Warning: not going to talk about writing. This is Deep Thoughts with Beck.
So yesterday I witnessed a Twitter implosion. I don’t use Twitter very much; I’ll go real heavy for a day and then just disappear from it for months. I don’t have anything that interesting to say, I guess. My Twitter account is linked at the bottom of the site if you want to look at it, but it’s mostly just me trying to be funny and failing, or me trying to be smart and failing. Feel free to witness my failures.
Anyway, I follow Ricky Gervais on Twitter, because I love him. Yes, he’s obnoxious and yes, he can be very callous in his humor (although underlying that is thoughtfulness, which I think sometimes people miss). I like him because I like his dry delivery and even his awful, obnoxious laugh. I like him because he’s an atheist and he isn’t afraid to talk about it (I am also an atheist, and while I don’t mind people knowing, I don’t like getting into arguments about it). I like him because he’s an animal rights activist, and although I don’t talk about it much here, I am very much a proponent of animal rights. I love all creatures great and small. The ones that will eat me and the ones that will poison me to death and the ones that will maul me out of boredom. I don’t care.
Ricky is also a vegetarian. I am not. I do not eat the meat of mammals, but I do eat fish and birds. I’m slowing getting away from birds. I feel like I shouldn’t eat anything I wouldn’t kill myself. That’s sort of where I’m coming from with that. I love beef and I love pork, but I love cows and pigs more. Anyway.
Yesterday, Ricky shared a story about how the Danish government is planning to outlaw/did outlaw halal and kosher animal butchering. In case you don’t know, halal is a method of slaughter acceptable in Islam (i.e., Muslims can only eat meat that was butchered in accordance with halal), and kosher is the method of slaughter acceptable in Judaism (i.e., Jews can only eat meat butchered in accordance with kosher). The killing method is one part; there’s also blessings and bits that go on that I’m not familiar with. However, both involve slitting the animal’s throat without stunning it.
Ricky found this to be a victory for animal rights. However, an American dude who is Jewish got very angry with him. He pointed out that these types of laws discriminate pointedly and unfairly against Jews and Muslims. Ricky argued with him. And then Ricky’s followers descended upon the guy like piranhas. I wasn’t going to link to it because I didn’t want to add to the shit storm, but it looks like his account has been suspended. ???
It was outrageous. I engaged a little at first, without thinking as much as I could, but politely – saying hey, the law is the law, and animal cruelty is illegal, and inhumane slaughter is cruel. I got in a one-sided argument (i.e, a guy jumped down my throat when I didn’t understand a question, or something, and blocked me) but for the most part, people were on the side of the animals, and this fucking guy was just having a fucking meltdown.
But as the day went on and I checked back, I learned some things and did some thinking. Is any slaughter humane? Not really. You’re killing something. You can’t make it not hurt, and you can’t do it without taking a life. Is halal butchering worse than factory farming? No. Same for kosher butchering. Are there MORE humane ways to slaughter an animal? Surely. Does it matter? I don’t know. I suppose it matters greatly to the cow. I don’t eat pork or beef, but I know there are factory farms out there that treat their chickens and dairy cattle horribly. Do I have any room to talk? Should I even be eating dairy, knowing that cows are forcibly kept pregnant to produce milk? WTF am I even doing?
Also, Meltdown Guy is right. Although he kept going ALL DAY (I was shocked by his stamina; I’d have shut myself down hours earlier) and said some horrible things that I don’t agree with, he was right in that these kinds of laws, although not discriminatory on their face, will have a discriminatory result. The question is, do I care? I hate religion. I hate what it has done. I hate the way old, barbaric customs are maintained because it’s the way it’s always been done. But at the same time, I don’t begrudge another person’s right or desire to practice their religion as they see fit, as long as they don’t hurt anyone. Which brings us back to the original question – are they hurting anyone any more than a garden variety butcher? Is this really about saving animals or is it about hurting Muslims and Jews? Apparently Denmark has had a history in that regard, although I’m fuzzy on the details.
Another thing I learned is that there is a rogue contingent of alt-right vegans. Yes, white supremacists have a vegan branch. It relates to blood purity and moral purity and all that shit. Hitler loved animals. One of the ways the Nazis terrorized Jews was by demonizing their diet – demonizing kosher.
Vladimir Putin loves animals.
It gets your mind churning about people who seem to love animals more than they love other humans.
Let’s be real – humans are garbage and dogs are the most wonderful thing on earth. I prefer the company of animals to the company of other people, sometimes. My volunteer time is devoted to shelter dogs, not people. I donate to animal welfare organizations. Reading about all this, I was like, “OMFG AM I PUTIN”.
But we still have to take care of each other – human and non-human animals alike. Humans are animals, after all. The way people on Twitter were speaking to this man was fucking disgusting. He was called several derogatory terms for Jews that I will not repeat here; he was told to kill himself; the usual internet bullshit. People made holocaust “jokes”. That shit is not acceptable. It’s 2018. Why is this fucking happening? I mean, seriously? And before anyone gets all “it’s the Internet, what rock you been hiding under, Beck” I fucking know that. The Internet is where good taste and principles go to die. But I really, really wish that were not the case.
This man was told by a lot of well-meaning people who got swept up in things that he was wrong (myself included), but the polite words were washed out by the savage ones, and was he really wrong? Regardless, he was threatened. His family was threatened. People tried to dox him.
But he stuck to his guns. He turned nasty himself. He was rude and angry and mean and bitter. He said a lot of things that I strenuously disagree with.
But can you blame him? I can’t.
Gervais, for his part, tried to call everybody off, but it was too late – the damage was done. This guy is a business owner and a father and he stood up for what he believed in to the Internet Horde and now what for him?
It was really gross and it left me with a bad taste and an unsettled self. Even setting aside all the soul searching I still have to do about using animals for food and about butchering.
Be fucking nice to each other. I’m talking to me, too. Jesus Christ. You only get one life.
To that dude… I hope everything calms down.
To Ricky… research and thought go a long way.
To me… same.