My so-called vegan failure  »

Writer Tim O’Shea of the Concord Monitor condescended to try veganism for his piece, “My So-Called Vegan Life.” Yes, friends! Another writer makes a half-assed attempt at investigative journalism as an excuse to make fun of those wacky vegans! No guys, come on, he’s basically our generation’s Margaret Mead. He made an amazing sacrifice so the rest of us don’t have to! We can just read his article and learn how impossible veganism is without ever putting down that Hot Pocket. God bless him. 

His piece starts off strong, with this great quote in the very second paragraph: “Some are vegans for health reasons, others for ethics and some choose this dietary journey because, well, their girlfriend suggested it (‘You’re so right—meat is murder. Anyway, let’s check out my uncle’s hot tub!’).” While I normally prefer douchebags to play their cards a little closer to the chest, I appreciate that he just lays it out there: “I’m a shit writer with the worldview of a 19-year-old.”

It’s also nice that he lets us know so early on that he has little grasp of veganism. If it were only a “dietary journey,” I would be OK with leather shoes and wool sweaters, provided nobody eats them. O’Shea also forgets to mention that veganism is the greatest impact an individual can make on the environment. Maybe “ethics” covers that? Does it also cover people who are vegan because of human rights or world hunger? I think he just means “people who don’t want to see animals suffer”—good reason to be vegan, but only one of many. If you’re going to write about veganism, you could mention some of that. You know, dish out a little substance once in a while. Besides, if just being vegan actually got you laid, I wouldn’t have time to read crappy articles about being vegan!

For good measure, of course there’s a hemp-sandal joke. You know, because we’re all hippies. I’m sorry bro, I know you’re stoked on your Rockports but they don’t compare to my Cri de Coeurs. The best part is that our friend O’Shea didn’t even make it a week. What will and devotion! After failing at home, he goes to New York and basically binges on meat and dairy. And this is the part where I’m just like, You’re nuts, buddy: “Spending a few days in Manhattan as a vegan is like a teetotaler spending spring break in Cancun.” Good god, man. Turn on your computer—New York is a vegan Mecca! But instead of investigating any vegan options and teaching people something new, he eats a bunch of stuff he’s probably had on a thousand other occasions. Way to break ground.

The other thing is, isn’t this his job? He can’t be vegan for two weeks for his job? And if writing is just his hobby, at the very least trying to be vegan for two weeks is a goal he set for himself. Like, at least make an honest effort. A bagel and cream cheese is more important than that? It’s pathetic.

He concludes, “Veganism is for the birds—at least the ones that don’t eat worms and grasshoppers.” How very enlightening. As our Laura said, “I hate that he provides no reasoning for doing this other than ‘comedy!!!’ and if that’s his reason, maybe he should try to be funny!? It appears his writing schtick is cranky curmudgeon, but this comes off as more ‘antiquated village idiot’.” If this is all a joke, his awesome punchline is: “Being vegan means doing different things.” Wocka wocka! As our Jenny put it, “I am not amused by the river this journalist has cried himself.”

I actually think omnivores trying to be vegan for a little and writing about it is a good endeavor. It’s a chance to open people’s minds and write something interesting. Whether or not any vegans come out of it, it could still be an engaging piece. But this is just a masturbatory writing exercise in celebration of self-indulgence and indifference. And if there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s superficial and belittling examinations of the Other in society. Good work, Mr. O’Shea. 

[Photo of O’Shea from the Concord Monitor. I was going to make a clever Photoshopped version but Laura said this is perfect as-is. Don’t worry, you can order photo reprints on the Monitor's site! Christmas is just around the corner!]

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