I don't want to give the impression that I think unprovoked assault is acceptable.

I don't want you people to think that I'm in favor


Friday Food Freak-Out: Former Vegan Activist Receives Cream Pie Facial From Current Vegan Activists

I don't want to give the impression that I think unprovoked assault is acceptable.

I don't want you people to think that I'm in favor of hooded hooligans attacking writers in public.

I don't want anyone to to construe my barely suppressed giggling here as a tacit endorsement of the tactics of San Francisco animal rights radicals.

But seriously? What's funnier than seeing someone get hit in the face with a pie?

Last Saturday, while speaking at an anarchist event in San Francisco, author, activist and ex-vegan Lierre Keith was hit with three chile-pepper-laced pies while discussing her 2009 book, "The Vegetarian Myth." She was speaking at the 15th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, talking about her 20 years as a vegan and how she'd recently changed her opinion on the subject and written a book about how industrial agriculture is now destroying the world. According to reports, she'd gotten about halfway through her talk.

And then came the pies...

Because this is 2010, of course there's a Youtube video of the attack. Even better? It's set to the running-around music from the old Benny Hill show. Check it out after the jump.

Let me stress this again: I am NOT supporting what these three idiots did. I don't think it's funny AT ALL.

(Except that it is really funny...)

The way things are looking right now, the attack on Keith was perpetrated by militant vegan activists (or "masked vegan warriors" in the wonderfully flowery language of the folks at the North American Animal Liberation Press Office) upset over a) the soapbox she'd been given to talk about an alternative to veganism, and b) the fact that she dared speak her mind on a controversial topic like eating animals. And now, the vegetarian/vegan/anarchist/animal rights groups are all split on whether or not such an attack was justified. The blogs are abuzz, the message boards full. Communiques and press releases are flying back and forth. Currently, Keith is catching shit from her former comrades for being an "animal holocaust denier" (read: former vegan) and for contacting the "agents of state oppression" following the attack (read: she called the police).

For her part, Keith (who is an advocate of militant action, property destruction--anything that can facilitate change) was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "If this is what is considered radical action, this movement is dead."

Is it? I'm not so sure about that. Infighting among radical groups is certainly nothing new. Those who abandon the cause are almost always treated most harshly by their former comrades. And the ol' pie-in-the-face? That's considered by some to be a classic satirist's weapon, useful for making a mockery of one's opponent and deflating the pomp of fools. I just find it hard to take it seriously when radicals complain about their own tactics being used against them. Which is why I always scream at people in restaurants who order the salad about the abuse of lettuces by Big Agriculture and stop PETA activists and petition-slingers on the street and bother them for twenty minutes, trying to get a recommendation out of them for a decent cheeseburger restaurant in the neighborhood.

But my main question is this: after watching the video (several times), those appear to be (allegedly chile-laced) cream pies being used by the "masked vegan warriors." Even assuming that said warriors used some some sort of tofu-based cream filling for their pies, my problem is with their didactic rigor. Though probably not as dramatically splatty, wouldn't some sort of vegetable-based pie have been the more appropriate provocational tool? Better still, any of the varieties of meat-based Cornish pasties or tourtières. In order to get around the niggling problem of vegan activist's touching meat, roadkill could've been used. Or any animal that willfully committed suicide for the cause--giving its life in defense of its meaty brethren. Any of these would've packed a more succinct pedantic punch.

But who knows... Maybe tofu cream pies were on sale at the Anarchist Supply Store that day.

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