Carnivores Attack Vegans in Response
"I'll be eating vegetarians to get my protein."
This was one of the many hostile responses to a BoingBoing posting labeled "Vegetarian survival kit" on January 8, 2008. BoingBoing is a website that describes itself as "a directory of wonderful things."
BoingBoing Editor David Pescovitz began the survival entry by writing, "Vegetarians in Paradise has a [Vegetarian Survival Kit] page outlining what a vegetarian might need in his or her survival kit to prepare for hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, or the coming apocalypse. Some of the suggestions are from a book that sounds like a lot of survivalist fun, titled Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat When the Power Goes Out. The majority of tips come from the site's readers."
The BoingBoing article primarily focused on the subject that overly concerns most non-vegetarians: getting enough protein. Out of all the comments in the Vegetarians in Paradise web page Pescovitz selected only three, all relating to protein.
BoingBoing readers make snarky comments
"Yep, I'll be the one eating the firearm-less vegan for protein in the event of a natural disaster." "You know, I'm a vegetarian, and if I were in an apocalyptic situation, I'd be eating all the meat I could get my hands on. So would these people, eventually. The article is pure wishful thinking. Vegetarianism is a fine ideal in a non-emergency situation. In an emergency, I'm pretty sure starvation would trump anyone's normal eating habits."
"Everyone saying that 'vegetarianism is a fine ideal' and 'vegetarianism or veganism are fine personal choices' is dangerously wrong."
"Do you realize how horrible most Americans would taste? Fricassee of fast-food eater versus a delicious roast leg of vegan who's lived only on fruits and vegetables. You vegans are the truffles of the cannibal world."
"If I'm gonna die in the midst of a collapsing society, it's damn certain I'm going down with a taste of meat in my mouth. 10+ years of being a vegetarian has ended just recently for me, and I haven't looked back, except to look for more bacon."
"I'm rather surprised by the quantity of negative comments on vegetarianism (maybe I'm just perceiving them as negative). The world and its vegetarians would obviously go through immense changes post-apocalypse; but there's no reason to trivialize vegetarianism in our luxury society. There are good arguments for being vegetarian 'and 'meat tastes good' is a rather weak counterpoint."
"I'm always amazed how open-minded folks are on BB [BoingBoing], but whenever vegetarianism is mentioned, it just arouses a bunch of chest-thumping 'Me like bacon' machismo."
"Finally! The true Vegan agenda is revealed! They typically support gun control laws so the rest of us won't be able to harvest them come the Apocalypse. Further, the whale-loving support of same-sex abortion is a plot to deprive us of the tenderest protein when the canned goods run out."
Responses completely missed the point
"I find it odd that the first responses to a link designed to help vegetarians prepare for some sort of disaster is to irrationally and aggressively attack the life style. It is a good thing that this type of information is being posted. It will help a lot of people. Too many kids think they can live on French fries and milk shakes.
"I rarely tell people I'm a vegetarian. It always ends up with the kind of crap that came out of this thread. It is strange that people are so threatened and defensive about what others choose to eat (or not eat).
"Eat what you want. I couldn't care less."
In contrast to the vitriolic statements, we found an amusing response to our blatant advertising of Zel's book, especially on the "Vegetarain Survival Kit" page.
"Am I the only one to find the ad on the page extra hilarious? "Learn to survive in the kitchen with The Nut Gourmet."
Most surprising to us was the initial response to the BoingBoing article. Almost 7000 visitors clicked on Vegetarians in Paradise that day with 2857 of those reading the survival information.
An hour after the BoingBoing comment was posted, Michael Y. Park chimed in on the Epicurious website with his "The Epi Log" article titled "Vegetarian Apocalypse."
"No matter the reasons, it's not just survivalist types who are thinking about what they'd do in an emergency or even apocalyptic situation," Park wrote. "If you're unprepared, you're screwed. But if you're a vegetarian, you're really screwed.
"Thankfully, there's at least one Web site that's addressing that.
"Vegetarians in Paradise has a great discussion going about the kind of survival kit vegetarians should have packed in their homes (and cars and offices, depending on who you talk to), with some tips from the book "Apocalypse Chow."
Park credits BoingBoing with introducing him to both links and concludes his blog with a reference to the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, a group that plays music on instruments they have created from vegetables.
That afternoon Serious Eats, a website that promises "Keeping up with the latest food news, entertainment, and commentary (so you don't have to)," caught up with the story they titled "How Vegetarians Can Survive an Apocalypse."
"Vegetarians in Paradise offers some tips for vegetarian and vegans on what to put in their survival kits in preparation for the next apocalyptic disaster. Veggies are advised to pack Clif energy bars, liquor (for relaxation and antiseptic purposes), and 'treats' for bargaining. The rest of us omnivores will surely be running around hunting for squirrels, going cannibal, and chowing down on canned cocktail weenies." [via BoingBoing]
Other sites pick up the message
"BoingBoing, a directory of wonderful things, posted this a few days ago and received a plethora of feedback, including gems like, "there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no vegans in tsunamis" and "I'll be eating vegetarians to get my protein source.
"So, vegetarians/vegans, would you eat meat as a last resort."
BuzzFeed joined the survival media barrage on January 11. BuzzFeed promises, "The web is a 24/7 popularity contest. We help the good stuff win." Each weekday the site publishes ten stories that they perceive as the most popular because they are creating the most buzz. Their "Food Buzz" says, "The end is nigh, and vegetarians can prepare accordingly. Of course, if the apocalypse does happen, we carnivores will probably eat the veg-heads, anyway."
Anyone reading these blogs might assume that the "Vegetarian Survival Kit" was a new Vegetarians in Paradise page, but in actuality it was exactly two years old at the time of this web blitz.
How it all started
We received permission from authors Jon and Robin Robertson to reprint a short list of disaster suggestions from their book Apocalypse Chow. The page debuted in January 2006 and averages approximately 2000 hits a month. Since then we have added other suggestions offered by our readers. Ironically, the page is being treated as though it were something new even though it's been on the internet for two years.
Following the BoingBoing posting, the survival article received the equivalent of three months' hits in less than a week. Normally, the "Vegetarian Survival Kit" averages 2000 hits a month. On the first day (January 8) 2857 people accessed the page and by January 15 that number had risen to 6,154.
What we didn't expect is that the "Vegetarian Survival Kit" would bring so many veg haters out from under the rocks and out of the woodwork, but then again we realize that vegetarians often encounter negativity in our society.
As vegans, we have managed to maintain our sense of humor while we read all those "snarky" comments. We just want to add that we are not interested in being anybody's lunch. They have to be quite desperate to take a bite out of either of us.