We got sucked in again! A Vegan woman in Perth got the media ‘vegan-treatment’ and the crowd went nuts – of course. Outraged Aussies rallied to the cause against her antics, and Vegans bickered amongst themselves. Even the New York Post saw fit to report on it – twice! Slurs and tantrums against the woman escalated, and it seemed that everyone had something to say about her sins.
Cilla Carden took her neighbour to a tribunal over the meat and fish smells which permeated her backyard from his BBQ. She claimed that the frequency of these strong and offensive smells were hindering her enjoyment of her own backyard space. Plus, his kids played basketball, and made too much noise. Both things are not purely her imagination. Vegans do find meat and fish smells offensive, and backyard basketball is noisy, especially when the basketball hoop is attached to the garage roof. Was she being too sensitive and unreasonable? It’s hard to know, unless we get to walk in her shoes.
The tribunal dismissed all of her claims. She then applied to the Supreme Court for the right to appeal the decision, and was also turned down.
Then the media got hold of it – and dog-whistled to the vegan-haters.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine that this is the first time ever that neighbours have had a falling out over smelly stuff and noisy kids, and taken to it to tribunal. But throw in the word ‘vegan’ and suddenly it’s NEWS! The media know exactly which buttons to press, to wind everyone up. And we get sucked in time and time again. We Vegans take to fighting amongst ourselves over the rights and wrongs of the ‘bad’ Vegan, and how she is making the rest of us look bad, as well. In fact, it really should be the media we get pi**ed at.
To be fair, the media are old hands at playing the game of stirring up feelings against a group of people. Or, in this instance, one person. A shameful case of inciting hate against one lone woman who is living on her own, knowing perfectly well that the shite which will most likely descend upon her will be of dramatic proportions. There’s name for this kind of reporting – it’s called stochastic reporting, a distant cousin of stochastic terrorism.
Of course, this brought out the boguns in full force, and a Facebook event was created to have an animal-meat BBQ at her place. Five thousand people have said they’ll be there. If that’s not creating terror, what is? Cilla Carden has had to get her lawyer to post a legal warning against anyone trespassing on her property, and warn that security cameras will be installed.
There was no need for the media to report on some banal argy-bargy between neighbours. And they wouldn’t have bothered, if one of them hadn’t happened to be a Vegan. According to Cilla Carden, the whole thing has been blown up out of proportion, and – strangely enough – I’m inclined to believe her. Whether I think she had a genuine complaint is irrelevant – I would have to be there to make that call. What is relevant is how the media dog-whistles to the vegan-haters, and they come running. And how we Vegans can also be dog-whistled to, and turn against the Vegan for ‘making’ us look bad, instead of turning against the media, who have intentionally created that look.
We don’t have to agree with everything every Vegan does, but we do need to be vigilant about when we’re just getting played by the media.
Header pic by Danny Gallegos.