Caramel Baloney

Nov 11

catbus:

hotblondecocktail:

“If you choose to be a vegan- you choose what you do and do not eat- you are doing so because you are a rich bitch with enough free mental space to worry about the general wellbeing of fucking cows, probably because mother and father send you money to your artist’s commune in Portland, and also they don’t even sell animal products there.”

Better, catbus?

Something that makes fun of rich people is inherently better than something that doesn’t.

An argument that includes a single piece of credible evidence is inherently better than one that doesn’t.

Oh wait.  Only rich people are vegan.  And only rich people have the mental capacity to worry about their health, or the environment, or wasteful and harmful spending of taxes, or the abuse of undocumented workers, or the availability of clean water, or global poverty and hunger.  Oh yeah, or fucking cows.

Maybe only rich bitches complaining about vegans on the internet can afford to trivialize such issues. 

Anonymous said: I really want to see a GPOY. Also, are you taken?

Well, my face is gratuitously pictured next to every post I make.  There are some here, but there aren’t many more pics with me in general.  My relationship status is, uh, undetermined.

therecipe replied to your postJust saying ‘hey’ to one of my favorite bloggers. How’s life going?

Congrats. What was your focus?

Thanks.  Environmental science, specifically creating wetland ecosystems for pollution control.

Nov 09

The past is always the present.

ahungerartist:

Recently, when in the midsts of the endless introspection that I tend to do, I recalled some conversations I used to have with a guy. I never got to know him too well, mostly because he took a shine to my then girlfriend and so I wasn’t too inclined to like him at the time. He had a web site where he put up some of his writing and I tried to find it recently, only to remember when searching that Geocities was long since dead. Fortunately, the Wayback Machine saved me. His account name, ‘inescapableennui,’ was fitting.

There was one essay he wrote comparing the life of Socrates and the titular character from Cool Hand Luke, a favorite film of mine.  I was going to post it here but because of the likely excoriation I’d face for revealing spoilers, I’ve edited it down some to remove the specifics but keep the general message. It’s not exactly ground-breaking but I think it’s pretty true, well said, and I find the last paragraph especially meaningful.

[…]

Humans are brought into this world in a state free of anxiety. An infant lives in a simplistic moment-to-moment stimulus/response type of world. Soon thereafter, with cerebral development, the first glimpses of language and rationale emerge. Thus begins a period of question asking that continues until death or aphasia. First questions involve a “what.” “What is that thing over there? It is a spoon.” Then comes the “how.” “How does that spoon work? Its rounded shape allows it to carry food.” Finally, there is the “why.” “Why was that spoon made? To serve the purpose of feeding.” Consequently, the questioner soon wonders, “What is my purpose?” Realizing that, at that moment, a spoon has more purpose than he does, this fictional questioner falls into a state of extreme anxiety. 

Anxiety differs from fear in that fear is directed towards one distinct idea or object, while anxiety is a generally vague, non-directed feeling of fear. For example, consider the act of purchasing a car by someone past the anxiety-crisis but before the construction of a belief system. Without a purpose provided by belief, the buyer has no grounding in which to make his decision of which car to buy. Eventually, because of his lack of a belief system, he must choose a car at random. A sense of unease results because there is a general feeling that this event is important and should require at least some justification beyond chance. Unease is exponentially increased when decisions involve one’s actual life and being. This is anxiety. 

Belief is thus utilized in the battle against anxiety by acting as a paradigm in making life choices. Note that this sense of anxiety is a negation of the Sartreian sense, which claims that the post-anxiety-crisis questioning causes even more anxiety than before because of emergent feelings of responsibility. Without intervention, every second of life after the anxiety-crisis is anxiety ridden. A belief system that is more all-encompassing than anxiety is needed to distract from one’s anxiety by giving purpose. “All-encompassing” refers to the quality of a belief that allows it to influence not only every action, but every thought as well. Socrates’ and Luke’s systems of virtue and nonconformity fit this definition perfectly. With Socratic virtue, every action is to be judged and rated according to its virtue. The most virtuous act is then chosen. Also, as Socrates’ discovered, even thought and speech must be rated on a scale of virtue as well. Given the enormous number of actions and thoughts, virtue-based philosophy admirably serves the purpose of combating anxiety. Lukean nonconformity similarly serves this purpose well. Nonconformity for Luke mainly takes the form of repeated escapes, disrespecting authority figures on both the inside and outside of prison walls, and refusing to accept a superior position in the prison hierarchy for himself. The great amount of energy, both physical and mental, required by nonconformity more than offsets life’s inherent preponderance of anxiety. 

[…]

[…] As Socrates’ says, “The most important thing is not life, but the good life.” Life in itself is not worthwhile, only living the good life justly and virtuously is of any worth. If the good life is the virtuous life, then the good life is also synonymous with the life that most efficiently distracts against anxiety. Yet, distraction is subjective, so each individual must choose the belief system that “fits” him best. The sociological factors that contribute to the decision to choose one particular system (perhaps a religious revelation or an injustice) are irrelevant; simply put by Luke, “A man’s got to go his own way sometimes.” […]

As each person encounters the anxiety-crisis, a belief system must be erected in order to overcome it. Consequently, the level of meaningfulness attributed to a belief is not based on the tenets of the belief itself, but the degree to which the belief reduces anxiety. In this simple inverse relationship, the stronger the belief, the more anxiety is reduced. However, knowledge of the latent purpose of this strong belief may weaken it, increasing anxiety. Conclusion: do not read this paper. Or, less elliptically stated, question your belief system and you will suffer the dreadful consequences!

I think of what causes anxiety for me and it is often because some system of beliefs is no longer tenable or reliable as I once thought, or that I find it difficult to mold reality in such a way that my beliefs can be validated. Beliefs that are not fully independent of environmental context can be dangerous to one’s self (and I have a few like that). The beauty of Socrates’ and Luke’s was their beliefs were independent of the actions of others (in the sense that they did not have to depend on someone else’s action to have their belief validated). They had full control and that makes them seem far more impenetrable and resilient. 

Incidentally, not so terribly long after writing that essay he ate a shotgun blast. I sometimes categorize his death as philosophical or existential suicide, though I think it’s difficult to judge accurately. His mother said he was depressed and that was the true problem, but if the source of such a depression was finding life inherently meaningless, what possible cure is there? It’s worth noting towards the end of his life he started heavily experimenting with drugs as a way of distraction. Did the drugs drive him to kill himself or was he driven to drugs because of a need to stop thinking about life as a pointless pursuit?  It’s different, I think, than those who follow that path but still could, in some scenario, find life worth living. Maybe it was something else, some chemical imbalance or other resolvable issue, I don’t know. I just know I’m glad that for all that I agree with a lot of what he wrote, unlike him those kinds of thought have not yet penetrated the illusion that life can be meaningful. His old LiveJournal has now been taken over by his family and it’s strange viewing all these posts from his mother about suicide prevention and missing David.

A parting poem from him:

When 

dung beetles

develop

deductive reasoning, 

they will 

think into existence 

tales and theories

that justify 

eating shit.

Oct 29

i-am-the-lighthouse:

contestedirrelevance:

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.—Carl Sagan

Love the above quote!

Except Carl Sagan said, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
Sagan was best described as an agnostic, stating, “An atheist would have to know a lot more than I know.”

i-am-the-lighthouse:

contestedirrelevance:

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
—Carl Sagan

Love the above quote!

Except Carl Sagan said, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Sagan was best described as an agnostic, stating, “An atheist would have to know a lot more than I know.”

(via flapjackstate)

jonathan-cunningham said: I'm not quite sure what you were arguing there is it that we shouldn't watch porn because other people are uneducated? Or porn shouldn't be produced? I'm not trying to mis-characterize, I just think I'm misunderstanding your position.

You say that a woman who fantasizes about rape "is more likely a sub fantasizing about complete domination", but I see no evidence to support that any more or less than men fantasizing about rape likely being dominants fantasizing about submission.

You also argue that the availability of porn that's deemed inappropriate by people that don't enjoy it demonstrates that it's what's desired by most men, and that it's the source of the pressure women feel to participate in elective cosmetic surgeries, but you don't really make that connection very well. What makes you think it's pornography and not the sudden scientific advances that are driving demand for cosmetic surgery?

Re: this post discussing porn.

The author was suggesting that porn itself isn’t a problem; it’s the lack of sexual discussion.  She goes further to suggest that anti-porn feminists have misguided ideas, because they are simply sexually repressed and fail to understand the diversity of sexual desires.  That’s a fairly condescending conclusion.  I can agree that porn itself is not a problem, though I feel that statement is irrelevant.  Porn does not exist in a vacuum, and any discussion of porn should account for the context in which porn is produced and consumed.  The author seems to acknowledge this by identifying the context of poor education on sexuality as the problem.  While that is certainly an issue, the context is much greater.

I agree with you on my statement about the way men and women each fantasize about rape.  It could go either way, and I could have phrased it as such.  Still, the author spends some time attacking anti-porn feminists’ objection to rape porn, saying we fail to understand that people fantasize about 100% consensual rape.  My problem is that there is no such thing as 100% consensual rape.  I have no doubt that both men and women fantasize about rape, and I have no problem when people act out their own mutually consensual desires.  However, rape porn is selling the fantasy of non-consent.  The sexualization of rape in our culture, increasingly evident in advertising and film, is discomforting, and I don’t think that discomfort should be blamed on sexual repression.  Again, rape porn shouldn’t be presented as harmless fantasy while ignoring the context: 1 in 6 women are raped and then often blamed.  Many women really just don’t want to be raped, and they might have very reasonable concerns when the abuse of women is promoted for profit.  The fact that some women fantasize about rape doesn’t make rape as public entertainment any more acceptable. 

I wasn’t arguing that porn leads to elective cosmetic surgery, which might be why the connection didn’t seem to be made well.  But just because there hasn’t been much research in this area doesn’t mean we should just go about happily consuming porn without considering the possibility of some pretty negative consequences.  I honestly don’t know the facts, but I highly, highly doubt that many women undergo dangerous and expensive procedures simply because they are available.  The demand for breast augmentation, for example, has risen while costs have also risen.  I think it’s fair to consider that many women may undergo all sorts of physical augmentation because of pressure to conform to societal beauty standards.  And producers aren’t stupid; whatever is mainstream is generally what is most desired.  While porn only represents one form of imposed beauty standards, it may be the one that women feel the most pressure to compete with, since it’s the one that many men use for sexual gratification. 

Basically, I felt that the author’s message was confusing.  She made a sound but invalid argument.  I agree with the premise: porn itself isn’t a problem, society is.  Okay, but the conclusion doesn’t follow: so let’s criticize anti-porn feminism and make/watch more porn?  Instead, porn should only become acceptable once society is fixed.  When sexism isn’t so pervasive, when rape and abuse aren’t promoted in everyday media, when victims aren’t blamed, when conventionally beautiful women aren’t considered incompetent, when less than conventionally beautiful women aren’t considered worthless, and when the value of women in society isn’t evaluated based mainly on their suitability as sexual partners.  I fully do not understand any pro-porn stance arguing that the solution to some of these problems might be more porn.  Again, when these situations are corrected, then porn should be just fine, and it will likely be very different from the current mainstream.  Until then, I don’t support censorship, though I sure do wish there were less demand.  And I don’t mind trying to get people to think about their choices in a likely futile attempt to reduce that demand.

therecipe said: Just saying 'hey' to one of my favorite bloggers. How's life going?

I still exist!  Life is going well, thanks.  Finished my MS last month and am somehow still working long hours in the lab, spending too much time carefully trying to decide where to go next.  How’s life for you?

Glad you enjoy reading, though I’ll likely be dredging up old conversations from my drafts that have long been forgotten.  

Oct 20

The anti-purple sentiment continually spewing forth today has been sickening.

"I’m for equality, thus gay people shouldn’t be singled out."
-Perhaps, but perhaps this is also why a day of support is necessary.  Most people probably spend much of their time at school or work discussing school or work.  Social acceptance of any type may not make it into many business hour conversations.  With homophobia so rampant, why would LGBTQ classmates and coworkers feel comfortable or even safe talking about such a natural part of life around many of their peers?  Yet when they see their classmates and coworkers in purple today, they may feel just a little more assured that they can be themselves.

"Focusing on gay bullying and suicide detracts from all other forms of bullying and all other causes of suicide."
-National Bullying Awareness Week was extended to all of October, with today dedicated as a day to unite against all bullying.  National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day were in September, and Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walks occur in many cities.  However, it should not be ignored that LGBTQ people of all ages suffer from significantly higher rates of depression and bullying than their heterosexual peers. Is it really necessary to complain about the acknowledgement of one group suffering a disproportionate amount of depression?

"Wearing purple doesn’t end homophobia or prevent suicide and bullying."
-No, but a show of purple symbolically demonstrates unity and support for those who might need it, as mentioned and repeated by many other wise tumblrs.

"It’s not enough."
-Of course not.  But it’s something, which is more than nothing.  Complaining and not participating certainly amount to nothing.  And if witnessing such a wave of support is meaningful to just a few who may be quietly suffering, then it’s certainly a worthwhile something.

"Wearing purple is just an excuse for allies to feel good about themselves."
-Where is the logical end to this statement?  So, nobody does anything without some personal incentive.  Those selfish purple-wearers must be really awful people if making others feel better is what makes them feel good.

"Where’s my [insert issue] support day?"
-There is room for 364 other issues.  But not a single one more, so better pick a day.

Sep 28

jonathan-cunningham:

“So how can I have sympathy for anti-porn feminists? Only because I remember how I felt just a few years ago. I remember that I felt so confused about my own sexuality; I remember how resentful I felt, that sex seemed so easy for men—that the world seemed to facilitate their sex drives so thoroughly, particularly by providing all this porn!

I remember how hurt I felt by porn, because I believed that it represented “what men want”, and that therefore I was “supposed” to act like porn women—even though the way women acted in porn didn’t appeal to me at all. I remember how scared I felt, when I believed that rape porn reflected “all men’s desires”, and concluded that “all men secretly would love to commit rape”. The porn that I’d seen felt as though it set the standard for my sexual behavior, and I hated that standard, but I didn’t see a way out. Because even with all my liberal, sex-positive sex education, there were serious flaws in my knowledge about sex. Not to mention the fact that I hadn’t yet wrapped my mind around the concept of fully-negotiated, 100% consensual rape fantasy sex.

And that’s really the heart of the problem with porn: that is, the problem is not porn in itself at all. The problem is bad sex education. The problem is that all Americans are subjected to sexual mores that shame sex; that refuse to talk honestly about sex; that claim we shouldn’t be having sex at all. The problem is that millions of people are too ashamed and afraid and repressed to talk or think seriously about their sexual desires. That millions of people don’t recognize the diversity of sexual desire. And, therefore, that millions of people’s primary source of information about sexuality is highly stylized mainstream porn.”

— Sympathy For the Anti-Porn Feminists | CarnalNation (via sexisnottheenemy)

Those poor, clueless anti-porn feminists are just ashamed of sex and uncomfortable with their own sexualities.  So different people have different sexual desires, and there are different types of porn out there?  Time to reevaluate everything in light of this refreshing insight.

Is the problem that anti-porn feminists remain uneducated in a society that shames sex, and that they react negatively to depictions of ‘freaky’ sex?  The author really only refers to rape fantasy porn.  While porn viewing may not increase sexual violence toward women, rape cannot be 100% consensual by definition.  A man fantasizing about rape is not fantasizing about a consenting woman, and a woman fantasizing about rape is more likely a sub fantasizing about complete domination.  This is different from rape; women don’t get to choose their rapists.  She’s not likely considering the leering STD-ridden uncle.  So it seems reasonable that some feminists might have a problem with rape porn.  

Is the problem instead that anti-porn feminists mistakenly believe mainstream porn represents all male desire?  Of course different people have different desires, but those highly stylized images of women wouldn’t be ubiquitous if there weren’t a large demand.  Positive feedback can create even larger demand from people repeatedly viewing those images.  It’s possible that men viewing mainstream porn don’t transfer unrealistic desires to their partners.  However, those women drastically altering their bodies and behaviors must be feeling pressure from somewhere, and it seems unfair to suggest that the fault lies only with them and their insecurities.  

Or is the problem that everyone is uneducated about sex, and they thus take misguided cues from unrealistic mainstream porn?  In that case, it only follows that porn is acceptable when everyone receives comprehensive sex education elsewhere.  Furthermore, in a society that continually finds it funny to strip women of humanity, is the commoditization of women appropriate, even when consensual?  One thing porn can do is enable both men and women to view uninvolved women as sex objects without their consent:

These findings are also consistent with a wide range of work showing that objectified women are perceived as less competent. Interestingly, research even finds that when men view sexualized pictures of women, they subsequently view a female experimenter as doing a worse job. In other words, men “carried over” their views of the sexualized women to another woman, who was not scantily dressed. (source and references)

If we actually lived in an egalitarian society, where women were truly viewed as social and intellectual equals, and their worths weren’t primarily judged by appearance and sexual potential, then all kinds of consensual porn would seem perfectly acceptable.  But we don’t.  Not yet. 

thedailywhat:

[image: reddit.]

I’ll gladly cook up my ova if philosoraptor bakes something with his nuts.
I ignore the cleavage and hottie links, and I don’t care for Katy Perry, but The Daily Wh.at is on a roll with the misogynist images today.

thedailywhat:

[image: reddit.]

I’ll gladly cook up my ova if philosoraptor bakes something with his nuts.

I ignore the cleavage and hottie links, and I don’t care for Katy Perry, but The Daily Wh.at is on a roll with the misogynist images today.

(Source: thedailywhat)

Sep 27

jonathan-cunningham:

askepticandafeminist:

diamonds are nobody’s best friend

Diamonds are the least sexy or romantic thing I can think of.  Do you really want the symbol of your love to make you think about the warlords who cut off the hands of teenage boys to ensure they’ll never rise up?  Diamonds are forever, but human lives are tragically short.  Don’t make them shorter for your personal amusement. 

Credit goes to De Beers for building a near-monopoly and employing one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever.  They convinced us that diamonds are rare and thus valuable.  Diamonds aren’t rare, but by controlling the supply, De Beers was able to inflate the price.  They also convinced us that diamonds held sentimental value, thus nearly eliminating the second-hand market.
So some people have been duped out of money that could be better spent, but it’s worth pointing out that about half the diamonds traded are mined in Africa (though that doesn’t automatically equal slave labor).  About 2-3% are considered conflict diamonds.  There are international treaties and national laws to block the sale of conflict diamonds, but a few inevitably make it through.  Any informed consumers can find out where their diamonds come from.
Is it fair to suggest that ‘superficial’ women with overpriced rocks on their fingers have blood on their hands?  Or that they are cutting human lives short for their own amusement?  Not likely.  Furthermore, about 80% of all diamonds mined are used by industry to make cutting, grinding, and drilling tools.  Some are found in electronics.  So it doesn’t follow that these women are to blame; we can disparage the ‘diamonds are forever’ symbol of love, but nearly all of us consume diamonds in some form or another. 

jonathan-cunningham:

askepticandafeminist:

diamonds are nobody’s best friend

Diamonds are the least sexy or romantic thing I can think of.  Do you really want the symbol of your love to make you think about the warlords who cut off the hands of teenage boys to ensure they’ll never rise up?  Diamonds are forever, but human lives are tragically short.  Don’t make them shorter for your personal amusement. 

Credit goes to De Beers for building a near-monopoly and employing one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever.  They convinced us that diamonds are rare and thus valuable.  Diamonds aren’t rare, but by controlling the supply, De Beers was able to inflate the price.  They also convinced us that diamonds held sentimental value, thus nearly eliminating the second-hand market.

So some people have been duped out of money that could be better spent, but it’s worth pointing out that about half the diamonds traded are mined in Africa (though that doesn’t automatically equal slave labor).  About 2-3% are considered conflict diamonds.  There are international treaties and national laws to block the sale of conflict diamonds, but a few inevitably make it through.  Any informed consumers can find out where their diamonds come from.

Is it fair to suggest that ‘superficial’ women with overpriced rocks on their fingers have blood on their hands?  Or that they are cutting human lives short for their own amusement?  Not likely.  Furthermore, about 80% of all diamonds mined are used by industry to make cutting, grinding, and drilling tools.  Some are found in electronics.  So it doesn’t follow that these women are to blame; we can disparage the ‘diamonds are forever’ symbol of love, but nearly all of us consume diamonds in some form or another. 

(Source: lysistrat)

Sep 15

ryking:

From this evening’s NBC Nightly News: For the first time women outnumber men in both the workplace (as men have been hit disproportionately hard by lay-offs) and at the nation’s universities as students. The wage gap between men and women is at an all-time low; women now make a record eighty-three cents for every dollar a man makes. White females have seen wages go up 32% in the last three decades, African-American females have seen wages rise 23% in the same period, and Hispanic women have seen wages go up 18%. For white men, wages have only increased 3% during the last thirty years, African-American men have seen no wage increases in the same period, and Hispanic males have seen wages decrease by 6% in the same thirty-year period.

What I’m trying to say here: Anyone bleating about male privilege can shove that notion up their ignorant, sexist ass.

Too frequently, the words “privilege” and “derailing” are thrown out to avoid addressing valid points and questions (though certainly not all points are valid).  However, I’m unclear what that issue has to do with the first paragraph.  The post is tagged “privilege myth”, so if the point is that male privilege is nonexistent because men and women are equal, then it seems important to point out that 83=/=100.  If the point is that there is no benefit to being male, because women’s wages are rising while men’s wages are stagnating, then again it’s important to point out that men still make more money than women, even in an economy that has hit men harder.

This post, about women now earning more doctoral degrees than men, is also tagged with “privilege myth”.  Both the increases in wages and educational attainment are great improvements for women.  Does this mean that there’s no longer an advantage to being male?  Why are more women than men going for graduate degrees?  Perhaps women need to work much harder, including getting more advanced degrees, in order to earn the same as men.  The most recent data from the US Census shows that the median income for men earning graduate or professional degrees is $79,276, while median income for women with the same level of education is $52,301.  That’s about 66 cents on the dollar.  And this is among wage earners, so no women quitting their careers to take care of a household.  For women, this is somewhere between the median incomes of men with associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees.  

The table also shows the distribution of wages for full time workers, with a well known higher proportion of men than women in the upper ranges.  And it might still be fair to assume that most working women are also taking care of chores and any children.  Seems ignorant to suggest that there isn’t still an advantage to being male in the US.         

(Source: diadoumenos)

Anonymous said: You are amazing.

Thanks.  But why, anon?  And why anon?

If this is in regards to that vegan debate a few days ago, then I’m not sure it matters.  It’s sad when people make assumptions about the arguments in any debate without even listening or critically responding to the points made.  I suppose the effort of trying to squeeze in some words on the internet isn’t completely futile if you’re getting something out of it.  :)

Sep 13

genderbitch:

The View From My Brain: Dear Vegans

caramelbaloney:

genderbitch:

Didn’t I reblog a link recently about a book that debunked a huge chunk of the vegan statistics about water usage and etc and pointed out huge destructive effects of soy production and a few other things?

A lot of vegan stats are pretty heavy bullshit, on the same level as a lot of meat industry’s bullshit “facts”

True, soy production is very damaging.  But far less soy would need to be produced if we ate it directly instead of feeding most of it to livestock.  Maybe some facts are bullshit.  But the UN report I cited contains 34 pages of references to the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  That’s about as unbiased as we can hope for.  As an environmental scientist, I agree with many of their conclusions.

The UN report is fine, “a lot” certainly isn’t all and definitely the meat industry needs to be changed intensely. I found the link too so read through that and figure out which of your stats are bad and which are good.

My concern is actually more how you’re inadvertently defending the ableism and classism of the other vegans involved in this by telling us not to get pissed at ableist, classist vegans because the system is mean to them.

Lemme make this clear, the system is super fucked up to trans people and it upsets me a lot because of how it screws me over. But that is never an excuse for me to act bigoted on any other axis of oppression when I’m upset. I do not have free reign to be racist anymore than they have free reign to be classist and ableist.

Do kindly leave your tone argument and apologism at the door.

Thanks for the link.  It’s true that humans can only obtain protein from the grasslands of the western US, for example, by eating animals that can digest grass.  Pigs can be fed on crop residues, but most of those residues are coming from crops grown to feed animals.  Neither of these arguments work because the demand for meat is way too high.  Even the very few animals that are not factory fed have caused extensive overgrazing out west.  Even this book states that if we ate only products from animals sustainably raised on marginal lands with minimal inputs and impacts, we might be able to produce half the current supply (though he doesn’t mention the really high cost).  I’d be thrilled if everyone cut their consumption of animal products in half.  Still, all of this ignores the animal rights arguments.  While animal protein may have been vital in hunter-gatherer cultures, the deaths and suffering of animals have been rendered an unnecessary extravagance (not a “benign” one, according to the book’s title) by agriculture.  But most people won’t listen to it.  

I’m still unclear, after reading many posts, how vegan arguments are classist or ableist.  Both of these statements seem to rest on the beliefs that vegan meals are either more expensive or more complex.  Neither of these are true and have been refuted, yet those arguments against veganism have appeared repeatedly.  For example, the USDA provides a database of simple, economical recipes by cost per serving.  Not all of those listed as vegetarian are vegan, but many can easily be converted at often reduced cost.  Just keeping them as is drastically reduces consumption of animal products.  Vegweb is all vegan and full of simple recipes, but it is not searchable by cost.  While a vegan diet is healthier for most people, vegans aren’t arguing that people truly requiring animal products due to health issues shouldn’t put their own health first.  Furthermore, in response to accusations of culturocentrism: “I’ve never seen a vegan argue that those people living on subsistence farms with unfertile soils in abject poverty shouldn’t eat the animals they’ve raised.  But that’s probably not most of us on tumblr.”  It’s also not an excuse for the rest of us.    

There is an important point, though, regarding access.  Not everyone has the time or ability to shop at the local grocery store and prepare even simple meals.  For example, maybe somebody works two or three jobs and only has time to stop for lunch at the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way between them.  Everyone knows the burgers are cheaper than the salads.  Maybe we should be asking why the most accessible foods for these people are those highest in refined sugars and saturated fats.  Isn’t that classism/racism?  From the National Institutes of Health: 6.6% of non-Hispanic whites, 7.5% of Asian Americans, 10.4% of Hispanics, 11.8% of non-Hispanic blacks, and 14.2% of Native Americans had diagnosed diabetes.  It’s ridiculous that pop and chicken nuggets are subsidized when healthier foods are not.  Many vegans protest these subsidies and the food pricing structure; perhaps others should as well.

By dismissing vegan arguments as bullshit, ableist, and classist, you are inadvertently defending animal abuse, excessive environmental damage, and further impoverishment of certain groups.  I fully agree that the system is fucked up.  But instead of wasting effort criticizing vegans, who are trying to make changes through individual choices or public activism, shouldn’t that effort be directed at challenging this system?              

(via punwitch)

Sep 12

The View From My Brain: Dear Vegans -

genderbitch:

Didn’t I reblog a link recently about a book that debunked a huge chunk of the vegan statistics about water usage and etc and pointed out huge destructive effects of soy production and a few other things?

A lot of vegan stats are pretty heavy bullshit, on the same level as a lot of meat industry’s bullshit “facts”

True, soy production is very damaging.  But far less soy would need to be produced if we ate it directly instead of feeding most of it to livestock.  Maybe some facts are bullshit.  But the UN report I cited contains 34 pages of references to the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  That’s about as unbiased as we can hope for.  As an environmental scientist, I agree with many of their conclusions.

(via punwitch)