Bad Vegan Jokes

You’ve all heard them, but how do you deal with them? You know, the ignorant, insulting jokes about the veg*n lifestyle? Unfortunately, all my best remarks occur in hindsight. Whether my response is insulting, witty, thoughtful, polite, whatever, it seems I can’t think of a good response when someone makes an asinine comment about my lifestyle. Do you have to rehearse these things in front of a mirror?

So let me back up. I was recently at an all day workshop where lunch was provided. I usually bring my own lunch if I don’t know what will be served, since even here in California, veg*ns are often left out. But since I add low-fat and no-oil to my method, I assume that provided lunches will not be satisfactory. At this particular workshop, as we finished our task and were ready for lunch an announcement was made about the what parts of the meal were vegetarian and which weren’t.  It was requested that the omnivores leave the veg options, which were far more limited to the true vegetarians. The question was asked, “Any vegetarians?” As I sincerely appreciated the gesture, I proudly raised my hand. The only hand. I also replied that I brought my lunch, so no one had to worry.

Then as we broke up I got the barb from some jackass, “Hey, vegetarian is an Indian term for poor hunter.” Seriously? What are we, twelve years old? I mean, who gives this guy the right to joke about someone’s lifestyle, especially when it has no impact on his own? My answer was simple, “I don’t see it that way.” Then I walked away. But I wanted to say something else. I was blindsided, so I was unable to say more. At the very least I wanted to tsate the obvious: that was exceptionally rude. If it had come up in discussion that I was gay, would it be acceptable to make a fag joke? Of course not. Religion? Absolutely not. So why does this asshole jerk think he can insult my lifestyle straight to my face believing it’s funny? Unfortunately, my ideal responses came well after the fact, and never got said. What’s the best way to handle these knuckleheads? What do you do?


About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete

Posted on October 17, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You know that taking yourself so seriously can be detrimental to you physically and mentally. In fact this level of fanatical alliance, often coupled with overtones of subtle moral superiority, is one of the reasons some “assholes” feel like they have to comment. The comment was a joke. Even so -many a true word is said in jest. I’m not sure there were many vegetarian Native Americans. In fact telling a pre European Native American that you have the luxury to pick and choose what you eat might be more insulting. Most people in the world eat what they have available and don’t have the luxuory of choice. Our ancestors ate less meat than we do not because of some moral or cultural imperative. They did not have refidguration.
    Your fixation on longevity and personal wellbeing while associating yourself with Vegans who perpetuate, even subtly, the idea that you have figured out the failings of everybody’s cultural and geographical food legacies is well – fucking annoying. Telling anybody that you eat non locally grown food that is shipped halfway around the world (bananas for example) does not make you morally better than a meat eater. How many animals are killed because of the habitat destruction caused by banana, tea or coffee plantations? What about the yeast that was killed to make that beer you drink? What about the microbes in the water? What about the 1000’s of bugs killed on your runs or bike rides?. Is this collateral damage acceptable or morally justifiable? Then the vegan argument must be about the size of the life we take? Chickens bad –ants ok? Ants live in complex societies you know!
    Even the “health” argument is condescending. “I’m healthier than you because I make choices that my friends argue are healthier than yours”. “Because of my superirior understanding of nutrition and my disciplined choice making I will justifiably live longer than you”. (How does that benefit the planet?) In Holland the % of the population who call themselves vegetarian is 10 times less than in the US yet their life expectancy is 5 years longer- on average. When you go to the doctor they ask you what kinds of illnesses your parents had. That’s because genetics is a much stronger influence on us. They don’t ask if you had Well- I’m an Irish man- we are well known around the world for our good sense of humor. If I stood up in a meeting and said –“I release less stress hormones than you when somebody tells a joke or makes fun of me” – would you be annoyed?
    I’m not saying that you are personally making these arguments. They are made by vegans- often. I’m saying that you are so invested in your associations with the moral superiorities and in the supposed outcomes of your chosen lifestyle that you are going to die of stress worrying that some people think that you’re a clown.

    Here is how I would handle it-
    Jackass – “Hey, vegetarian is an Indian term for poor hunter.”
    Me – Laugh.
    Laughter and Health
    ¬We’ve ¬long known that the ability to laugh is helpful to those coping with major illness and the stress of life’s problems. But researchers are now saying laughter can do a lot more — it can basically bring balance to all the components of the immune system, which helps us fight off diseases. (See How the Immune System Works.)
    As we mentioned earlier, laughter reduces levels of certain stress hormones. In doing this, laughter provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that swing into action in our bodies when we experience stress, anger or hostility. These stress hormones suppress the immune system, increase the number of blood platelets (which can cause obstructions in arteries) and raise blood pressure. When we’re laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, as do Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response, and B-cells, which make disease-destroying antibodies.
    Laughter may lead to hiccuping and coughing, which clears the respiratory tract by dislodging mucous plugs. Laughter also increases the concentration of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms entering through the respiratory tract.
    What may surprise you even more is the fact that researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Laughing can be a total body workout! Blood pressure is lowered, and there is an increase in vascular blood flow and in oxygenation of the blood, which further assists healing. Laughter also gives your diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles a workout. That’s why you often feel exhausted after a long bout of laughter — you’ve just had an aerobic workout!
    The psychological benefits of humor are quite amazing, according to doctors and nurses who are members of the American Association for Therapeutic Humor. People often store negative emotions, such as anger, sadness and fear, rather than expressing them. Laughter provides a way for these emotions to be harmlessly released. Laughter is cathartic. That’s why some people who are upset or stressed out go to a funny movie or a comedy club, so they can laugh the negative emotions away (these negative emotions, when held inside, can cause biochemical changes that can affect our bodies).
    Increasingly, mental health professionals are suggesting “laughter therapy,” which teaches people how to laugh — openly — at things that aren’t usually funny and to cope in difficult situations by using humor. Following the lead of real-life funny-doc Patch Adams (portrayed by Robin Williams in a movie by the same name), doctors and psychiatrists are becoming more aware of the therapeutic benefits of laughter and humor. This is due, in part, to the growing body of humor and laughter scholarship (500 academicians from different disciplines belong to the International Society for Humor Studies).
    Here are some tips to help you put more laughter in your life:
    • Figure out what makes you laugh and do it (or read it or watch it) more often.
    • Surround yourself with funny people — be with them every chance you get.

    • I’m not really sure what your point is, other than that I need to laugh more. True, they don’t call it the best medicine for no reason. But I was unaware that my lifestyle implies so much. I didn’t think anyone paid that much attention. I still stand by all my lifestyle choices, and while I cannot end all suffering, I can reduce my impact. I feel that is a worthy goal. As for genetics, lifestyle (diet especially) strongly influences which genes are expressed or not. If genetics were so strong, people with disease producing genes would suffer constantly. Instead they wait decades for a disease state to manifest.

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