On 19 August 2018, Anamnestes published “The Vegan Religion.” In the piece, Anamnestes discusses the results of Kalel’s admission of not wholly upholding veganism in her personal life, despite vlogging about it extensively. The author relates the admission to confessional aspects of religion, particularly Roman Catholicism, using the parallel to critique veganism as a religion and offering it something of a corrective for its fundamentalist tendencies. The author brings personal experience into play to help secure the parallel, making for an interesting piece with which to think and a useful comment on puritanical strains that appear in unexpected places.
Anamnestes is another blogger whom I know in real life and whom I esteem greatly. (I am using the blogging name instead of the meatspace name out of respect for the person; if the person wants the words under a pseudonym, then I will discuss them under such.) The current piece adds to that esteem, certainly, not least in providing a perspective I had not considered–although it is one that makes quite a bit of sense once pointed out. Being from central Texas as I am, I read “religion” as a term as bound up with particular strains of evangelical Christianity and their oft-annoying proselytizing–something often associated with vegan and other communities that ostensibly orient themselves around ethical and health issues. And, with that connection established in my mind, the rest slotted into place nicely.
That I had not made the connection before being prompted is, perhaps, an artifact of my own background and history. Though I have been a member of a church, I have never been particularly observant–and to claim to be a person of faith now would be disingenuous at best. I am not, therefore, the sort of person who is likely to see religious parallels–which makes work as a medievalist more interesting, since one of the old standbys is to look at medieval art as a gloss of or commentary on religious doctrine or material. I can do it, of course, but it is not a first option for me, something I am sure that my work elsewhere more than suggests.
Reading Anamnestes’ post, I find myself wondering what it would be like to have that kind of grounding–not because I long for it in itself, certainly, but because there are things it would make easier for me, professionally and likely personally, and I am lazier than I ought to be. And perhaps I am a bit envious of the access to community such offers, even as I am repulsed by the kind of reactions discussed in the post and what prompted it. With that, I am more familiar than is comfortable (though I admit to deserving some of it, if not most; I know well what I did and who I was). In reading, though, I find that I would like to be more familiar with some other issues, as well–even as I know I will not be.