Fear of a Vegan World
It’s just not natural . . .
This piece was original, unexpected, and well written. Those three things alone are enough to warrant Two Points…perhaps even a gold star…
However, I have to say that disagree on with you on the statement of ‘aggression’ making us humans. It seems to me that the fight against animalistic aggression is part of what makes us human. Instead of killing and eating every person who walks on our property or offends us in some way, we learn other ways to cope with our situations. More /humane/ ways, if you will.
But, regardless, I did enjoy the piece…
Even if you did finish it off with some steak. ^^
Ha…thanks Lips and Blue Fox.
Lips, did you ever see that old episode of Star Trek—the original series—where Capt. Kirk, in a transporter accident, was somehow split up into two? One Capt. Kirk was a gentle, humane Capt. Kirk, while the other Capt. Kirk was a hyper macho, aggressive Capt. Kirk. Needless to say, the first CK was a wuss and couldn’t make a decision, while the second CK was too dangerous to be allowed out on his own. The only way to get things right was to get them reintegrated into a single CK.
I think that’s the proper view of our aggressive/non-aggressive tendencies. We need to maintain them in a dialectic. So I don’t mean to say that aggression, by itself, makes us human, but aggression in conjunction with other traits is part of what makes us human. As a result, if we toss our aggression, we toss an important part of our humanity, and I think it’s probably that Curse of the Were Rabbit represented anxieties about this loss.
More than anything else, though, whether you agree or disagree, I’m glad it was a fun read for you. Thanks again for your comments.
Hey, I thought you people only concerned yourself with “real” movies - good to see, you don’t! ;)
Or was that a cheap-shot attack at the intellectual culture?
Cartoons ah movies too!
Hey…cartoons ARE real movies :)
I’m not sure I know what to say. Wait, yes I do.
Look, people, let’s call a spade a spade here: this article is pure intellectual masturbation. I know it makes us all feel nice and smart to discuss these nifty ideas just like the big kids do, but, honestly, take a step back here and look at what you’re saying. Wallace and Gromit, a philosophical discourse on the dangers of vegetarianism? Wallace and Gromit, an allegory for the emasculation of modern man? WALLACE and GROMIT? Give me a break. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and acts like a duck, it is a duck. If it looks ridiculous and sounds ridiculous… you get the point. This is sheer stupidity.
Now for my own philosophical discourse. THIS is what happens when a bunch of intellectuals stay inside for too long. You people have lost touch with the real world, and it might behoove you to return to it. For the love of God, stop worrying about the imaginary anti-vegetarian undertones of Wallace and Gromit and start thinking about REAL issues.
Fucking Wallace and Gromit, man… wow.
Chuck…thanks for your comments. It’s generally good advice. I’d like to assure you that between being married, having multiple children, and having worked as an electrician for sixteen years, I promise you I’m well in touch with the real world. I will admit I had a good bit of fun writing the piece, so there may be some point to your complaint of intellectual masturbation.
Honestly, though, I prefer using my hand. I prefer my wife most of all.
I’d like to suggest that there are other ways of reading films, books, etc., other than just a surface understanding of plot and character, though. Most stories, in the telling, reveal fears of some things, admiration for others, misunderstanding of still others, etc. The story isn’t always properly -about- these things, but still does reflect them.
Now if you think about the WG film, you need to consider that being transformed into a Were Rabbit is a pretty horrible thing….so horrible, in fact, that whatever prompted this transformation may be a serious site of anxiety. I think meat eating/vegetarianism/aggression is the site of anxiety in the WG film…intentional or not.
I would say that the film’s intent is probably nothing more than to be a really fun spoof of horror films: being a spoof, it works on understatement. Rather than a Frankenstein monster or or werewolf, the monstrosity is a giant rabbit. Ha ha. Rather than seeking to eradicate death, we’re just worried about losing weight. Double ha ha. I think the film works brilliantly on this level…and I suspect we both agree as far as this goes.
Chucky, Chucky, Chucky,
I am deeply offended by your masturbation remark. Between Jim, Jan, XXXLips, and I, we need not masturbate! Seriously, I can understand not appreciating our little liaisons, but if you do not appreciate them, why join us?
In addition, you are hereby given a demerit for asserting negative characterizations about people who disagree with you. It is bad form to assume that someone who disagrees with you is selfish, evil, stupid, ignorant, out-of-touch, etc. Not only is it impolite, but it is also fallacious reasoning. It nearly always assumes things not in evidence. Avoid the temptation and you may avoid feeling the sting of a sentence like this again: “I’d like to assure you that between being married, having multiple children, and having worked as an electrician for sixteen years, I promise you I’m well in touch with the real world.”
If you wish to engage people in the future please stick to the evidence and arguments at hand.
By the way, do you also believe that “The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe” also has no deeper meaning?
Isn’t it possible that Wallace was being punished for his meat-eating hypocrisy by becoming the were-rabbit and being forced into a love of vegetables that he should have had willingly and naturally? I must say that your analysis reads more like the rationalizations of a slightly guilty meat-eater. Consider: “Chicken Run,” Park’s other feature-length film has a clear message against factory farming, if not chicken-eating in general; “Creature Comforts,” his early short, has animals discussing the conditions in zoos and was distributed by several animal-rights and vegetarian activist organizations; PETA gave “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” an award for best animal-friendly movie (of course, they could be misreading it). Admittedly, Park called the film a “vegetarian horror movie.” But that sounds more like a horror movie for the enjoyment of vegetarians rather than a horror movie to make vegetarians change their unnatural ways.
Ah, Mr. Ken, as much as you’d wish I were a guilty-feeling meat eater, I am not. I relish my hot dogs with relish. Nothing pleases me more than a fat, succulent burger or a thick, juicy steak, medium to medium rare, from the hoof to my p(l)ate.
But more importantly, what does the film say? When Wallace was restored to his proper self he was returned to his meat-eating ways. The film does set up an ideal of absolute non-violence (a la the heroine), but like all ideals, they do not belong in any absolute fashion in the world we actually inhabit. “Tottie” remained inaccessible to Wallace at the end of his film; while “a part” of Wallace would always be on her estate (the freak rabbit)—the part of him that can live with Tottie is freakish, a cheese-eating rabbit. The real Wallace goes home to enjoy his cheese, his steaks, his meat products…and without guilt.
I enjoyed reading your article and particularly liked the provocative remarks about vegetarianism.
I am curious, when you support eating meat to maintain our aggressive/non-aggressive tendencies in a dialectic, do you also propose that we should keep killing the people of other nations.
I am a veggie but I assure you that I still have aggressive feelings toward people who commit barbaric acts on hepless animals. I also detest the acts of large and powerful nations inflicting their questionable morals on others.
I don’t think that my choice to reduce the amount of animal cruelty in the world makes me less human. I will stand up for my beliefs and if you would like to fight about it let’s go.
Does the merciless slaughter of cetaceans, mammals and humans make us more human?
I think not.
We no longer need to eat meat. In fact, as you stated, excessive consumption is a major cause of health problems in the west.
I believe that if we can provoke thought, communicate with each other and act against our urges, that is what makes us human.
P.S. I used to love eating rare steaks but I fought against my ignorance and weakness. It’s not easy but it is achievable for a free spirited human.
Thank you for your reply, aggressive veggie. Of course I take issue with your rather inhumane equation of the killing of animals for food with the killing of human beings for…what? I’m not sure in the cases you mention.
That being said, and after rereading the comments here, I don’t think all forms of animal killing are equal. Factory farming is an inhumane practice producing unhealthy meats. I’d have to agree with Chuckie on that point above. But to me, this is an issue separate from vegetarianism.
The basic principle of life on this planet is that life must consume other life to survive, and that we order different forms of life in a hierarchy to determine who gets to eat what. Vegetarians and meat eaters think the -exact same way- on this point.
Differences are only in ranking: vegetarians see all “meats” as being equal and see veggies as a lower form of life (hence, the eating of veggies is moral while the eating of meat is not), while meat eaters see human beings as a higher form of meat than, say, cattle or chicken.
That is why a meat eater would not compare killing in a pointless war to the killing of animals for food while a veggie person would.
No wonder Were-Rabbit expressed fear of vegetarianism: it reduces human beings to animals…rabbit like animals!
Fantastic response time, I’m impressed.
Maybe The Curse of the Were-Rabbit isn’t the best place for this debate but here we are.
Obviously we need to eat something that has had some form of life. I am also fully aware of the food chain.
Let’s weigh up the suffering.
Fruits, nuts, pulses, beans and vegetables - probably not too much suffering but who knows.
Fish - death by suffocation and possible crushing can’t be too good. But they are a bit stupid so that’s ok.
Chickens - As with fish, they are a bit simple so who cares?
Mammals - Mmmm, here’s my biggest moral dilemma. What are we? Why is there so much outrage with the Japanese killing of sea dwelling mammals? We are mass producing mammals for slaughter. Surely cetaceans are truly free range. Isn’t that considered a better option these days.
Vegetarians and Vegans take this step for many different reasons. I do not believe that vegetables or beans have the same level of suffering as the things we normally define as living creatures.
My current reasoning is partly due to the unnatural overpopulation of the human race. This inevitably brings the need for intensive farming. Intensive farming and killing animals in queues are wholly unnatural practices.
Hunting is natural, and if the human race were only killing for the nutrients that they needed, I would feel far differently. If obtaining meat was a bit more difficult than walking into a fast food restaurant then I firmly believe that people would have a lot more respect for these creatures. At least if people were prepared to visit an abattoir, they could male a more informed decision. But instead people are happier to hide behind the presentation of the food item and ridicule vegetarians.
As for your Captain Kirk argument -
I try to be gentle and humane and I know that that does not make me a wuss and incapable of making a decision. That analogy is fundamentally flawed as I know that taking the step of becoming a vegan is a very difficult decision. I loved the taste of meat but I love animals more.
Imagine a German soldier, during WWII, refusing to kill Jews at the risk of his own torture and horrific death. That would not make him a wuss. That would probably make him stronger than you or I.
I apologise for comparing the killing of animals and humans again but your CK analogy invites this.
And of course the fact remains that we are animals. We like to consider ourselves on a higher plane but we are still animals.
Well, first thing, while your inferences about my opinions are perfectly valid, I really didn’t intend to imply that all or most or even the average vegetarians were indecisive wussies. The Captain Kirk analogy was meant only as a response to xxxLips taking issue with my previous comments on aggression. There are many different reasons for being a vegetarian (thank you for describing yours): “Tottie” in Were-Rabbit seemed to embody absolute non-aggression, so in her character that non-aggressive streak is linked to vegetarianism. That may be Nick Parks’s opinion of vegetarians, but I’m not sure. I think he simply set up two extreme characters for dramatic/comedic effect—the hyper aggressive hunter and the under aggressive girlfriend.
What you’re talking about is very famously presented in a South Park episode. It’s worth looking up if you can.
At any rate, on to reasons for being a vegetarian:
I agree with you on several points. I agree that suffering is to be avoided and that we would, ideally, hunt and kill our own meats, all of which would be free range. Short of that, at least look the animal in the eye before having its throat cut and butchered. I agree with you that current agricultural practices as well as animal husbandry practices are unhealthy and inhumane. None of this necessarily adds up to vegetarianism, but I do see vegetarianism as a rational response.
I disagree that we’re overpopulated. I think the planet has plenty of resources to sustain us, so long as we’re living sustainable lifestyles. It does not, of course, have the resources for 6 billion people to live like middle class Americans, so some serious changes need to be made before US style consumerism spreads across China and India.
While I agree that suffering is bad, this doesn’t equal vegetarianism. There are ways of slaughtering animals so that they experience little or no pain, or die very very quickly. In nature, I would observe, smaller animals are generally chased down and eaten alive by larger animals, so just by being concerned with this we’re a step up.
Otherwise, you sound like you suffer from fishophobia and are perhaps a bit prejudiced against chickens. Don’t let me find out who you are or I’ll have you subject to sensitivity training. That’ll teach you to be humane….yeah….
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I’ll wind my neck in now.
I will add though that I don’t eat chicken or fish either. That was just a thinly veiled attempt at irony. But I’m sure you got that.
I agree that Nick Park simply used two extremes for dramatic/comedic effect and I don’t think that there’s much more to it than that. I have no idea what his personal stance is and I don’t think that it’s really relevant.
As you stated, things do need to change and my rational response, as you put it, is the only thing that I feel I can do towards that (other than trying to get involved in thought provoking debates).
Thanks again for your time,
Ha…yeah, I tried a bit of irony in that last paragraph myself, but since the rest of it was somewhat serious sounding it may not have played well….
Thanks for reading and responding.
My wife and I look for locally and organically grown foods as much as possible, and free range foods. The market is growing and even the local wal mart carries certified organic eggs. We found an egg guy locally but it’s not consistent.
Thank you Jim for that very entertaining article and thank you even more to all the others for the ludicrously entertaining comments (I love the fact that old Chucky-boy is complaining about lengthy diatribes by masturbators when he’s just been reading a long article on Wallace & Gromits and the Fear of Vegetarianism AND commented on it ! Priceless I tell ya !)...
I’m currently an office slut and you people know how to get a guy through his day.
And you do it by doing what we humans do best: quibbling !
But enough of this gay banter. I’d just like to share a little quotation (dampened by the fact I can’t think for the hell of me who said it):
A art critic was asking a famous artist if there was a particular reason for the choice of color and shape on whatever painting.
The artist pauses and replies: “Look. I’m the bird, you’re the ornithologist, you do your job, I’ll do mine !” hehe
And, being of the bird variety, I sincerely hope that the day my work is worthy of comment, it will have such a far-fetched and hilarious analysis !
Again thank you all for working out my zygomatic muscles and I hope to read soon, I dunno “The latent homosexuality of Hobbits” who knows… but then again, that’s not very far fetched is it !
heh…glad to entertain, Steppen Wolf. That’s what we’re here for…
and thanks for reading.
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