I'll come up with something in a minute.

First Conctact Bias

I have an idea about why so many people think of vegans and atheist as being obnoxious and always trying to push their lifestyles on other people, despite it not really being the case. Mostly, both groups are just getting on with their lives, albeit a bit smugly, but if I took a hammer to the head of every person who went about smug and self-satisfied, there wouldn’t be a religious house of worship left in the world and most the universities would be empty, not to mention the months I’d have to spend in Hollywood and Wall Street. My arms would get tired and the joy of smashing in heads would quickly turn to dull drudgery is what I’m saying.

I will admit that I find vegans to be a bit exasperating when trying to feed them, but that’s more because I have to keep a constant tally in my head about whether or not a particular food item is allowed. After all, you learn just how oh so many things have some kind of animal product in them when you hang out with a vegetarian for a while, and vegans are even stricter. In fact, I knew one that refused to eat some plant based things because animals are wantonly harmed during their manufacture. Okay, fair enough, if you’ve decided not to eat bacon because of how the pigs are treated then you probably shouldn’t eat processed broccoli burgers or tofurky when you learn that they murder a kitten every time they make one. They do you know, just out of spite. Still, it’s a more or less valid lifestyle choice, and if you have to choose a lifestyle then denying god or eating only veggies is as valid as eating bacon or going to church every week.

However, back to the point I started with. Why do people find them so obnoxious when they’re usually not terribly pushy? I would like to suggest the concept of first contact as an explanation. Think about it, who was the first vegan you met and when did you meet them? Probably between 14 and 19 right? And they were about your age, yes? And like all teenagers who had single-handedly discovered something, they were endlessly obnoxious about trying to justify their new blasphemy by trying to convert everyone around them. I’ve got an idea that most people who have just discovered something are usually pretty unsure about it, and convincing other people to join makes them less unsure. In trying to convince other people to do it, they get to be pretty obnoxious and in the case of Christian Missionaries, down right evil. BTW, if you think I’m being hard on Missionaries, I will remind you I’m related to those fucking people and that I have extensive first hand knowledge about how down right evil those fucking people, and the groups they work with, are. This extends to the fact that I refer to them, consistently as “those fucking people” instead of say… my relatives.

Back to the point I was making though. If the first vegetarian ever you met would openly weep when you would eat a hamburger, or show you pictures of pigs being slaughtered when you’d think about bacon then perhaps you might get it in your head that vegetarians are all assholes and that vegans must be even worse. You don’t ever even have to meet an actual vegan, just by extension that they’re stricter than normal vegetarians, means they must be bigger assholes. Ipso to the Facto amirite? Well, no, since most your actual day-to-day vegetarians over the age of 21 aren’t all that obnoxious. Yeah, you’ll still get one now and then, but I’ve found holding their heads underwater for 10 minutes usually sorts that out.

When a person comes to this sort of lifestyle as an adult, their attitude is entirely different. They’re calm, willing to explain things, rarely try to convert anyone, and above all they’re respectful of those who don’t wish to follow their path. I know, you can always find an example of the one asshole, but that’s the point, it’s usually just one asshole, not the group as a whole. Sadly, by that time, the first contact bias has worked its way into your brain and it doesn’t matter how mature or intelligent they are, they still seem like a dick to you because that’s what you’re expecting of them.

I’ve found the same to be true pretty much across the board. After the age of 21 or so, most your teenage atheists either settle down to calmly not believing in god, or they slide back into belief and become complete assholes again. Sadly religionists very rarely convert like an adult. They’re always just a 14 year old who has discovered that vegetarianism can make them feel special via the act of trying to judge what everyone else is doing. Yeah, I’ve got my own first contact bias on religionist, but they so often give themselves a bad name and stories like this just don’t help. Even so, I know lots of people who subscribe to one religion or another who are perfectly decent people who don’t molest children or anything… and yes, I find it pretty fucking sad that I feel the need to clarify that fact. Of course, if you really sat down and examined my views on humanity on the whole, you would probably find it all pretty depressing.

Also, if I might just add as a final note: if you call yourself a vegetarian, but you still eat bacon, you are not a vegetarian. Seriously, you eat fucking bacon. That is the meatiest of all meats!

October 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

1 Comment »

  1. I don’t have a problem with people standing up for stuff they believe in; I just have a problem when they want to get all snotty with me because I don’t want to be like them. There was a girl I went to high school with and we wound up working for the same company and I saw her for the first time since high school. I remembered her name, called out to her… and she practically ripped my head off. Come to find out she had converted to Islam and changed her name and, wow, she was pretty nasty about being called by her “slave name” as she put it. It was disheartening to see someone I once knew as a really cool person become something other than that.

    I got accosted by a vegetarian once for eating a Quarter Pounder with cheese – right out of the clear blue sky. If you’ve ever had this argument with one, you know all the standard stuff they spew about eating meat and, frankly, while I respected her right to eat in whatever way worked for her, I was about to punch her dead in the heart for bothering me with something I don’t give a damn about.

    I’ve learned that when someone believes strongly in something, they often become rather fanatic about it, like folks who suddenly find religion and now they’re on a person crusade to make everyone else get religion. It’s funny and it’s sad all at the same time; you try to be tolerant if you understand that everyone needs something to believe in… but they rarely make it easy for you when they’re all in your face about stuff that you may not even care about.

    Comment by kdaddy23 | October 5, 2011 | Reply

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