There Is Nothing Pretentious About Being a Vegan
A couple of days ago, I received a very angry email from someone in reference to an article I wrote about a restaurant. In the article, I mentioned that I wasn’t a huge fan of eating in pretentious restaurants. I also mentioned that I am a vegan. This did not sit well with the young man who emailed me. “You’re going to make fun of people for being pretentious when you’re a fucking vegan?” he wrote. “Fuck off.”
I went back and looked at the comments on the post in question. He was not alone in his sentiment.
One commenter, a man named Dante Thompson, told me that I was a “dick” for ordering vegan food. He also called me a “fucking hipster.”
Another guy named Riley Ulrich wrote, “You are a fucking piece if [sic] shit and you should be fired. Everybody hates you.”
The implication that I am a pretentious eater is odd to me. Above is an image of what I had for lunch today. A slightly miserable-looking faux-meatball sub. For breakfast, I had Doritos. For dinner, I intend to go to Taco Bell. Animal products aside, I eat like a particularly fussy child (or, at the very least, an adult skateboarder).
When I hit my 20s, I started trying to eat a salad or some other such healthy bullshit for at least one meal a day, because that feels like something a grown-up should do. But my heart isn’t in it. In an ideal world, I would eat pretty much nothing but meat and cheese served in or on some kind of gray carbohydrate.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where the best-tasting kind of foods are literally made from death and suffering.
This is why I don’t eat meat or animal products. Because meat and animal products are a giant fucking bummer. I don’t need to tell you where your meat and dairy come from, because you’ve already seen it. And you know it looks like a fucking miserable nightmare of seared-off beaks, bolts through brains, and twitching corpses on dirty floors.
And we can all agree it’s miserable, right? Regardless of whether or not you consume the end products of the meat and dairy industries, surely we can all admit that mass, industrialized death is not all that nice? There’s a bunch of other stuff I could go into here about greenhouse gases caused by the meat industry, or contaminated water run-off, or meat causing colon cancer. But that would be dishonest, because I didn’t consider any of that stuff when deciding to become a vegan.
I’m not saying that, because I try to avoid hurting animals, I’m somehow more ethical than you. Nobody is ethical. Humans are cancer. Everything would be better off if we were all dead. I’m typing this on a fossil-fuel-powered laptop that contains conflict minerals and was, I assume, manufactured in conditions that look vastly different from the conditions that I am working in right now.
I’m also wearing a shirt that cost $6. I’m not totally sure how it was manufactured, shipped to the US, and sold to me, but I’d imagine someone is getting shit on pretty heavily somewhere along the chain if the whole thing cost $6. And how awful is that? I’m wearing a shirt that probably made multiple humans miserable as it was being created, and almost certainly harmed the planet in a fairly major way, and I don’t even know where it came from or how it was made. There is no way of living in the modern world without doing morally reprehensible things on a daily basis.
What I’m trying to say is that I am a piece of shit. And so are you. And I don’t care what you eat. You can eat whatever, whenever, and however the fuck you want. As previously discussed, beyond the whole murder thing, I barely even give a shit what I eat. I definitely don’t have time to worry about what you put in your mouth.
Austin is like the safety school of life.
— Reasons Why Austin Is the Worst Place Ever
Reasons Why Austin Is the Worst Place Ever
I am a resident of Austin, Texas.
Perhaps you’ve heard of us. We seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately. Everyone’s investing in Austin, everyone’s excited about Austin. It’s the live music capital of the world, it’s on the cover of travel magazines, business magazines, and food magazines. It’s simply the place to be.
Well, fuck that. I’ve lived in Austin long enough to know that this city can drive you fucking crazy. It’s a sweltering, congested sub-metropolis full of slack-asses and yuppies who simultaneously take themselves too seriously and not seriously enough. It’s a place where spending $11 on a sandwich is considered a societal good. It’s a place where entitled people claim ownership on everything.
Austin is a place where bad people move. People in Austin actually believe they invented the breakfast taco. People in Austin will tell a Mexican family who has lived on the same street for generations that they’re doing their best to “save the neighborhood.”
If that’s not enough, here are some more reasons Austin sucks.
The Yuppiness Is so Chronic it Borders on Self-Parody
The following is an actual exchange I had with somebody in Austin not too long ago:
“We have to go to that place, they have whiskey-infused bacon!”
“Whiskey-infused bacon! That’s so cool!”
“But like why? Why is that cool? How is that more than just a thing? Why should I be excited that some dude made bacon and left it in a bottle of whiskey?”
“Come on, don’t be a party pooper.”
There are so many “crazy” and “awesome” things in Austin! The taco cannon! The moustache competition! The pun-off! Everyone is really excited about all of these things. People are very excited to see horribly self-involved white people tell puns at a bar. That’s something you do in Austin, that’s part of the scene. Why do you go to the pun-off? Because it fits a certain collection of circumstances and idealized cultural values that supposedly makes Austin what it is. By virtue of its own perceived audacity, a pun-off, whiskey-infused bacon, or a ratball bad taco somehow becomes really cool.
But you’re not keeping Austin weird. You’re engaging in this fake, utterly distasteful blend of irony and feigned enthusiasm that will eventually cause the city to self-implode under the density of its own facetiousness. Soon you won’t be able to identify a single genuine emotion within its borders. You don’t actually care about whiskey-infused bacon. You don’t give a shit about whiskey-infused bacon. You’re pretending to, because that’s what keeps the whole city from feeling like a big lie.
Heil Hipster: German Nipsters (Neo-Nazi Hipsters) Are Trying to Put a Stylish Face on Hate
This winter, the German media came up with a new term, “nipster,” to describe the trend of people dressing like Brooklyn hipsters at Nazi events. Experts have noted that the German neo-Nazi presence on Tumblr and other social networking sites has become sleeker and more sophisticated. Neo-Nazi clothing has become more stylish and difficult to recognize. There’s even a vegan Nazi cooking show. “If the definition of the nipster is someone who can live in the mainstream, then I see it as the future of the movement.”
Gone Fishing to Escape Gentrification
Moving to New Orleans from Florida in 2000 seemed a really sketchy thing to do at the time. Plenty of my old friends had gotten the hell out of the Sunshine State, but none of them had moved to the South’s murder capital. I figured the city’s vibrant music culture and cheap rents (the key to personal freedom) made it a risk worth taking, and New Orleans looked like the perfect place to hide out as the rest of America marched forward into the corporate maw.
Alas, in the last few years New Orleans has fallen victim to the same kind of gentrification afflicting every other “cool” city. Waves of relatively well-off, seemingly rootless young people have flooded in and co-opted and perverted and “improved” everything from the rents to the cuisine. The trendier parts of New Orleans now feel like Austin, which is to say a bit like Brooklyn, or Portland or… you get the idea. Invited here by politicians and other opportunistic natives, money and its attendant cultural trappings have more or less killed our blessed isolation and, in turn, a bit of the romance of living here. Where New Orleans’s landscape was not long ago dotted with beautiful, naturally occurring acts of originality by many different races, nowadays you can’t throw a gluten-free small-plate entrée without hitting a young, healthy, upwardly mobile person intent on creating something “cool.”
In times like these I’m thankful that fishing will never be cool.
Talking to Berlin’s Hipster Defense Squad
Berlin is often hailed as a mecca for ex-pats and creative types fed up with New York and its stratospheric cost of living. Now, as hordes of graphic designers and writers have begun gentrifying the city, locals have started a concerted attack on members of the German capital’s young “creative class,” who are being blamed by natives for the rising property prices. Bar owners have started anti-hipster viral campaigns, and some locals have begunopenly calling for physical violence to be visited upon the invading hordes.
A group called Hipster Antifa Neukölln have formed to counter this rhetoric, using slogans such as “Tourists, hipsters, everybody is welcome—party like it’s 1945.” Speaking from Berlin, Hipster Antifa’s spokesperson Jannek, explained why his group is doing what they’re doing and why gentrification is a global phenomenon that needs to be seen in a new context.
VICE: When did Hipster Antifa Neukölln start?
Jannek: I guess it began about two years ago when anti-hipster and anti-tourist graffiti started appearing around the city. What was being written just seemed too serious to be a joke, so we decided to make a Facebook page and start a counter-offensive. We had a good idea of who was behind this, and we wanted to criticize them and make people aware of what’s going on.
What sort of graffiti?
Stuff like, “Tourists go home!” and “Kill all the hipsters!”… that sort of thing. There was so much of it. A lot of people thought it was just a joke, but then in the summer of 2011, there were a lot of anti-hipster attacks and there were more and more incidents of people getting thrown out of bars for dressing like a hipster. Some bar owners even started putting signs up in their windows saying “No Hipsters, No Tourists”, stuff like that. Things started to boil over, to get really nasty. That’s when we decided to do something about it. We just thought, ‘Berlin should not be this way.’ And we wanted to know why people were doing this. My friends all had a background in left-wing activism and anti-fascist movements, and we kind of knew that the people writing this anti-hipster graffiti were also from a leftist background. Their idea about gentrification is that it’s the fault of tourists, which is a very simple-minded explanation. So we decided to found a group to defend ourselves.
Your Baby Is Worthless if It Isn’t a DJ
Hey, how’s your baby doin’? What kind of music is it listening to? Kidz Bop? The Wiggles? Fuckin’ Raffi and shit? Well, that might be fine for some people’s kids—if they want them to crawl through life without taste or musical development. If you really loved your baby, you’d be dropping $200 to send it to Baby DJ School.
The school was started up in September by Natalie Elizabeth Weiss, a composer and DJ from Brooklyn who has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem and the Dirty Projectors and was recently a fellow with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She’s willing to teach tykes as young as three months old about “the wonderful worlds of electro, hip-hop, and house,” according to her press release, which also promises that “little ones will be introduced to playing and handling records, mixing and matching beats, and creating fun and funky samples using modern DJ equipment.”
Parisians’ Love Affair with Hipster Brooklyn
Before I moved to Paris three years ago, although I’d already been to the city and was lucky enough to call French my second language, I still held more than a few romantic preconceived notions. Every metropolis has a set of stereotypes linked to it, and Paris exists in many people’s minds as a charming, luxurious, timeless hub of style and sophistication—in fact, so many people expect the City of Light to be what they want it to be that the reality has rendered some tourists physically sick with disappointment. But just as Paris is idealized by foreigners, Parisians hold oversimplified version of American cities in their heads as well. While we may look at Paris as a sparkling labyrinth of cigarettes and pastel macarons, Parisians look at us with the same Vaseline on the lens—especially when it comes to New York.
Manhattan has always been an object of desire and intimidation for the French, but more recently Brooklyn has been added to the list of boroughs worth idolizing. While what it “means” to be a young Brooklynite may have been discussed and re-discussed in the States until it has lost all meaning (at this point, if you live in north Brooklyn you’re lucky if the New York Times hasn’t done a trend piece focused on your block) it’s easy to forget that are many places where this kudzu of nebulous social indicators has only just begun to lay its delicate roots.
A Self-Proclaimed “Black Hipster Juggalo” Explains Himself
I saw Insane Clown Posse perform at the Oakland Metro Opera House recently and believe it or not, I had a good fucking time. It was nice to be around people going crazy and having fun without preening or being concerned with worrying about whether they were having the right kind of fun or if they were being judged. Everyone was getting wasted, dancing, and socializing. It was a refreshing change compared to the shows I usually go to, where apathetic people trying their best to avoid talking to one another.
Holy shit, I thought to myself, maybe I can be a Juggalo. Then Violent J announced to his minions, “Last night there was way more titties in the crowd. You ladies got to step it up. Show some titties.” Well, let me think this over some more.