I don’t think either of us really knows where to start with this particular post but it happens enough that we wanted to write about it and here’s my take on the issue. The scenario goes like this: Brent posts a picture of me petting a cute animal on FaceBook and moments later an assortment of people make remarks about how delicious the animal looks, how they would prepare it, or compliment the presentation of the “dish”. Some of them delete their comments, others apologize, some do neither and there’s often a lot of backpedaling [and desperate grab-backs, and then more backpedaling, but I digress]. It wouldn’t be an issue except that this kind of trolling never happened before I came out as a vegan.
I’m aware that people eat animals and their reproductive secretions. I used to myself. Still, I realize there’s something different in how people regard me because I’m openly vegan. I choose to refuse animal products and claims of “it’s really good” or “you have to have some” or “it’s all natural” aren’t enough to convince me otherwise. What I mean to say is that I realize my choice makes some people uncomfortable and they are merely trying to return the favor. The trolling in question is a symptom of congnitive dissonance: when one simultaneously holds two beliefs that conflict with one another. I make this judgement because this trolling behavior is especially common from those who publicly pat themselves on the back for pampering beloved family pets and those who trumpet about how their beef is free range and grass fed… as if that makes slitting the throat of a living creature without anesthetic and scalding it to get the fur or feathers off while it bleeds to death somehow less injurious to the animal.
I suppose I should take triumph in knowing that the seed is planted. I shamefully remember the time a good friend asked me why I was vegetarian and not vegan and the excuses that I babbled. Pardon my language; in retrospect I sounded like an asshole. Looking back, I am much more aware of the hypocrisy of calling myself an animal lover and participating personally in the slaughter of sheep and chickens on the family farm and outsourcing most of my slaughter to 9 conglomerate slaughterhouses that process most of the meat in the United States. Killing something and tacitly condoning it’s suffering is not commensurate with loving it unless perhaps you’re psychotic. The cognitive dissonance will rattle in each of their brains and maybe resolve and maybe not… but the seed has been planted.
This is Christie, signing off.
I can’t believe people treat you that way on Facebook. I suppose I won’t be proclaiming my veganness on facebook any time soon… Great post.
The passive-aggressive behavior that trolling represents (from acquaintances more often than friends) is what rubs me the wrong way, that people who don’t feel comfortable talking to me about it directly and play these games instead (though I suspect many don’t realize they’re doing it). Were I in your shoes, I’d come out just to represent and show that the vegan community exists and can justify its stance. I think the message is more important than my individual feelings but I’m also fairly thick skinned. You’ll also find that your good friends might give it a go, start honest respectful dialogue or even change for good and nothing feels quite as good as making a positive change in the lives of others even if they just expand their perspective and learn something from you.
I’m stunned. Why do some people feel the need to – as you say – be passive-aggressive?? Better to just come out and ask/talk then to be childishly provocative. But we all get it, don’t we? “What you need is a BIG, JUICY burger!” “Oh, c’mon, a little cheese won’t hurt you!” etc., etc. As if it’s all about ME rather than the logic behind being vegan – all about me rather than the animals who are sacrificed needlessly. Okay, this probably isn’t even making any sense – my blood pressure is up ;-)!
You’re making PERFECT SENSE! It’s about challenging people’s [only] mode of thinking. It’s a good thing whether we enjoy it or not. It’s how we learn and grow as individuals. Blood pressure up, now get out there and make a difference even if its just at the level of you. 🙂
My sister is not even vegetarian but loves animals in nature and as pets. So many of her in-laws do the same thing, always commenting on how to ingest them. I tend to avoid that family at gatherings.
Brilliant, thanks, I will subscribe to you RSS now!