Saturday, March 18, 2006

faux everything

Today in my environmental science class my professor passed around a catalog from some company that sells faux furs. Fairly gross. Somehow this was connected to a discussion about biodiversity, extinction, and ecosystems, but it is a Saturday morning class and I was having a particularly difficult time focusing this morning, so it's really anybody's guess.

Had I been more on point I might have noticed that she didn't mention what the furs are made of, and maybe I would have asked myself. I've heard reports that some companies in China have used furs from cats, dogs, and rabbits (or, if it helps to drive the point home, kitties, puppies, and bunnies) and sold them to Western wholesalers as faux fur. Maybe that's not true, in which case I still have to wonder how these things are produced and the impact they have on the environment.

More than anything, though, I found them disgusting, and finally understood the argument from vegans and vegetarians who don't enjoy fake meat. Granted, I came home and ate some Health is Wealth buffalo wings, dipped in fake mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, but still, for that split second, I felt I understood.

What's amusing is that the professor is herself a vegetarian (although I did see her eating some fruit snacks that I'm almost certain contain gelatin, so I judged her snidely in my head and made a mental note to call her out anonymously on the internet - done and done), so she talked a bit about PETA and the practice of throwing red paint on furs, and how someone wearing a fake fur coat might still be at risk.

I had just gotten done explaining my reasoning for being vegan to someone in our class during a short break. This is always a little dicey, I find, and so I tend to oversimplify and take on a sort of matter-of-fact tone that hopefully dissuades any judgement and defensiveness without making me come off as a self-righteous prick. Today I think I said something about having decided that I didn't want anything to have to suffer for my food.

I got to thinking about the red paint, then. And don't get me wrong, I've been known to yell some things to people in fur coats while biking past, particularly in Chicago during the holidays (almost as much anonymity as the internet provides), but in a sense it seems kind of ridiculous to me to cause the suffering of the wearer of the coat in order to stop the suffering of the animals.

It isn't that I don't understand the impulse, because I most definitely do, and there was a time when I could have easily been persuaded to take part in such activities, but I kind of think there must be another way.

Maybe that isn't very surly, and maybe it's no secret that I identify much more strongly as a vegan than I do as an animal rights activist, but that's where I'm at. Maybe I should start another blog about the activism of multicultural education and school reform, but I'd probably want to swear a lot and shoot my credibility all to shit as an educator, so I guess we're all stuck with this half-assed blog instead.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the issue of red paint is really one of strategy, much like your earlier conversation about the efficacy of tactics used by animal rights activists. if you threw red paint on the fur coat of some rich lady and yelled some obscene thing at her, i'm going to guess that she'd walk away with a sense of righteous indignation, believing herself a victim. they say persecution deepens conviction, and i'm inclined to believe it. so this lady buys another coat, and you've done the cause of animal rights no good.

what if, instead of throwing red paint on her, you applied the same amount of energy to animal rights education efforts in your community? sure, it might not be as gratifying as seeing a fur coat detroyed before your very eyes, but it will do more to dissuade someone from buying fur than the polarizing red-paint tactic.

10:20 AM  
Blogger veganerd said...

maybe true maybe not. but what if everytime the lady went into public with a fur coat she had paint thrown on her? would she keep buying them? it wouldnt take many before she quit. not quite as satisfing as changing her mind would be but just as effective.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is stupid...the whole thing is stupid. animals are not pearsons you idot! they have no right to live. if i need there fur, i can take it...to hell with them, they have surved a purpose...there mommy and daddy rabitts should be proud of junior for his sacrafice. animals surve a purpose for us! don't be a dumbass!

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grow up...your community colledge education shows how stupid all of you really are! Bye!!!

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way...if you can't take the heat...get out of the kitchen...or should i say foundue sauce for your vegie sensabilities.

3:31 PM  
Blogger the surly vegan said...

i think my roommate is fucking with me a little bit. he can't spell. then again, neither can my friend the zen priest, who might also be fucking with me. or it could be a friend from school, he's a math major, and lord knows they don't know shit about spelling.

as to the first anonymous content, though, i agree wholeheartedly, except for with the part where it sounds like you think that this isn't what i was already suggesting, because it was. perhaps my expository skills are suffering.

veganerd: just as effective in the short term, which is why i disagree with this line of strategy. in my mind, it takes too narrow a view. somehow this ground we're treading seems familiar to me.

everyone: perhaps we can all agree, faux fur is gross. throw morals and ethics out the window for a moment, it's just gross on its own.

8:37 PM  
Blogger the surly vegan said...

er, the first anonymous COMMENT, not content.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oblviously you don't know which word to use..."content"...dislexic dumbass! what, they don't teach you volcabulary in community colledge? i see that you still have not responded to my claims, running scaird aren't you?
"as to the first anonymous content, though, i agree wholeheartedly, except for with the part where it sounds like you think that this isn't what i was already suggesting, because it was. perhaps my expository skills are suffering." what the hell are you talking about?
this is the problem with animal rights activists...they are emotional ritards. if you can't see that animals are to be used as tools for us then you should shut you goofy pie-hole! hipocrate! don't you know that because of your selfishness animals do not have a place to live because of the apartment you live in. if you were true to your dumb cause you wood live in the woods like a freekin moran! see how stupid your logic is you dumb turd! but i know that you will not answer me because you are sciared. you are all just another of my mental-midgets...so please stop using up my valuable air by speaking these obsurdities.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way...faux fur is stupid. i don't want fake crap. i would rather beat the animal down and use its fur and be warm than wast other resorces on fake crap. i think that we can just let the bunnies make more babies and stop whining about it all.

3:53 PM  
Blogger the surly vegan said...

SHOW YOURSELF!

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you talking about, "show yourself"? what, are you stupid...it is a computer, i can't show myself! or are you asking for a photo...i don't think so! you sick pervert. you might get off on anamals but your not going to do that while looking at me. just answer my questions and quit dodging. you MUST be some fourteen yearold ritard!

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, did i shut down your shittie little blog? no response from the anamal-lover. you see, that is the problemn with you people, you can preach to the choir but once when a real edgucated pearson writes, you run away like a moran! be a man and respond to my claims, or just admit that you are stupid! either way, everyone can see that you are talking crap!

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...............................................hello?...................................................................................................................................anyonethere?..............................................................................................i guess not.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Ainsley Wiles said...

Ok, what I want to know is what fake fur has to do with environmental science? I can maybe understand if there is mention of the pollutants associated with the manufacture of the synthetics involved with making the fake fur, but not in the context of the blog. By the way I have no problem with your reasons for being a vegan. It's all too easy to buy the prepackaged sanitized meat products at the store and not think about how they got there.

6:56 PM  
Blogger the surly vegan said...

yeah, i'm not actually sure what the connection was. the class meets (met, actually, today was the last one) on saturday mornings from nine until one, so it's anybody's guess whatever went on there.

i do know that we talked at times in that class about how raising animals for human consumption is maybe not the most environmentally sound route, and really, sometimes the professor liked to look at issues from all sides, pointing out different controversies and perspectives and whatnot.

but yeah, i can't remember.

certainly my reasoning, as mentioned before, would be that the synthetics might do more harm to the environment than they assuage, but that wasn't your question as i understood it.

9:38 PM  

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