Last Words on Anthony Bourdain & His “Vegan” Fan Club
By Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns
Once again I thank the MANY people who have thanked me privately and publicly for sticking up for animals and animal rights over a Meatopian Monster and his followers. One reader was particularly aggrieved by my invocation of Hitler, which I did in part to draw attention to the cheesiness of some of the rhetoric over Bourdain’s suicide and the chatter about how he was “evolving” and other blushing sentimentalisms that can only be uttered when the victims of a notably cruel individual are “just animals” instead of humans.
So to those wondering whether I “care” about humans . . .
Regarding Hitler: I became so ill learning about Hitler and Stalin in college in the 1960s that I had to leave school and see a psychiatrist.
I’ve written elsewhere about the connection I later made between the attitude and behavior of Hitler and Stalin and the attitude and behavior of, speaking abstractly, the poultry industry, animal agribusiness, and human beings generally toward our other-than-human coinhabitants.
I got involved in the Civil Rights Movement in 1962 at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA and later worked as a volunteer in Washington, DC for Sterling Tucker’s organization during the Poor People’s Campaign and the March on Washington, in which I took part. I have always hated cruelty and injustice and degradation inflicted on anyone and have turned this visceral revulsion into conscious, productive advocacy work for over half a century.
My work before I founded UPC in 1990, twenty-eight years ago, included being a teacher of kindergarten children in a poor black neighborhood in Baltimore where I taught in a daycare center called, prophetically, The Little Red Hen.
For 5 years I was a juvenile probation officer in Baltimore City in the 1970s where I counseled hundreds of teenagers and their families in the most depressed parts of Baltimore.
I managed an apartment building in San Francisco, also for 5 years, in a part of the city where drugs and people forced out of mental hospitals by the government congregated and were preyed upon by the corner stores which took their welfare checks in exchange for cheap wine. As apartment house manager, I worked successfully to make a better life for my tenants, most of whom were elderly people on Social Security.
I taught English at the University of Maryland-College Park for 12 years, during which time I founded the student Animal Rights Coalition in 1989.
As for what the Jewish people and other victims of Hitler endured, it was incommensurate, but so was that of the 93 million victims of Stalin of whom we hear little, and the countless Native Americans whom the Europeans exterminated, enslaved, mutilated, raped, and forced from their homelands. Most Americans know nothing of the horror of the Europeans’ arrival on this continent and what they did to both the human Native Americans and the nonhuman Native Americans. As I write in my book More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality: “While it is fair to say that turkeys were not treated particularly well by the Native Americans, a worse fate awaited them under the European invaders and their descendants, who conducted a full-scale assault upon the species” (p. 43). And not just on turkeys, but on everything and everyone. Self-adulation and saccharine sentimentality aside: “God” did not “give us” this land, and it has not benefited by our presence.
And yes, it is still a shock to realize the torture and degradation, enslavement, murder and misery endured by African Americans in the South and elsewhere at the hands of their fellow humans – from the 18th Century on.
These atrocities are mere glimpses of the atrocities humans have been perpetrating against one another throughout history. However, in terms of numbers alone, our animal victims surpass anything we can imagine. Right here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, millions of chickens are in hell every single second of every day and night.
Anthony Bourdain was NOT a hero. He was a braggart who got off on abusing animals before the camera and equating ethical vegetarians with “terrorists.” Talk about projection! He made his celebrity mainly on his “bad boy” stunts toward animals, which millions of viewers got a sick thrill out of watching. There is so much pathology in Bourdain and his adoring fans. Worst of all is so-called animal advocates slobbering and blubbering over him and calling for a “toast with fine wine” for his “contribution” to humanity, and because he hanged himself. Since clinical psychology has been invoked to excuse him, to his “depression” let us add our own Stockholm Syndrome and Stockholm Syndrome by Proxy.
Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, and Goering all committed suicide. Rapists and murderers hang themselves in their jail cells. Suicide is not per se a reason to mourn, let alone celebrate, someone’s life or death, nor is the fact that he or she could be “charming,” was a celebrity, had a flair with the pen or an eye for the camera. So what.
There you have it, my answer. I mourn for his victims, not for the loss of him.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns