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Veg*n Antagonist Lierre Keith Pied in the Face
Veg*n Antagonist Lierre Keith Pied in the Face at 2010 SF Anarchist Bookfair
by nothing with a face
Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 12:02 AM
Bound Together Books and PM Press continue to try to prop up and foist veg*n antagonist Lierre Keith onto the radical community in the Bay Area. Today, at the 15th Annual San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair, where she was scheduled to be a featured speaker, Keith was served her just deserts for her obnoxious attacks on veg*ns in The Vegetarian Myth. She was pied in the middle of her speech in the main auditorium at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park.

The myriad logical fallacies and other personal, logical, and factual problems with Lierre Keith's misanthropic book need not be reiterated here. A thorough debunking of her attack on veg*ns was posted on Indybay last June when Bound Together Books first invited her to speak about her book.

Lierre Keith's Elaborate, Self-Congratulatory Excuse for Abandoning Veganism

If her book had been written as a good faith effort to start a discussion about the topics of vegetarianism and industrial agriculture, it certainly would not have evoked such a visceral reaction from veg*ns. But that's not how Keith addressed the subject. She instead chose to rebuke her own former vegan self by verbally assaulting all veg*ns, calling them ignorant and child-like, sometimes based on nothing more than dishonest accounts of anonymous online comment threads or her own self-loathing.

Phony environmentalist omnivores like her buddy Derrick Jensen -- who farcically claimed the "book saved my life” -- might find the gratuitous attacks on veg*ns self-satisfying or validating, but the insults and invective directed against veg*ns have been taken, not surprisingly, quite personally by veg*ns everywhere who are aware of the book, sometimes by having had it thrown in their faces by those who mistakenly believe the book to be the last word on vegetarianism. And surely it was a reaction to these attacks that led the culprits of the pieing to feel compelled to take symbolic action against Lierre Keith at the very moment she was being held up as a paragon of radical thought by Bound Together Books at this year's Anarchist Bookfair, normally a vegetarian-friendly venue.

Some will condemn the pieing as a useless symbolic action. Others will object to the breaking of decorum at the bookfair. Many of those who might condemn the action would not think twice about praising other symbolic direct actions, pieing or otherwise. It is doubtful if her book were "the anarchist myth" or "prison activist myth" that anyone present would do anything but cheer the action.

Some will undoubtedly argue that the pieing was an attack on free speech, but Keith has been afforded more speech than most people on the planet will ever be, courtesy of PM Press. In fact, she is profiting from the soap box she has been given to pretend she is a radical environmentalist who just happens to jet around the country to and from her home in rural Massachusetts. In a world where vegans and vegetarians are a definite minority, face constant bombardment with pro-meat messages our American cattle culture, and frequently have to deal with direct attacks from government, law enforcement, and multinational corporations that profit from the sale of factory-farmed meat and dairy, Ramsey Kanaan of PM Press, himself a long-time vegan, strangely chose to pile on with yet another attack on veg*ns, this time being especially traumatic in that it comes from the inside of the supposed radical environmental movement. (Was the book printed in part to curry favor with Derrick Jensen who now publishes through PM Press?) Through the Bound Together collective, of which Ramsey Kanaan is a member, Lierre Keith has been asked to speak in the Bay Area repeatedly. The mean-spirited book and these speaking engagements are largely one-way conversations with Keith dominating the dialogue.

But today, anonymous masked peoples stood up and refused to allow PM Press and Bound Together to yet again try to cram Lierre Keith down our throats. They stood up for many who have suffered silently, without a voice, since the publication of her book. We don't want what you are serving.

her book is abusive, but maybe she got pied because she hates trans people too by not a victim Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 10:34 AM In her book, Lierre attacks vegetarians for having eating disorders and other mental disorders. She says claims that any sadness or anger on their part is due to... guess what? a lack of protein! Thanks Lierre, for pushing another sexist agenda saying that women's anger is down to biology! Or maybe she got pied because her book is also racist... ignoring the all non-western cultures eating a vegetarian diet. (For those who were there, maybe it was the person who introduced her that pied her! - I wouldn't blame him.) Or maybe she got pied because she was a founding (and continuing) member of RadLesFes, a group that characterizes trans-women as having "surgical, chemical or psychological mutilation". When you pathologize people in this way, you are going to make some fast enemies.

report from later appearance yesterday on Keith's shoddy "science" by check this Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 6:59 PM

She originally said she wasn't going to take questions, and I was disappointed by this, but honestly, I can't blame her. She had been through a lot already (it was not an edible pie that was thrown at her), and when you go through something traumatic like that, it's perfectly reasonable to want to take it easy for a bit.

After she finished her talk, though, she did say she'd take a few questions, but no hostile questions. vegimator started on a question which included to list a number of places in which she said things that were factually inaccurate or misrepresentative of the sources she cited. The first of these inaccuracies was the outrageous claim, from page 215 of the book, that a cup of soy milk contains 60 grams of soy protein. Lierre seemed confused and tried to deny that the book said this. vegimator persisted, and she said she was bored and had him skip through the rest of the list of inaccuracies and cut to the question. His question was (roughly), if so many of the claims for which I have some point of reference are false, it's hard for me to trust the claims you make on the things I don't know anything about, so can you say anything in to inspire confidence that this isn't representative of the quality of your research. Her answer was that she had 199 footnotes in the chapter on nutrition and we could look at the studies.

This might be a reasonable answer if there weren't instances in which she had made false claims and badly misrepresented her sources. Here's my favorite example of this happening (page 203):

Lierre Keith wrote:

We’ve been doing what we’ve been endlessly badgered to do since the 1960s. We’ve eaten, according to the USDA, less fat, less meat, fewer eggs. Our dietary fat has fallen 10 percent, hypertension has dropped 40 percent and the number of us with chronically high cholesterol has declined 28 percent.

Her citation for the claim of decreased meat and fat intake is from Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories: "According to the USDA, we have been eating less red meat, fewer eggs, and more poultry and fish; our average fat intake has dropped from 45 percent of total calories to less than 35 percent..." (xvii). The USDA data show that the increase in poultry and fish intake has more than made up for the decrease in red meat; total meat consumption has increased ( … #startForm).

As for fat, the USDA data show that our capita dietary fat intake increased from 135 g to 178 g between 1960 and 2006 ( As Taubes wrote, the percentage of calories coming from fat did decrease, but this was because we increased our daily calorie consumption from 3100 to 3900. It's incorrect for her to say that we're doing what we've been "endlessly badgered" to do. Nobody in the nutritional mainstream badgered us to increase our fat intake but increase our sugar intake even more. (And confusing percent decrease with percentage point decrease doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence, either.)

Loved this by Moss Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 7:24 PM She was pied, get over it. Big deal, even IF it was a spicy pie. Somebody call the waaaambulance for this loser. This action was both hilarious & totally appropriate. Anarchist resources should not be for posers just promoting the status quo. Her very presence there was very inappropriate. Who next, Valdas Analuskas or David Irving? They've been trying to be heard in activist spaces/resources & getting shut down by anarchists. I've heard they're just misunderstood too...

Lierre the "radical" betrayed her privileged perspective by immediately calling for police by Officer Friendly Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 7:36 PM Lierre obviously comes from a privileged perspective if the very first thing she said was "someone call the cops" as only the privileged automatically think of police as their friends and defenders. Lower classes and darker skinned people do not immediately look to police for help. They'll take the help if it's there, but they don't assume police generally exist to serve them.

She didn't curse the attackers or anything else. Her very first thought and action was to call for police. Think about it.

Lots of people in America think that way, so it's not surprising, just most of them aren't invited special guests at anarchist book fairs in San Francisco.

The Greeks who spoke at the fair said they wanted rapists out of prison. Keith wants pie throwers in prison. Think about that.

It wasn't us by vegimator Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 9:14 PM This is the content of that edited post:

Here are some of the bullet points I have so far-

Don't you think it's convenient that in your claim that plants need to eat animals to survive, you overlook that our veggies don't torture and kill us to get their nutrients and that they have no capacity for ethics unlike humans?

"built my whole identity—on the idea that my life did not require death." - page 18. The goal of veganism is to reduce suffering and the infringement on other creatures interests. The interests of a cow take greater precedence over the interests of a million nematodes because nematodes have no central nervous system.

How does she account for the factual errors (lies?), especially at the beginning of the book where she claims there are no sources of vegan tryptophan (soy has more tryptophan than any meat except codfish), and that there's no way to get enough saturated fat as a vegan (uh... how about coconuts?)

One from Alex. "Another good lie is the extra-deceptive chart of characteristics between Humans, Dogs, and Cows that she claims proves that humans are meant to eat meat. The funny part, of course, is that dogs don't need to eat meat either. If she compared humans to cats, she'd see how different humans are to actual carnivores."

She talks about plants being as worthy of our compassion as animals because trees warn each other of impending stress by releasing chemicals, etc, but this just shows an evolutionary advantageous stimulus response and not cognition or pain perception. Ability to transmit information does not equal sentience.

A hunter gatherer world at anything near our current population would only devastate the earth much quicker than current harmful agricultural techniques. Does she propose that 10 billion people (estimated world pop by 2050) could really live on grass fed beef/hunting and gathering?

Why is it that grass-fed meat fans like her and Pollan can never stick to their own advice? Pollan has admitted he eats factory farm meat sometimes and on her own blog she demonstrates her own hypocrisy by buying (grass-fed?) candy bars - and grain-fed bacon from this farm which she declares "perfect" (From their web site "As much as they love tearing up the grass with their snouts, pigs won't get fat on pasture alone. We supplement our hogs' feed with organic whey left over from nearby Cowgirl Creamery's cheesemaking operations, along with a custom blend of organic grains."). (Alex discovered those blog posts btw.)

Relatedly, wouldn't it be more ethical of her to be living in the forest hunting and gathering rather than self-publishing books printed on trees (most likely from a south american rain forest)?

I'll have to double check but I think she blames vegan soy consumption for damage to the amazon forest. We could roll that into the above point and also point out that the overwhelming majority of Brazilian soy is grown to feed livestock and that there's no reason soy (a natural nitrogen fixer which doesn't even require manure and is already grown in the United States) couldn't be grown sustainably.

So what??? by Mike Desert Sunday Mar 14th, 2010 11:10 PM Mayor Willie Brown got pied, Anita Bryant got pied, Ralph Klein got pied. The only difference is that Lierre is a nobody.

She CALLED THE COPS at an anarchist book fair and said "I don't give a fuck about anarchists". I think anyone who says that pieing her is disrespectful is missing the point of who the target is.

Tho I may be a veg*n, I'm not opposed to differences of opinion, but her sources are very questionable (weston a price foundation?? That's like taking psychiatric advice from L Ron Hubbard)

re: eyes are still recovering even today from the damage by calling out BS Monday Mar 15th, 2010 9:29 AM The picture in comments above shows none of the facial redness you'd expect after being pied with pepper. Do you know anyone who's been pepper sprayed? I assure you they don't look as pale as Lierre did in the picture above within an hour of being peppered.

She spoke in public later that same night and was fine, and now you, anonymous commenter, assure us all that her eyes still hurt two days later.

I'm calling out your BS right here and now.

Basically, the pepper lie is what she needs for two reasons. One, to justify her running away and calling police as if she's just gotten beaten up or worse. Calling police for a pieing is not very "anarchist". Second, it works perfectly with the entire "vegans are evil" myth she keeps trying to spread to anyone who will listen. And it seems like there is a receptive and loyal audience for that message, people who will believe any old crap she tosses their way.

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