Like Lex in the 1994 masterpiece Jurassic Park, I did not know until a later stage in life that animals could survive without meat. I had always thought that every living creature partakes in eating from all four major food groups: plants, animals, burgers, and Jello™. Imagine my surprise when, as a 25 year-old man, i learned that an entire population of people out there chooses not to eat meat.
Apparently, there is an underground culture of folks out there that do not eat meat who call themselves “Vegetarians.” They do not eat meat for many reasons, some of which are ridiculous, and some of which are fairly legitimate. Some vegetarians eat meat because they are sad for the animals that had to die. That’s fairly ridiculous. Others don’t eat meat because of health reasons, which is pretty legit; studies by scientists have shown that heavier, iron-clad foods like red meat can…um…kill you. Some don’t eat meat for Religious reasons, and that’s totally legit; The Electronic Warrior/Poet sees truths in all religions, and thus digs people of other cultures and beliefs. But then, there are others don’t eat meat because they’re just pretentious…but who isn’t these days?
Of course, Vegetarianism is not without its criticisms. Many people say, “Oh, you’re just being pretentious,” or “you’re just being picky because you don’t like it,” or even, “Lemme tell you what Timothy: if you don’t finish all that goddamned chicken that your mother cooked for you, I’m going to take your ass to the woodshed after dinner.” Another common criticism of Vegetarianism is its inherent elitism. The World Food Programme estimates that “925 million people…the populations of the USA, Canada, and the European Union combined…do not have enough to eat,” and yet, Vegetarians are so overloaded with abundance that they can actively choose to shun certain types of food because “that’s just their cushy lifestyle.”
But still…there are way more asshole-ish ways to live your life.
There are several sects of people in the “Alternative Foods Lifestyle” (just made that up) that are regularly at war with each other. Pescetarians, for example, will dine on seafood, but not other animals. Darians will eat dairy foods, but not the actual cow that the dairy comes from. Poultrygeists eat only chickens and other fowls. Vegans, from the planet Venus, survive only on moss and berries. All these groups meet once a year just outside of Olathe, Kansas and battle each other with pitchforks and machetes to see which group gets to stand atop the big, gay food pyramid of the Alternative Foods Movement, and who gets to stand at the foot of that pyramid, eating Jello™.
But, i digress.
Obviously, vegetarianism is wholly misunderstood by the general public, and often ridiculed and/or loathed as if its followers are the same people who crashed planes into the World Trade Center and turned the Beatles into a bunch of acid-dropping pinkos. Vegetarians are neither of those things. They’re just regular people like you and me, who have made a choice to not eat like everybody else. Like all minorities, Vegetarians have to be bold in their resolve, and approach each day with their mind focused and their spirit tempered. They cannot and should not waver when jabbed at, and if need be, they should sit at a diner and get meat-shakes poured on them.
My heart beats hard for the little man who is oppressed by the bullies of the world, and so to better understand their plight, I have agreed to an experiment. Like the hot chicks who dressed up in fat suits for a day on the Tyra show, i will masquerade as something i am not…
For the entire month of February 2011, i will be a Vegetarian.
More details tonight.