fat diet. But here’s the problem: faced with all these exceptions, Keith’s belief that veganism is unhealthy becomes unsustainable. But she doesn’t want to face that.

Teenagers’ spines don’t fall apart for no reason and so, despite my perfect symptom description, none of the doctors considered Degenerative Disc Disease.

Oh hey. Guess what anorectics get. You know: the people who starve themselves nearly (or all the way) to death?

Six weeks into veganism [sic] I had my first experience of hypoglycemia…

That’s what happens when you starve yourself.

Three months into it I stopped menstruating, which should have been a clue that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Amenorrhea? Gee. That doesn’t sound like it would be explicitly in the DSM-V criteria for anorexia nervosa. Not. At. All.

The exaustion began around then, too, and it only got worse, along with the ever-present cold.

Chronic fatigue? You mean, like… from starvation? And you never felt warm, you say, almost as if you weren’t consuming enough calories to sustain your body temperature?

My skin was so dry it flaked, and in the winter it itched so badly it kept me up at night.

Shit, I don’t think I can keep mocking this; these are the same symptoms my anorectic friends get. I feel sick. Lierre Keith has a fucking eating disorder and no one has pointed this out. She’s been fucking starving herself for twenty years and nobody cared enough to recognize it.

At twenty-four, I developed gastroparesis, which, again, wasn’t diagnosed or treated until I was thirty-eight…

For those of you that don’t know, gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach where food digests very, very slowly. All long-term anorectics develop it; your stomach essentially stops being able to work with food because it’s getting such an extremely small amount for such a long period of time.

… and found a doctor who worked with recovering [sic] vegans.

And that’s who sold her the Weston A. Price sales pitch. No eating disorder here; Keith refuses to believe that. Game, set, match.

Keith’s Myth: Page Seven

I definitely needed to do a further post on this, because it’s fucking ridiculous. This was on page seven.

Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.

Oh for the love of—

1. Anyone who cannot distinguish major gastrointestinal differences between lions and humans is not qualified to talk about eating, ever. Let’s see.

Teeth—
Cats: Sharp
Humans: Blunt
Eyes are drawn to—
Cats: Movement
Humans: Color
Visual color palette is—
Cats: Partial (red-green blind)
Humans: RBGY
Tastebuds are geared towards—
Cats: Amino acids
Humans: Carbohydrates
Saliva enzymes primarily begin digesting—
Cats: Protein
Humans: Carbohydrates
Innate biological weaponry, i.e. claws—
Cats: Yes
Humans: lmao
Stomach pH is—
Cats: Very acidic
Humans: Slightly acidic
Small intestines are shaped like—
Cats: Short smooth tubes
Humans: Long, pocketed mazes
Salivates at the sight/idea of digging into fresh, raw roadkill—
Cats: Yes
Humans: No
Can ketosis be induced by too few carbohydrates—
Cats: No
Humans: Yes

Yeah, that’s just the beginning too. I would have done another comparison with a certain species of lemur since many of them have a similar gastrointestinal structure and environment, but honestly humans just don’t care that much about lemurs so there’s not much information.

2. Plenty of animals can’t digest cellulose who also aren’t carnivores. Let’s start with bonobos and lemurs. And parrots. And many other species of birds. And… well, basically every species of animal that doesn’t eat grasses and tough vegetables but also doesn’t even primarily eat meat.

Keith is either showing that she fundamentally does not understand the world and the way it works—she honestly believes that if you can’t digest cellulose that you must be a carnivore—or she is deliberately lying.

No, really. Is Keith stupid enough to have missed the existence of carbohydrates in researching this book, or to believe that carbohydrates are cellulose? Because I am scratching my head over what on Earth is going on here. I am not quite able to believe that she is ignorant of an entire segment of energy-giving macronutrients, but I’m also really afraid that she is that uninformed. She did eat primarily or only brown rice and soy while “vegan,” after all.

And I looked at her citation for the claim that “from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat,” too—it’s listed simply as “Stout.” Where I come from, this isn’t acceptable citing practice—you must cite your source and page/issue/volume number right there in the fucking endnotes, because otherwise there’s too much confusion. So I went to the bibliography, which is listed separately, to find “Stout.”

… That citation is The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book by Ruth Stout, published in 1971. I wouldn’t accept that shit from my little brother—I’m not taking it from some ex-halfassitarian.

I actually went and looked it up on Google Books and, while it’s not available, I still searched for two keywords: “cellulose” and “meat,” based on the idea that Ruth Stout wouldn’t have put the word “rectum” in a gardening book aimed at the Frauletariat, especially in ’71.

Only one reference to “meat” showed up, on page 39—the sentence is presumably about compost and reads, “Kitchen garbage, all except meat scraps, is perfect.”

This reminds me of a webpage by the Weston A. Price foundation of a similar title, actually—called “The Myths of Vegetarianism.” In it, the author, Stephen Byrnes, goes through the same basic arguments that Keith is here, sans the anti-agricultural one. It was posted on VeganFreaks and a user whose name I can’t quite remember spoke up and said she’d read one of the citations he listed in support of a diet of red meat being healthy—it was an article published in a veterinary journal. Why? Because it was on kittens, and how kittens thrived on red meat. Felines. Humans. No, sorry; that doesn’t work, especially since we share basically no gastrointestinal similarities except that we have them.

We’d never have known if that vet hadn’t pointed it out.

Stephen Byrnes ate the diet the Weston A. Price Foundation encourages and which Lierre Keith encourages in this book. Lots of meat, eggs, dairy, with little to no fruits and vegetables. You know what else is notable about Stephen Byrnes? He’s dead. He died of a fatal stroke before he even reached his 40th birthday.

This is a bad fucking sign for the credibility of this book, and it makes me angry. It wasn’t enough to fucking insult me and repeatedly tell me that I’m as stupid as society thinks children are, that I’m just as pathetic as she continues to portray herself as being. Lierre Keith had to fucking assume I was gullible, too—that I would fall for this kind of bullshit. But of course. She believes so fucking completely that vegans are ignorant, gullible little idealistic buffoons—she was, she tells us—why wouldn’t she treat me like that?

Keith is like every other goddamn Fallon groupie in the world: intellectually and interpersonally lazy and dishonest. She never expected her readers to check her citations and it doesn’t matter whether it’s because she assumes everyone’s as “faith-based” and unintelligently incurious as she is or whatever; she just blatantly demonstrated a total lack of respect for her readers.

Keith’s Myth: 6-7

Page six is essentially just the story of Keith growing up. It’s meant to make you empathize with her, but I’m finding it hard because it’s so insulting: she’s clearly setting up her younger, supposedly less intelligent and less enlightened self to be the stand-in for all vegans. And it’s not an accurate picture of the vegans I know, but it is representative of a very two-dimensional worldview. I keep wondering if she’s going to change that.

She asserts that vegans have no real understanding of nature and life again, writing,

With no understanding of the nature of agriculture, the nature of nature, or ultimately the nature of life, I had no way to know that however honorable their impulses, their prescription was a dead end into the same destruction I burned to stop.

Condescension, condescension, condescension. Who needs an actual grasp of what vegans are like when you can just portray them all as ignorant, naive little fools? This is clearly much easier, and obviously it hits its target with carnists; they do so much want to keep believing that veganism isn’t an option.

Those impulses and ignorances are inherent to the vegetarian myth.

No. Sorry. Those impulses and ignorances are inherent to Lierre Keith, and no amount of projection will make this less true.

I’ll summarize this next point: Keith writes about how she compulsively read vegan message boards for two years after she started eating meat again, which is something I’ve known to be true for recovering anorectics and bulimics as well, and she picks out one particular post. Anonymous, of course—she doesn’t name the poster or the message board, she just says, “a vegan.”

Apparently he said—whether as a joke or seriously, we’ll never be able to tell, because Keith doesn’t actually cite anything—that they should build a fence down the middle of the Serengeti with predators on one side and prey on the other so that the predators wouldn’t kill them.

She says everyone agreed with him. I’m seriously doubtful; we have no way to prove what she asserts one way or the other, and Keith might as well be lying out her ass or completely misunderstanding. She hasn’t shown a decent grasp of vegan opinion thus far. She actually believes, as said in her interviews, that all vegans eat beef once a week.

Sorry, we are having technical difficulties with this paragraph at the moment. The sarcasm-o-meter has broken; we hope to have it repaired right away. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.

Oh for the love of—

The lesson here is obvious, though it is profound enough to inspire a religion…

Holy exploding sweet potatoes, what is with Keith and religious symbolism? We get it! You take this on faith! Now can you please stop going on and on about just how much like blind religion carnism is? We know that already!

… we need to be eaten as much as we need to eat.

That’s very nice, but the only suggestion Keith has given us so far is entirely one-way, where we’re the eaters instead of the eaten. No matter how you might dress it up, Salatin and the “activist-farmers” are still farming. It is wholly a one-way trade, despite what Keith claims: the animals have no ability to fight back or flee—the power and control are entirely on the humans’ side. This is incongruous with the vision of give-and-take she is presenting and in light of that, this too seems dishonest.

Until Keith actually says outright that she rejects agriculture in all its forms and supports a total return to a gatherer/hunter lifestyle, this is all pretense. Until then, she’s saying these things to make herself look “mature,” but the proof is in the pudding.

These are not one-way relationships, not arrangements of dominance and subordination. We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns.

Ugh, I might as well have watched Sesame Street for the depth this book is presenting.

Addressed above. Also, fix’d:

These are not one-way relationships, not arrangements of dominance and subordination. We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns. However, I don’t want to face any of the realities of natural predators, like starvation, being preyed upon myself, or eating only every other day like most large predators; therefore, while I use the pretense of nature, I am going to breed animals to be raised in a pasture, making sure they can’t escape or fight back, and then kill them. But you can’t tell me that’s an example of domination and subordination: I raised them! I feed them! I keep them safe! They’re my property, after all; if I provide for them and keep them safe, I have a right to their bodies! Just like husbands have every right to their wives’ bodies, and parents every right to their kids’!

Alright, enough of this tomfoolery. Keith goes on a bit more about death and how death is everywhere and omifuckingawd death—geesh, chica, put down the black nail polish and eyeliner—and insults vegans again with the whole “adult knowledge” thing. The last line of page eight is, “Maybe in the end this book is an attempt to soothe that ache myself,” and inside my head I’m thinking a massage woulda been easier.

Definitely less irritating, too.

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