Wow – talk about getting smacked!
This morning the Huffington Post printed an editorial by Natalie Portman. In the piece, Portman explains how reading Jonathan Safran Foer‘s book Eating Animals convinced her to evolve from being a vegetarian into a vegan activist. Portman praises Safran’s courage in writing a book that seems to promote unpopular beliefs (only about 1% of Americans are vegan), especially in an age where discussing the torture and slaughter of animals is often characterized as “unmanly, inconsiderate, and juvenile.” Portman writes:
“…[Foer] reminds us that being a man, and a human, takes more thought than just “This is tasty, and that’s why I do it.” He posits that consideration, as promoted by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has more to do with being polite to your tablemates than sticking to your own ideals, would be absurd if applied to any other belief (e.g., I don’t believe in rape, but if it’s what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it).”
Uh oh. It’s the latter part of that last sentence, “e.g., I don’t believe in rape, but if it’s what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it,” that got Portman in trouble with Gina Serpe of E! Online.
Serpe’s reply was published just hours later with the headline Natalie Portman Equates Meat-Eating With Rape. Referring to Portman’s Huff piece as a “Harvard-caliber book report,” Serpe translates Portman’s statment into “those who choose to feast on flesh without regard for the moral implications might as well change their name to Roman Polanski.” She then goes on to accuse Portman of “sensationalizing meat-eating” and “grossly discounting the severity of rape.”
The girl was giving an EXAMPLE, hence the use of “e.g.” She didn’t say meat-eating = rape. She didn’t call all meat-eaters “child molesters.” She didn’t discount the severity of rape – if anything her point (sticking to your ideals) could only be emphasized by choosing an issue that most everyone would agree IS quite serious. Veganism is an ideal, as is non-violence, compassion, and yes, opposition to rape.
And talk about sensationalizing an issue – Serpe was extremely reckless in creating such a grossly distorted title for her article. I have to wonder, does Serpe has something personal to settle with Portman? Or with vegans in general?
Anyway, my opinion of course. But take a look at Portman’s article on The Huffington Post, and then at Serpe’s reply on e!online and tell me what you think.