Thursday 20 October 2016

When vegans bite off more than they can chew

Published 01/11/2015 | 02:30

Bigger fish to fry: Paul Stenson of the White Moose Café has warned vegans to steer clear of his eatery
Bigger fish to fry: Paul Stenson of the White Moose Café has warned vegans to steer clear of his eatery
Jenner chide: Germaine Greer faces feminist backlash

Before any non-meat eaters have an attack of the vapours and ­descend on Indo ­Towers in a flurry of angry, brittle-boned protests, let me say that I have no problem with vegetarians or, indeed, vegans.

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I guess I'm just getting soft in my old age, but if someone wants to live without meat or dairy or any animal products, that's their business. And that's how it should stay - as their private business.

Nobody likes being hectored by some posturing smugster who boasts about how they 'never eat anything with a face', but most vegetarians I know manage to cook decent meals without boring the world about it. You see, not everything in life has to be a drama.

But some people just can't help themselves.

The White Moose Café in Dublin has form when it comes to garnering publicity for themselves - retaliating against bad reviews, telling difficult punters to sod off, that class of thing - but this week's row with vegans could have come straight from the pages of The Onion.

For those of you with important things to do other than keep tabs on the more demented actions of various pressure groups, let me recap - a vegan customer complained about lack of choice in the café and the owner, Paul Stenson, released a statement on Facebook telling vegans to feck off.

When that response, unsurprisingly, failed to calm the waters he then took a page from the Jeremy Clarkson book of diplomacy and said: "Given the torrent of abuse and unjustified negative reviews we have been receiving from the vegan population over the past 24 hours, all vegans are now barred from our café. Any vegans attempting to enter the café will be shot dead at point-blank range."

Vegans often have the reputation for being dull, didactic, hectoring bores as free from a sense of humour as they are from meat. And they really lived down to that stereotype when they saw Stenson's obvious joke.

Not only was his café utterly flamed on Yelp and TripAdvisor, but he also received death threats from the kind of people who were outraged that he would make a joke about killing people, although in the pantheon of not-very-threatening threats, vegans are right up there. Let's put it this way, would you rather have a bunch of Charlie Hebdo-style fanatics coming after you or some irate vegans? At least you know they won't behead you, because the sight of all that blood would make them sick.

Stenson has form when it comes to drumming up publicity. He has previously admitted that Michael O'Leary is his idol, so he always was going to have an eccentric approach to customer relations.

But what's really interesting about the controversy is the speed with which people wanted to report him to the cops.

As one of the protesters bleated: "There's nothing funny about threatening to kill anyone who belongs to a particular group." I'd say that person uses the phrase: "There's nothing funny about..." quite a lot, but did anyone sincerely believe that Stenson was going to wait inside the door of his restaurant to blast anyone he thought was a vegan? Are people really that stupid or is this just the manufactured outrage of deeply sad and unpleasant people?

We've become a society of finks who rush to The Man whenever they are slightly peeved, and numerous activists issued instructions about how to make a complaint to Kevin Street garda station.

Maybe the cops should get involved - and arrest these idiots for wasting police time.


There was a time when the silly season was the dead days of August when ­nothing happened and harried hacks were reduced to scouring the wires ­looking for anything to fill the page. Now every season is silly season and we may well have reached Peak Silly.

That can surely be the only reaction to Germaine Greer facing a backlash from young feminists who have accused her of 'misogyny and transphobia' (if they'd thrown homophobia into the mix she would have scored the perfect hat-trick) because she hasn't bought into the public delusion that Bruce Jenner is a woman.

So we now live in a world where one of the most important figures in the history of feminism is castigated by young feminists who owe their voice to people like her. Not only that, but a woman is now accused of misogyny for pointing out that a man calling himself a woman still has a penis.

But, as the old comedian used to say, c'mere, there's more.

Rather wonderfully, Jenner has been unveiled as Glamour magazine's Woman of the Year. Now, even assuming that you accept Jenner is a woman, she has been actually been a 'woman' for less than a year.

Which just goes to show - when you want a job done right, get a man.

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