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 The Fake Face of Activism

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emphryio



Posts : 71
Join date : 2009-05-11

PostSubject: The Fake Face of Activism   Thu 18 Jun 2009, 10:16 pm

http://www.veganoutreach.org/articles/youngmatt.html
Regrettably, the “angry vegan” image is based in reality – thanks young Matt! My self-righteousness gave many people a lifetime excuse to ignore the hidden realities of factory farms.

Again, I want to point out that as a reaction to what goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses, revulsion and fury are entirely justified. Although understandable, being ruled by our rage does little to help animals and move society towards being more compassionate. If we take suffering seriously, we must deal with our anger in a constructive way.

It is not enough to be a vegan, or even a dedicated vegan advocate. If we want to maximize the amount of suffering we can prevent, we must actively be the opposite of the vegan stereotype. The animals can’t wait until we get over our despair. We must learn “how to win friends and influence people.” Regardless of the sorrow and outrage we may understandably feel, we must show everyone we meet that we are a joyful person leading a fulfilling and meaningful life.....

If I claim that I can’t be happy because of the suffering in the world, I am saying I am not in control of my own life. If I can’t be happy as a vegan, how can I expect others to be interested in veganism? Just as we want everyone to look beyond the short-term satisfaction of following habits and traditions, we need to move past our anger to the meaningful action of optimal advocacy.


I think this is a problem of most activist movements; that they think they have to slap a happy face on. It's the fake face of activism where everyone pretends they're like the Brady Bunch. They must make sure they're not dismissed as unhappy and thus just some person with issues, they must make sure they're not dismissed as some fringe weirdo. And so except for some pet cause like veganism and/or socialism, etc, they try to show how utterly "normal" they are, well adapted and happy, happy, happy in this great little society we've cooked up.

It's very very rare, (and that's why I bothered to point it out) that someone actually comes out and openly asserts the need to do exactly that. Few people actually come out and say it. But I wonder how many along with Matt Ball are doing it?

It's not a good thing to be doing; feeling it's not enough that you're vegan, now you're constantly on show, constantly doing a good or bad job representing veganism. Spending your life worried what 'norms' think of you, thus letting them control who you are is not a good thing.

This isn't to say one should be like this person was in their early years either of course. But I do think someone should really address such issues; that indeed, as a vegan living in the world today, there IS a lot of reason to feel alienated and isolated (I guess unless you're living in a large city running a major vegan organization, then apparently you know thousands of vegans.) But I don't see anyone doing so. Probably because at heart people are doing to an extent what this guy is openly asserting.

I don't believe vegans or any other minority belief should be full of anger, etc, but squashing it down for the sake of presenting the proper (dishonest) image is hardly a good idea. Instead what one has to do is learn to better understand others. Understand why they don't share such a level of compassion, etc. It would be good if we tried to help one another cope better with being such a minority instead of doing what is being advocated here in this passage from Ball's article.

None of this of course is meant as any kind of attack on Vegan Outreach. They seem to be a pretty good organization.
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