Archive for February, 2011

Oprah Goes Vegan(ish)…Again

February 2nd, 2011

So the time rolls around again and I hear the talk of the upcoming event, Oprah is doing another show on veganism. The Twitter is aflutter and people just can’t rock their socks loud enough to get the word out. Now listen people, Oprah isn’t going vegan. Don’t get so excited to think that the Queen of Materialism is about to put a Vita-Mix and a lifetime supply of Earth Balance under the seat of everyone in her audience and spew forth the news that she will shed her life of all animal meat edibles. No, I’m so sorry to say that won’t happen, nor did it. These are just some quick thoughts on the show that I have.

Yes I watched the show, reluctantly and only to prove to myself that I was right. All I saw was a TV show skimp over an issue while sugar coating everything, “Oh, yes it isn’t easy.”, “We’re only doing it for one week but we’ll make it with these food replacements.”, “No, they don’t taste good.” Enough! First, if you want to show the virtues of a vegan diet, and diet was all you touched as veganism is so much more, if you want to show how great a vegan diet can be get off the processed fake meat replacements!

When a woman pushed the point of having eggs as long as they are from “happy hens”, Oprah’s guest Kathy Freston, a self-proclaimed “veganist” said yes, sure. Now, I’m all for allowing whomever to eat whatever they choose but if you’re calling yourself a “veganist” the least you could do is serve up so well-intentioned facts on why one shouldn’t eat those eggs. Opportunity missed. At the end of the show Freston goes through Whole Foods promoting every processed and prepackaged food she can get her hands on. Apparently, she doesn’t care about how delicious and nutritious fresh veggies are and how absolutely easy the are to prepare. I’ll go out on a limb and say Kathy Freston is as fake a vegan as the fake meats she pushed.

Michael Pollan, who only serves to cuddle the guilt-ridden meat eater and pat them on the back all the while telling them thier corpse ingestion is not the greatest thing but a little bit two or three times a week is OK, seemingly tells the audience that eat all the meat you want as long as it’s from Cargill as they have the cleanest factory farms and slaughter-machines in the nation.

As far as taking people into a slaughterhouse and showing what happens to the cow pre-steak that’s great. I think everyone should see that but that entire segment seemed to show reasons why it was OK to eat meat. Is Oprah scared of the meat industry now after her run ins a few years back? Michael Pollan did nothing but say what a great job Cargill does and stroke the executive sitting next to him.

There are vegans that think this was great publicity and getting the vegan word to the masses. It was the wrong message. This did nothing for veganism as the vegan message was toned down through the course of the show from full vegan diet to eating meat to 2-3 times a week, to vegan-ish (whatever that is) and finally just settling on Meatless Mondays. This was not a show on veganism as much as it was a show on a diet leaning toward plant-based. Veganism is about so much more than food, don’t count on Oprah to ever understand that.

In the end the episode did more to show reasons why your SHOULD eat meat than reasons to adopt a vegan diet, not to mention the vegan lifestyle it didn’t even touch on.  From allowing, and agreeing, that Cargill puts out a good product, animals get a dignified death and vegan food doesn’t taste good as shown by staffers in line at the Harpo cafeteria eating processed junk the loud message was “meat is OK”.

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts? Were you a meat eater that has been transformed by this? Are you a vegan who thinks there is potential in what Oprah does for veganism? Let me know, agree or disagree I would love to hear from you.

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