People are often divided into different camps based on preferences – Milky Way vs Snickers, Coke vs Pepsi, “hell yeah, I love it!” vs “no way, that’s exit only!” Sometimes these divisions are also affected by where one is from – tea vs coffee, pop vs soda, Vegemite vs peanut butter.
These rivalries are friendly – the sides may disagree, but they respect the others right to make a different choice. At the other end of the spectrum are the splits that are decidedly unfriendly – things like religion or politics, and I understand that these teams feel so strongly about their beliefs that they have wars over them. Okay, I don’t actually understand killing each other to prove a point, I just understand that it’s something that happens.
Somewhere in the middle, between agreeing to disagree and death, there are those who feel that their choice is not only correct, but morally superior. I don’t intend to cast aspersions on everyone in these group, but there are certain extremists who insist on flaunting their beliefs in the most obnoxious ways.
One of these factions include the non-omnivores. Specifically, those who are not content to identify simply as vegetarians, but who want to tell you what they don’t eat – as in, anything with a face or a soul. As a Snickers fan, I’ve never had a Milky Way person look down their nose at me and sniff, “I don’t eat anything with legumes.” But I have been reminded by a vegan that the “B” in my B.L.T. was probably once somebody’s mother.
Don’t get me wrong, I think little pink piggies are adorable; but they’re also delicious! And no matter how many times I hit that rack of bacon with the defibrillator paddles, it’s not going to bring Wilbur back to life. If I walk past the butchers case and don’t bring home some of that meat-candy to fry up, then that animal will have died in vain. So really, by enjoying its crispy, smoky goodness, I’m actually honoring the pig’s sacrifice in a way no vegan ever will.
Non-smokers also tend toward the judgmental. They know almost everything about the horrors of smoking, and they’re all too willing to share that information with the only people who know more about it: smokers! Not only do those who partake suffer the immediate effects of their addiction – hacking coughs, smelly clothes and stained teeth, they get reminders in the form of warnings about emphysema, heart disease and cancer printed right on their cigarette packs. Telling a smoker that his or her habit is dangerous is about as useful as telling someone in a swimming pool that they’re getting wet.
Granted, some of these lectures come from well-meaning friends and family members who care about the smoker’s health. As one who recently switched to e-cigs, I thought I was done receiving such unsolicited and unnecessary advice. But now I find there are those who want to tell me that my electronic nicotine delivery system may be bad for me. And while I appreciate the concern and know the e-cig research isn’t all in, I think I’ll stick with what seems to be the lesser of the two evils, because I’m pretty sure the only thing worse for me than cigarettes would be deep-fried cigarettes.
I understand that vegetarians and non-smokers may get preachy because they care about the well-being of animals and their tobacco-loving loved ones, but what I don’t get is the smugness that comes from more inconsequential choices. And perhaps the best example of this is TV.
I watch a lot of TV, and I don’t apologize for it. I think that despite the number of hours I sit staring at the screen, I remain a pretty sharp cookie and have certainly murdered far more brain cells with other indulgences. And while I love television, I don’t love everything about it. For instance, reality shows aren’t my thing. But Honey Boo Boo proves that they’re obviously a thing for a lot of people, so who am I to judge?
In my opinion, TV is both wonderful and harmless, it can educate and entertain. So forgive me if you’re one of these people, but when I hear “I don’t watch television” said in that self-righteous tone that means in their head the person is thinking “because I’m better than you,” I just want to smack the superiority out of them.
What is it that makes one feel so self-satisfied by claiming not to like something that everyone else finds so enjoyable? When the conversation turns to sex, no one ever yawns and says, “I don’t have sex. Orgasms are so pedestrian.” But like the vegan who told me my B.L.T. had created an orphan, there’s always that one person who makes watching TV sound like something even monkeys find beneath them.
I’m not taking issue with anyone’s preference for books or movies … I’m sorry, I meant films – people who don’t like TV don’t watch movies, they go see films *sigh* … I’m just saying there’s no reason to be all holier-than-thou about it. In 2012 there were 314 million people in the US and 302 million TVs (which I’m guessing means there were 12 million children and babies who weren’t yet old enough to purchase a set when these numbers were tabulated). So you can feel special and different, be a rebel and a non-conformist, but in my book and in that of 96% of the rest of the population, you’re just plain wrong.
Of course, we can always agree to disagree …