When it comes to image, Obama’s got the same problem as vegans.

One day, Fox news says he’s a dictator bent on closing down churches, taking everyone’s money and forcing kindergarteners to watch gay porn and the next day, he’s a namby-pamby and the secret owner of a pink sweater.

Same with vegans: one day we’re overbearing assholes trying to take over the world, giving the vote to cows, pigs and chickens and forcing everyone else to eat nothing but tofu and spinach. And the next day, we’re yoga-fied, space-cadets in need of hospitalization due to protein deficiency.

A friend of mine, also an activist, asked me, “Why did you call your blog, Vicious Vegan?”

“Oh, it was because I wanted to try and make veganism seem more cool – less New Age hippie and more punk.” I said, off the top.

Actually, Vicious Vegan is a joke, poking fun at the idea of vegans as cruel sanctimonious fun-killers or as militant threats to people and property. It’s also poking fun at the idea of the 90-pound, aroma-therapy sniffing, lettuce-munching vegan air head.

So the mystery remains: what IS the most ideal “vegan image?” Wow, that is such a Guy Debord kind of question!

Don’t know Guy Debord? I don’t really know either, but from what I understand, the French philosopher argued that our whole society is based on image. Even when you fight the pressure to have an image – you’ve got one: “the person who fights having an image” or “the rebel.”

Hopeless, huh? Oh those depressing French!

Well, the image thing is kind of important, according to Nick Cooney who wrote the super book, “A Change of Heart” where he argues that activists embrace a kind of image flexibility. If you’re talking to a group of stuffy businesspeople, put on a suit or a nice dress, for godssakes! Banish “fuck” and “shit” from your vocab. If you’re, say leafleting at a Warp Tour concert, that cut-up black T-shirt should work fine and you can say “shit” all you want.

Cooney insists that activists best to avoid an “us versus them” scenario, if you possibly can. So far, that tactic hasn’t worked very well for Obama. Maybe vegans will have better luck ducking the negative images society has for us.

Right now, though, I better stop writing. I’m feeling weak from protein deficiency. I think I should lie down and eat some soy nuts before I faint.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


  1. Love the website Leslie. Keep up the good work. Grew up in North Oakland/Berkeley. Love the videos and direct action. Ethical vegan for 4.5 years now. Thanks for the great info & laughs. God, mankind is doomed isn’t it? Hopefully some of us will survive to rebuild : )

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