Q:PLEASE let us know when your book is finished. You are really smart and talented (I can see you work really hard) and I'm a big fan! Good wishes
Thanks! I’ve been getting slow in production with everything that’s going on in life, but I hope to get back in the swing of things today. I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out, but due to financial issues (needing to find a second job without having a stable phone line to get call backs) I’m getting less and less time to work on it.
Vegan Philosophers and Authors
I always see lists of vegans going around on tumblr focused on “look how buff these vegans are!” or “Look how old these people got to be by being vegan!” and sometimes just “Did you know, your favourite celebrity is vegan? Wow!” But here are some lists I think we’re really missing out on:
- Al-Maʿarri (973 CE–1058 CE) - blind Arabian philosopher, poet, and writer; controversial rationalist for his time, argued against religious dogma and animal cruelty.
- Steven Best (b. 1955) - associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, co-founder of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS); poststructuralist views on revolution
- David Pearce - British independent philosopher strongly concerned with transhumanism and biotechnology; argues for the ethical imperative to engineer a world with less suffering, co-founded Humanity+, (the World Transhumanist Association), and is a prominent figure in the transhumanism movement
- Tom Regan (b. 1938) - professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University; author of numerous books on the philosophy of animal rights, including The Case for Animal Rights (1983), most arguably Kantian, and disagrees with the concept of speciesism on some good grounds
Vegan Writers (including Screen Writers), Journalists:
- Ally Burguieres
- Michael C. Dorf
- Darren Aronofsky (most notably seen here)
- Gary Francione
- Elise Desaulniers
- Brigid Brophy
- Joan Dunayer
- Carol J. Adams
- Anu Garg
- Jamie Kilstein
- Lasse Hallström
- Allison Kilkenny
- Sarah Kramer
- Craig Taro Gold
- Marieke Hardy
If you know of any vegan philosophers, writers, or journalists out there, let me know! I can add them to the list or you can reblog and add them in.
Kurt Cobain and The Crop Top Tee
I think, sometimes I’ve been too hard on the image of Kurt Cobain (and Nirvana) being used in teen girls’ fashion. I’d see a crop top with Kurt Cobain and flowers all around him and think, "Yeesh, really?" Just another thing that modern teen girl fashion had latched onto from the 90’s to make a quick dollar. Play up the “90’s kid” overglorification to the generation at the tail end of the decade, use bands few people really listen to these days to commodify and mass produce. I’d stare at the flower-clad grunge singer printed on fabric and cringe, wondering how he would feel knowing how his face had become associated with cheap adolescent merchandise.
I don’t know why I was so cynical about it. I mean, sure, I like Nirvana. I keep Nevermind and a bit of In Utero on my iPod even when I reformat it and update my music tastes. But I’m not like, die-hard #1 Nirvana fan. I’m just another one of millions who had their grunge phase during teenage years. I didn’t have Nirvana posters, I didn’t hang out with people because they liked Nirvana. I didn’t dream of a world where Kurt Cobain was still alive and he’d come and sweep me away and marry me. I’m just young enough that understandably I can own zero elitism about “being alive” during the “real grunge age”.
It wasn’t even a hatred for people wearing band t-shirts or celebrities that they don’t listen to / know of / like. (Ramones tee it up, yo.) It was a hatred for wearing something when I felt that iconography is antithetical to the merchandising of it. In short, again, I thought it was dumb to mass market Kurt Cobain to teen girls, as if Cobain was so strongly a symbol against mainstream teen girl-itude.
Thinking about it, though, I think Kurt Cobain did in a lot of ways embody the teen girl mentality, in a positive kind of light. It seems weird to say a 90’s grunge vocalist is “in tune” with mainstream teen girl culture, but
I knew I was different. I thought that I might be gay or something because I couldn’t identify with any of the guys at all. None of them liked art or music, they just wanted to fight and get laid. It was many years ago but it gave me this real hatred for the average American macho male.
- As quoted in Melody Maker (1991-09-14)
Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth. And it happens every few minutes.
- As quoted in New Musical Express (1991-11-23)
Zits are beauty marks.
- As quoted in Sassy (1992-04)
I would like to think there’s some purity in us, yeah. Naive - y’know, purposely naive.
- From an interview on MTV with Zeca Camargo, 1993-01-21, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I don’t know. More and more I feel like there’s nobody better to be mass produced on teen girl crop tops and tote bags than Kurt Cobain. I’d much rather it be him than someone idolized further from the past who was sexist, racist, and homophobic, or someone who never managed to accomplish anything for themselves, or someone who wasn’t just a genuine human being with real problems and feelings.
I couldn’t afford regular soy milk this week, so I bought the weird jug discount soy milk. It’s bean juice. Tastes like what it is. No pretending what it is or isn’t. We also picked up discount veggie meat. It’s like this $1.59 package of “soy something”. It’s labeled soy chicken wing but I’m not really seeing any shape other than blob. For all I know it’s secretly made out of people.
Q:I just can't get past the fact that it's not wrong to eat meat—because it's not. it's a good source of lean protein and it's far cheaper than anything soy related. i know it's doable, it's obviously doable to choose to abstain from meat. The giant problem here is the meat's effect on the environment and the industry... those are disgusting and beyond rational care and consumption of other animals. Should we support that industry? no. It's disgusting. But eating meat is not the actual problem
Well there you go! You said it all right there. Factory farming is a disgusting institution that promotes immeasurable cruelty and environmental destruction.
Now how is eating meat not the actual problem? When you purchase animal products you are essentially telling these companies that you are OK with the terrible things they do.
On a side note protein can be found in grains, beans, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, dark greens, and many other sources. Most of these like beans and greens like spinach and kale are typically dirt cheap. For instance tofu, one of many soy products, costs ~ $2 and you can do like a million things with it.
When people say, “There’s nothing wrong with eating meat itself - what’s wrong is the consequences, or how inhumane the practices were to get the meat!” they’re attempting to abstract animal flesh as a product away from the process required to obtain it - in order to imagine that veganism, or even vegetarianism, is only about the ethical abstinence of the process of eating certain foods, rather than to abstain from certain ways of exploiting animals.
You cannot separate the act of eating meat from the source of meat, or for that matter any other animal product. You cannot do this any more than you can say, “There’s nothing ethically wrong about using a knife - we MADE knives to use them! - so really, when you think about it, the act of stabbing someone innocent against their will isn’t wrong. It’s just the consequences.”
There’s no level of abstraction that creates a logical and cohesive argument against veganism. Accepting the consumption, and other exploitation, of animals into our lifestyles and society is the problem, and by extension, yes, eating meat is the actual problem.
The arguments of “but what about roadkill”, “but what about ‘humane’ farming” only go to prove how desperately some people want to hang on to the idea that animals are objects, not subjects, and that we “as a superior species” are somehow granted divine right over their entire lives. These scenarios are a product of valuing animals no more than we do mere commodities.
I use “cute” to describe many different things, even if not all of these things are what people think of when they think of something stereotypically “cute”. That’s not to say I use it to describe everything. There are serious limitations. Some examples of the “categories of cute”:
- very tiny puppy does something remarkably clumsy (but is still okay / in one tiny puppy piece)
- very naked, attractive man with broad shoulders and nice eyebrows stretches and yawns in bed, snuggling further into blankets (but wakes up for breakfast eventually when I say “peanut butter pancakes”)
- someone you generally dislike struggling to continue a debate after they’ve long since lost (cuter when they realize they’ve lost)
- you’re in town when there’s a black sabbath concert and you go to the mall and see everyone getting super excited and like 3 different generations have the same mohawk. Grandpa mohawks. Dad mohawks. Kid mohawks dyed with those temporary dyes made out of Kool Aid
- a day where you didn’t fuck anything up
- someone trying really hard to impress you, but it makes you feel a little awkward so you just grin and nod
- people having the courtesy to shut their obnoxiously loud babies / toddlers up on the bus
Go ahead and reblog with your list of philosophers you’d shove at a newcomer (and explain why, if you feel inclined).
For me, I’d have to say: Plato, Simone de Beauvoir, Noam Chomsky, Arne Naess, Peter Singer, Bertrand Russell, Immanuel Kant, Descartes, Karl Popper, and Judith…
Id say it depends on what area of philosophy you want to get into. Each philosopher has different interests in the subject
Most people who message me saying they’d like to go into philosophy haven’t narrowed their interests all too much; they still feel like having a broad academic study. Very few complete newcomers say “I only want to learn about epistemology”, “I only want to learn about metaphysics”. And I think they have a great attitude: they don’t know what they like just yet and they don’t need to limit their readings to a small corner of the expansive, lush gardens of philosophy.
I hesitate to recommend newcomers based on categorizations and stifling terminology. I think it’s more important that they find their niche on their own - the philosophers I’ve chosen serve as doorways into different paths of philosophy.
Besides, just because you say you’re only interested in one type of philosophy, doesn’t mean it’s the only type of philosophy you should be reading if you really want to immerse yourself in the study and practice.
Which 10 Philosophers Would You Recommend to Someone Just Becoming Interested?
Go ahead and reblog with your list of philosophers you’d shove at a newcomer (and explain why, if you feel inclined).
For me, I’d have to say: Plato, Simone de Beauvoir, Noam Chomsky, Arne Naess, Peter Singer, Bertrand Russell, Immanuel Kant, Descartes, Karl Popper, and Judith Butler.
We need to separate the idea of veganism being a thing for animal lovers. Because then people think “oh if I don’t love animals then there’s no reason for me to become vegan.” It lets carnists allow themselves moral exception because they think they don’t love animals enough.
Like, you don’t have to love animals in order to not kill them. It’s just the barest, minimum sliver of decency to not kill animals.
A lot of the times I’ll say, “Oh, I can’t stand the way [insert animal] smells”, or “man, [insert animal] is such a pain in the butt!” and someone will jokingly say, “Hey, you’re vegan, you’re supposed to love animals. Are you allowed not to love them?” and it’s funny, but also awkward people thinking that you need to absolutely adore someone or something in order not to want to destroy it/them.
I’m not a sports fan, but you don’t see me getting my kicks by paying people to poke holes in soccer balls or break hockey sticks in half. I’m not a fan of every single person on this planet, either, but that doesn’t urge me to cause them bodily harm.
When people ask “Is it okay if I eat animals in front of you? Do you think it’s icky? I won’t do it in front of you if it upsets you or grosses you out!” the only reasonable response I can think to say in honesty is, "I find it insulting that you care more about social etiquette than you do the actual lives of animals".
I think very few people know how much of a trap question it is. If I say, “Yes it bothers me, don’t eat animals in front of me”, that means to the person I’m admitting I just think eating animals is icky or gross or distasteful instead of morally wrong; that if it doesn’t happen in front of me it’s not my concern; that veganism is about how I feel instead of how other animals feel. (Besides, people almost always ask this about meat only, but then chow down on something covered in cheese, or haul around their leather jacket)
If I say “No, it doesn’t bother me”, to them I’m saying “when people exploit animals, it doesn’t bother me, live and let live, I’m the good vegan, I don’t judge anyone, peace and love even if you pay for the brutal slaughter of sentient beings teehee!” They’re just asking for a moral pass - they feel that if they don’t upset you, then they have nothing to worry about morally. They’re redirecting the guilt they feel in your presence to you as a person instead of you as someone who brings up issues bigger than just interpersonal relationships. If you give them that pass, you’ve let them believe that veganism isn’t about how it affects animals, but how it affects humans.
When friends ask me this question, you’re damn right I’m going to give them a hard time for it. Even if they say they’re “just trying to be nice/respectful”, I’d seriously ask them to direct that respect and kindness towards animals that are being literally tortured and killed, instead of towards me. My life is not threatened by someone eating animals in front of me. They don’t owe me an apology; they owe the animals an apology.
Q:If you're a Socratic vegan, does that mean that in committing the injustice of eating meat, since, as Vlastos put it, one of Socrates' primary moral positions, which he undertook against Polus, was that "he who commits injustice inflicts upon himself a greater injury than on the one he wrongs," you believe carnivores and omnivores are primarily harming themselves rather than the animals they consume?
Those who consume animal products harm themselves in the sense of health, since meat consumption raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and various cancers; dairy is associated with an increased risk of ovarian and prostate cancer; eggs have similar results. Health-wise, our own lives are not affected by the non-consumables of non-veganism, such as leather or wool, or attending the circus, or supporting the exploitation of other animals and the concept of speciesism.
Ideologically, the lies that we use to support a cognitive dissonance that upholds the exploitation of non-human animals is, I’d say, harmful to us in a way. To practice ignorance, to disconnect from reality, we cannot compartmentalize these traits into only one part of our lives. Ignorance breeds more ignorance; wishful thinking breeds wishful thinking; lies breed lies. The more someone tries to resist facing up to the harm that non-veganism causes for other animals, the planet, and ourselves, the more they turn their reasoning skills and moral senses into a blunt weapon, unable to really tackle any problem. But many people live this way, continue to live with this bluntness, and say they feel absolutely no pain. I’m more inclined to believe that the constant struggle to uphold conflicting viewpoints does cause a kind of pain, even if it is only felt in the long-term. I know I’ve felt the pain and resistance in overcoming many harmful or ignorant systems of belief, and a sense of relief afterwards.
- "Carnivores and omnivores": no human person is a "carnivore". Even those who consume many animal products still consume non-animal products with their foods. Non-vegans are facultative omnivores.
- "Primarily", humans inflict much more pain on non-human species by being non-vegan than they do themselves, practically speaking.
- Even if non-vegan consumptive habits caused no health risks, I should think that at least the harm we do to our environment should be enough motivation for rational self-interest in order to stop exploiting animals. We cannot continue to live comfortably in a non-vegan world for long, and we have no back-up planet.
Just to make it clear to anyone reading this, I’m not Socrates, and obviously I don’t think it’s my duty to be “Socratic” in everything I do. If you’re asking what I think Socrates would have done, I don’t know. If you’re asking what I do, I know that. I’m not “A Socratic vegan”. I’m a real, modern, abolitionist, ethical vegan.
Q:I am absolutely in love with your url, it's perfection!