Latino Blog Challenge Day 3: Feed Me, Seymour!

Prompt: “Favorite Latin Cuisine”

HARD QUESTIONS! I’m a total foodie and just spent a weekend in Puerto Rico having amazing Latin-American food. At Tierra de Fuego, we ate Argentinian food; at Perurrican, we ate Peruvian and Peru/PR fusion food; and at home we ate comida criolla.

I think the defining feature of my favorite Latin-American cuisine, though, is the lack of heat and the blast of flavors. Having grown up in Puerto Rico to a boricua mom and a Cuban dad, those cuisines are definitely my favorite, though I do have soft spots for Argentine and Dominican food.

But let’s just get our mouths watering now, and I can share some food memories:

  • Milanesa (a breaded cutlet dish) a la napolitana (with ham, cheese, and marinara sauce) or a caballo (with a fried egg on top) from El Deli in Puerto Rico, an Argentine place where I drank the mushroom & wine sauce like a soup, where we could draw/sign on the walls with big markers.
  • Abuela making short-grained white rice with tocino as I sat on a small, white wicker chair and watched cartoons.
  • Picking out the black rice grains from the big measuring cup full of white rice as I stood on a chair helping a neighbor when we visited Mayaguez.
  • Picking parcha (passionfruit) and sugar cane and guineos (bananas) and carambolas (starfruit) and little medicinal herbs and recao from our backyard.
  • Christmases with arroz con gandules, home-made pasteles wrapped in twine and banana leaves, arroz con dulce with that little cinnamon stick. A roast pig on the spit and Christmas songs about going to see Jesus, about the jibaritos on the mountains.
  • Limbers made in plastic cups and eaten after school, bright yellow corn ice-cream with cinnamon on top (or guava sherbet with creamed cheese balls), and shaved ice piraguas in Old San Juan.

Supporting Your Local Veg-Places

So this blog isn’t just about sex and sexuality, though those are the topics I most frequently address.

I want to talk about the importance of supporting businesses that are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, by keeping places like that in business, you make it much easier for people who ARE to have places to go. You make it so that EVERYONE has easier access to vegetarian/vegan products, and for some people, this is really really important; these are ethical, not just dietary, choices they are making.

Often, I’m of the mind of “CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! SAVE MONEY!” but one SHOULD put ethics and different types of value (it’s not just about the money, folks) before the cash. My primary partner lives like this. He doesn’t often splurge on goods, especially while living on a meager Americorps salary, but you’ll never see him at, say, a Wal-Mart. He makes purchases from business that somehow align with his ethics, as much as he can manage to do it.

So while my first instinct is to dive into bargain bins and immediately go for the cheap stuff, or go to stores with crazy sales, this summer I have been (and hopefully will continue to be) more discerning, especially since I have my family’s economic support and can afford to do so. When I have to support MYSELF it shall be another issue, since I’ll have to be dealing with my own finances, but for now, this is my plan. Because I hope to stay true to my ethics, though, I’ll try my best to put my money where my mouth is even when I’m the sole breadwinner in my life.

That’s great and all, but how do I know which places are veg-friendly if I, myself, am an omnivore? Well lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of awesome places you should support! Now it should be easy-peasy.

Suggestions for vegan/veggie-friendly food-places in Rhode Island (mainly in Providence, unsurprisingly):

  • FOO(d) – The AS220 Café
    • Super inexpensive AND delicious (one of my favorite things to get is their crispy chickpeas appetizer). Their priciest dish is only $10, and they have a bunch of vegetarian and vegan options. The atmosphere is fun, though it can get loud when bands are playing in the AS220 performance space. If you like a hip joint with cheap and awesome food, definitely go. One of my favorite places in Rhode Island, hands down. The free WiFi is also nice, and there’s a bar located in the restaurant space too, if that’s your fancy. Depending on when you go, it can be a nice place to read and chill out. They also have outdoors seating, which is great when the air is cool.
  • White Electric Coffeehouse
    • American deli style, with a sweet artsy vibe. Some of my favorite items on the menu? Cranberry-walnut bread, hot chocolate, and cheddar/avocado sandwiches. Om nom nom. Also very decently-priced, and there’s free WiFi! Another great place to go to get some food and catch up on your reading. It’s fairly small, though, so it can’t seat large groups or anything.
  • Fire+Ice Grill & Bar
    • Mongolian BBQ place where you choose your own raw ingredients (vegetarian ones are marked with a green label, and the staff can fry your stuff in a separate pan), put them all in a bowl, and then see them stir-fried right before your eyes. You can also taste the sauces before committing to one for your dish. It’s a fun place with bright colors, and it’s decently-priced. Mondays are college-nights and dinner is $10 with a valid college-ID. This place is good for big groups because it’s huge (seats 326!), unlike most of the others on this list, which are more medium/small-sized. 
  • United BBQ
    • Cheap food, with a variety of vegetarian AND vegan options, all in the style of a typical BBQ place. Check out their menu! If you hate the idea of BBQ places because, well, they do offer meat, maybe skip out. Otherwise, I recommend it.  
  • Julian’s
    • One of my favorite places in Rhode Island, hands down. SO GOOD. SO DELICIOUS. There’s something for every price-range (e.g. dinner stuff ~$8-$28), the restaurant itself is charming and artsy, and the bathroom (yes, the bathroom) is adorable. Everything about this place is awesome. JUST GO. TRUST ME. They serve brunch & dinner, and they have a bar. GO GO GO.
  • The Garden Grille
    • A small, casual restaurant that serves “American” vegetarian food and has vegan options. They’re also a juice-bar, if you’re into that. It’s one of the more expensive v-friendly restaurants in Rhode Island, but many say it’s worth it. Their priciest entrees are ~$15.
  • The Like No Udder ice-cream truck (you can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook)
    • An adorable purple ice-cream truck with none of the dairy and ALL of the flavor. They serve smooth, smooth soft-serve (vanilla and/or chocolate, with a variety of toppings), shakes, floats, candy bars, and nachos. Everything is vegan AND kosher, and they don’t use any hydrogenated ingredients used. Be aware, though: they only take cash!
  • Nice Slice Pizzeria
    • If you’re looking for a place that serves tasty, tasty vegetarian/vegan pizzas and has a super friendly staff, you’ve found the right place. Nice Slice offers vegan cheese and faux-meat toppings (“chicken, bacon, sausage, steak, and pepperoni”) for their pizzas, and they also serve vegan sandwiches. Awesomeness all-around, plus they deliver and stay open late.
Also, remember that many Indian and Middle-Eastern restaurants are vegetarian-friendly! I’ll specifically mention Kabob N’ Curry on Thayer St. because, not only is it fucking DELICIOUS, but they have a sweet meatless buffet on Saturday mornings (11AM-3PM or so) for ~$9.

    Herbivores are Sexy

    Sometimes I have nightmares in which I find myself eating meat. 

    The day after I “officially” became a vegetarian, I dreamt I was at a supermarket back home, and that I was eating rotini, and that the rotini SOMEHOW TURNED INTO SHRIMP. And then I freaked out because I was eating an animal, and then I doubly freaked out because I wondered if anyone had noticed–now no one would believe I was honestly becoming a vegetarian. Ever since, I’ve had the occasional dream where I eat meat and flip a shit. It’s not SERIOUSLY a big deal if I accidentally eat meat (in the non-dream world), but it still makes me really uncomfortable. Apparently enough to fuel nightmares, even!

    Anyway. SO. For those sexy vegetarians, vegans, and animal-rights activists out there, caring about what’s in one’s food is NOT the only worry. Vegetarians not as much, but vegans REALLY have to watch what they eat, wear, and buy in general. As I’ve previously mentioned, there are animal products and byproducts everywhere. And one of these places is the realm of pleasure: there are many sex-toys and safer-sex materials that are not vegan friendly.

    But fear not! That’s why The Sensual Vegan, a store that sells sexy vegan goodies (everything from candles and razors, to condoms, strap-on harnesses, and anal-sex books), is here! And it is not only awesome because it caters to animal-rights activists and veg-heads, but also because it donates 5% of all sales to Scarleteen, a sex-positive sex education resource site aimed at young folks. Good stuff all around, and from what I can see, it carries quality items–not cheap-o novelty item crap that will leave your sexy bits covered in creepy chemicals.

    Also, another website worth checking out is VegPorn. With a tag-line like “titillating tofu-eaters,” who wouldn’t be curious and click on the link? The color scheme is really pretty (not like those neon sparkly pink porn sites, with all the glitz and glamor and Photoshop-happy airbrushing, or the really intense red and black ones). Every model has a little bio, and it’s a happy bunch that looks, above-all, REAL.

    Finally, porn-related, but not veg-ism related, I wanted to link to this (NSFW, obviously) video, featuring sassy and adorable Milla Monroe making an apple pie and then…well…masturbating in the kitchen. But the important part is not the sexual part–it’s the fact that she’s so friendly, pretty, and cute. I thought she was fantastic. Check out more of her videos. They’ll probably put a smile on your face.

    Goodbye, meat

    Unless we’re talking about playing the meat-flute (or other sexual things hinted at by hilarious euphemisms), I’m indefinitely staying away from meat/fish starting January 1st. I’m going the vegetarian route (ovo-lacto-vegetarian, to be precise, though I’ll probably be eating vegan-fare a bunch anyway) for numerous reasons, which can be summarized quite concisely in a short bullet-list:
    • It’s better for animals, my health, the environment, etc
    • I believe it’s “the right thing to do” and can’t back up eating meat with an argument that doesn’t eventually boil down to “I just don’t care enough”
    • It’s something I’ve been leaning towards (actively or not) for a while / New year, new decade, blah blah blah / I am finally ready to do it!
    • The boyf is vegan and it’s an important ethical issue for him
    • It’s a way to reduce amount of non-consensual suffering/pain I cause

    Don’t worry–I won’t get all holier-than-thou on anyone and start being a militant vegetarian; that only alienates people. I’d much rather talk about the benefits of vegetarianism and my personal experiences with it all (both positive and negative), letting people make their OWN choices based on the information they get and what they feel are their priorities. 🙂

    I can’t promise this will be an uber-strict, lifelong decision, but I CAN guarantee that I’m not taking this lightly and that I HAVE thought about it a lot. I’m not doing it for a pre-set time period (like, “oh, I’ll stop after a year”) and I’m not just doing it solely because I’m with someone who’s vegan. My choices, while informed and influenced by others, are still MY choices (and, really, do I seem the type to make a decision like this just because of a partner?). I eventually wanted to make vegetarianism a part of my life, and so I’m starting now and taking advantage of the veggie-friendly environment in which I live and operate in Providence.
    Can’t say I automatically hate meat/fish, though (this is an ethical, NOT taste-based, deal), so here’s a list of things I’ll miss (and yes, I know there are veggie alternatives to all of these, but still) most:
    • Double Bacon Cheeseburger from Burger King (comfort food like WHOA)
    • New England Clam Chowder (I weep)
    • Thanksgiving meal in all its turkey-having glory (favorite holiday meal evarrr)
    • Sushi (of the not-just-vegetable kind, om nom nom)
    • Skirt-steak
    • BBQ kebabs from shitty little carts in Puerto Rico
    • Ham croquettes
    • Chicken/lamb “plates” from NYC carts (DELICIOUS)

    I am not dedicated enough to be a vegan (for now), and it’s way more of an inconvenience than I am ready to deal with at the moment. Plus, jumping straight from meat-loving omnivore to strict vegan is ridonkadonk (at least for me). Just look at all the animal products and by-products that exist and make their way into the things we use on a daily basis! The list is INSANE. I’d like to gradually try to step away from using as many animal (by)products as I can, though, and/or at least ensure that my eggs are free-range and that sort of thing. It’s a process, so good luck to me. My first mission: find places in Puerto Rico that sell vegetarian- and vegan-friendly fare, both pre-made (restaurants!) and for cooking (stores!). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Advertising: Hope, Crying, and Culture

    I often feel a desire to cry during movie previews. Well, not the movie previews, exactly, but some of the ads they play before movies–the ones with swelling music and Spanish words and some bullshit about what it means to be Puerto Rican. The Banco Popular one? Dear lord, it makes me well up like nobody’s business. There’s a longer version out there, but this the version in theaters (and it’s faster-paced):

    Click here for it. Like, I’m watching it right now and I’m tearing up, even though I’ve watched it a bunch of times before. The part where the children’s chorus comes in? Ohhhhh man. If I haven’t cracked by then, that does it. (Of course, I have to be in the zone for the tears to be inevitable; catch me off guard or stressed and I will wave away the ad with annoyance.)

    Anyway, I’ve translated the lyrics for those of you who are Spanish-impaired. 😛

    I’m the light of the morning
    that illuminates new paths,
    that goes flooding the mountains,
    the farmer trails.
    I’m the fruit of the future,
    the seeds of tomorrow,
    planted in pure dung (read: fertilizer)
    of my boricua land.
    I’m a fisherman of dreams;
    I go looking for a sea of spume
    of shells and sands,
    of sirens and moons.
    Of stars and horizons,
    my fortune is composed.
    I’m a sailing seagull and an astronaut of fog.
    Of the bread, I am the yeast that feeds the hope
    of the Puerto Rican man,
    of the awakening of my mother country.
    I bring boricua blood;
    I’m the son of the palm-trees, of the toads (does the song say sapos?) and the rivers
    and of the singing of the coquí,
    of valleys and coffee plantations,
    of sugar-cane and pineapple,
    of guava and mampostiales,
    of tembleque and maví.

    I chose to not translate tembleque, maví, and mampostiales. It feels too weird to see them in English, somehow linguistically reduced, or transformed into something else. But, if you MUST know:

    • mampostiales = “very thick, gooey candy bars of caramelized brown sugar and coconut chips, challenging to chew and with a strong, almost molasses-like flavor”
    • tembleque = creamy coconut pudding usually garnished with cinnamon on top
    • maví = “mauby,” a drink! (“The drink or syrup for the drink is made by boiling a specific buckthorn bark, Colubrina elliptica, with sugar and a variety of spices. In looking at individual recipes on how people make mauby, you’ll note spices and flavorings vary exceedingly. Cinnamon is usually included, but then the drink flavoring diverges according to recipe. Some people add cloves, anise, vanilla extract, or cola flavoring. For more info, just check the wiki.”)

    If this doesn’t make your mouth water at least a LITTLE, you should get your salivary glands checked. Anyway. Why do I get so emotional? Part of it is the setting of the theater, of course, that sets the stage (no pun intended); everything is bigger and louder and more intense there, plus the darkness creates an air of intimacy and solitude (that’s more believable when one is not in a packed room with some dingbat kicking the back of one’s seat), or at the very least of uninterrupted connection to what is onscreen. However, even when I’m not in the theater, I can get teary-eyed. It’s the idea of this, well, idealized Puerto Rico. It’s a longing for that, and not coupled with the belief that it’s nonexistent, but with the belief that there IS that beauty and that wonder in the Puerto Rico in which I live–that it’s just a matter of stopping and appreciating it, or finding it, or even just knowing how and when to look. The beautiful visuals and music create an air of hope…and if an ad is going to make me feel something, hope is a fucking fantastic choice. It makes the viewer tune in to that part of themselves, the hopeful part, the part that identifies as Puerto Rican, the part that wants to be proud of the mother country and not ashamed. It’s the part that goes “yes yes yes” during the whole ad.

    To me, advertising is important. Heck, I wanted to GO into advertising for a while! All things being equal, or more or less equal, I WILL give preference to the organization with better ads, not because I believe their product is better, but because I admire their advertising and feel like rewarding them for a job well done. I will purposefully choose to support a company whose ads I like. And speaking of other ads I like, Harris Paints created a CLASSIC with this one:

    Click here.
    This thing was played at EVERY MOVIE SHOWING IN EVERY THEATER (of the Caribbean Cinemas chain, at least, but I’m pretty sure CineVista also played them). It ran for YEARS. People went into a movie and sang along to this during the previews, some in barely audible whispers, others in great, booming voices. It was glorious. They eventually retired the commercial after a bunch of years and everyone got upset. And what does this ad have in common with the Banco Popular one? It invokes our sense of Puerto-Rican-ness AND it has great visuals AND catchy music. It talks about paint colors in terms of Puerto Rican things, colors WE know because we see them every day or we are at least pretty damn familiar with them. Green is not fucking…kelly-green or hunter green or limeade green, it’s “verde quenepa.” Red is this red, of the flamboyán (Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant). Blue is the blue of the cobblestones that line San Juan’s streets. And so on. In fact, here are the lyrics:

    Paint your life
    with the colors of my land.
    Paint your life.
    Piragua strawberry,
    white like coconut,
    mango yellow.
    Quenepa green,
    cobblestone blue,
    flamboyán red,
    turquoise of the sea.
    The colors of my land,
    our colors,
    paint your life
    with the colors
    that Harris gives you.

    Mmm, gotta love appealing to people’s sense of unified culture. I’ll avoid cynicism for now (shocking!). And for clarification, a piragua is like a snowcone, but the top is pointy like a pyramid (not rounded like a snowball). SO yes. Other ads or previews make me cry too, for different reasons. It’s usually the beauty in them, though, that captures me; they’re so intense and beautiful that I just can’t help but tear up. Same thing with music.

    “Don’t make women your meat substitute”

    Though PETA has put out some advertising campaigns that I like, most of them are complete misogynistic, fatphobic, queerphobic, racist bullshit.

    Let me be fair and highlight some of the positive and/or non-offensive campaigns first:

    • “I’m [famous person] and I’m a vegetarian” (example and example; BAD example)
    • “You wouldn’t wear your pet, so don’t wear fur” (example)–> This one is fantastic. It relies on connecting to the part of the viewer that loves animals and/or has pets; it shows the links between the animals we eat/wear and the animals we care for and love. This is one of the most effective ones, I’d think. You work that guilt, PETA!
    • Here’s the rest of your fur coat” (example 2). This one is shocking and in-your-face, but that’s the point.
    • A campaign that exposes how some slaughterhouses are so filthy, that feces can be found on most pieces of meat.
    • A campaign against the clubbing of baby seals.
    • Spoke-swine arguing for the taxation of meat.
    • “Justifications for Exploitation” exhibit (example) –> I do think there are links between exploiting animals and exploiting other humans. No, I do not think that slavery and sweatshops and all that is EXACTLY THE SAME as what is done to animals, but I think there are important parallels that we should examine (especially when it comes to the rhetoric used to justify said exploitation). So…actually…in the end, shit is pretty similar.
    • “Running of the Nudes” in Pamplona. I’d previously riled against an image from it, but that was because I’m dumb and didn’t know about the larger campaign. Sorry!
    • “[Think] Ink, Not Mink” –> This one I’m kind of on the fence about. I think it’s catchy and cool. Not likely to make someone go HOLY SHIT OF COURSE I SHOULD STOP WEARING MINK, but a nice tactic for overall awareness and visibility. BUT, surprise surprise–most of their tattooed folk are men. Sigh. And all the men are like RAWR I’M TUFF OR SERIOUS, and the few women are…meh. Check them all out here.

    That being stated, let’s talk about the vile crap PETA has put out. But first, let me say I have a complicated relationship with advertising, objectification, nudity, and sexualization. I don’t think I’ve resolved my issues there, and I still have to think long and hard (that’s what phe said) about how I feel concerning these things. For the sake of not making this entry 20 times longer than it’s going to be already, I’ll try to summarize it. I love nudity and am not opposed to it in advertising. I love sexualization and I am not inherently opposed to it in advertising. BUT…too often these things go hand in hand with sexual objectification (which I am not INHERENTLY opposed to either), and this shit gets put out there without proper education.

    Ads with nudity and sexualization often objectify individuals and proliferate in a deeply misogynistic, queerphobic, racist, etc etc societies. So while these things “on their own” aren’t bad, putting them out there in a society that will warp them and misunderstand them and conflate “real people” with “advertised people,” it’s NOT OKAY to have ads like that. If our society had healthier attitudes toward sexuality, less body-shaming, less beauty-centric ideals, and more equality overall, nudity and sexualization wouldn’t be so problematic.

    Anyway, to get us started, consider this “Milk Gone Wild” campaign.
    I have no words. Next up: packaged humans.

    I liked the concept a LOT, but I don’t agree with the execution. If they didn’t focus on the
    sexualization of the meat, this would be fantastic. (Also, um, we can has variety of gender, sex, body type, ethnicity…ANYTHING? No? Oh, okay, PETA. Thanks a lot.) Then again, I like exposing the idea that beautiful women ARE treated like meat/objects…I just don’t know if this actually makes that point, since PETA’s agenda is to help animals, not women, and they have a history of CRAP. Soooo this could have been awesome…but PETA fucked it up. Great.

    Augh, this ad is stupid for so many reasons. BUT, it could have been made AWESOME. ANOTHER cool concept fucked up by PETA’s ignorance. See some suggestions about how it could have been made good/effective:

    • Please allow me, like my nonhuman relatives, to wear my own fur! (Lynne Pashal, CO)
    • How about featuring naked crotch shots of a man and woman next to a beaver with the headline, “Fur only looks good where it grows naturally”? (Lethea Erz Takaka, New Zealand)
    • Change the ad to: “Trimming Fur. Unattractive. Wear your own with pride.” (Colleen Kirby, MA)

    Because the way to stop people from wearing fur is through enticing them with the idea of seeing a naked woman if they do it? And wtf fuzzy-headed palace-guard? (Do they use bear-skin for their fuzzy hats? Maybe that’s the relevance…but still, wtf) Yes, there’s a “male” version of it, but surprise–he’s only shot from the belly-button up. And his arms are crossed. And he looks happy, determined, or whatever–NOT sensual and sexualized.

    No. Just…no. And yeah, let’s further stigmatize men who can’t get erections at the drop of a hat. That’s really fucking useful.


    Sigh. Even better (and by better I mean more exasperating) than this ad is the comments people have made about it. Guess what they focus more on–the issue of sows and animal cruelty or the woman’s body and how attractive/unattractive it is? No, really, I’ll give you ONE guess.

    On the racism front, this ad makes its point (sorta?), but…it also clouds the facts. A lot. Selective breeding of dogs is only like race-supremacy bullshit in the sense that they both strive toward a certain perfection and blah blah blah. However, dog breeders do not HARM their pets or TERRORIZE them. There are no dog-lynchings among breeders. They don’t advocate for the extermination of all other dogs. So basically, the analogy only works up to the point of “we want to create a master race.” Also, cosmetic procedures some now consider unneccesary had an actual use once upon a time; they weren’t “cosmetic” back then. Read about cropping ears and docking tails here and here. Sure, now cutting tails/ears is bullshit in many places because the original purposes are no longer there and it’s uneccesary to actually perform these things, BUT we can’t just say “oh, it’s cosmetic” and leave it at that. That presumes that there is (and was) no use whatsoever to have these procedures done.

    Moving on–elephant-time!

    14850746_celina.jpg image by preeto_f04

    Since I don’t know where this ad was circulated, I don’t know what to make of it on the racial/ethnic front. The first shit that comes to mind is obviously “oh no, stop the savage, dark pygmy-men from hurting this beautiful light-eyed princesss! look how pained she looks!” 😐 Yeah, way to reinforce racism. But anyhoo–stylizing violence. THIS DOESN’T WORK. WHY WHY WHY DO THEY KEEP DOING IT?!

    Seriously. Does PETA not understand that they’re not DOING ANYTHING BY STYLYZING VIOLENCE? This only serves to portray an INACCURATE IMAGE of the shit that goes on–the very shit they’re trying to STOP.

    Oh, this is surprising. A fully-clothed guy. 😐 Let’s compare this one to the other ads.

    “Wearing Axe’s new leather-inspired “Instinct” fragrance will not get you mobbed by a horde of horny honeys swooning over the smell of cow hides. There’s nothing sexy about smelling like or sporting rotten animal skins. (And yes, we have sexpert Pamela Anderson backing us up here.)” (via here).

    Really? If you’re against the manufactured/faux smell of leather, then you’d have to be against fake fur, pleather, and ANYTHING that seeks to emulate the products we get from animals because they are EMULATING PRODUCTS WE GET FROM ANIMALS. Tofurkey, veggieburgers, gardendogs…all of these try to mimic the flavor of meat, sooooo we should ban them, right? NO. The point is to still get our kicks but without hurting animals, so if we can make something smell like leather or taste like meat without ACTUALLY making it out of leather or meat, then that’s awesome. Talk about hipocrisy.

    And this Top-10 List to Go Vegetarian is also semi-full of fail. Some of the reasons to go vegetarian are valid, but others aren’t. Furthermore, this list is misleading (e.g. vegetarianism alone does NOT equal losing weight and by going vegetarian we’re not magically fucking feeding the hungry). Oh, and of course, the 2 most important reasons to go veg are THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT and WE CAN FINALLY BE SKINNY. Remember, vegetarianism = skinniness = sexiness = most important thing in our lives. *eyeroll* AND FINALLY, if we’re really intense about this, we should all just be vegan. Yes, vegetarianism is better than doing nothing, but people forget that not eating meat does NOT translate into not using animal-tested products, or other products that come from animals. Check out this list–animals products are EVERYWHERE, it’s nuts. Point being, vegetarianism alone can only do so much and we need to REALIZE that and STOP FOOLING OURSELVES by thinking that it’s a magical cure for all ills.

    That said, feel free to check out the PETA blog. It does actually have important information about animal rights, animal abuse, and all that jazz. Just because PETA does STUPID shit every once in a while (and by that I mean OFTEN), it doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless. We just need to have a very critical eye when dealing with their stuff.

    Lose the blubber? More like lose the douchebaggery.

    PETA Save the Whales Obesity Billboard

    Dear PETA:

    Sometimes you have pretty cool campaigns.

    Sometimes you miss the mark entirely and produce crap like this.

    I don’t know who thought “YES, this is a great idea! Let’s use one of the most derogatory words for fat women and put it on a HUGE billboard and imply that women are whales that need to be saved from their gross obesity through vegetarianism (because only meat-eating women are obese)! This will entice people to become vegetarians! GENIUS!”

    No. You fail.

    And “trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”?

    Really? Really, PETA?

    I’m not even going to go into their implications that ceasing consumption of meat equal healthiness (because that’s just not true) and that the differences between skinny/fat and vegetarian/omnivore are all caused by the meat or lack thereof in people’s diets. Jeez.


    PETA’s press release:

    Jacksonville, Fla. — A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose “blubber” is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom and features the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

    Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. The meat habit can ruin the fun in other ways too. Consuming meat and dairy products is conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer — not to mention higher rates of infertility in women and impotence in men. And not only is following a healthy plant-based diet good for the environment, it is also the best thing that anyone can do to help stop the routine abuse of animals raised and killed for food. Animals on factory farms are subjected to mutilations like debeaking, tail-docking, and branding (without any painkillers) and are often slaughtered and dismembered while still conscious.

    “Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

    UPDATE: Student Action Required!

    Jaykay. Blount JUST pulled out. 🙂 They haven’t made it public, however, (like I said, this JUST happened) and I’d like to see if they issue a statement. I mean, they SHOULD and probably will…but let’s see. I want to know their official stance on WHY they pulled out. I’d hate it if they just kept quiet about it all. Hmph. Also, it’s important to wait and see what they say because the email reply COULD be open to interpretation, y’know?

    Truth Wins Out received the following e-mail from Larry Marchese, public relations representative for Blount Fine Foods of Fall River, Mass.

    From: Larry Marchese
    Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 10:06 PM
    To: Mike Airhart; Wayne Besen
    That is correct.
    Sent from my handheld – please forgive typos
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Mike Airhart
    Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:59:44
    To: Larry Marchese, Wayne Besen

    Dear Larry,
    Thank you very much for your communication. Are you stating officially that Blount Fine Foods is no longer providing cash or goods to National Organization for Marriage or its affiliates for the event in Warwick on August 16?
    Many thanks in advance for any definitive clarification.

    Mike Airhart
    Truth Wins Out

    Regardless–wee! The power of consumers + the internet rules. I can now continue to eat my delicious Blue Room New England clam chowder.

    The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is holding an anti-equality event in Providence this Sunday, August 16. NOM is one of the largest groups that is trying to prevent &/or overturn marriage equality. One of the sponsors of this event is Blount Fine Foods, who supplies Brown Dining Services with pre-made soups found in the Gate, Jo’s, and the Blue Room. We wanted to send an e-mail to BFF (lol, BFF) to let them know how we are not happy with the sponsorship of the group responsible for the “Gathering Storm” ad.

    Upon receiving complaints about this, Larry Marchese said, on behalf of BFF:

    “Corporate philanthropy and good citizenship has been part of Blount’s mission since inception. In keeping with that, we have a long track record of donating Blount-brand chowder and other products to a wide variety of non-profits in our home area that request it for events. These donations of soup are just simple gestures of goodwill and were certainly not intended to be interpreted otherwise. It’s very concerning to us that anyone would think otherwise and as a result, we will review our policy going forward.””

    The following is my draft for the email we want to send to Blount Fine Foods. We also want to send it to the local media/newspapers and start circulating it to create a sweet snowball effect. SO, forward it to other Brown students and groups, get support, and tell people to email us so we can do a formal email with a lot of signatures. 🙂 Tim Horton’s in RI was sponsoring the event too, and after a huge backlash, they pulled their support and apologized. Let’s see if we can make this happen again with Blount!

    If you or your subgroup/organization (remember, the Queer Alliance itself cannot sponsor any event; this is up to each individual subgroup) would like to be added to this e-mail let us know soon–we want to send this email and start circulating it before the event happens this upcoming Sunday!

    To Whom It May Concern at Blount Fine Foods,

    It has come to our attention that your organization is one of the sponsors for the National Organization for Marriage event being held this Sunday, August 16th 2009, at the Aldrich Mansion. While we understand that corporate philanthropy and good citizenship are part of Blount’s mission, and that in attempting to keep with said mission, your organization has a history of donating products to all local non-profits that request it for events, we feel it is impossible to construe donations for this event as “simple gestures of goodwill” with no ideological ramifications. Being a sponsor of an event has its obligations and implications, and thus we urge you to reconsider your support for NOM’s Marriage and Family Day.

    Your website lists your non-discrimination policy, which covers many forms of diversity (including sexual orientation), and states that you believe “workforce diversity is essential to the company’s growth and long-term success.” Furthermore, your non-discrimination statement ends with “We further strive to apply these same principles to how we work with business partners, our industry as well as organizations out in the community.” How is it then acceptable to support an event that goes against everything you stand for in that statement and blatantly supports discrimination? How is it logical to espouse fairness and a need for diversity and simultaneously sponsor a fundraiser for the National Organization for Marriage?

    This event has a clear religious affiliation and political agenda, which blatantly go against the ideals of non-discrimination and freedom of choice, and thus we feel your promotion of this event is deeply hypocritical. Your sponsorship directly marginalizes a sector of your workforce and clientele, while simultaneously condoning the mission of the National Organization for Marriage–to stand in the way of legalizing same-sex marriage on the basis of certain people’s religious beliefs.

    Your decision to contribute to this event is directly relevant to us (members of the Brown University community), not just because our institution has people who identify as LGBTQ and are affected by NOM’s message and goals, but also because your company supplies Brown Dining Services with a variety of goods. If your sponsorship reflects your values and you choose to support the National Organization for Marriage’s efforts, we do not want our dollars going to your business and, by extension, anti-equality groups such as that.

    We would appreciate that your company follow Tim Horton’s example: the company has pulled its support for the NOM Rhode Island event and has issued a statement on its website, in which it acknowledges that the event falls outside their sponsorship guidelines (which support fundraising events for non-profit organizations and registered charities, NOT those representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups) and apologizes “for any misunderstanding or inconvenience” caused by the deal.

    For all the reasons outlined above, we the undersigned oppose your decision to sponsor the National Organization for Marriage event this Sunday, August 16th, and urge you to reconsider your affiliation to it. In the event that you keep the sponsorship, we will work so that Brown University seriously reconsiders its patronage of your business.


    You know what’s better than a Twix bar? A fake Twix bar marketed towards women. Especially one that SHIMMERS.

    “We created FLING™ Chocolate Fingers to celebrate the female spirit – the unapologetically feminine playful, naughty, flirtatious, and alluring nature that brings shimmer into the world.

    FLING™ is a sweet, light truffle on a subtle crisp layer enrobed in shimmering chocolate that’s as glamorous as you are. At under 85 calories per finger, it’s slim, but not skinny. Indulgent but not greedy. Naughty but nice.

    It’s also a way of living. As FLING™ women we are spontaneous – we shimmer! And when it’s good? We share it. So let yourself go! Have a FLING™ in private, or wave it all around town; in the office, the bedroom, or the great outdoors.”

    What in the world–? You need to look at this website.

    Shimmery sparkling pink overload. Also, just look at the language used! I can’t believe they were able to pack so many stereotypes onto one site. Women are “playful and naughty and flirtatious” and we “bring shimmer into the world.” That’s actually true because we FLING women excrete glitter and rainbows and fairy dust. DUH. 😐 Anyway. I don’t have a problem with women being naughty, flirtatious, playful, and shimmery, but I DO have a problem when that’s what women are reduced to. Welcome to the marketing world.

    I love how they describe the “fingers” as “enrobed in shimmering chocolate” that are as “glamorous” as women are. The parallels between describing this food item and women are incredible. And, notice how they differentiate between skinny and slim? This is a worthwhile distinction; it’s bad if you’re “skinny,” but slim is fine…never mind healthy, though? That whole section seems like it’s describing the “ideal woman,” too (cf. the “FLING” woman, which is even interesting from a linguistic/semantic perspective–a FLING woman? the “other” woman? a mistress?). Slim, but not skinny; indulgent, but not greedy; naughty, but nice. Are we marketing a chocolate or are we marketing ideals of femininity and womanhood?

    And the crazy relationship subtext here is intense–“have a fling; let yourself go” and “Have a FLING™ in private, or wave it all around town; in the office, the bedroom, or the great outdoors.” Really? Could we be a little more explicit about promoting cheating here, folks? I didn’t think so.

    Actually, here’s some more:

    “How should I properly care for my FLING™?

    Like the women who crave it, FLING needs to be handled with care — try not to ruffle our delicate truffles and keep them in a cool, dry place. Between 65-75 degrees is ideal. Then you can pleasure yourself with this chocolate sensation time and time again.




    “Keep things interesting and try a FLING™ Chocolate Finger in all three flavors – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Hazelnut – a ménage of flavors. Variety is the spice of life, so tear it open and sneak in a quickie.” REALLY? REALLY? A “ménage” of flavors? ROFL. Let’s have a threesome with these “chocolate fingers” because “variety is the spice of life.” I could go off the deep end and try to make some racial implications here, but that would be too much, albeit hilarious. This entire website wraps up ideals of womanhood, food, sex, and relationship models all into one big shimmering, glamorous package of fail.

    However, the chocolate actually SHIMMERS, which is awesome. If I weren’t so amused by/disgusted at the marketing, I might actually buy some. You know how girls love their sparklies! (But really–I totally do.)