Vegetarianism in Pop Culture: June 2008


You’ll remember Morgan Spurlock from his movie Super Size Me, but you may have missed his very similar TV show, 30 Days.  On 30 Days, someone (occasionally Morgan) spends a month doing something completely foreign.  On the first episode of the third season, Morgan worked in a West Virginia coal mine for a month.  This week, a former pro football player lived life in a wheelchair.  You’ll want to set your DVR to record FX next Wednesday Tuesday night to catch a hunter’s attempt to live as a vegan for 30 days (installment 3).

The scenario sounds like something we’ve seen on awful shows like Wife Swap, but it’s made more interesting when you remember that Morgan is married to Chef Alex Jamieson, who is vegan (plug: I interviewed her in issue 10 of Herbivore).  I suspect that this, combined with Spurlock’s respectful and non-exploitative tone, should turn out to be relatively balanced, even if they do have the hunter protesting KFC in a chicken outfit.  During the 30 days, he lives with a PeTA staffer and spends time at the Animal Acres Sanctuary (the one run by Farm Sanctuary co-founder Laurie Bauston), even rescuing a calf from a factory farm operation.  Should be interesting.

Another show I’ve been watching is Last Comic Standing, an American Idol for stand-up comedians.  The first few weeks of this season have seen some really, really terrible vegetarian jokes.  They’ve all been really unoriginal or, worse, outright misinformed, like the woman who joked that eating lunch with her vegan friend was annoying because she’d order her tuna sandwich without mayo.

Her tuna sandwich?  Really?  And, no, I don’t think that was part of the joke.

Thankfully, this week there was a comedian who said he was dating a vegetarian.  “A real vegetarian,” he clarified.  “Because it’s amazing to me how many people claim to be vegetarian but then say something like, ‘But I eat a little chicken.’  I respond to them, ‘Oh, so you’re not a vegetarian, then.  You’re a liar.'”  Awesome.

I have no problem with jokes at our expense.  But for heaven’s sake, be original and informed.  There’s plenty that’s funny about us beyond the obvious stuff.

Lastly, Veg Blog reader Brian wrote to let me know about the comic strip Lio, which featured an animal liberation theme at the end of May.  You can read it starting here and going forward through May 30th.

Anyone else spot a veg references in pop culture this month?

7 Responses to “Vegetarianism in Pop Culture: June 2008”

  1. selina

    i love morgan spurlock. i wish i had the channel to watch that, but alas, all i have is the plain ol broadcast channels.

  2. Nikki

    This show sounds interesting. I’d also be interested in reading your interview in Herbivore – what issue was it?

  3. ryan

    Selina — you can also watch full episodes of 30 Days online for free (legally) at Hulu:

    Nikki — it was issue 10, the one with Isa on the cover.

  4. Sarah

    Oh great! Thanks for telling us about it, I will definitely be tuning in. For me though, the episode is airing on the 17th. Either way, very excited.

  5. Marcy

    Unfortunately the recent Carlos Mencia special had a particular staggeringly bad anti-veg rant. Not even an original one. I can totally laugh at veg jokes (Dennis Leary, Margaret Cho) but it wasn’t funny, it was an outright lie to people who wouldn’t know better and who would be obnoxious to veggies with their new ‘facts’ to quote. Basically he’s merely the latest comedian to claim that the real cause of global warming is all vegetarian & vegans faults. That b/c he makes sure cows are slaughtered and eaten, therefore he is doing more. Ignoring the fact of course that the reason all those methane-producing cows and other farm animals are there in the first place is b/c jackasses like him are so proud of demanding their meat in large quantities. that and the fact that veg and vegan folks are more, not less, likely to be environmentally-conscious and so tend to have more bikers, mass-transit users, etc in the bunch. Sigh. I used to think he was funny. I think he’s slipping and just doing easy, been-done-before bad jokes now. Here’s a youtube link that was posted on a blog about his bit, I can’t view it but it should be there (work restrictions): (He also kept screaming how the people he hates most on earth are vegetarians and he hate hate hates them and they’re dumb assholes and that sort of thing, and everyone was getting all riled up and egging him on. really? we can’t even say close to that stuff in reverse w/o being called extremist, but they’re normal to be such absurd hatemongers?)

  6. Becci

    Carlos Mencia suuuuuuuuuucks. He’s not even Mexican, and his real name is Ned Holness, and he STEALS all his bits anyway. It doesn’t surprise me that he’d do a whole bit on how much he hates vegetarians. That’s so cliche and pointless.

    Besides, what kind of idiot is so threatened by vegetarians that he actually HATES them? Seriously. There’s no better way to convince me that you know we’re right!

  7. Sarah

    I just finished watching the 30 days. Thank you for telling us about it. It truly was a great program and I am glad that I got a chance to watch it. Im hoping my mom will watch it and she will maybe get a sense deeper into the world of animal rights and how it can effect even the most extreme.

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