Monday, December 1, 2008

Reichert: What I don’t get about vegetarians

The University Daily Kansan - Saturday, November 30, 2008


Save the environment - stop eating so much of it!

You know who I’m talking about. Thick, black-lensed glasses, ironic yet socially aware T-shirts, Netflix queue a veritable discography of African poverty-related documentaries and teeth like miniature lumberjacks, that chomp away at chlorophyll, destroying millions of Mother Nature’s solar energy panels, all to sate their terrible hunger.

The vegetarians.

Vegetarianism, or “recreational anemia,” is one of the leading behavior-modifying ethical beliefs, meaning that its adherents practice what they preach. As a Catholic, I find this troubling.

We must destroy it. Vegetarianism presents a challenge to the very nature of man.

We’ve struggled and clawed and basically devoured our way up to the top of the food chain. We have an urge to discover life on distant planets and then eat that too.

The pursuit of edibility is what drives mankind, no matter the cost or the effect.

To illustrate, draw the circle of life, like the one from “The Lion King,” where Simba’s father tries to explain why Simba will eventually devour the animated entrails of his best friends, Timon and Pumbaa. Now draw a big, gaping mouth in the middle of it. That is mankind, devouring its way through life, consuming animal, vegetable and mineral alike.

But not vegetarians. No, they insist on limiting their dietary drive to vegetable matter, for ethical reasons. Vegetables! Vegetables are just fruit that didn’t try hard enough, fruit from the bad side of the tracks, toughened by life and social circumstance into surly imitations of edibility. Cucumbers are bananas with a jailhouse tattoo.

“Oh, yum, this one tastes like chewy water! Oh, try this one, it tastes like crispy water! And have you tried that mushy water one over here … Delicious!”

Yuck. I had to stick in a plug of jerky chew just get myself through this column. I’m a third degree Carnivoran, which means I eat things that have eaten other things that eat things. Like if a lion ate a gazelle and was then eaten by a whale, I could eat that whale. Or if you went cow to wolf to supercow, I could make a supercow hamburger.

“But vegetarians are such nice, caring people!” Oh, I don’t dispute that. Some of my best token friends are vegetarians. But, remember, it is exactly because vegetarians are such nice people that their behavior-modifying ethical beliefs are such a threat.

The disgusting sincerity of vegetarians presents a direct challenge to the moral hypocrisy that we normal people hold dear.

How will it be possible to believe in things if we must also then do those things with our hands and mouths? How can we be good people in our minds if must also be them with our bodies?

So, like every great movie villain, I will offer vegetarians a choice. We are not so different. If one takes circles seriously, then it follows that plants thrive on decomposing animals and each carrot has devoured a thousand little rabbit corpses.

Join the Dark Side, vegetarians. Join us, or if Earth is ever invaded by giant beets, I will tell the Beetonians of the terrible deeds you have committed against their kin.

- Reichert is an Oberlin graduate student in law.