In developing this website, I’ve found that there are actually quite a few people who aren’t vegan. Weird, I know! Most of these folks are thoughtful, compassionate and great critical thinkers, so the only reason for them not to be vegan must be a lack of information. For these people, I decided to include some tips on how to be vegan, so they can get started right away.
“How to Be Vegan” Tip 4: Don’t Take a Joke. Ever. Unless it’s About Carnists. Also, Call Them “Carnists.”
Let’s face it: humor isn’t for vegans. I mean, sure, there are funny vegans (ahem) but we’re the exceptions that prove the rule. It’s not that vegans are incapable of having a sense of humor; there’s just so much cruelty in the world, that it’s hard to justify taking a selfish five-second break from advocacy to do something as frivolous as laughing. So, if someone makes a joke, don’t let the societal expectations of that situation make you feel like you have to laugh. You have other options: you can put your finger or hand up in a “stop right there” gesture and say “no;” you can just walk away; or you can stare blankly for a minute and then change the subject to something like kale chips, sad beagles in laboratories or how annoying “gluten free” people are. These are all viable alternatives to laughter. And if you “want” to laugh, remember that it’s only because you were indoctrinated into social norms like this from a very young age. Kind of like how carnists* (people who eat animals) were indoctrinated to disconnect their food choices from the animal cruelty they directly cause. You don’t want to be compared to them, do you?
Why is this Important?
There are so many variations when it comes to vegans. Some of us eat honey, and others don’t. Some of us gave away all our leather and down products immediately after seeing Earthlings, and others still wear and use them because the damage is already done. There are even people walking around calling themselves vegan but eating eggs from backyard chickens. With so many differences between us, it’s important for vegans to have at least one characteristic that applies to all of us. What better than all being completely humorless? This will help the carnists* recognize us, so they can prepare their “hilarious” comments about how tasty bacon is. And we’ll be ready for that. By leaving our humor at home with our twenty cats.
What are the Rewards?
- You won’t have those unsightly laugh lines when you get older.
- You’ll have fewer friends to have to make weekend plans with.
- Nobody will ever know you have spinach in your teeth.
- You’ll have something in common with Lorne Michaels. That guy never laughs.
What are the Challenges?
- Laughter is the best medicine (but vegans never, ever, ever get sick, so disregard this one).
- You’ll have one less thing in common with Jimmy Fallon. That guy laughs at everything.
Are there any Loopholes?
- Yes. Vegans are allowed to laugh at Vegan Sidekick’s comics. They’re funny without compromising their focus on how horribly sad the world is.
- Laughing at cat antics, including in online videos, is permitted, as long as nobody sees you.
*Carnist: A term coined by professor of psychology and sociology, Dr. Melanie Joy, to describe people who subscribe to “the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism; “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” denotes a belief system. Most people view eating animals as a given, rather than a choice; in meat-eating cultures around the world people typically don’t think about why they find the flesh of some animals disgusting and the flesh of other animals appetizing, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity for survival, as is the case in much of the world today, it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.” (from Melanie Joy’s www.carnism.com).