Words are powerful. Words inspire and destroy. Here are some thoughts on some words I’ve used – or others have.
A Case Study: Gandhi’s Words [?]
Be the Change[.]
Does it really matter if someone amazing said it? If you are the kid down the block with bad style and a bad attempt at growing a mustache and you said it, KUDOS kid. Let’s spread your words.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Bumper stickers and PowerPoint (or Keynote) presentations all over the English speaking world (at least within areas of humane education and progressive movements to better the world) normally attribute the words “Be the change you wish to see in the world” to activist Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi).
A fine fine man who would be arrested and thrown in prison under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (more on this later) in the United States for doing what he did. Oh, so would Martin Luther King, Jr. (more on him soon, too).
LIES LIES HE NEVER SAID THAT. Ok, Friends. Relax.
OK, so maybe Gandhi didn’t really say it. And maybe our society is a bunch of chumps for acting like he did. Now that we know we’re a-holes for that, let’s look at where we are even BIGGER and INEXCUSABLE a-holes (note that I have not actually said the a-hole word here, friends):
If you eat eggs, dairy, or meat, you are paying others – no matter the level of cruelty you choose be it cage-free or free-range …
(or the even less relevant “grass-fed” and “organic” terms that people somehow get in their heads means “heavenly, red-barn-ed, never harmed, BS …
[I didn’t use the word, kids]
… old McDonald’s farm” non-existent, no-one-ever-dies-and-we-really-care-about-our-dairy-cows-even-though-we-use-them-to-the-breaking-point-and-steal-their-babies-to-steal-their-milk-to-sell [grossly, kids, it’s so mucous-like, pus-filled, and yucky – not to mention completely unhealthy and IRON-DEPLETING FOR WOMEN oh-where-is-the-lawsuit-against-the-dairy-industry-and-the-USDA-on-this-LIE-LIE-LIE-LIE-told-to-the-“American”-People?!] (links, etc., coming when I have a hot second. If you need them, email me and I’ll get them to you asap)
According to New York Times’ op-ed contributor Brian Morton, what Gandhi said was more along these lines:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.
I’m with Brian on this one. I’d call him Bri-Bri but I don’t know the guy[-guy], so that’d be kinda’ crass.
The B Big explains,
Here, Gandhi is telling us that personal and social transformation go hand in hand, but there is no suggestion in his words that personal transformation is enough. In fact, for Gandhi, the struggle to bring about a better world involved not only stringent self-denial and rigorous adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence; it also involved a steady awareness that one person, alone, can’t change anything, an awareness that unjust authority can be overturned only by great numbers of people working together with discipline and persistence.
So, alright Brian.
He has a point. But, let’s not get our panties in a bunch.
Yes, not one person is enough, but every action has consequences and every time we do something we are likely not the only people doing it, so in fact, though arguably correct in what his intent and his overall philosophy seems to have been, if you haven’t been challenged before let me please do so: Every single person who does something, such as choose to reject the egg, dairy, and meat industry’s inherent violence, affects people around them thereby having a huge and significant impact on their home, their family, their community, their neighborhood, their society, and the world.
Maybe not all at once, but it’s not in any way insignificant.
No one’s actions take place in a vacuum.
Not that I’m saying that Brian thinks it is, but let’s not get too excited about this interpretation of what Gandhi believed. I bet you Gandhi and I are pretty damned close in our takes on the significance and importance of each person’s decisions, buying habits, and actions. In fact, I know it (in my heart of hearts though Gandhi and I obviously will never get to meet and compare philosophies.
I bet I’d be right on that handwritten list of his of people to have a deep philosophical conversation with though, right?
But Brian and I are on the same page about some things. As a perpetual nerd and research whore. (Nothing against sex workers here – that’s a topic for another day.)
The latter title is in fact a self-description of mine that I gave one day during office hours to a JD-holding, PhD and amazing professor from my DePaul undergrad days. [Sein Familiename auf Englisch bedeutet “God” und Ja!, natuerlich: he definitely wants to swap his university title for the one I just gave him.] He thought it was at least mildly humorous, though he is also the type, though a devout family man from what I can see, to also concern himself with the misinterpretation of his smirk at the term I applied to myself as to not harm women, sex slaves, sex workers, or society – he cares.
So yes, I am a “research whore.” YouGottaProblimWi’Dat?! [sic]
Brian and I believe we shouldn’t be attributing words to folks who didn’t say them or changing people’s words or taking them out of context.
I’ve certainly had my words changed enough to know (and the context behind them ignored and the content behind them purposefully distorted animal agribusiness publications and senior editors and statewide farm bureaus – you know who you are you despicable people because we’ve even had conversations about your misrepresentations which you ignored anyway a-holes).
Popular media has messed with my words enough over the years to say undoubtedly that it’s neither fair nor acceptable (read: completely inaccurate and shit-journalism (OK, I said “shit.”) to F with the meaning behind someone’s words.
“That’s spelled H.A.U.F.F. Those are not ‘s’s as is ‘sassy, sour, or saturated'; but rather, those are two ‘f’s as in ‘He’s Frank, Fun, and Fabulous!’”
Yeah, F You, YouKnowWho. (maybe I’ll link to your S sometime, but you know that’s just giving you more S-readers and who wants more S-readers around?)
I challenge all-a-y’all for a non-edited, live debate on anything related to animal exploitation and use at any time. Take me up on it. Let’s record it and air it nationally. I’ll “crush” you (non-violently, metaphorically, and using all professional and polite language). Seriously. I will. Let’s have it.
1. Breslau Neil A., Linda Brinkley, Kathy D. Hill, and Charles Y.C. Pak. Relationship of animal protein-rich diet to kidney stone formation and calcium metabolism. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1988; 66: 140-6.