Can Tofu be Vegetarian? Edition One 2015
Mark Allen and Michael Bayliss
feetlittle (at) gmail.com
I got my copy for $1 at Sticky
That title sounds familiar… (and/or I don’t understand the title?) That’s because this zine is crafted as a response to the Australian zine Tofu Is Not Vegetarian reviewed here.
Do yourself a favour: Read the original zine that inspired this effort. This? is very much a counter argument and kind of a mini essay in defence of vegetarianism. (Yes, that’s as exciting as it gets). See, the original zine has some really great criticisms of vegetarianism and veganism. This zine is the “no, wait, vegetarianism is still righteous” voice. And it’s not the most charismatic. Unfortunately. The main argument is that the original zine is essentially misrepresentative of the larger vegetarian movement – so, you know, it’s an injustice. Don’t listen to me, let’s hear a direct quote: “Some of the arguments that the authors of aforementioned articles make is that veganism is a movement borne of white privilege and that it objectifies and places value judgements upon western culture..” etc. That’s pretty much the tone of this zine in a snapshot. Stop poking me. I was asleep just then.
The Writers Did Some ‘Soul Searching’: Well, that’s what they claim, as vegans and as white Australians. But I seriously doubt it. ‘Soul searching’ is too strong an expression. How about they started to draft a response for their first year journalism assignment then decided to print it out and circulate? Harsh, I know.
Thank you, Spokespersons: Not only is this body of formal writing devoid of passion, spark or wit, but this entire written response seems to totally miss the point of the original zine which was refreshingly critical of vegan culture, full of personal insights, valid accusations and really thought provoking material. This response? feels like something an authority in Canberra signed off on for the parliamentary press gallery to assert that the veganism movement may include some discrimination and racism but this is a reflection of greater society as a whole and not reflective of the actual movement, no correspondence will be entered into.
Cringeworthy: There’s a section at the back designed to break the ‘endless cycle of ego’. It’s more a list of tips and tricks on how to try and socially integrate and be tolerant (and not be an annoying dick). But I just can’t take lifestyle advice seriously that a) cites an endless cycle of ego and b) when one of the sentences begins, “I recently went out to dinner with my parents…”. This whole effort just kind of misses the point so woefully it’s painful.
The good stuff: Well, it’s always good if someone is inspired enough to put pen to paper. So there’s that. And the makers are interested in what people think, so there’s that too. They also preach tolerance.
Aesthetic: Because this is a serious word document set out in A5, it does feel more like a booklet than a zine. Zines are more fun.