A vegan claims that eating tofu is cultural appropriation

August 24, 2019 • 9:30 am

I’ve written a fair bit about accusations of cultural appropriation, and I do so for several reasons. First, these accusations are almost always totally misguided, mistaking admiring imitation for bigotry and theft. Second, they clearly show the folly of the Authoritarian Left, both its virtue-flaunting and its adoption of “actions” that are completely useless in changing society. Really, how much “inclusiveness” is promoted by picketing a show of kimonos at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts? Or the demonizing of white women who wear hoop earrings?

Finally, the claims often blend Wokeness with unintended humor, showing that many claims of cultural appropriation are almost indistinguishable from satire. The claim at hand is one of these near-satirical arguments, but I’m pretty sure it’s real. Or at least Yahoo UK thinks so (click on screenshot):

According to the article, this exchange appeared on a reddit site:

There we have it, ladies, gentlemen, and comrades: a termite boring deep into the wood. He/she/they cannot allow a meat-eater the pleasure of enjoying torfurkey (mock turkey made from tofu), which could in fact turn a meat-eater towards vegetarianism. Instead, the miscreant has to claim that eating tofu is reserved for vegans and vegetarians. (Ask a billion Chinese about that!)

This shows all three aspects of the cultural appropriation trope, including its unintended humor as well as its inevitable descent into name-calling and obscenity. Now it’s possible that this is a joke, for it would be easy to confect accusations like this, but Yahoo, at least, took it seriously. So shall I, for the nonce.

The article goes on; here’s a bit of it:

Unsurprisingly, a number of vegans took to the post to defend their community.

“This person is giving vegans a terrible reputation,” one commented. “I’m vegan, I would never act like this, and I don’t think the majority of vegans would. And they should be thrilled they are choosing tofu over meat!”

“This person isn’t a true vegan because most would concede that the less meat someone eats the better,” another added. “I know so many meat-eaters who love vegan/vegetarian food.”

A third agreed, highlighting that an increase in demand for tofu would actually ensure there is more available on the supermarket shelves.

“If anything more people eating tofu would probably increase production and more brands would emerge and there would be more variety to choose from,” they pointed out.

Another highlighted the vegan’s contradictory views, sarcastically writing: “I love animals so much, that I want you to eat meat instead of cutting down on your animal consumption! Makes sense.”

Ah, I love the smell of internecine squabbles in the morning!

But I wish those who so quickly accuse others of cultural appropriation would themselves be called out by members of their own community. (In fact, this happened in Boston, where some kimono-wearing Japanese ladies turned out in support of the kimono celebration.) Those who want real social justice should roll up their sleeves and get to work, registering voters, accompanying women to abortion clinics, giving money to good causes, and so on. Pounding a keyboard in rage doesn’t accomplish jack.


h/t: Gregory

164 thoughts on “A vegan claims that eating tofu is cultural appropriation

  1. Isn’t is strange how non-Muslim women donning hijab in “solidarity” hasn’t been called out as “cultural appropriation” yet?

    After the Christchurch murders, we had the well-meaning but unusual sight of **female** news presenters donning the hijab as a mark of respect. Strangely, the male newsreaders didn’t change their dress at all. Make of that what you will.

    But one of my first thoughts was, hold up, isn’t this “cultural appropriation” according to the roolz?

    1. Yes, but they often didn’t do it correctly and had some hair showing, where if observed in a strict Islamic country may have resulted in trouble from the religious police.

  2. Last I checked, vegans didn’t invent bean curd, and, even if they had, they have no right to say who might eat it. (Personally, I don’t care for it. In the USSR about forty years ago, our host offered us some “candy,” which turned out to be chocolate covered bean curd.) Last time I checked, the West had done away with sumptuary laws.

  3. I’ve read a lot of Jerry’s posts about cultural appropriation, and I keep wondering why this is such an issue in the USA while in Europe nobody seems to worry about it? I’ve never heard about Europeans getting offended because of it. I am wondering if this is a specifically American phenomenon, and if yes then why is this so.

      1. It’s ”political correctness” gone mad! It’s sanctimonious, self-centered nonsense, based on ”oh…you’ve OFFENDED me!” It’s the direct opposite of ”inclusion.”

        1. “It’s the direct opposite of ”inclusion.””

          Exactly. We used to be proud to call America “the great melting pot”. Which, best as I can make out, is the exact opposite of the concept of cultural appropriation.

      2. I don’t know if the premise is true – it seems true. You would have to define cultural appropriation first & to that end I would say its the powerful stealing [not acknowledging, paying or compensating] the customs & other intellectual property of the weak – without that distinction there’s nothing of interest going on is there?

        e.g. A foreign tourist twirling a brolly & wearing a bowler hat in Leicester Square isn’t a problem for any type of politics [identity or otherwise] especially as he probably bought from a Brit vendor.

        We have curry houses & Chinese takeaways everywhere in the British Isles & they are all run & owned by people from the relevant culture – I don’t think an English Vindaloo house would survive. But plenty of British chefs incorporate the food styles & ingredients of the rest of the world without complaint from political animals. Perhaps being an ex-Empire has something to do with it?

        Music is an interesting example of genuine cultural appropriation – it is true that only a handful of Black Americans profited from the Anglo/Irish blues explosion of the 50s/60s & it took a long time to acknowledge known sources [change two words of the lyric & grab all the royalties being the name of the game]. The almost true story is that when Muddy Waters went electric [forget Dylan!] in the UK in 1958 with the Chris Barber Jazz Band the world flipped starting out in Blighty with Alexis Korners Blues Incorporated. One way or another that little crossroads led to:

        John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
        Savoy Brown
        Chicken Shack
        Fleetwood Mac
        Manfred Mann
        Spencer Davis Group [fantastic black’ voice of the young Steve Winwood]
        The Animals
        The Yardbirds [Beck, Clapton, Page]
        Rolling Stones
        Keef Hartley Band
        The Graham Bond Organisation
        Long John Baldrey
        The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
        The Alan Price Rythm & Blues Combo
        John McLaughlin [genius]

        There are dues to be paid still & there’s been mutterings about it for seventy years.

        1. Hells bells, Michael, you sure twitched some nerve-endings there! I expect we could all add one or two of our own favourites. For instance:

          The Pretty Things (still going after 55-odd years)
          Stone the Crows
          Dr Feelgood (also still going, even without Wilko Johnson).

          A sure-fire conversation-starter (or stopper) down the pub!

            1. I loved Quatermass – I was just the right age to be fascinated & terrified. Plus the plots were better than Doctor Who & the budgetary Welsh quarry sets.

              Pretty Things, SF Sorrow… what could have been

              Phil May of Pretty Things – no doubt in my mind that’s the ripped source of Jim Morrison’s moves [Jimbo adored that chaotic, tough, mean band]. Or perhaps it goes Jagger > May > Morrison.

  4. This is ridiculous: one person – on Reddit, of all the who-gives-a-shit irrelevances – behaved obnoxiously to another person, also on Reddit. That’s it. How in the name of holy hell did this become an entire article on Yahoo UK? That is just bizarre-level clickbait.

    Someone cut in line at ASDA last week – is that going to be a story on Yahoo UK too? I once heard someone use the phrase ‘half-caste’ at a party – how about that?

    1. It is symptomatic of an entire genre of complaints; that’s why Yahoo posted it and (also because of the humor) that’s why I posted it. If you don’t like the posts here, you are free not to read them, okay?

      1. I’m getting tired of being told to go away if I don’t like the posts. I clearly do like the posts here or I wouldn’t keep coming, and I clearly like this website or I wouldn’t keep coming.

        This is a ridiculous article(the Yahoo UK article) nevertheless, and I didn’t say ANYTHING about your post whatsoever. That was not the intention.

        I’m talking about a news website, Yahoo UK(as well as others, like the Daily Mail apparently) reporting about a year old Facebook exchange(or whatever the hell it is). Don’t you think that’s ridiculous? Isn’t this exactly the kind of slip in journalistic standards you(rightly) complain about on a regular basis?

    2. It became an article on Yahoo UK because they stole it from a 18-month old item in the Daily Fail**, re-heated it and served it up with no mention that it had passed its use-by date. 😉

      I still got a giggle out of the last salvo in the exchange, though.

      ** Acknowledgements to Paul Topping and Michael Fisher for tracking that down.

        1. Yes, it’s reheated old dreck – rather like Chinese bean curd itself, requires flavouring ingenuity to be of interest.

          Convos with idealogical vegans is interesting, there is the same range of informed & uninformed proponents as in any world view although you have to be a bit of a sky pilot to be eating tofu & yet not know it’s as old as Jesus.

          1. I’ve never eaten tofu before. I’ve been told it doesn’t taste of anything, and has a kind of light, spongy texture. Yum.

            1. There are many kinds of tofu, as a visit to an Asian grocery store will show you. Besides more subjective measures, it ranges in hardness from liquid through custard and jello to perhaps a meatloaf consistency. It tends to soak up the flavors of any sauce it is placed in but definitely has a taste. People that say it doesn’t taste like anything have a deficient sense of taste, IMHO. I like tofu.

              1. Not too many Asian grocery stores in my local area: gives you a clue as to why I’ve not tried tofu before. Exotic food around here is supermarket sushi, or Kettle Chips with a fancy flavour.

            2. Sadly soy and tofu are things I have to avoid because it bothers my stomach (I have IBS and avoid FODMAPS foods). There is some tofu that is okay but mostly in North America, it’s the one that isn’t that is most common so I just avoid it altogether. Garlic and onions but especially garlic in all it’s forms (powder as well) really bother my stomach and can make me quite ill and most vegan foods are full of garlic and garlic powder, including the very good fake meat burgers available at fat food places and as patties from grocery stores. So, basically it’s chicken, sea food & eggs for me and even then they love soaking all the chicken in garlic so I have to watch for that too. It’s almost impossible these days to avoid garlic because I think it become the go-to seasoning once salt became the big baddy.

              1. Avoiding garlic and onions sounds pretty miserable – I love both those things. Sorry to hear it Diana. Must be incredibly difficult too. Although good for your breath…not much of an upside, but it’s something I suppose.

              2. People think I’m a diva. I asked at a restaurant and the server said “is it an allergy?” because she clearly thought I just didn’t want bad breath. I said “no, it’s not an allergy but it’s the kind of sensitivity that would make me so ill I’d be incapacitated for days and sometimes I pass out”. I really wanted to give gory details about what happens to my digestive system when my stomach goes “I don’t know how to deal with it, here you have it” to my colon but thought that wasn’t fair to the other diners.

              3. I’ve struggled with a similar problem.

                But recently I’ve thought about grill brushes – have you heard of this? The tiny wires – possibly made of lead-containing brass – might get past the chewing stage and become poked and stuck – potentially for decades – in the various stages of the digestive system.

                I am not sure how these small foreign particles could be detected.

              4. Yes, some people have been horribly injured with the grill brushes. I imagine you’d detect something amiss in a colonoscopy and endoscopy (I’ve had both). I got IBS from a virus. Sometimes you can develop IBS after a bout of stomach flu, especially if you are under stress at the time. I was and so it was the perfect storm.

          2. It’s very popular already in Asia. We’d just have to adjust Western palettes, probably by adding lots of spice, sugar, and fat.

  5. Presumably non-Asian vegans would be committing some other form of cultural appropriation by eating tofu. I don’t see a racial breakdown of the conversant, should I be concerned?

  6. Trigger warning: the following contains a joke. “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals, I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants!”

  7. I’ve seen this tofu exchange before, perhaps a year or more ago. So ridiculous.

    One thing I don’t see mentioned here. Forgive me if I missed it. The person accusing appropriation appears to be objecting partly to a meat-eater hanging out on a Vegan reddit. I don’t see that as reasonable either but a bit more sane than accusing the meat-eater of appropriation.

  8. The vegetarians are taking possession of the soybean fields before Trump drives the whole thing into the ground. It’s all round-up ready so take two aspirin and see someone in the morning.

    1. Oh, well tracked, Michael!

      So if anyone’s guilty of appropriation, it’s Yahoo UK, who make NO acknowledgement of the Daily Fail in their re-heated article.


      1. Yahoo editors and staff – I’m envisioning a new sitcom like The Office or 30 Rock. They are forever holding meetings to decide on stories, but inevitably end up dredging up old stuff like it was brand new. Tina Fay, Steve Carell.

    1. Lifelong Atheists of Central Southwest North America East Dakota Evolutionary Cosmological Branch established 1891? If not, you’re appropriating us!\S -Apologies to Emo Phillips,(I tried.) readers unfamiliar with his “hypocrite” joke, any North Americans affiliated with secular institutions, and\or sentient beings with dry humor sensitivities.

  9. I think it’s obvious that tofurkey and vegan cheese, etc., are cultural appropriations from those who eat the real McCoy.

  10. Trying to clear up some possible misconceptions:
    “According to the article, this exchange appeared on a reddit site:”

    Actually, according to the Yahoo Style article (quoting it):
    “The messages were shared to a Reddit group which mocks people “who take it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity””
    Reddit group /r/gatekeeping is in fact dedicated to mocking those as quoted above (after “Gatekeeping is when someone takes it upon themselves[…]”), also (from the /r/gatekeeping details) ” /r/gatekeeping is a subreddit for screenshots and stories of gatekeepers in the wild.”

    The screenshots aren’t identified as to source, but that source is almost certainly not from Reddit itself (the screenshots look nothing like the mobile Reddit app). Also, the “gatekeeping” issue on Reddit linked to in the Yahoo Style article is a repost dating to a year ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/gatekeeping/comments/7pkc25/because_heaven_forbid_nonvegans_eat_vegan_foods/

    The original exchange is purported to have been on Facebook (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=753974038147136&id=100006036394756), but I don’t (and won’t) use Facebook, so I cannot confirm that.

  11. I do not understand the use of the word “vegan” in general. I think this is the origin of profound confusion, viz. the above specimen.

    Google’s definition of “vegan” is :

    noun: vegan; plural noun: vegans
    a person who does not eat or use animal products.
    “I’m a strict vegan”
    adjective: vegan
    using or containing no animal products.
    “a vegan diet”

    I could understand a vegan diet as a set of rules or instructions that a person can use. However, a person cannot be a diet. What distinguishes a noun from an adjective in Google’s definition?

    I was trying to find parallels for the use of the word “vegan”. For example, mathematics – mathematician doesn’t really work. And I can’t think of a word for a lifestyle which chooses products of modern medicine (e.g. vaccines and anaesthesia) over pseudomedicine or pseudoscience, but in each case, the person cannot be, e.g. mathematics or medicine. Perhaps, they could be a mathematicist, or a medicinist, but that is clearly ridiculous.

    I also do not think it is possible to adopt a lifestyle 100% independent from animals. The vegetables that are consumed in a vegan diet are grown in a field somewhere, and it either used human labor or at least some manures.

    … thus, for me, I think Mrs. Fowler is what they call a useful idiot.

    1. You are correct. Being 100% vegan is impossible in today’s society in the US at least. However, we do what we can.

      There are many types of vegans. For example, ethical vegans do not use or eat any animal products, including honey, wool, silk, and leather. For ethical vegans, veganism is more a lifestyle than a diet.

      Health vegans abstain from animal foods for health reasons. Plant foods contain no cholesterol and little fat, salt, or sugar. They also avoid ultraprocessed food. Medical research has shown repeatedly that a vegan diet is the healthiest diet one can eat.

      1. Silk? Ethics? But, the worms live a long healthy life as opposed to being subject to early death by ingestion by birds.

        1. Well, personally I think silk and honey are extreme. Everybody draws a line somewhere, and some people think that worms and bees are exploited. So they avoid these products.

          1. “Everybody draws a line somewhere”

            Indeed. We all draw lines and the terrain is fuzzy. It makes us all victims of arbitrariness and leaves nobody with a very solid reason to lord it over anyone else for their food habits.

            Dietary zealots are best appreciated for their entertainment value. Like fundamentalist Christians in that way.

            1. It’s like in the series, The Good Place where they find out that everyone has been going to hell for ages because in the modern world it’s impossible to be good because of supply chains of food and the way the money is invested, etc.

      2. “Medical research has shown repeatedly that a vegan diet is the healthiest diet one can eat.” I accept a vegan diet can be healthy but that is quite a claim. There has been tons of research on diet and health over the last few decades. However, from my quite extensive reading on the subject I understand a lasting consensus has yet to be reached on what constitutes the ‘healthiest’ diet. Not least because of the difficulty in defining ‘healthiest’. I would be really interested in looking at the research you mentioned, could you please provide references? I’m not being snarky, I’m genuinely keen to learn.

        1. Last night I posted a few references for you. I received a message that my post was “pending moderation.” So I don’t know if it will appear here.

      3. Regarding that “healthiest diet” bit…

        Assertions like this represent a profound ignorance of human evolution, to say nothing of how we have adapted to life in different environments. Do vegans who make this argument have any understanding of the diet of, say, Inuit people for thousands of years?

        1. Exactly – we are an adaptable lot us humans. Compare the diet of an Inuit (95% animal diet, mostly fat) with that of an average Japanese person (90% plant diet, mostly carbs). Both populations are very ‘healthy’, although the Inuit are not quite as disease free as we were led to believe for decades.

          There are countless factors that interact to influence health outcomes. This makes it extremely difficult to study how diets affect health, especially as those effects are typically very small.

          What makes things even more difficult is that high profile research is regularly published which appears to contradict previously accepted norms. I remember as an undergraduate I was worried that my ex-smoker parents were at risk of lung cancer. From several sources I had read that anti-oxidants taken in quite high dosages showed great promise in preventing lung cancer. I therefore got them taking supplements of beta carotene, selenium and vitamins A & E. This regimen was stopped abruptly after I attended a biochemistry tutorial about 18 months later. We reviewed a study that had just been published NEJM Anti-Oxidant Study. The study was stopped 21 months early as the active treatment group showed markedly higher rates of lung cancer and death from all causes.

          1. Very interesting, thank you wetherjeff

            Here in the UK [where milk isn’t ‘fortified’ with vitamin D] I take a vitamin D + K2 supplement capsule daily because I temporarily barely go out these last 12 months. And yet there’s no source I feel I can trust to tell me if I’m wasting my pennies. The authorities [PHE] recommend since 2016:

            “…adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter […] higher risk of vitamin D deficiency [such as me now] are being advised to take a supplement all year round”

            but we know how such advice swivels around decade to decade.

            Time for my medicinal red wine…

      4. Other things that I think use animal products :

        Ivory soap
        Fertilizers with bone meal (obvs)

        And I think flour can be treated with bone meal to whiten it? Not sure.

        1. I typed “is flour vegan” into AltaVista(*) and found there was some discussion about how bone char was used to process flour. A vegan site says all flour is vegan. Go figure.

          * just kidding! I used MetaCrawler… just kidding! Google. No joke.

    2. Vegans are, surely, people from the star system Vega? Like, what else could it mean?

      Okay, they might be residents of Vega island in Norway or Antarctica, or villages of that name in Spain, Sweden, Norway, US or Canada, or even the lunar crater Vega.

      None of this explains why the term has been appropriated by plant-persecutors.


      1. Your point about the Vegans being from Vega aspect is, I think, not far from the truth. A word that sounds like an individual from another place – a higher place perhaps? In Fantasyland, this sort of thing is no mistake.

  12. Someone should tell the accuser that their tofu is GMO and then watch what happens.

    What an incredibly stupid thing for them to do. I’m baffled. As a omnivore who enjoys tofu, their can take their claim and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

      1. So it’s a homeopathic vaccine? They get it through the drinking water, right? Does it counter the fluoride? Asking for a friend.

        1. No no no, you’re thinking of the thing that makes frogs gay. I know, it gets confusing after awhile. You just need to watch enough Alex Jones and you’ll finally get it.

  13. This cultural appropriation crap is all about the in group vs the out group. Instead, they should just holler at beach other “who said you could play with us?!” It’s basically the same argument & the same maturity level.

    1. What ever happened to “wow you like what we do? That’s cool !!!” So If we eat Taco’s does that ok or not? If I learn to speak another language am I “appropriating”? Are U.S. hockey teams “appropriating” a Canadian sport? Its Patently Ridiculous.. PS: same goes for music. Is Mozart “appropriating” the classics by Vivaldi? This is like a couple of five year old kids arguing about Spiderman vs Superman vs Batman. .. i know some people who’s Id say their adults actually have those arguments.. ..

      1. Yes, a childless vegan is probably the Earth’s best friend. I could possibly be a vegetarian with dairy and eggs in my diet, but a vegan? Hell no. In the meantime, I’ll stick with being an omnivore.

        This reminds me of a Stephen King novel where an alien comes to earth to destroy it. It possesses people and on one occasion it ate a BLT. The alien loved it so much, it contemplated saving the earth because of bacon! Not a very good book, but I always remembered that part. Had me LOLing.

      1. I’ve just had some bad experiences with vegans telling me how to live/eat. My brother had a vegan girlfriend who had a couple kids, and she’d berate me for eating meat. I got in a big argument with her because I didn’t have kids and told her having kids was worse than eating meat if you’re worried about the earth (she was a vegan to save the planet). I guess I haven’t gotten over it. My comment was just a summation of past grievances.

        1. I find that diet is right up there with religion & politics when it comes to things that are dangerous to discuss. Everyone has a favourite diet that will solve all your problems and they are determined to spread the gourmet gospel whether you’re interested in what they have to say or not. I have a friend who can’t say she follows a high protein diet because of the circle she is in & the vegan/vegetarian wrath she’d incur.

          1. Angry, arrogant, self-righteous vegans give us all a bad name. As a vegan I’m embarrassed we have these people among us.

          2. It is unfortunate because it is interesting to share ways to make meals, and find new combinations of flavors, etc. As an example, I just saw Alton Brown’s new Good Eats episode on chicken parmigiana- and there are interesting things to try in a plant-only diet that he showed with chicken. At some point, it helps to taste the meat dish to better hone a plant-based recipe.

    1. You are absolutely correct. The root cause of *all* the world’s current problems is – too many bloody people. It’s a problem that will solve itself eventually, one way or another (but some of those ways may not be very pleasant).


    2. Can someone point to the latest greatest ranked list of energy use and emissions things like :

      Passenger vehicles
      Industrial vehicles

      … because this comes up all the time, then someone says something like planes aren’t relevant.

      1. I don’t know of a source for such a ranking, but developing a strategy of reductions will require a complex analysis taking into account the availability of substitutes and timelines to get different aspect fixed. Maybe you need a system of bullet trains before you can eliminate the airlines. It will be largely a technological solution, which isn’t too hard. Much of what needs to be done there is already at hand. The simplest step is simply to legislate a gradually increasing carbon tax. The big problem is negotiation the political minefields. It’s going to take some very strong leadership, of which we’ve been in very short supply. Do we need an environmental/Green New Deal, messiah?

  14. “In fact, this happened in Boston, where some kimono-wearing Japanese ladies turned out in support of the kimono celebration.”

    But, as usual, one of the biggest museums in Boston cancelled a celebration of diversity and another culture because it couldn’t withstand the outrage of like five public protesters and a bunch of people on the internet 😛

  15. I heard an amusing story about tofu recently. Apparently some people went camping, and for whatever reason, decided to bury their food to hide it from animals. They dug a pit, put their food in, covered it with wood, and then dirt. It wasn’t enough though, and a black bear dug it up, and ate all their food…except for the tofu. It seems black bears, which will eat pretty much anything, don’t consider tofu food.

  16. What was it Anthony Bourdain called vegans — the Hezbollah-like splinter-faction of vegetarianism? 🙂

    1. Yeah, he was a linguistic master throwing shade on vegans and vegetarians. In one quote, he calls them waterheads. I find that word hilarious.

    1. I think there’s a Yakov Smirnoff-style joke hidden in there somewhere, Gary:

      “In Holy Roman Empire, you don’t eat Diet of Worms; Diet of Worms eats you.”

      I didn’t want to tell that one, but here I stand; I can do no other.

  17. Surely this is not for real?! Everyone knows that the Chinese invented tofu. They’re also known for eating anything that walks on four legs and then some. So the outraged vegan purists can go stuff themselves.

    1. Ah… I miss my grandma’s Hakka style meat-stuffed tofu. Grandma was a Chinese Buddhist so we were not allowed to eat beef. Just chicken and pork. Not anything that walks on four legs.

    1. I don’t follow the Onion closely, but don’t they seem to be responding by being overly offensive?

      I like the way Steven Colbert handles this dilemma. He’s able to somehow point out the complete idiocy of living under Trump without competing with him for absurdity. He milks Trump of his absurdity. He takes a view from 20,000 feet and induces a chuckle in place of total dismay. Colbert is, to me, a true hero of the resistance.

      1. It helps that Colbert is funny, he might have the best writing team which helps, but he seals the deal with perfect timing/delivery. That 20,000 ft of distance where he doesn’t personalise the cruelties & absurdities of Trump Nation is a great formula.

        Sometimes Kimmel employs personal outrage [brings in effects on his nearest & dearest] & on balance I don’t think that works as well as Colbert. But, I’m glad they both perform – without them I wouldn’t be able to understand the United Shtates [as 45 calls it] & all the strange characters over there populating TV ‘News’ & the upper & lower houses.

        1. I agree that Colbert’s writers are the best in the business. I’ve never warmed to him for some reason, but I love it when he reads out Trump’s tweets as Trump, complete with scrupulously pronounced ellipses…”dot dot dot, dot dot, dot dot dot….”.

          His head writer is Brian Stack, who was one of the funniest writers on Conan until he left a year or so ago, and was responsible for some of the most brilliantly warped sketches in late night history, like Wikibear:


          and my personal favourite, Artie Kendall the Singing Ghost:


          Getting him onboard was quite a coup for Colbert.

          1. Thank for the background. I would never have thought to follow late show hired help that way. 😎
            But, I know a lot of first rank comedians went through stints as writers for late night, so it shows foresight on your part.

            1. Conan’s show in particular has had so many now-famous people working on it, either as writers or writing staff interns. His list of alums is borderline ridiculous: Louis CK, Bob Smigel, Demetri Martin, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, etc.

              I have a special love for Conan, you might be able to tell

              1. Conan is excellent, he was responsible for Marge versus the monorail & some other early Simpsons gems. The whole team Coco thing is a great device with unlimited potential – it’s all about Conan & team Coco with current events & current fads in the arts/sports as fairly irrelevant items at the bottom of the list.

                Visits to foreign climes with his long suffering sidekick [Jordan Schlansky?] are close to my heart too. I have high hopes that they hit Greenland.

              2. Olive Garden, margaritas & the rotary cheese grater abomination – poor Schlansky!

      2. I too am not a regular Onion reader, and thus cannot address your question. However, it used to be fairly easy to distinguish Onion from non-Onion stories – not so much these days.

  18. From Sydney Australia recently.

    The Sydney parents of a severely malnourished baby girl have avoided jail and instead been sentenced to 300 hours community service.

    The girl was fed an exclusively vegan diet, and had severe physical and mental development issues

    The toddler, now aged three, was so malnourished by the time she was 19 months old she didn’t have any teeth and looked like a three-month-old. She also suffered from a preventable bone disease which had caused minor fractures, and was not vaccinated.

    Veganism? Sign me up!

    1. So sad! Poor kid! The parents should be in jail.

      These parents obviously had no idea what they were doing. Several books on vegan nutrition for kids are readily available.

      These parents give all vegans a bad name.

      1. That’s the thing about heavy doses of ideology which veganism seems infected with.
        Facts and reality often take a back seat.

        I tend not to believe you, same as there is no vegan diet for cats, but I will check it out a bit more first.

        1. Cats and dogs are obligate carnivores. There is no safe vegan diet for them. Anyone who tries to make their cat or dog vegan is committing cruelty to animals.

          1. I suppose that would make a good argument for not having pets. It inevitably require us to harvest vast quantities of feeder fish from the ocean which unbalances the ecosystem. There are about 150 million cats and dogs in the US alone. But, we’d sure miss our pups and kitties.

            1. I wonder if it is true that our pets help us build resistance to allergens as some claim, or on balance do they act as reservoirs for microbial/viral diseases harmful to us? Or is it better to ask what the balance is?

              As we switch to artificial proteins I don’t think there would be much cost in producing similar products for our mammal pets. Bird pets worry me, they don’t have the shared evolution with humans & it’s probably wronger [!] to continue domesticating them.

              No pets at all would be an unfortunate gap in kid education & elderly solace – what’s the point of a walk in the park without Benji the yappy dog & grandchild substitute? City farms needed too so kids don’t recoil in horror at fruit & veg with dirt & creepy crawlies on them.

              1. Yes, pets can get artificial protean too. Another thought…the Japanese have been experimenting with robotic pets which probably eat batteries. It might take a long time to work out the future of the worlds food budget. Human population, of course, is the big driver of a lot of this misery. I’d like to see humans take on this problem seriously. Right now projections are for a slowing and probably an end to population expansion. We’ll end up at the replacement rate in a decade or so. That will still leaves the Earth having to support 9 or 10 billion people indefinitely, and, of course, they will all want telephones and cellophane like we Idahoans. The problem is much like the carbon problem. We can get rates of emissions down to near zero, but we still have to live with high levels in the atmosphere for centuries unless some kind of removal scheme is developed. I’ve heard of sequestration methods which sink solid carbon dioxide deep in the ocean. Maybe there’s a way to piggy back the glut of humanity problem and the sequestration of carbon. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way suggesting sinking humans deep in the ocean in solid blocks of carbon dioxide… No, we would never do that.

              2. Robotic animals is so Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep that I’m forced to again conclude that we are living Philip K Dick’s dystopia. Maybe we’re all a simulation based on his stories.

              3. There are some that advocate for no more fish keeping as well. My fish, who live fairly luxurious lives, wouldn’t really care I don’t think. But those animals, bettas in particular do suffer and people think that it’s okay because they are “just fish”. My bettas live very luxurious lives. 🙂

    2. The parents need to start talking about their veganism as a ‘sincerely held belief’, then they can probably skip the 300 hours of community service too.

      1. Australia may be slightly different.
        They recently modified excuses for non vaccination by removing just such a clause.

        I don’t know why they escaped jail as the kids were being looked after by a grandmother in a different state.

  19. Tofu isn’t vegan food. Its Asian food. Nobody thought to point out how a white girl LITERALLY claiming an important piece of our recipe as “hers”?

  20. What a lot of twattery.

    There was just one post in that exchange that made me burst out laughing. The very last one: “I’m eating food I like you absolute fuck.”

    I thought that summed up the whole issue pretty well. 🙂


    1. Yes, that was about as much as I’d have been able to put up with before I’d have told them to fuck off. I have no idea what is wrong with people like that. They guard their veganism like it’s a Grouch Club membership.

  21. David Attenborough is featured in this article:


    An excerpt:

    As David Attenborough says, if we want to save Earth, we can no longer afford to keep eating meat: “We are omnivores, so biologically, if you could have a biological morality, you can say, yes we evolved to eat pretty well everything.

    “But now we’ve got to a stage in our own social evolution in which that is no longer practical.”

    1. I eat meat, but morally speaking I can’t really justify it. Environmentally speaking it’s even less justifiable, but in two hundred years I fully expect the way we treat animals these days to drop the jaws of future populations, and that’ll be based on the moral objections rather than the environmental ones.

      I think the fact that it’s so endemic, so inescapably _everywhere_…that we see huge fields of animals bred to be killed and eaten, and think of it as a picturesque scene, and we’re surrounded by KFC adverts on every corner, etc.
      To really understand how ethically questionable the way we treat animals is you have to do that thought-experiment of imagining yourself as an alien newcomer to the world. Or an even better thought experiment is to reverse the roles, and imagine a world where humans are kept in fields and factories, and where their body parts are displayed in butchers’ windows.

      Obviously there are moral differences between us and animals like cows which means the symmetry isn’t exact, but it does occasionally shake me to think about it.

      And then I go and order some Kung Bo chicken from the local takeaway and forget about it. We still have a long way to go morally speaking as a civilisation, and our failures in that area are probably so huge and all-encompassing that we can’t see them properly, can’t see the wood for the trees.

      1. As best I can tell, The single thing that meat provides that no other currently common food provides is heme iron.

        Impossible Foods is making leghemoglobin. But I doubt they’ll sell it in a bottle. I’ve tasted it – it is astonishing how much flavor comes from it.

        There could also be genetic reasons that people get hooked on meat – consider the various hemoglobinopathies – I don’t know of any studies, but it seems interesting to look into.

        1. Aren’t we capable of making burgers from a handful of cow cells? A few years ago I remember seeing a(rather unappetising, but still) beef patty that had been ‘grown’ from a few cow cells in a lab. Prohibitively expensive, but otherwise it seemed to solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop: no need to incarcerate massive populations of cows in tight conditions and no need to kill them either.

          1. Sounds plausible – maybe could grow a tenderloin that way – or filet mignon, or prime rib – those vegan burger companies are very far away from such a thing.

            1. Definitely plausible. It will be interesting to see which approach, growing real cells outside the animal or configuring non-meat materials, will succeed first. The latter has a good lead at the moment.

            1. I’m not sure I saw that before- awesome! I signed up! Hopefully they have a meatball somewhere I can try – Impossible Foods sells through certain restaurants, perhaps the same for this company.

            2. That’s the stuff. Wow! I had no idea there was an actual company out there doing this, even at a formative stage. I thought we were still a way off.

              It really does look like the best of both worlds(which makes my cynical self wonder where the catch is). I’m sure it’ll be expensive at first, but there doesn’t seem to be any inherent reason why this can’t be the future, apart from general human squeamishness about the concept.

              1. Just think of how the anti-GMO freaks are going to align with the animal production industry to oppose this.

            3. Seems like the technology is advancing quite rapidly. Perhaps in 20 years it will replace cattle completely. There will likely be a fight from Big Beef. Remember, “Where’s the beef!?”

          2. This was discussed on this morning’s Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN. Growing animal protein from cells is still being worked on. His interviewee said she recently tried a duck breast grown artificially and it tasted like duck though perhaps a little tougher.

    2. I am searching for an Attenborough quote in which he gives guidance as to what individuals can do to help the planet – I thought he said “stop having so many children”, but I don’t know – I think it was an interview so it wasn’t transcribed. I’d like to find this, if anyone has a clue, I’d be grateful.

    3. The population movement was epitomized by the Zero Population Growth organization, now called Population Connection. I remember Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb. You don’t hear much about it anymore, but the problem hasn’t gone away.

  22. I’m Chinese and love tofu. Can I claim cultural appropriation on these vegans/vegetarians who also eat tofu? LOL. Lots of virtue signallers out there claiming cultural appropriation without knowing the true origins of these cultural practices.

  23. Ha! More than anything this reminds me how old school nerd culture can get really defensive when their fandom goes mainstream. The idea that people who didn’t put in any of the “work” can suddenly call themselves fans of video games or superheroes or whatever their fandom is. I don’t see it as much as I used to, but I suppose this person is just a big old nerd for veganism.

  24. I seem to be starting my comments with “actually” a lot lately.

    Actually this appeared on r/gatekeeping Ceiling Cat knows how many times already.


      1. Actually, Paul, the truth is a little more nuanced. I’d call it the perfect way to dis someone, as you should well have known. 😉

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