September 25th, 2005

On flexitarianism

I dislike the word "flexitarian" but I don't object to the concept. I appreciate the fact that people are realizing that limiting meat is a healthy and ethical decision. Obviously, fewer animals will suffer as people continue to cut down on their meat and dairy consumption and that can be nothing but good news. I consider their diet different than an omnivorous one and I don't expect them to adhere to the wishes of some vegetarians and call themselves omnivores. Everyone has a right to define their diet. I also think that these people are the harbingers of the food revolution that will have to take place as we realize that we cannot sustain our meat laden diet and that we cannot consider ourselves an ethical society while we continue to treat sentient beings with such brutality. As the consciousness of America shifts to a more plant based diet I welcome these soybean eaters! these vegan cake bakers! these seitan kneaders! into our communities with open arms. My one hope is that we come up with a better moniker for them.

I prefer the word semi-vegetarian. The prefix "flexi" means something that is bendable which indicates that vegetarians are not bendable and may in fact have some sort of stick up their ass. "Flexi" connotes a wishy washiness and ambivalence. I envision a frizzy haired sufferer of dementia walking into a restaurant, half her clothes inside out and mismatched socks. "I'll have a veggie burger with mushrooms and let's see what else..." She twirls a sloppily manicured finger through her hair and looks up at the waiter hopefully, each eye traveling in a separate direction..."I think you mean a bacon double cheeseburger with faux grois mayo" the waiter offers. "Oh yes, yes that is it." She hands him the menu which is now inexplicably covered in lipstick marks and she proceeds to chew on the fake flowers on the table. The waiter gives a playful shake of his head, happy to be of help but wondering when these people will ever learn. As he punches in her order he looks over to her table where she has now jumped up on the table and is squatting like a monkey and banging her palms against either side of her head.

The prefix semi simply means partially. Someone who is conscious of their decision, someone who limits their meat and dairy. Maybe even someone who eats fish but no other kind of meat. I don't know the exact ratio of vegan vs. non vegan meals but I figure it would be significant enough to quantify labeling their diet semi-veg.

America will not likely go vegan any time soon, "flexitarianism" needs to be encouraged, it just needs a better word and possibly even a society of mutual aid, where they can keep each other in check and help each other to dress in the morning.