My colleagues and I were sitting around the lunch table today debriefing the results of the Midterm elections. What this inevitably led to was a mini rant session of all the stupid things that we hear people say that drive us crazy. One of my colleagues complained about people who talk about how evil corporations are… even as they are browsing apps on their iPhones or using their MacBooks or listening to music or podcasts with their AirPods (oh, hey, Apple!). Another colleague talked about how her boyfriend’s friend and his girlfriend look down on dogs that are not “pure bred” or of a “fancy mix.” Then another chimed in about, “If you want to be vegan, go ahead and be vegan. BUT HOW DOES BEING VEGAN EXCLUDE HONEY? IN THAT CASE, WHY DON’T YOU EXCLUDE ALL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES BECAUSE ALL PLANTS NEED POLLINATION?”
Once we get onto the topic of food, that’s when I really get revved up. People make up all kinds of random rules about what they will and will not eat as though they are somehow more sophisticated or “cultured” or well-thought-out than others for doing so. I still remember being appalled once when I heard someone say that she will eat eggs, but not with the eggs and yolks separated (so… scrambled only?!). I was actually mad when I heard another person say, “I only eat animals with four limbs.” Another former associate said: “I am allergic to bivalve” (why couldn’t you just stop your pretension and just say you cannot eat clams and muscles?!). Where do people come up with this shit? It’s just a sign that we are such a first-world, privileged country that we don’t even hear how moronic we sound when we say such senseless things like these. Our own privilege and resulting stupidity just blinds us when such dumb sentiments come out of our mouths. I most recently heard a friend say that she doesn’t eat “intelligent animals” when she says she doesn’t want to eat octopus. Okay, let’s keep it real here: all animals have some form of intelligence. Chickens can delay gratification for long periods of time. Sheep can recognize over 50 human faces and differentiate them. Pigs are probably one of the smartest animals that are commonly eaten in the United States: they are cognitively complex, can express a wide array of emotions, and are able to solve complex problems in the wild. So then, how do you arbitrarily decide that you will eat one intelligent animal over the other? I’m fine if you want to exclude all meat or animal products from your diet, or if you say you just don’t like the taste of beets or beef. But just don’t bullshit me and say something as hipster as “I don’t eat intelligent animals.” There is really nothing worse than hipster bullshit to kill a conversation.