Still disappointed with Xpress

I’ve been reading Mountain Xpress since the beginning, and Steve Shanafelt’s piece, “A Gardenburger for Your Thoughts” [June 28, 2000] was one of the worst articles ever printed. Thus, when I read “Letter From the Editors” [Aug. 1], I was pleased to learn that I was in good company. Steve was quoted as saying that his most bitter but educational memory was “Getting dressed down by [Publisher] Jeff Fobes while I was still an intern for writing a really dumb, pointlessly insulting piece about a vegetarian conference.”

Unfortunately, in an e-mail after that letter [was published], Steve stated, “It’s not like I’ve had a change of heart. That story was seen as dumb and insulting for some very legitimate reasons, but it was mostly a matter of the wrong person being given the wrong story. I don’t regret writing it at all, but rather the part where I got yelled at about it.” That’s a shame; journalists are supposed to be objective. Steve didn’t get it seven years ago, and he still doesn’t get it.

Vegetarian Summerfest is an annual gathering of hundreds, and the 2000 conference took place in Asheville for the first time in its then 26-year history. Leading nutritional scientists, ethicists and environmentalists from around the country were featured speakers. Unbiased media coverage would have encouraged locals to attend lectures and learn the overwhelming reasons to consider vegetarianism. Instead, the Mountain Xpress printed Steve’s anti-vegetarian diatribe. A follow-up column, “Vegetarians Invade Asheville,” refuted Steve’s inaccuracies and presented conference highlights. But that was after the event, and the damage was already done.

What’s even more perplexing than Steve’s lack of professionalism was the decision by the publisher to print something he recognized as really dumb and pointlessly insulting.

— Terri David

Steve Shanafelt replies: A complaint letter from the Davids? I have arrived! You can read my replies to this on the Xpress Web site, in the comments in response to the “Letter From the Editors,” Aug. 1.

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8 thoughts on “Still disappointed with Xpress

  1. You’re complaining about a seven year old article? Get a life. Go outside, buy some comic books, just do something.

  2. Bugg: Not a good idea. Comic books occasionally depict the eating of foods which are not-entirely vegan in nature. And sometimes, Krypto looks kind of sad when Superman scolds him for leaving a heaping mess of “brown kryptonite” on the icy floor of the Fortress of Solitude.

  3. Stewart David

    Those responsible for the gratuitous cruelties inflicted upon animals often find it easier to mock the messengers than confront their own complicity in the suffering. It’s very immature to do so, but it is not uncommon. Dr. King and Gandhi were ridiculed and killed for their unpopular views.

    Da Vinci said “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.” He probably thought it would happen sooner, but obviously couldn’t predict that in the 21st century there would be people as juvenile as those commenting on this blog.

    It’s not about a seven year old article, it’s about the fact that Steve still doesn’t understand that he’s supposed to keep his own views out of an article. He’s clearly not, nor was he ever, a journalist.

  4. Where did I say that I disagreed with vegetarianism? I said that you were nitpicking about an old article.

    I’m pretty sure this has less to do with Shanny’s journalistic qualifications as it does with spreading your own message a bit further. It’s okay that you want to do that, but let’s just be honest about it next time.

  5. donaldoro

    hitler was a vegetarian, Dr. King was *not*.

    they dont like to talk about that much.

    Stewart David: I find you self-rightious and pompous. please go spend some time in a third-world country (or our local housing projects) where you can see true injustice played out on a daily basis. then, perhaps, you will stop crusading with your white cape of christ-like pretensiousness on such a singular, obsessive topic.

  6. velouria

    Truthfully, Hitler was not a vegetarian. He occasionally went meat-free for lengths of time to ease his…er… excessive sweat and gas problems. In fact, Hitler banned vegetarian organizations in Germany and occupied countries.

    However… I have to question the effectiveness of your argument that Historical-Individual-A-Who-Committed-Heinous-Crimes-Against-Humanity was (reportedly) a vegetarian while Historical-Individual-B-Who-Was-a-Key-Figure-in-the-Liberation-of-An-Oppressed-People was not, therefore vegetarianism is invalid or something? What? This is along the same lines as everybody throwing around that case of the “vegan” parents who starved their baby on soymilk and applejuice. OMGZ VEGANISM KILLS BABIES!!!!!11111

    And what is your definition of “true injustice”? Is it limited to human beings?

  7. For a definition of injustice, and for many other words, I recommend a dictionary.

    Whether or not you feel that a carnivorous diet is something one should feel guilt over, you’re probably not going to have much luck converting people to your cause by being pretentious (Davids, not Velouria).

    Diets are deeply personal things, and no amount of Letters to the Editor is ever going to save the live of ant appreciable amount of livestock.

    Maybe you should try making a delicious vegan dinner for your carnivorous neighbors instead? Never hurts to try and lead by example.

  8. donaldoro

    Velouria: is your definition of injustice limited only to sentient beings with faces?

    where do *you* draw the line.

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