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10/30/2009

Vegan Diplomat: Comeback Kids  »

By now you’ve made the decision, come out of the crisper, and are living a full, vegified existence. Whoo! The payback for telling the world your hot little garbanzo-bean secret? It’s like posting something on the internet—every one gets a crack at commenting.

Now, I’m a vegan from the non-Facebook Farmville. You better believe I’ve heard the best of the Guide to Meaty Proclamations. The one that actually makes me chuckle? “SALAD IS WHAT FOOD EATS.” Because ew, and yes—and re-eats, and re-eats, and re-eats, and re-eats. (Four times, four stomachs, though I will have to run that through Dad’s Department of Ruminants fact-checking.)

Last weekend an amazing quote contradicting that notion made the internet rounds. It was Michael Pollan saying, “A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a meat-eater in a Prius.”

That’s a hell of a T. Boone Pickens—the ultimate comeback to “just eat a pork chop,” and sure to make a meat-eater test drive that math. Then one did. And decided that by comparing a “heavy meat-eating diet” to a vegan one, the carpool doesn’t add up. But the virality of the original statement vs. the contradiction proves one thing: snappy ain’t just for peas.

Every time a cold cut is thrown, there’s an opportunity to convert. But it’s what you say, as much as how you say it. Are you ready with your killer (METAPHORICALLY) vegan comebacks to these classics?

“When you eat meat, it leaves you satiated,” (courtesy of some of Bravo’s Toppest Chefs.)

Actually, a combination of fiber from vegetables, fats—that also are readily available from vegetable sources like avocados and nuts—plus protein (hello tofu and beans) makes you feel amazingly full. Here, let me make you my famous vegan burrito—if you want seconds, it’s on me.

"But Meat is All-American! ‘Dogs! Burgs’! Doooood steaks! WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA?”

I love America, it allows me to make the best choices I can to live a life that will provide liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all living creatures. I think there was something about being “created equal” and “inalienable rights?” That seemed like such a good idea, I just extrapolated it to all living creatures. Got a light for my sparkler?

"PETA is a bunch of nutjobs. Do you throw paint on people in your spare time?"

You like sports, right? But even being a baseball fan, you pick a team to root for. Well, PETA is just one team in Sport Vegan, and just because we eat tofu, it doesn’t make us all Yankee fans. PETA plays in a pretty Yankee, high-profile way, but there are tons of other teams to root for too, like the Humane Society of the United States or Farm Sanctuary. And whether or not you agree with PETA’s style, they do have some great resources like, “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan.” (Hey, did you know Glenn Beck respects PETA?)

"Giving kids a chance to see that meat isn’t all that is indoctrination.

This last one is courtesy of the aforementioned Glenn Beck who, well… likes consistency, personal choice, PETA, and making Al Gore eat things, namely, his words. In a response to the UK climate chief’s assertion that meat is wrecking the planet, he got some attention by saying that giving kids a Meatless Monday was indoctrination. It played pretty badly . But, and this goes back to words mattering, if you read his whole original statement, he’s not necessarily against giving up meat [for others]—he’s against giving up choice.

Oof. Well, we might not have that “choice” for much longer, and it’s not great thinking…but it’s a little harder to argue with? Ask Al Gore.

Have you been hit with a particularly un-Tofutti Cutie meat attack? What do you hear most often? What’s your favorite ultimate comeback?

This is an article in a recurring series, The Vegan Diplomat; The Art and Politics of Being Vegan in any Situation Society Throws on Your Plate, brought to us by the lovely Zoë Stagg. Zoë writes about politics, pop culture, and social media. She went cold-tofurkey—total omnivore to vegan on April 26, 2006 and never looked back. Despite her rural upbringing and the fact that her dad may have wanted her to enter the Dairy Princess pageant in high school, she firmly believes in the conservative nature of veganism. Her last non-vegan meal was a Turkey Lean Pocket. Ew.

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