If you scroll through the posts for the last few months you’ll notice that one called “Eeat M.E.A.T.” has 26 comments–more than any other. That’s because a group of outraged vegans has found a new and innovative use for the Wesleying comments section: starting turf wars.
In reaction to the then upcoming Mankind Eating Animals Together (M.E.A.T) barbecue, several upperclassmen who wish to remain anonymous formed a group called the Vegan Deth Squad (VDS) and threatened to sabotage the event.
“PLAN ON ME SHOWING UP WITH A CAN OF RED PAINT,” one of the members writes in an initial comment.
After a few comments such as “throwing paint at people does not make them eat less meat,” and “the earth will have hir revenge,” Ryan Brill ’10, founder and president of the M.E.A.T. club, responded.
“Are you guys seriously going to hate on the fact that people are eating meat together?” Brill said. “There are two vegetarian clubs on campus, but no one goes up to them and sprays them with red paint, or criticizes them for their choice of food. Please keep an open mind to other people’s diets, and stop criticizing them for a simple lifestyle choice.”
But Brill’s response did not cool things down–comments started getting longer and more ruthless. Here is the VDS’ response to Brill’s comment:
“My all-too-obvious reply: Is slavery simply a lifestyle choice?” they wrote. “The anti-intellectual, anti-critical form of conservatism adopted by the previous poster is eroding our culture as more and more young people choose to simply stop giving a shit, divorcing their ‘abstract’ knowledge of the real world from their daily lives. This ethico-political downward spiral can have no other result besides the continued subjugation of the aforementioned humyns and animals under the myriad forms of slavery we find in Contemporary Amerika, for example…”
Ultimately, the VDS revealed what the problem at hand is: they see the M.E.A.T. club as an unavoidably political statement that disparages vegans and vegetarians.
“This group obviously represents a deliberate attempt to bait the vegetarian/vegan community,” the VDS wrote. “They’re celebrating the fact that meat eaters freely operate everywhere and [they’re] mocking us outright. I dont go into peoples homes and fuck with them when theyre eating dinner, but if a group is explicitly challenging us we arent going to sit idly by.”
“You guys, I did not start the M.E.A.T. club as ‘a deliberate attempt to bait the vegetarian / vegan community,’ ” he wrote. “I started it because myself and others like eating meat, and I’d like to use that common interest to bring together various groups on the campus. It seems to me that you guys are trying your hardest to vilify us, while we have not made any statements against vegetarianism or veganism…I feel like people should be able to start a cooking club at Wesleyan without a tirade of criticism. Just let us cook.”
“The loose network of vegan death squad affiliates talked it over and decided to let this one slide since you’re being so non-confrontational,” they wrote. “[But] if this escalates beyond a bunch of white men eating burgers on the hill and we feel you’ve challenged or provoked us directly then next time the coals won’t burn so hot.”
After the internet hysteria, Brill contacted the VDS and asked to meet with them. In a tense meeting in Fauver Room 107, the VDS made it clear that if the M.E.A.T. club did not change its name, they would have to resort to less diplomatic options.
In response, the M.E.A.T. club has now changed it’s name to (drum roll): The Mankind Eating Everything Together (M.E.E.T) Club.
“The existence of the M.E.A.T. (Mankind Eating Animals Together) club was construed by some to be a political statement against vegetarianism and veganism,” Brill writes on the group’s facebook page. “Making such a statement was not the intent of our club, so we have changed the name to M.E.E.T. (Mankind Eating Everything Together) club. This name is more fitting to the true purpose of the club, which is to bring people from different social groups together over a common activity. I also like the name better.”
The M.E.E.T. club will grill from 1-5 today, Friday, on Foss Hill. Though there won’t be any veggie burgers for sale, you can always bring your own, Brill says. If you’re interested in reading the entire controversial comments section, go here: http://wesleying.blogspot.com/2007/04/eat-meat.html