On Responding to Jokes that Feature Animal Abuse
Here's the problem: A friend doesn't respect my veganism. My evidence? She jokes about it. She jokes about eating animals. And then I get this . . .
Here's something to think about.
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and
exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing 'fairly well' for my age. (I
just turned 57.)
A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him,
"Do you think I'll live to be 80?"
He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?"
"Oh no," I replied. "I'm not doing drugs, either!"
Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"
I said, "Not much…. my former doctor said that all red meat is very
"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf,
sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"
"No, I don't.", I said.
He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"
"No.", I said.
He looked at me and said, "Then, why do you even give a shit?"
Yes, we all get it. What good is life if you're not taking advantage of all it has to offer.
But I don't see it that way. My goal is to be the best human I can be and make the world a better place and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
It's alien to me to view life as about my own pleasure primarily, and I guess that's where this particular friend and I differ.
I'm fairly sure that if I raise this topic it won't go over well, and outside of this issue there are no problems, but it's a big one for me. Though I don't ever equate veganism with religion, let's just say I were a practicing Orthodox Jew (is practicing Orthodox redundant?). Would anyone (particularly a non-Jew) ever think it's acceptable to tell me jokes that featured mockery of my beliefs? Do I just have no sense of humor? Should I be laughing?
Why is veganism . . . let me rephrase . . . Why is the torture and slaughter of sentient nonhumans to satisfy one's taste buds so easily made into a joke by some people?
(She recently joked that Charles' tail would make a tasty soup–which I actually saw as progress because a "pet" was being viewed as food and that's usually taboo.) It might be true that first unconventional ideas are ignored, then mocked and ridiculed, then finally accepted, but the mockery part can be very disappointing at times. Particularly when it comes from a friend . . . who's a veterinarian.