Since a lot of you are new since my last time I actually got around to writing a post, I refer any newcomers back to a line from my very first post, ‘I cuss, I’m crude, I bitch and I throw things’.
Words are important! by Felipe
How are we communicating right now? I’ve written this piece & you are reading it. Hopefully I’ve written it clearly enough that anybody reading it can understand the content presented. How is that possible? Because we as a society, generally speaking, have agreed on the definitions of the words we use. Whether we are speaking or writing, words have meanings that we all agree on. When I don’t know the definition of a particular word I refer to the dictionary for final say on the actual, real definition of said word. My concern is when people choose to give words their own definitions that have nothing to do with the definition(s) contained the dictionary.
As an example, certain segments of the political spectrum have decided that the word ‘liberal’ is a dirty word, a negative. How many of you consider yourselves ‘progressives’ because of this? That’s okay, I did that too…. Until I looked up the word ‘liberal’ in the dictionary and guess what I found; not single definition to be ashamed of! Liberal is NOT a dirty word no matter how hard Faux News tries to convince the nation it is. The question then became ‘who do I let define words for me?’ Is it the dictionary or Frank Luntz?
It’s easy to take issue with somebody who is out to smear you, but what happens when people you share a common cause with do the exact same thing: assign meanings to words that are not in agreement with the dictionary definitions?
Which leads us to the Vegan A-Z word of the day “VEGAN”
(Did you really think it would be anything else?)
I’ve read many posts on this and other pages proclaiming what it means to be vegan; one person claimed that chocolate couldn’t possibly be vegan because insects were killed in farming and processing of the beans. Another said that an individual had to be for animal rights in order to be a real vegan and my favorite, a local vegan band refused to play a benefit for a cancer research because “vegans don’t believe in cancer research”. Now that’s a pretty broad range of opinions on the meaning of a word that should have a definitive…well….definition.
So I busted out the dictionary on our shelf, Webster’s American Family Dictionary, and right there in between the words ‘Vega’ (the star sand/or poet) and ‘veg’ (self explanatory for DFV readers) the definition of Vegan is “a vegetarian that omits all animal products from the diet“. The Merriam-Webster dictionary website (conveniently bookmarked in our Firefox tool bar) has this definition ‘a strict vegetarian who does not use animals or dairy products for food”. Check out this clip of Monty Burns while you mull that over. See you back here in a minute & and a half.
The plan was to go on a rant on how the post writers were wrong, how one could run around wearing Cruella DeVille’s jacket & clubbing baby seals and still be vegan, stuff like that to get people riled up. There was ulterior motive. You can’t complain without offering solutions, and I would become a hero to the missus & the little vegan by leading a campaign to expand the definition of the word. Before could I move to forward a motion that Occupy Seattle mobilize the masses to make that request of all dictionaries modify their definition of vegan, in a peaceful & respectful way of course, I knew I better check out what the big kahuna of the dictionary world has to say. I am talking about the dictionary compiled by the university smart enough to spawn Radiohead, the Oxford English Dictionary. It says: ‘a person who does not eat or use animal products’.
Which opens a can of worms…is that a vegan unfriendly reference? By the Oxford definition the writers mentioned posts are technically wrong, yet it covers enough to not really need to be modified. Now here I am roughly 4 hours until my deadline and the entire premise of the piece is out the freekin’ window. Its like one of the wife’s extremely rare kitchen fails.
I shouldn’t have procrastinated but I did. I have a million reasons why, well 20 or so reasons (Letters A-U and couple of guys named Ratchet & Clank). Hey taste testing all that food is distracting and if I wasn’t eating the wife had the computer, writing her posts. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Vegan A-Z is almost over.
Its not like I’ve been totally useless this month, I do the shopping. Tomorrow you’re in for a treat created with ingredients I picked out. Until then you can tell me what you think vegan means and be sure to check out Vegan MOFO: W is ?