Megan needs a break from the elephant beat so I’m stepping in because I think they’re fucking awesome, too. I’m just a worse and less-motivated human being than Megan. Ugh, I hate talking about my many failures as a human being. Let’s also just say I have a nice rack and a cool dog. Okay, even-stevens!
IDA is setting up leafletting events around the country for opening night of Water for Elephants. You should go for two reasons. 1) Megan already proved that it’s a terrible movie for ellies and it’s getting terrible reviews, anyway! Eff that noise!; and 2) You’ll already be at a theater you can go see Your Highness because it’s fucking in and Water for Elephants is fucking out! Or, see Rio (either sober with kids or high without kids or high with kids OMG YOU’RE A TERRIBLE PARENT)! Or, you know, you can read my movie previews over at SF Appeal and find out what I think about even more things! That’s right, I’ve got opinions on shit besides vegan stuff! Like movies! Plus, you should support me, you know I would totally give you a kidney, the least you can do is READ MY DAMN MOVIE PREVIEWS.
One more time with the real point of this whole post I am so very tired: Tomorrow night, do a solid for the ellies of the world by educating the masses! You’re the best! I’m taking off my top and shimmying in your direction!
I just went to see the new animated movie Rio and you guys? Go see the movie! It is so insanely cute! So cute, other things that you once considered cute will now look just averagely cute in comparison. Like, my own kid suddenly looked kind of ragged after we saw the movie and I was like “Dude, you better step up your cute game or I might have to rent your room out to a cuddly little blue pelican who talks like Mark Zuckerberg and does the samba and drinks hot chocolate with a straw.” Whatever, wouldn’t you?
But, there’s more to this review than how damn cute the movie is. Yes, it gets better! I won’t give anything important away, but the basic premise of the movie is that Blu (the Mark Zuckerberg-voiced* bird) is savagely ripped from his beautiful home in the Brazilian rainforest as a little baby and taken to freezing cold, depressing Minnesota to be sold in a pet store. Sorry, Minnesota peeps, I’m sure it is a very lovely state but not for a bird from Brazil. I mean, have you ever been to Brazil? I haven’t either but damn it looks beautiful.
Blu is like the last male of his entire species alive on the planet, which is not really an exaggeration because we just love to destroy birds’ natural habitats, don’t we? So he has to go back to Brazil. When he goes back, all sorts of shenanigans occur. Of course, along the way he meets all kinds of little bird friends and they sing little bird songs because hell, this is a kids movie, and some of them rap. Little rapping birds? ESSENTIAL. In typical Disney-esqe fashion there is an all-encompassing moral which is basically: Hey kids! It may seem cool to have exotic animals as pets, but really? Animals don’t like to be in cages! They have feelings just like us! They want to be free and fly around the rainforest and rap and stuff!
I think this is fantastic. First there was Wall-E, which was all, “Humans are destroying the planet! Stop!” And now the animal rights movement gets a Disney movie too. And I really think movies like Rio can be a great tool to increase awareness about animal rights issues in children. I was even surprised that the movie chose to so bluntly illustrate (pun not intended but, bonus!) the evils of the animal trade, even making a point to show some sad-looking injured birds that were rescued from trappers and being rehabilitated. The viewer really feels strongly for the all of the animal characters in the movie, and wants them to break free of the cages and live out their lives in the wild where they belong and are obviously happiest, and for children this is an incredibly important lesson, creating a basis for rejecting current socially accepted forms of entertainment/animal abuse like the circus.
Go see Rio. If you don’t have a kid to bring with you and you feel like a mega-creeper going to kid’s movie, borrow someone else’s! Just make sure you ask permission first.
Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by the creators of Rio for this review. But I would totally accept it if offered because I’m broke. Twentieth Century Fox, what up? Call me.
*Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t actually provide the voice of the bird. It’s that kid that played Mark Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. I think. But whatever, I don’t even know his name but I do know Mark Zuckerberg’s name so that is how I am referring to him because I am efficient like that. [Ed.: it’s Jesse Eisenberg, my total boyfriend.]
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time pretending to be a ninja with her son, hiking, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she gets paid by a major grocery chain to educate its customers and employees about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how to cook awesome vegan food. IShe is kind of a slacker so she has no website or Twitter account to refer you to. But she will soon, she promises! Maybe!
Yo, all you vegans! And hippies! And people who enjoy having a great time! All of you will hopefully be served well at tomorrow’s Berkeley Vegan Earth Day! It’s actually not a whole day, it starts at 7 p.m., and I believe it’s a film screening and then a panel discussion? The site is a bit confusing and the about us page is just about the event planners, not about the actual event. I am bad at figuring stuff out, so that’s why I’m a blogger. Wait what? Anyway, it should be fun, and we’ll be on the scene doing some HARD! HITTING! INVESTIGATIVE! JOURNALISM! Or you know, eating cinnamon rolls from Sugar Plum Bakery. See you there!
Disclaimer: I am a columnist and the editor-at-large for VegNews magazine. I obviously have ties to the magazine and I am proud of my relationship with them. That said, I am not in the office for day-to-day decisions, and other than emailing my advice on how I thought this whole thing should be dealt with, I haven’t talked to them about it. Because I have ties with VegNews, I didn’t want to comment on the situation unless I could be 100 percent honest about my feelings, and I feel I can be now. Yay for expressing feelings! (I say that because I’m a woman.)
When the whole thing surfaced, I have to admit, I was taken aback. I knew that VegNews used stock photos (I mean, I have eyes) and honestly, I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I thought it was industry standard, and dismissed it as that. Bigger things to tackle, etc. Reading a lot of the insightful and brilliant comments on Megan’s post (our readers are the BEST. Even when you’re mad at us, I still love you for being all opinionated and sassy and on it!) and all over the internet, I realize now that I was wrong about the use of stock photos. Although I sympathized with VegNews’ initial response, I knew when I read it that it wasn’t the apology and commitment to change that people needed to hear. I think it’s understandable that VegNews responded the way they did because when you’re the target of an exposé!!!-style post like that, your natural inclination is to defend yourself. They’re human, just like all of us. I know I’ve said stuff here on Vegansaurus that was not right, and been called out, and had to eat shit and promise to be and do better.
But I’m telling you, I did not come around immediately! As it stands now, I’m super-stoked about their sincere apology and I’m ready to move on with them to become an even better and radder magazine. There are incredible, passionate people who work at VegNews—some of the best vegans (and people!) I know—and I would honestly say that even if I didn’t have ties. Hell, I wouldn’t be involved with them if I didn’t think that! Life is too short to half-ass it, know what I’m sayin’?? So, now you know what’s up with me, because my opinions are very important and that’s why I blog! Also, for the occasional free sample of candy. That is also why I blog!
But before I can move on, there are a few things I would like to clear up as a self-appointed MeatGate Scandal Expert (you love it) (maybe). A lot of information and misinformation has been going around and it’s hard to know who to listen to. Different authorities in the vegan community took different stances and I think that’s good and everyone should have their say. Now normally, your girl (that’s me!) doesn’t like to talk smack on other vegans—ex-vegans, bring it on! but vegans, not so much. But when someone is exploiting a situation and spreading misinformation, I gotta start flapping my gums. That’s why I want to address Erik Marcus’ whole reaction over on Vegan.com. I was disappointed and a little freaked out by how he handled things. He’s posted 10 times on this issue. For real, 10 TIMES. AS OF YET. To put this in perspective: Quarrygirl, the blog that “broke” the story, posted TWICE. Marcus? TEN TIMES. I mean, I guess it’s a break from his incessant blogging and reblogging of Jamie “save America’s fat kids via organic skinless chicken breasts!” Oliver and Mark “not vegan but okay we love him too” Bittman, but jeezus louiseus!
I’d like to respond to a few of the things he said. As someone who is involved with VegNews, I know some things the general public does not (read: I’m fancy), and so I thought it would be helpful to clear up some of Marcus’ not quite-truths and frankly kinda-crazy statements. Fun! Here goes:
In the beginning, Marcus was dropping bombs like:
I should offer some analysis: with the exception of the New Yorker, the Economist, and a handful of other periodicals, most magazines suck.
That should read, “With the exception of a handful of white-male-dominated magazines that I read when Mark Bittman tweets about them, all magazines suck, because I am an expert on magazines!” Did a magazine kill his mom? Really, it’s just bizarre and snobbish.
It’s the same kind of sociopathic know-you’re-gonna-get-caught-but-do-it-anyway behavior you would expect from a Ted Haggard, a Larry Craig, or a Bernie Madoff.
He just compared VegNews to BERNIE MADOFF. I’m sorry, WHAT? No, they are still a vegan magazine with a dedicated vegan staff, who are doing a lot for the cause. They are not sociopaths swindling people out of their life savings. Some perspective, please.
But enough about VegNews. Niche lifestyle magazines are for chumps who still think it’s the 1990s. They’re filled with ads for overpriced supplements and yuppie doohickeys, and the editorial content is typically assembled by short-timers who don’t give a shit.
Just a cheap, weird blow. Niche lifestyle magazines are actually doing pretty OK right now, and I’d love to know where he gets his intelligence. And this is rich: FILLED WITH ADS for OVERPRICED SUPPLEMENTS. All Vegan.com does is push supplements so Marcus can make money off the site! It’s called RUNNING A BUSINESS. As for the bit about “short-timers who don’t give a shit”, many of the contributors to VegNews are people Marcus links to all the time, including Mat Thomas and Mark Hawthorne. It’s clear to me he hasn’t read the magazine in a long time (maybe ever?). He later states that VegNews doesn’t pay its writers, and I know that to be untrue. I feel like he’s been holding onto some grudge toward VegNews for eons and saw this as the time to unleash his bottled up anger. Kinda like when you have all these things you want to say to your mom and then one day you just burn her house down? Kinda like that. And what really sucks about the whole thing is many of his posts could have just been sent to the editors at VegNews. As he was on the advisory board, he could have advised them a bit instead of posting 10 times. There’s something to be said for getting two sides to a story, too.
VegNews has always had the chance to leverage strong editorial judgment to bring you the very best of the vegan world, but they consistently squander that opportunity and instead give you lowest-common denominator crap like wedding issues, celebrity fluff, and popularity contest awards.
Again, he obviously hasn’t read VegNews in awhile (or ever), because they have some of the strongest, hardest-hitting reporting on vegan issues out there! Just a few that come to mind are Mark Hawthorne’s excellent “Injustice for All” piece on the human cost of factory farming, Marla Rose’s plastics exposé, Mat Thomas’ piece on food recalls, and “The Price of Free Speech” by Will Potter. Yeah, total fluff. Marcus also gripes about how their content isn’t available for free online. Again, they’re a business, and never claimed otherwise! If he’s as concerned about the trees as he says he is, they offer a tree-free edition. Also, they provide updated blog posts on their website every day. Honestly, about as many as Marcus does, with the added bonus of no begging-for-money posts. I get it, I make a little money off of Vegansaurus (roughly 25 cents a post, no joke) but I never attacked anyone else for trying to earn a living. Plus, he gripes about their celebrity coverage and writes about Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman on the regular! I mean, so do we but we love that that shit and don’t claim otherwise! Methinks he’s upset he never won any of the popularity contests. :(
A post-mortem on this mess and its favorable conclusion: QuarryGirl and I—as well as everyone else pushing VegNews to do the right thing—got a lot of criticism for our efforts this week.
Uh, dude. Don’t count yourself in with Quarrygirl. They had the balls to BREAK the story and do not have a relationship with VegNews. Up until the day of the scandal, Marcus was on VegNews’ advisory board. He needs to stop taking credit for something he didn’t do. I also enjoy that he refers to Quarrygirl as she, when it was Mr. Meaner, another writer on the site, who broke the story. It’s a website, dude, it’s not a “she.” I mean, if Marcus thinks he’s in the trenches with QG doing god’s work, he should at least come correct. Another difference between Quarrygirl and Vegan.com? Quarrygirl allows comments, whereas Vegan.com does not. Ironic that he should run his mouth about VegNews’ commenting policy and not leave himself open to deal with public response. Uh, I guess you can comment on his Facebook page if you have an account and want to give him more “likes.”
It’s clear to me that Marcus has a bone to pick with the publication for whatever reason. Maybe it didn’t want to go to the prom with him? Tears!
I totally understand the need for everyone to talk about this publicly and to sort out their feelings. People need to be heard, changes needed to be made, and ultimately, it’ll make VegNews and the vegan community even stronger. And that’s exciting! Let’s take veganism to the Next Level, and I know VegNews will be there making the movement look pretty and smart. Now that this thing has been done to death,* I’m excited to put my energy into pushing forward the movement, too!** Of course, I had to get a word in on all this shiz because DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR ME TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!? I swear, I developed hemorrhoids from the strain. LAURA! GROSS! What? You wanted to know how I feel, and now you know! Now, who wants to get drunk and talk about kittens? Holler at your girl!
*Those of you who asked for my contribution, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. You know I’m one wordy bitch with THINGS! to SAY! Did someone say something about getting drunk? Because YES PLEASE.
**Like, check out these vegan geniuses who are already launching a vegan stock photo site! It’s the same geniuses behind Food for Lovers vegan queso, that Texas-style cheesy wonder food we love! Here’s to vegans coming up with solutions and making that shit happen. To you, I raise my plate of MEGA NACHOS and my Tofutti Cutie (breakfast!) because you’re rad!
Epilogue to this long-ass post because I know you’d like to hear more from me: Marcus is still at it! Just today, Marcus blogged about Nikki Bennoit getting arrested for leafletting at a community college and then goes on to basically bag on community colleges for being less than “real” colleges. Yuck. Way to make all vegans look like snob elitist jerks.
Damn, 11-year-old, way to make us look bad! Olivia, a young bird-lover, was totally saddened by the images of pelicans and other birds covered in oil after the BP oil spill and wanted to do something about it! So she offered her services to the Audubon Society:
Dear Audubon Society:
As you all are aware of, the oil spill in the Gulf is devistating [sic]. My mom has already donated a lot of money to help, but I have an idea that may also help. I am a decent drawer, and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the profits to your organization.
OMGJesus how adorable? Olivia started selling her bird paintings and sold 500 in three weeks, garnering over $150,000. She’s now illustrated a book, Olivia’s Birds, the proceeds of which go to the Audubon Society’s conservation program. What the hell was I doing when I was 11? Watching Jem and eating Fundip. What a jerk.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Welcome to the dairy industry. This video was filmed over two weeks in March by Mercy for Animals at E6 Cattle Co., a dairy cattle ranch that raises calves for dairy production. The end of the video says “Go vegetarian” but that’s not going to help a dairy calf much, will it?
From Dairyherd.com,* “‘The actions in this video do not reflect the practices of the thousands of hard-working dairy farm families across the U.S. who care for their animals every day,’ the [Dairy Management Inc.] statement said. ‘Dairy farmers and their employees take this responsibility very seriously. Texas’ dairy farmers, as well as dairy farmers across the country, are as outraged by this video as the public.’”
Because that’s where we get our milk from, thousands of good old-fashioned dairy farm families. NOT.
From KCBD-TV** in Lubbock, Texas, “The owner of E6 Cattle Company issued a statement saying, ‘I take full responsibility for what happened in the video. I am embarrassed and disappointed. The four men in the video have been fired. This is not what we do at the ranch and it will never happen again.’”
“Embarrassed and disappointed” are not really the first words that come to my mind; more like “horrified and disgusted.” But this guy is disappointed. I’m sure before he fired the four men, he made them clap erasers in the back of the classroom.
What these four men did is appalling, but making them take the brunt of the blame irritates me. A company that is in charge of the life and death of living beings should be able to supervise and manage their own house. Know what I’m saying? But instead of cleaning up the industry, I’m thinking Texas might be the next state in line to ban undercover videos. It’s especially repulsive because this systemic abuse is revealed again and again, and it’s always blamed on rogue employees. Dude, you can’t put people in a factory farm or a slaughterhouse and not expect them to become a shell of a human being. Yes, I blame the workers who did this, but mainly I blame everyone who sits down to a tall cold glass of
misery-mucus milk every morning. It’s the human demand for the milk of another animal (gross!) that leads to this kind of behavior—every asshole with their bowl of morning cereal is directly responsible for the gross abuse you see in that video. It’d be less gross to milk your dog and just drink that shiz. 1) PUKE and 2) You know it’s true!
For a little chaser, so we all don’t go crazy and start chopping heads, let’s watch the story of Billy, a little calf who was rescued from a similar fate by a very caring average Joe:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
*My new favorite news authority
**My new second favorite news authority
That’s right, it’s World Week for Animals In Labs (WWAIL)! There’s a listing of events by state on WWAIL.org. The events in California are all on Monday, Apr. 25 and there’s one at Berkeley—check out the facebook event page. From WWAIL:
In 2009 UC Berkeley had a total of 1,155 animals: 15 cats, 32 guinea pigs, 683 hamsters, 174 rabbits, 18 non-human primates, 26 hyenas, 29 moles, 7 squirrels, 80 tuco tucos, 51 voles, and 40 wild mice. Their labs are completely underground and go unnoticed by not only anyone just walking by but especially to their students. They are expanding their laboratories which means even more animals will be tortured and killed behind closed doors.
So you should go if you can! And you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to help plan an event in your area. I didn’t see any in NYC, does anyone know anything about that? I know NYU does some screwed-up shit. And I’m not just talking about allowing Laura to graduate! Sorry, it’s hard to be funny when talking about such awful sad stuff but if we don’t laugh, we’ll jump off a bridge, ya know? And then no more Vegansaurus and how depressed would you be? The answer better be VERY DEPRESSED or I’ll jump off a bridge!
If you want to read all about the shortcomings of animal testing, go to PCRM. The US Department of Health and Human Services has info too. There are such better ways to do things but, as always, money makes people go cross-eyed in the face of ethics. Gotta love humans! Or you don’t. Whatever.
Hey pals! Bourgeois Boheme is giving 15 percent off all non-sale items to Vegansaurus readers until May 31! Yay! Party! They are based in London and I actually visited their showroom when I was there last year. It was way the hell out but I got some dope shoes. I’m pleased.
They have a lot of boys shoes so you guys should take a look. For chicks, I’m into this heel:
But I haven’t asked my sister’s opinion so I could be wrong about it. There’s also a lot of animal print stuff which I’m quite fond of
Bonus! “The Bourgeois Boheme ranges are completely leather-free, with no animals harmed during production; eco-sustainable materials used include microfibre faux leathers and suede and Fair trade natural and organic fabrics.” Yay! Fair trade! Sustainable! Party!
To get your discount, just enter the coupon code “BoBoVS” and wham bam! Discount!
Vegan Cuts launched today with 40 percent off a vegan skin care kit from Moxie Organix! Vegan Cuts is kind of like Groupon but just for vegan stuff. And I know you vegans are some poor mofos! Every good vegan loves a deal, and every girl band deserves funding. Two Universal Truths.
From the company:
Vegan Cuts makes it easy and fun for their members to discover new vegan companies and shop vegan. Member receive weekly emails featuring exclusive deals from vegan companies. Most deals will be open to people living in the U.S., but some will also be extended to Canada or online shoppers.
Vegan Cuts is run by a vegan couple, John and Jill, who want to see more people shopping with vegan ethics. They feel a commitment to buying vegan food is a great start, but know people can also make a positive difference by choosing vegan options when purchasing clothing, shoes, accessories, body care products and everyday household items. This is why Vegan Cuts will feature a range of vegan products and encourage members to shop vegan by promoting opportunities to save money while eschewing animal cruelty.
Vegan Cuts has a referral campaign that encourages new members to sign up and share a referral link with their friends on Facebook and Twitter. The three people who refer the most new members by Apr. 24, 2011 will be eligible to win a gift certificate from Susan Nichole Handbags, a Texas Treat Tower from Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso and a Coconut Bliss prize pack. For more on the Vegan Cuts referral campaign, read the Vegan Cuts blog post: Refer Friends & Win Awesome Prizes.
Sounds like a good opportunity to BUY BUY BUY while supporting vegan companies. I’m pretty excited! I hope they get SHOES. Maybe they will expand and be a barbershop/coupon website. Because that logo could totally work for a vegan barbershop. Am I right? Or maybe like a vegan plastic surgeon.
At my house, Jesus didn’t have much of a presence during Easter. But candy did! We always did the little hunt with our Easter baskets and whatnot. To bring back that nostalgia for you Easter-celebrators, here’s some vegan Easter candy!
Rose City Chocolates has a ton of Easter stuff and it’s all totally adorbs. Except that big bunny in the middle keeps undressing me with his eyes. Goddamn buck-toothed perv.
PETA put together this nice basket of goodies. The work is all done for you! Lazy bones.
A chocolate basket straight from Sjaak’s! What a coincidence, that’s my favorite kind of basket! Plus, it’s organic and fair-trade. Holler at your ethics! Most of their other vegan Easter stuff is sold out so don’t procrastinate.
From Chocolate Decadence. This link wasn’t working for me today but hopefully it will be up later. Because those eggs are three inches of pure vegan yum! Ew, that sounds gross, Megan.
From Sweet Earth Chocolates. The dark chocolate caramel are vegan. They have little vegan chocolate bunnies too! Plus they are also organic and fair trade. That makes it taste better!
From NOWheyCandies on Etsy. Isn’t this guy cute? I just want to eat him up! And I could! Because it’s chocolate! This one is also gluten-free for our gluten-free pals. Congrats!
I was inspired to make this list by Bay Area Bites and Happy Vegan; they both made vegan Easter candy lists so def check those out. And there’s always Laura’s vegan creme egg taste-off and all of our Easter posts where we talk about shiz like delicious vegan peeps! I was also inspired by chocolate and my main man Jesus.