I can’t tell you how much I resent crappy pop culture finding me under my rock. Between photo-accompanied headlines and comedic spoofs, I know far too much about Lady Gaga, Glen Beck, <insert the name of that person or couple with way too many kids>, and now Jersey Shore. The way the public embraces these reality show people drives me insane; sure, they laugh at them, feeling an unhealthy sense of superiority, but if they got a chance to so much as shake the hand of one of them, well, it’d be a story to tell for years to come.
What’s that got to do with vegtastic voyaging? As my mind throws out tangents faster than I can usually follow, one of the more entertaining ones involved myself in a reality show. What could the hook possibly be? What segment of wacky subculture do I share with those around me? How could I be neatly generalized, marginalized, and packaged for mass consumption? Well, I’m vegan, and that’s ridiculous enough for many. I live in Portland—or Little Beiruit, as the GWB staff reffered to it—whose unofficial slogan is “Keep Portland Weird.” And I’m a 30-something, childless, bookish, crafty, aging hipster/punk, former gifted child without a grown-up, full-time job. To top it off, I keep a handful of others just like me around and call them friends.
You could put us all in a house together (with a yard, please, for the garden) and fill it with cameras, and it would be the most boring show ever. More boring than C-SPAN’s Congress-Cam. We’re quiet. We paint and sew and read and write and ride bikes. When we hang out together we eat and watch funny things on computers or TVs and we listen to records and we talk about old punk shows we were at and cities we’ve lived in. We get excited when Food Fight! gets a new shipment of Daiya or one of us buys new shoes or gets a new kitty. The only scandals that arise are when an old acquaintence (vegan when we knew ’em) is spotted eating a can of tuna (this really happened) or…no, I can’t really think of any more. Man, we don’t even deserve nicknames.
The producers could try to shake things up by placing an omnivore in the house with us. We’d have separate pots and pans and such, and we’d all do our own dishes immediately, but the first time the omni filled the house up with the smell of scrambled eggs or his poorly wrapped steak dripped blood in the fridge (oh no! my cilantro!)…house meeting. I’d give that guy a month. I know omni-veg couples who get by, but they lo-o-o-ove each other. Without an emotional bond or financial necessity, I don’t see it going well.
Who’d watch that? As one who hasn’t watched unscripted television since Candid Camera, not me, even—no, especially—if I was in it. I guess all this little mental hiccup did is tell me we can’t be that outrageous. You can’t be boring and crazy at the same time.