Nathan Winograd Takes the Vegan Low Road

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Being vegan has one major downside: the frequent circumstance that things that matter a great deal to us, will matter profoundly and dishearteningly less to others.  And it’s really difficult to see this as anything other than a spectacular failure on our part, so many of us wade through work, and family, and love wearing our missionary boots, treating each and every new human interaction as though it’s our job in life to convert, rather than to simply–participate.

So, I’ve been trying really hard to find the beauty in Nathan Winograd’s recent Facebook post, where he champions the moral relevance of bugs, and thoughtfully explains the perils of sticky-tape as they pertain to their delicate and distal insect aspects.  Could it be that he is finally strapping on his missionary boots?

And isn’t there beauty to be found the eighty-eight or so readers who agree with him that we’re all just a little bit better than thoughtlessly gluing butterflies to our yard-sale signs, and using pest remedies that leave thousands of ants alone, befuddled, and starved?  Shouldn’t we all try to save bugs–if it’s as easy as keeping our kitchen counters clean and purchasing new staple guns?  For the past month or so, a spider has been living just east of where I hang my wash cloth—by our mutual agreement–so why can’t I celebrate that Nathan Winograd is finally bringing her (yes, I know that she’s a “her”) into a discussion about moral relevancy?

Perhaps the better question is why is Nathan Winograd choosing to train his magnifying glass on insects, just days before his fifteen-thousand-strong readership will be arm-deep in the hulls of dead turkeys. And that is in no way meant to be a commentary on the moral relevance of one group of animals over another. It is meant to be a commentary on Nathan Winograd’s clear lack of vegan fortitude, given the audience he has, and his self-professed commitment to saving animals.

Think about it.  Who wouldn’t rather draw that straw?  When it comes to ethics battles, reminding a species that generally doesn’t want to be introduced to its conscience that ovens are not particularly great places for turkeys to be, is considerably more challenging than launching an offensive against duct tape. Discussing the compassionate use of fasteners doesn’t challenge anyone’s civility. It doesn’t ask anyone to rewrite their social destiny. It doesn’t require anyone to redefine who they think they are.

So this year, while most vegans will be ushering in the Holiday Season engaging in the fundamentally unpleasant task of inserting our beliefs and our Tofurkeys where they may or not be wanted and fearing just a little bit for our lives, Nathan Winograd is taking on–tape.

Plato described the concepts of beauty and art this way: real beauty reflects truth, and art is a deceptive imitation of nature.  There is nothing beautiful about Nathan Winograd’s choosing the vegan low road, while so many of us are still reeling fromMercy for Animals’ recent release of their undercover Butterball investigation.  But it’s a detail about who he might be, and I think it’s a telling one.  No worries, though.  I’m pretty sure we’ve got this one without him.