The internet has been abuzz with this hostage calm incident. We believe it is important for those of us who wish to be allies to oppressed people, that we need to listen to them and pay attention when they let us know we aren’t doing the best job. Check out what TFT’s own Chris Z. has to say about the issue (above) as well as some other stellar commentary from our good friend Mollie.
Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a longtime supporter of Hostage Calm and marriage equality was fired from his job at the Nashville music venue, Rocketown, for wearing his “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” shirt to work. A friend from Nashville contacted me about the situation and told me of Wes…
i’ve had some thoughts about hostage calm’s promotion of same-sex marriage for awhile now. And now with this shirt thing happening it feels like an appropriate time to bring these things up. the fact that this pro-same-sex marriage message is coming from a band of (sorry if i’m assuming things that aren’t accurate) straight cismen (who are obviously trying hard to do something they think is helpful and the effort is appreciated) is kind of…off to me for a couple reasons. The first thing is, I see promoting same-sex marriage as kind of like saying well, if you can get as close to being straight (ie heteronormative) as possible but with a partner of the same sex, then cool, all the rights for you. but if you fall outside these still-narrow lines (such as being transgender), well, you’re just outta luck. Also, marriage equality is so popular because it’s the main issue for mostly-white, mostly-middle/upper class lesbian ciswomen and gay cismen so it’s become the most media-friendly queer issue. but the queer people who face the really shitty issues like higher rates of sexual abuse, homelessness, unemployment, suicide, imprisonment, etc are queers who are also people of color, especially youth, and especially transwomen. so I think it’s important to look at what a pro-same-sex marriage stance really is promoting (whiteness, cissexism, and straightness through heteronormativity). I understand why people are saying that it’s important for hostage calm to reach people who aren’t super aware of these issues, but if it’s done by leaving out people who are consistently left out and saved for later once people are “more understanding,” what’s the fucking point?
hostage calm is (unknowingly?) advocating for a cause that isn’t theirs. this is different than being an ally, which is what they are probably trying to do. instead of having shirts for same-sex marriage, it would be more helpful to be like “hey our friends at black and pink are set up at our merch table and have some great stuff, here is someone from the organization talking about Queer rights real quick.” or any other queer rights organization being involved in any other cool way.
we need to set the bar higher.
http://www.blackandpink.org they’re really awesome!!
so mollie has some really important things to say on an issue that a lot of people are saying is “important”. what i have to say on the issue:
hostage calm, yo what the fuck is up with these quotes?
“today, on Martin Luther King Jr Day” …what is the relevancy? you can’t co-opt rhetoric (and or people’s memories of him) about Race/Class and use them to illustrate a point on same-sex marriage. which is in fact, as mollie points out, doubly co-opting.
“We called this brave man to hear his story, demonstrate our support, and figure out how we can help.” i understand that people support their friends and all, but this dude isn’t exactly the world’s biggest martyr. the discrimination he faced isn’t nearly equal to the discrimination faced by people who LIVE through the struggles of oppression not just wear band shirts claiming their ally-ship. people get that, right?
“This shirt represents an idea that all people have the right to live their lives without being told who to love and whose love is more valuable.” no, not really. it represents, as mollie points, out a very narrow scope of who is “accepted” into heteronormativity.
“I originally planned to make a post today about Dr. King, the status of his Dream, and how we can all work together to realize equality in modern America. This unfortunate event demonstrates that Dr. King’s Dream is still under threat, and that the struggle of the LGBT community for equal standing under the law is a Civil Rights issue of our time” THIS is the event that demonstrates that inequality exists? THIS? not the police brutality carried out at will against oppressed people, not the difference in media treatment for white lives and POC lives, not the tweets by white people about killing our president, not the imprisonment of CeCe McDonald (and countless others) for defending herself against hate crimes, not the continued and accepted violence- both physical and emotional- against people who are of Color/Queer/Differently-Abled/Women? get the fuck out with this “LGBT is the new Black” nonsense. Black is the new Black, is the old Black.
“Most of all, please send all your support to Wes Breedwell and his fight for justice” luckily, Wes will have a new job very soon with y’all as a reference on his resume. the Rosa Parks of your moderate t-shirts will not be silenced.
people in bands who want to talk about issues that are definitively not yours to represent: have someone from the group you are so passionate about speak instead. tell people to read a book or a zine or talk to someone who isn’t just passionate but who lives the fucking life that you want to sloganize. or better yet, just stop taking up so much goddamn space.
This post is being prompted by a list posted on buzzfeed called The 19 Most Annoying Things About Being Vegan. While the article is written by a vegan and mostly serves as a love letter to other vegans about some of the day to day annoyances we experience, there are a few issues I have with the article as a whole. A lot of that comes from how omnivores are interpreting the article, which brings us to
1. Omnivores misinterpreting the 19 Most Annoying Things About Being Vegan article. People seem to be desperate for any excuse to not examine their own contribution to animal oppression. The list is a compilation of moments that make vegans roll their eyes, they are minor annoyances that become comical because they happen so often. It is not a list of vegans complaining about how hard they have it or how hard it is to be vegan. It isn’t vegans trying to make omnivores feel sorry for us. It is vegans laughing to ourselves.
2. When people say “You/I can’t have that” vs ” I/you choose not to have that”. Seriously folks, there is a huge difference. Often this is perpetuated by omnivores, though many vegans are guilty of this, including the author of the original article. Veganism is not a diet or an allergy, it is a philosophy and a political stance against oppression. I can eat anything I damn well please, but I CHOOSE not to because I am aware of the cruelty involved with it’s production as well the toll it will take on my body and the environment.
3. Canine Teeth, argument over. This seems to be a popular response to veganism by the fabulous contributors to the comment section. This could fall under a general people-who-don’t-do-their-research category. Canine is the name given to longer pointed teeth, though they can (and often do) appear short and stunted in herbivores. Human canine teeth much more closely resemble the canine teeth of horses, hippos, elephants and gorillas, all of which happen to be herbivores. But lets not get too caught up saying that humans are naturally anything, that brings us to:
4. Debating what is and isn’t “natural” for humans. Up there with one of the most pointless debates. Look around you, how much of your environment is actually “natural”? We do plenty of things that aren’t natural or that other animals don’t do. The fact of the matter is that a plant based diet is healthy for the vast majority of humans that have access to a wide range of fruits and vegetables. And lets not act like that “meat” which has been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics is natural. Much less the animals who sped their lives deprived of sunlight, never to touch grass or dirt, confined to tiny areas, unable to even turn around or exercise even the most basic of their natural instincts. This also ties in with the whole food chain argument. We have all but removed ourselves from the food chain, it is no longer a relevant part of the average citizen of industrialized nation’s food choices.
5. Plants feel pain too. Nope, sorry, this gets constantly debunked. Reacting to stimuli is not the same as feeling pain. But lets humor that idea for a minute. Lets say we were to learn that all plants do indeed feel pain in exactly the same way that animals do. What would a person who is trying to do their best to contribute to the least amount of suffering do? Well short of killing yourself, you would still choose to eat exclusively plants. Given that there will never ever be a conversion of plant protein to animal protein that is 1 to 1, it will always take more than one pound of plant protein to create one pound of animal protein. Figures indicate this is as high as 10 lbs of wheat to create one pound of beef, Which means that people who eat animal products are responsible for the death of significantly more plants than any vegan ever will. Lately the counter to this fact is that “you’re still killing plants regardless, so it’s still hypocritical”, I’d like to find the person that says killing 100 people is exactly the same as killing 1000.
6. When people take one culinary misstep as meaning that all vegan food is horrible. Because no one has ever had a bad omnivore meal ever, it is always delicious and amazing, right?
7. “Vegans don’t care about the workers that pick our vegetables”. This is brought on by the Chelsea Peretti pic in the article. You know what, this is a totally valid point and one that I wish more vegans cared about and treated as seriously as they do issues of animal welfare (myself included at times). The thing that makes this annoying though is how people feel that this is their get out of jail free card, when they completely ignore the horrible conditions at animal agriculture facilities. They take advantage of immigrant workers just as much as the vegetable industry, in fact the field of work with the highest employee turnover in the US? Slaughterhouse worker. The field of work with the highest rate of on the job injuries? Slaughterhouse worker. So vegans, lets stop minimizing issues of human rights when it comes to our food, but omnivores stop pretending like you all of a sudden care about the people who produce our food when you’re faced with the fact that you are contributing to oppression. This relates to:
8. Vegans who don’t care about other forms of oppression. I’m sure this will just add fuel to the anti-vegan sentiments out there from anyone that won’t read beyond the bolded text. These issues are all intricately tied together and deserve everyone’s consideration and action (looking at you too, omnivores) Yet it seems a bit worse when it comes to vegans because we already feel so passionately about and have taken steps to eliminate our contribution to unnecessary suffering. But just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s cruelty free. I’d suggest heading over the The Food Empowerment Project and reading up on issues like chocolate slavery, soda, food deserts, palm oil, wine and GMOs to name a few. It would also be worth looking into just how much cruelty, suffering and death is involved with some of our every day staples like bananas, coffee and tea. It just makes us look foolish to the people that are already taking those issues seriously. We miss out on what could be some seriously great allies on both sides of this equation when we don’t pay these issues their due importance. And while I have been keeping this discussion fairly food-centric, it is again crucial to note that being vegan is about much more than what you put into your mouth and this only begins to broach a whole laundry list of oppressive activity we all need to be making sure we aren’t taking part in.
9. Vegans who deny issues of food accessibility. Another issue that makes vegans look foolish is their tendency to deny how difficult being vegan is to certain people in certain areas. YES FOOD DESERTS DO EXIST. Please realize that this is NOT an argument against the philosophy of veganism, but just another obstacle we face on the path to animal liberation. When someone brings this up, your inclination shouldn’t be to ignore or disprove that the problem exists, but to try and figure out what we can do about it. While I do believe that it is possible to be vegan in most circumstances, I think it’s important for us to admit that it is much much easier for certain people (you know, economically stable white people) and to deny that certain privileges we have didn’t play a role in our ability to go vegan just makes us all look bad. We should be working with/providing support to communities that are struggling for access to healthier vegan alternatives (without making us seem like a bunch of colonialists, careful there). On the flipside, people who use food justice issues as an excuse to not go vegan when they are not directly affected by them look just as ridiculous. Just because not everyone has the means and ability to go vegan doesn’t give you an excuse if you do have access and ability. Important to note that I am not trying to depict the animal rights movement as a monolith, there are tons of vegans of color and otherwise economically disadvantaged people that make the vegan lifestyle work perfectly for them.
10. Being asked “so, what DO you eat?” Well, I don’t eat meat, milk, eggs, honey or any other animal product. I DO eat everything else. Do you really want a list?
11. Being told “I don’t really eat that much meat”. It’s amazing how many animals are killed every year considering every person I meet tells me that they don’t really eat that much.
12. People thinking that veganism is a diet. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a philosophy. It’s a political stance. Yes, I’ve been vegan for over 5 years and I’m still chubby as fuck.
PS. Yes, you found the vegan
“Irreversible” - The Flaming Tsunamis
aren’t you sick of the way we’ve sold ourselves out
and the way we gave up without a fight, WITHOUT A THOUGHT
we abondoned each other
we’ve lost one another
brothers and sisters
what are we waiting for
it’s our fucking right to demand more
of ourselves, and of each other
all of us, part of another
celebrate the decay
keep the violence at bay
pack up the world’s problems
throw them away
we see the path
we know what’s good and true
we see the path
we’re gonna make it through
we are so much stronger than this world thinks we can be
we have so much life left inside our hearts
we need to reclaim, RECLAIM
we won’t give up, we won’t let go, we will not condone
violence, in our name we won’t condone this hate
violence can not be undone
We recently filmed a session for Audiotree. Really stoked on how this came out. #shred
Check out Hostage Calm playing some of their new jammers as well as discussing fun things like legos, batman and TFT’s influence on them.
It’s Human Rights Day, as we all know human rights are inextricably linked with animal rights. We must always remember that just because a product is vegan that doesn’t automatically make it “cruelty free”. Keep the vegan companies you love accountable for the sources of their ingredients….
Trying to get rid of the last bit of merch we have before moving. Put up some random old shirts as well, SUPER limited quantities (most limited to just one or two) use code GREGTHOMAS to save 10% on your order. THEFLAMINGTSUNAMIS.BIGCARTEL.COM
CONTEST TIME! REBLOG FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FREE SHIRT OF YOUR CHOICE PLUS EVERY BUTTON WE HAVE EVER MADE AND A BUNCH OF STICKERS! Winner will be chosen randomly from the reblogs at midnight on Dec 9th. Reblog as much as you want, but don’t abuse it.
ALSO, HOLIDAY SALE TIME, use code HOLIDAY at checkout to save 15% and get free shipping.
The flaming tsunamis - zombies vs. robots.
For anon again. The Flaming Tsunamis make an appearance.