realitybites (13041)

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Journal of realitybites (13041)

Sunday January 14, 07

Taking it for granted

03:19 AM

Q: What do vegans-by-choice, bottled water junkies, and anorectics have in common?

A: All three identities entail lifestyle choices found almost exclusively in the post-industrial west. Only overfed, over-privileged societies breed and nurture these neurotics. Giving up meat is out of the question in the majority of the world's corners. When the struggle to survive--to nourish one's body with the bare minimum--is a daily feat, there is no way one would scorn the nutritious and valuable scraps of meat that western vegans so proudly and arrogantly refuse--often with an air of moral superiority. In small indigenous tribes, or poor villages in third world countries, eating meat is not a moral issue. It is a matter of life and death. And these people know instinctively that they must eat animals in order to survive and thrive. It is nature--natural.

Then there are the bottled water junkies. I truly find it quite humorous that these water snobs scoff at the thought of drinking 'shitty' tap water. All the while, millions of unfortunate souls in third world countries can't even manage to find a single clean drop of water--anywhere. They don't have access to gallons of cheap, safe water. This 'taken for granted' tap water would be the fountain of youth to them--pure, clean, refreshing paradise.

Last we have anorectics who represent the epitome of rebellion against excess. Sure there are rare cases to be found in third world countries. But in the west, in Hollywood, in the U.S.--the land of plenty, thin is now a measure of success, wealth, and prestige. Let's face it, poor people are fat. Rich people aren't. When one can have the buffet everyday, the goal is not to indulge, it is to restrict.

Vegans, bottled water junkies, and anorexics have said no to meat, tap water, and fat, but only because these three items are readily available in cheap and large quantities. If one was thirsty and hungry without choice, one would be deemed mad to give up clean water, protein enriched meat, and energy-rich fat. The next time you feel superior because you are vegan, don't drink tap water, or deny yourself junk food--well just ask yourself this: Would you still feel this way if you were living in sub-Saharan Africa on a 500 calorie a day diet of rice and dirty water? I bet a nice cold glass of U.S. tap water and a tuna sandwich would seem like gifts from the gods.

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  • I agree with your observations. I think that's why there are so many celebrity vegans--they can afford fancier foods and the domestic help to prepare good vegan meals daily. Also, it's a cog of the "machine" against which these celebs can safely rage. Go too political--like the Dixie Chicks or Charlton Heston--and you risk some kind of fanbase backlash.

    Especially after watching the movie, Babel, I'm of a mind that humans simply need some kind of struggle in their lives. If they have none--if they become too content--they create some. The vegan rails against meat eaters. Anorectics one-up all those with too little self-control where eating is concerned. Bottle water snobs hail their own refined tastes while scorning all those who cannot tell the difference.

    In Babel, the Mexican families celebrating at the wedding looked happy enough. They weren't destitute, famished, or sickly, yet their simple, sustainable lives were acutely juxtaposed with the promise of an even better life across the border. Evidently, their simple lives were not enough.

    In another storyline, the deaf Japanese girl ultimately didn't care that she had friends; that she was well off; that she was athletic and healthy; or that she had an attentive father. Instead, she was fixated on what she didn't have.

    The American couple obviously didn't spend their time appreciating their lives' wealth, i.e. each other, their children, their incomes that afforded them a nice home and domestic help. The husband went off and had an affair, and they both went sightseeing in Morocco as a means of repairing their relationship.

    The only reason I can figure people create battles where none need be fought is that natural selection drives us to win--to be the fittest. After all, there can be no victors without contest.
    alainsane -- Sunday January 14 2007, @08:11PM (#246220)
    (User #460 Info)
  • If it's about vegans and not vegeterians per se, I agree with you, even though with certain regret that being strictly vegan is so difficult - at least for me. Milk and cheese have a certain kind of fat needed for the optimal functioning of brain cells and glands in the body, and bones, and animal sources of calcium or protein have never worked well for me. But I don't think you have to eat flesh to get them: I have been going strictly without andy meat for 2 years now and I haven't fallen apart because of that! And what would you say about Morrissey, who has been that way almost all his life? He doesn't seem very sick to me... As for third-world societies that don't have the luxury of consuming meat, what they lack is not just animal protein but all other sources of nutrients - like green-leaf vegetables, fruits, nuts and several types of grains. In some types of ancient Boudhist monasteries, monks lived an extremely simple and humble life - not sumptuous or glamourous at all - and would feed off of only non-animal foods. The problem with Hollywood is that the smallest and simplest gesture resembling that of a charitable or affectionate human one is taken to iconoclastic proportions and turned into a trend everyone wants to emulate or follow like a social rule: if Angelina Jolie, gets pregnant, all the stars in the Hollywood constellation need to get pregnant, so they can have that maternal image attached to them. If Anglelina Jolie decides to adopt an African boy, then Madonna has to do it to - otherwise, how else will the world keep hearing of her? If some star decides to open schools in less previlegded societies, Oprah has to do the same in South Africa. If Sting sings a song to help preserve the Amazon forest, singers from following generations are very cool to keep the tradition, like those that sing for Live Aid or something like that. It is sickening, but maybe these artists are in fact having some degree of awarness of the fact that their attitudes affect the world, and they use these trends to do something genuinely good. This is strange America: a counrty that does things because it's conventional and trendy, but because it feels a certain degree of responsibility towards a world they use to keep their abundant living standards.

    However, the last time I heard stories on Hollywood diet, it is based on high protein and low carbs. Hillary Swank and Rene Szwelleger (sorry, I can't really spell these names, I almost never watch TV or modern American movies) eat a lot of lean meats, drink non-fat milk and eat a few veggies!
    Mrs. Woolf -- Wednesday January 17 2007, @09:58AM (#246417)
    (User #14157 Info)

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