Saturday 21 September 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Vegan hate mob are latest to play the victim card'

Masterchef judge William Sitwell was editor of Waitrose Food magazine
Masterchef judge William Sitwell was editor of Waitrose Food magazine
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

One of the more baffling elements of modern society has been the way we're all told that we're victims.

Much like Maslow had his hierarchy of needs, we now have a hierarchy of victims and everyone wants to get on the ladder.

But you know things have reached Peak Weird when vegans now consider themselves a protected group who equate mockery of them to mockery of people who actually experienced genuine oppression.

All the world's a stage these days, and everyone is the star of their own biopic. As Masterchef judge William Sitwell discovered this week, every movie needs a bad guy and that is how he has been cast. It's a role which has just cost him his job as editor of the hugely successful Waitrose Food magazine, which he had both written for and edited for the last 20 years.

When vegan journalist and activist Selene Nelson pitched Sitwell a series of ideas about vegan food - or 'plant-based diets' as it's being called these days - the normally urbane hack responded: "Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?"

It was a joke and whether you found it amusing is, like the food he judges on TV, entirely a matter of personal taste.

But do you think it was an incitement to hatred, as some vegans claimed?

Does anyone genuinely think that Sitwell genuinely longs for the day when he can hunt down and kill any vegan who approaches him with an idea for an article?

Well, the vegans did - or, to be more precise, they pretended they did. When Giles Coren tried to defend him online, the reaction was as quick as it was dumb, with people telling Coren that surely as a Jew, he'd be more sensitive to the vegans' worries.

So now a snarky email about your food choice places you on the same moral plane of persecution as the victims of the Holocaust?

That it was vegans with the torches and pitchforks and calling for someone's head this time is almost irrelevant.

No, the issue at hand is the weirdly vengeful and nasty culture we're creating where people think it is perfectly reasonable to call for a stranger's sacking, even when it has absolutely nothing to do with them. But they want to be part of the drama and everyone else is just an incidental character.

These activists are also making the same mistake that all other activists seem to make - exposing their cause to mockery, ridicule and resentment.

It also shows that the main side-effect of becoming a vegan is an apparent total loss of all humour and proportion.

Indo Review

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss