I recently lost a friend over a Facebook post.
Background: lately, I’ve been finding the non-vegan New Atheist crowd, the Dawkins worshippers, to be particularly grating. They do fist pumps while chanting “Science, bro”, but they are completely clueless about science and wouldn’t know good science if it bit them in the ass. They just hate religious people and have now found a socially acceptable outlet for their contempt. But they don’t feel the need to use logic themselves–if they did, they’d be vegan. Bleah.
Anyway, they annoy me. And there are at least two that I know of who are Facebook friends. So I posted something along the lines of, if you believe so profoundly in logical thought and rationality, then why aren’t you vegan? If you think animals matter morally, logic dictates that you not exploit them.
The silence from my New Atheist Facebook friends was deafening.
But one friend of mine, who is not a New Atheist, came on to the thread and told me that she thought I should be worried about coming across as angry and bitter (non-vegans seem to be quite limited in terms of adjectives to use to describe vegans) and that I ought to stop making such posts to the small group of Facebook friends I have and take my thoughts instead to a blog (HA!), write to newspapers, and sign single-issue petitions.
Unsolicited advice is one thing, and bad enough at that, but unsolicited advice that doesn’t even make any sense is truly awful. This friend is not vegan. Neither is she an advocate of…anything, really. She has not read the work of Gary Francione or other influential writers of vegan theory. In fact, she knows nothing about vegan theory, because she’s never actually asked me about it.
Despite this, I took her “concern” to heart, sincerely. I went back over four years of Facebook posts to see if there was any merit to this idea that I am somehow coming across as angry and bitter.
I could not find anything to substantiate that (other than calling hipster locavores “stupid”, and I kinda stand by that, actually).
I think that people choose to read my posts from a very defensive place. They don’t like what I’m saying about veganism and animal rights, and they sure as hell don’t want to change their lives at all, so they discredit me by writing me off as (take your pick from any of the following–I’ve been called all of them at least once):
The thing is, I’ve never had any of that in my heart when I’ve created posts on Facebook (I come here to rant, ha ha!). So I am always baffled that people see me in that light….until I realized that it’s not me, it’s them. If someone is saying something that taps into your personal guilt, you react in a certain way. Calling them any of the above is part of that–it makes you feel better about not doing what they are doing, even if you know what they are doing is right and what you are doing is wrong. Human psychology is a funny thing.
And I tried to explain to this friend where I was coming from, why I post the way I do, how single-issue campaigns are a waste of time, how I have actually written to newspapers and I do actually have a blog–I had to defend myself to a friend. Why does it seem like I am forever defending myself to people I consider friends? Whatever happened to just….I dunno….accepting someone?
Anyway, I’m sad to have lost someone I cared about and who I thought cared about me, but I’m not changing who I am to suit someone else. The animals need me.