An ex-vegan who was hit with chilli pepper-laced pies at an anarchist event in San Francisco said Tuesday that her assailants were cowards who should direct their herbivorous rage at the powerful - not at a fellow radical for writing a book denouncing animal-free diets. Lierre Keith, a 45-year-old Arcata resident, was attacked at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the 15th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair while discussing her 2009 book, The Vegetarian Myth. A 20-year vegan, Keith now argues that the diet is unhealthy and that agriculture is destroying the world. As Keith stood at a lectern at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, three people in masks and black hooded sweatshirts ran from backstage, shouted, “Go vegan!” and threw pies in her face. While they fled, some in the audience cheered or handed out leaflets.
Naturally, the irritant pie-hurling incident is available on YouTube.
“The whole thing was designed for social humiliation,” said Keith, speaking Tuesday from her sister’s home in Kansas. “We’re supposed to be against sadism and cruelty and domination, and these people were willing to do this to me.”
The naïveté, a kinder word than delusion, is almost – almost - charming.
Keith said her values are similar in most ways to those of her attackers. She believes in militant action, even property destruction, if it can lead to change.
So how’s that militant action working for you, Ms Keith? We can assume it’s led to change, yes?
Among those rejoicing in the pie attack was the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which often prints communiqués from activists taking credit for attacks on animal researchers. The group said Keith was wrong about veganism, referred to her as an “animal holocaust denier,” and scolded her for calling the “agents of state oppression” - the police.
Ostentatious radicalism very often comes with competitive claims of victimhood. Over at IndyBay, a home to radical strutting, we’re told that Ms Keith has been,
verbally assaulting all vegans, calling them ignorant and child-like.
The insults and invective directed against vegans have been taken quite personally by vegans everywhere. And surely it was a reaction to these attacks that led the culprits of the pieing to feel compelled to take symbolic action against Lierre Keith at the very moment she was being held up as a paragon of radical thought by Bound Together Books at this year’s Anarchist Bookfair, normally a vegetarian-friendly venue.
Keith’s book is, it seems,
especially traumatic in that it comes from the inside of the supposed radical environmental movement.
Feel the trauma, people, and choke back those tears. The author, named “nothing with a face,” is keen to make sure we know that theirs is,
a world where vegans and vegetarians are a definite minority, face constant bombardment with pro-meat messages [from] our American cattle culture, and frequently have to deal with direct attacks from government, law enforcement, and multinational corporations.
Thankfully, the author ends on a more triumphant note, hailing those “anonymous masked peoples” who “stood up for many who have suffered silently, without a voice, since the publication of her book.” Yes, I know. It must be quite dizzying to mix in such precious circles. What with the terrible crushing pressure of the very air itself. Needless to say, some of the readers’ comments are inadvertently revealing.