vegansaurus!

07/02/2010

In which the New York Times Magazine demonstrates they kinda hate vegans, but really love pretentious dudes who put weird shit in ice cream!   »

The New York Times Magazine printed a 4,000 word advertisement for article about Humphrey Slocombe that included some rather negative/poorly researched Vegansaurus mentions. I know standards for the NYT mag aren’t too high—look at the kind of folks they work with; But still, disappointing. Anyway, I wrote a letter to the editor as a response and am going to publish it in full here because at this moment, I’m righteously indignant and can’t nobody stop me!

Aaaaannnnd so, without further ado:

Dear Editors,
My blog, Vegansaurus, was mentioned several times in Elizabeth Weil’s piece, “I’ll Take a Scoop of Prosciutto, Please” regarding Jake Godby, the proprietor of the alternative ice cream shop “Humphrey Slocombe.” Six paragraphs of the 4,000 word article were devoted to critics of the establishment, Vegansaurus foremost among them.

Intriguingly, although Godby’s opinion of Vegansaurus and the San Francisco vegan community were strongly conveyed, his critics were given no opportunity to respond to his assertions or the distorted history Weil reports as fact. Our review of Humphrey Slocombe was not linked in the article (although the link advertising Humphrey Slocombe
demonstrates your content management system has this capability). Nor were any of the editors of Vegansaurus contacted for comment.

Had I been asked for comment, I would have informed Weil that,
contrary to her assertion that our website “started” the “conflict” between Godby and the SF vegan community, community protests against Humphrey Slocomb’s indifference to animal welfare pre-dates my post on Vegansaurus. I also would have told her that I intended my review to be a partial defense of the establishment for offering vegan choices. I later amended the review after reader comments cataloged Godby’s history of aggressive antipathy to contentious eaters.

As the article itself notes without comment, Godby leaves meat in a vegan grocery as a form of recreation. Given how the article opts to demonstrate Godby’s distaste for vegans and vegetarians, it seems particularly irresponsible for the reporter to deny his targets an opportunity to offer their perspective.

We would also have been happy to offer our assistance as to the correct use of contemporary media terminology—she describes our website as a “vegan collective,” a term employed nowhere on our site. It’s an odd way to describe a publication, unless one is seeking to subtly discredit its authors by implying they are some sort of subterranean cabal, rather than a group of free-lance writers with a popular website. Would you refer to the the New York Times as a “news collective”?

It is great that she did take the time to meet the folks behind the twitter account Jasper Slobrushe, but couldn’t even take the two minutes to shoot an email our direction.

That at no point neither Weil nor the editors we presume examined this article before it appeared in print or online noted these points seems especially odd, given how many traditional journalists (though, to be fair, I do not know that either Weil nor her editors make this argument) argue that their work has more value that that of many folks who work exclusively online (aka bloggers) because the traditional folks ‘pick up the phone’ or ‘actually get comment from people.’

I am hopeful you can respond to my concerns,
Laura Beck
A Founding Editor
Vegansaurus.com

06/26/2010

“ Siebert deftly explores the connection between violence against animals and other forms of violence, but he avoids the implications. The article mentions that children who witness violence toward their family pet “suppress their own feelings of kindness and tenderness toward a pet because they can’t bear the pain caused by their own empathy for the abused animal.” That would appear to be exactly what people do whenever they sit down to eat. No matter how hard people pretend not to, we all know what happens to the animals who end up on our plates. What does our willing ignorance of this violence toward billions of animals do to us as a culture? „

From Mariann Sullivan’s (she’s the deputy chief court attorney at the New York State Appellate Division and former chair of the animal law committee of the New York City Bar Association and the current love of my life HANDS OFF PEOPLE) excellent letter to the editor in response to the New York Times Magazine article, “The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome”. 

It just sums everything up perfectly. I hope every snob who reads that paper (WHO READS THE PAPER, LAURA!??! You have a point, Dear Reader.), sits down to their steak dinners with maybe a small thought of how screwed up their plates are and how we’re ALL part of the huge, fucked-beyond-words problem. What is this doing to us as a culture? I have a few guesses and that Tolstoy quote, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” keeps coming to mind.

Ugh, how do we fix us? I guess I will start with a few cupcakes at today’s East Bay Vegan Bakesale

[Hat tip, Sarah! Thanks, lady!]

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