Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Question for my Meat Eating Homies

The last time I was an Iowa, I overheard this exchange between my adult niece and Don.

Niece: So, does Laney eat meat
Don: Yeah
Niece: Good

This loses something a little in the transcription. Let's change the first two lines.

Niece: I understand that Meg has this hobby of painting swastikas on synagogues. Is Laney doing that too?
Don: No
Niece: Good

Imagine how you'd say "good" in the latter scenario. That's how she said "good" when she learned that Laney eats meat.

My brother, from time to time, lets loose with his bottomless disgust at my vegetarianism. For him, I think, vegetarianism is stupid and betrays a shallowness of thought and trendiness like if I were practicing Kaballah or trying to turn everyone onto Enya (there's probably a more current reference there, but I'm all stumped and forty).

I'm flummoxed by the passionate reaction people have to my vegetarianism. I don't get what vegetarianism means to the people who hate it. I promise I am not preachy about it. I don't look askance at you as you enjoy your steak (but I bet you do look askance at me when I decline said steak). Are meat eaters afraid that we vegetarians are slowly taking over the world and will deprive them of their god-given right to a burger?

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but there is as much stridency and intransigence on the meat eating side of the equation as there is on the vegetarian side. The thing is, and certainly because I am vegetarian, I get it on the veg side. Vegetarianism does more good than bad. It's better for your health, the environment and your soul (that last one is subjective and I can see how both sides could claim it). But why do the carnivores get so hot and bothered when confronted with vegetarianism? If it ain't a good meal to you unless, at some point, it walked the earth, what does my vegetarianism signify?