Friday, July 24, 2015

Veganism, Year Seven and Beyond

by Neil H. Buchanan

Seven years ago today, I published a post here on Dorf on Law describing why I had decided to become a vegan.  Each year since then, I have written what I now call my "veganniversary" post, discussing some aspect of veganism.  Last year's post (here) contains links to all previous veganniversary posts.

As I described in last year's post, my general approach has been to leave the academic and philosophical discussions of veganism to Professors Colb and Dorf, whose forthcoming book (soon to be announced on this blog) amply demonstrates their mastery of the intellectual issues raised by veganism.  I have, instead, focused on what it is like to live life as a vegan, often discussing other people's fears and concerns about veganism, and so forth.

I also examine how veganism is treated in popular culture, noting the increasing acceptance of veganism in our society, but also gnashing my teeth at the insistently ignorant dismissals of veganism by people who otherwise surely think of themselves as quite progressive.  A good example of the latter is an article in the Style Section of The New York Times this past May, in which the writer could barely contain her contempt for veganism.  I will not go into detail here, but one can easily infer the writer's attitude from statements like this one: "Making cumin-and-turmeric-flecked Baba’s Kidney Beans a go-to meal wasn’t originally Beyonc√© or Jay Z’s idea."  Sheesh.

In any case, readers will note that the title of today's post is "Veganism, Year Seven and Beyond."  My plan at this point is to discontinue my veganniversary posts, mostly because I have already said many times, in many different ways, all that really needs to be said: Being a vegan is easy (and certainly easier than I thought it would be), healthy, good for the environment, and most importantly, ethical.

I will surely have occasion to write vegan-related posts at other times of the year, as news warrants.  At this point, however, an annual count seems to miss the point.  This is, as it should be, a permanent thing.  No need to keep counting.


Greg said...

As far as the NY Times article goes, I think you might be confusing bad writing with contempt.

This is an article in the style section about a new business venture. The author tries to include the kind of flowery prose common to style section articles in what is essentially a dry business section article, and it shows. As for the particular line you pointed out, that didn't seem to show contempt to me at all, other than the aforementioned flowery prose.

Emily Doskow said...

Happy Veganversary! Thanks for seven years of posts and I hope you will write more at some point, even if not on a special date. I am a huge fan of this blog for many reasons, one of them being the fellow feeling of connecting with other vegan lawyers who think carefully about this moral imperative. Have a great day--hope you get some vegan cake and ice cream.

Unknown said...

I second Emily Doskow's sentiments. I also would like to point out I like the idea of an annual post and hope You will change Your Mind because I think it helps to reinforce in the Minds of Others just how easy being a Vegan is.

Neil H. Buchanan said...

Thanks to all for your positive comments and encouragement.

To Emily Doskow and Unknown, I confess that I wrote this post at the end of an exhausting (but fun) trip to Austria -- where, by the way, I returned to a place (Bio Bar von Antun) that serves delicious vegan wiener schnitzel, and I found another place (Veganista) that serves the best vegan ice cream I've ever had. Despite all of that great food, I'm tired, and I might just be grumpy.

In any case, I'm glad to know that my annual posts did not fall on deaf ears. And as I wrote in the post, I will surely write about vegan issues from time to time (as will Professors Colb and Dorf). I might even get some rest and decide that my annual veganniversary posts were not such a bad idea after all.

I'm also glad that Greg was able to read the NYT Style Section article in a different way than I did. Although I still get a sick feeling when reading the column, it's good that it is not necessarily as bad as I thought.

Shag from Brookline said...

Proselytizing would curb my reading, not my appetite, as I have enjoyed my homemade gazpacho the past two weeks. But I look forward to a good steak from time to time.

At our Thursday lunch group (mostly liberal, a little progressive) this week we discussed a NYTimes article on a new gin in the works in American employing the retired "ginius" master of Tanqueray. Experiences over many decades with different gins were exchanged, including with Beefeater. I suggested it might be timely to introduce Veganeater Gin.

Joe said...

A prime way to promote veganism is increasing vegan alternatives availability.

I have tasted vegan alternatives to various foods with animal products & they can be quite tasty. Some non-vegan products are gratuitous. "Vegetable" soup with some meat etc.

People are pretty lazy. Might not be a good thing, but it's something to factor in. And, though some cannot bear to forgo the steak, if they have ready alternatives, many would choose them. Especially since a decent number know deep down that vegans are right about things, but not enough to forgo things without a push.

The strategy process here is one thing I have had some debates with two members of this blog over though I am interested in the book they are working on.