Vegans used as shorthand for being preachy
Perhaps the most middle class controversy of all time has erupted after the editor of Waitrose Food magazine lost his job over some strongly-worded comments about vegans.
William Sitwell stood down after suggesting a series on “killing vegans, one by one” to a freelance journalist who had pitched an idea.
Sitwell’s reply reached a wider audience - you could say he was grassed up, to use a plantbased pun - leading to his resignation.
The episode led to much media chin-stroking over ‘the power of vegans’, as their massranked supposedly assembled on social media to force a man out of his job.
According to one report, ‘The Humane Society also called for him to be sacked’, which strikes me as a funnier joke than the one Sitwell was apparently making in his email.
The thing is you probably can’t blame vegans for being a bit touchy; for many years they have been used as a kind of lazy shorthand for being preachy and self-satisfied.
As with all stereotypes, it’s unfair on the majority but the ones who conform to the cliche are generally the ones with the highest public profile (having seen some of the cartoonish ‘journalists’ chosen to speak on our behalf in TV debates about press freedom, I do know how the vegans feel).
It reminded me of an incident which happened a few years ago.
I was booking a table at a restaurant when the woman on the phone asked if me and my wife would be okay sitting next to a party of vegans.
Slightly baffled, I said that was perfectly fine, as long as the vegans weren’t any trouble (her query seemed darkly to suggest otherwise).
And, at the risk of generalising about vegans, they’re probably very civil neighbours in a public dining environment, as indeed they proved to be.
I don’t how William Sitwell will fare next time he ends up near a party of vegans in a restaurant but I’m sure they’ll be much nicer in person than some of the more militant ones he faced on social media.