"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Hypocrisy

There’s a video going the rounds on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen it. I hear it involves chickens being ground up alive. People are understandably upset about this practice.

I’m not saying it’s ok. Nobody’s saying it’s ok. Nobody will tell you that it’s the height of moral sophistication to toss a live chicken in a grinder simply so you don’t have to pay someone to kill and/or debone it.

But that is precisely the point. It takes zero moral fortitude to condemn this practice—and yet, the Vegan Army roundly congratulate each other on the strength of their collective character; each member goes to sleep each night after patting hirself on the back for helping stamp out animal cruelty. The only people who will defend this practice are the people making/saving money from it, and even they will not claim that it’s an awesome thing to do, no, it’s just business. The economy, you know. You have to do what you can to make a profit; it’s regrettable, but necessary. When pretty much everyone agrees with you, how much has your character strengthened here, exactly?

[Now, I’m not claiming that the only causes worth fighting for are the difficult ones. It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’m a woman, and have become accustomed to explaining myself in excruciating detail—not that it avoids “misunderstandings”, but there it is. I overexplain. I’m not saying that your cause is not worthwhile unless it costs you scads of energy, inner peace, and simple joy. I’m not saying this. Just to be clear.]

Animal cruelty is the social activist placebo—much like recycling is the environmentalist placebo. People who recycle get to think well of their actions; they recycle a beer can and shame other people into recycling beer cans, then hop in their gas-guzzling SUV and drive to a ski resort where they will ride a high-energy chair lift to the top of a mountain that was once home to lynx but is now clogged with skiers, some of which spent $100 to be there—just for one day.

People who condemn obvious instances of animal cruelty get to think well of their actions; they post a video depicting live chickens being ground up in a factory and shame other people into posting the same video, then go to work and crack a rape “joke” in front of a rape survivor who will not say anything because zie remembers the “joke” that was told last week about sexual harassment, and strongly suspects no good and much bad will come of speaking up.

I am tired of people who pretend they are better people than everyone else because they eat vegan for the good of the planet and/or animals—forgetting, conveniently, that the mass production of the palm oil found in the vast majority of their dairy substitute products is directly and rapidly contributing to the extinction of orangutans. I am tired of people who choose an easy moral choice and promptly excuse themselves of all other responsibility for making the world a better place.

I understand that there’s a lot of shit in the world, and each person has only so much energy and must therefore prioritize, but would it kill you stop fucking contributing to the other shit? It’s not that fucking hard.

I choose to devote my energy to problems between and among human persons. However, while devoting that energy, I also devote precisely zero energy to kicking dogs. Would it fucking kill you to cease devoting energy to kicking rape survivors (for example)? It is morally reprehensible to continue this conflicting behavior, and also hypocritical, and yet, it’s everywhere, and you do it with a straight fucking face and I don't understand.

When I bring this up in conversation, I am accused of being unfeeling. I am accused of not giving a shit about animals.

And yet, I am not allowed to accuse you of not giving a shit about disenfranchised persons, even in situations where you clearly do not give even one-half of one shit.