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Dear Dudely #3

Section: Dear Dudely  | Date: January 9th, 2009

huge burger Dear Dudely,

I am very interested in becoming a Brother Shamus but I was wondering if I’d have to give up eating meat. I noticed that the third precept of the Shamus Bros is to "intend to do no harm."

Is it alright if I eat meat that’s ethically raised (free range, organic, no meds or steroids, etc) or do I have to totally go vegan? What if I love meat and am not really into the whole eastern monastic diet thing you’ve got going on? All my friends who have recently joined your church say that the Dude was abstaining from meat when they went to the In And Out Burger on Camrose.  Say it ain’t so!

Thank you for prayerfully considering my query, Your Holiness.

Your humble servant,
Pious Omnivore on the Prairie

walter and a burgerDear Pious Omnivore,

That whole "do no harm" thing–people have been using that as a moral law since the dawn of civilization, but no one can agree on what it means. It’s stupefyin’.

Certainly, civilization needed the concept to even get started–before the rise of cities some 4,000+ years ago murder rates were twenty times higher than they are today. You can imagine how hard it would have been to put together a bowling tournament in those days.

It took a long time to get to where we are now. Moses didn’t really start the beautiful tradition, as some claim: Right after he came down off Mt. Sinai with the tablets that told the early Hebrews "Thou shalt not kill," guess what happened? Old Mo found them hamburger ladyworshipping a golden calf (instead of Jehovah) and slaughtered 3,000 of them, chop chop. Fallible, fascist, hypocrite, or human paraquat? You decide.

Even today, while laws against killing exist in most cultures, what they always mean is "don’t kill your own people." Anyone else is generally fair game under the right circumstances, notably war. On the other hand, you can also kill your own people if they do bad things (capital punishment), if they want to be other people (civil war) or if they run away from you when you’re pointing a gun at them (the police).

Since this whole "do no harm" thing has holes big enough to drive a Gran Torino through, our poor animal friends don’t have much of a paw left to stand on. Even if some of them do have papers.

dalailama-sederHowever, some Eastern traditions have been a lot more cool about respecting animals than those of us in the West. Parts, anyway: In Hinduism and Buddhism only the religious elite are compelled to be vegetarian: Since they’re closer to heaven their flatulence needs to smell more saintly. Nevertheless, the majority of Buddhist monks in Asia get around this with the excuse that they aren’t the ones doing the killing. 3,000 years of beautiful tradition–from Moses to The Dalai Lama. Nothing changes.

So what does Dudeism have to say about this? Can we do the old In-N-Out Clockwork Orangewithout needing to be sent to a re-education program? Should we subsist on a steady diet of White Russians (the beverage, not the population) instead?

Certainly, when it comes to vegetarians, we’re all, on a personal level, really enormous fans. There’s very little you can say to support the carnivore side of the argument other than "Meat good. Yum. Me like meat." In a perfect world, we’d all be vegetarians. But then, in a perfect world, we’d all get to spend our lives driving around, bowling, and enjoying the occasional acid flashback too.

chicken burgerYet as the very Dudeish John Lennon optimistically enthused: "It’s getting better all the time." Thus, in the same way as we hold the Dude up as a variety of ideal, we should also hold up the value of vegetarianism. Those with the fortitude and strength of character to be truly dude-like, as well as eschewing meat, are deserving of our fondest respect.

Moreover, we could certainly suggest that doing without meat is implicitly Dudeish, because it implies that one is not driven by impulsive desires and can find equal or greater enjoyment in the simpler (and cheaper!) things in life.

Nevertheless, since Dudeism is generally anti-idealistic, we must not be too hasty in judging those who sink their Nihilistic teeth into "pigs in blankets" now sea monkeysand again. We do greater damage by being intolerant of such behavior than we do by being public dicks about it.

Meat isn’t going to go away anytime soon. So if you really want to help our furry-n-feathered friends, start with your own dinner table and teach by example (and good cooking). Also, you can help invent better-tasting meat substitutes or promote the consumption of stupider animals like fish, insects and sea monkeys. Finally, if you must eat cute-n-clever meat, try and make sure it was happy before they killed that poor moo-man.

As for whether the Dude himself was a vegetarian: some mystical questions are better left unsolved. Did the Dude wear boxers or briefs? Did the Dude prefer Mary Ann or Ginger? Did the Dude end up becoming a deadbeat dad or a Mr. Mom?

Millennia from now, many learned men will dispute this.


The Dudely Lama

Note: In-N-Out Burger also features a veggie burger. Sadly, all they do is take out the beef. Also known as a "wish" burger, ’cause you wish you had some meat.

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28 Responses to “Dear Dudely #3”

  1. chalupa on January 9th, 2009 12:59 pm

    I would say it’s fine to eat meat. I think the Dude abstained from In-N-Out because he was short on cash, but that’s just like my opinion, man.

    Also, anyone know where I could acquire one of those sandwiches that is so gloriously displayed at the top?

  2. halozero on January 9th, 2009 1:25 pm

    Dudes, it was actually Paul who said “It’s getting better all the time”, to which Lennon replied “It can’t get no worse”. But that’s a whole other Dudeist what-have-you. I digress.

    I agree with Chalupa. The Dude was financially challenged, otherwise he’d enjoy a good burger with his beverage.

  3. The Arch Dudeship on January 9th, 2009 1:30 pm

    The walrus was Paul.

    But, what’s my point? My point is that I think the Dude didn’t partake of the beef from the In-N-Out because he was pissed at Walter for what happened to his Gran, man.

    On the other hand, I do believe I saw a book among the Dude’s collection entitled The Art of Japenese Cooking, or whathaveyou. Implying that maybe ol’ Duder abstained from red meat but maybe dug raw fish and seaweed.

  4. The Dudely Lama on January 9th, 2009 1:52 pm

    see? many learned men are already disputing this.

  5. The Dudely Lama on January 9th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Smokey was definitely a vegetarian, though.

  6. chalupa on January 9th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Smokey was also a conscientious objector. I myself dabbled in vegetarianism at one point, but not at In-N-Out.

  7. The Dudely Lama on January 9th, 2009 3:28 pm

    I think very few of us here (myself included) are vegetarians. That’s probably because most dudes are generally pleasure-seeking, and there’s nothing more pleasurable than a double-double from In-N-Out (for those fortunate enough to live near one in California) – other than a four-minute orgasm, that is.

    However, it’s pretty hard to argue that eating meat isn’t a bit selfish. We can live perfectly healthy lives without killing (or, in many factory farming cases, torturing) animals but it’s so damn hard to do so. Meat good. Yum. In a complex world full of overtime, traffic, and bland Hollywood movies, sizzling flesh is one of the last sure-fire pleasures many of us have left.

    Still, just as very few of us can be The Dude, we should still recognize his life as a worthy ideal; and the same should be said for vegetarianism.

    Reminds me of the famous St. Augustine quote: “Lord give me chastity and temperance. But not now.”

  8. Kothlim on January 10th, 2009 4:53 am

    Well, the way I see it, meat is perfectly fine to eat. Ever since the dawn of time animals have eaten other animals for nourishment. Including ancient man. Its nature. And I’d say its very un-dude to deny nature. Granted, it is also very un-dude to torture animals and inject them with all sorts of shit to beef them up before we kill’em. But there are laws in place and we are trying to make slaughter houses as humane as we can.

  9. The Dudely Lama on January 10th, 2009 7:52 am

    you make a good point, kothlim. except that a lot of “natural” things aren’t really that great, from the modern point of view.

    rape, for instance is a totally natural thing that occurs all the time in the animal kingdom and was a “natural” part of many pre-civilized societies. also, polygamy is totally natural in the animal kingdom and prehistorical societies, but something that most modern societies have made illegal. in many ways human beings are no longer really natural in the true sense of the word.

    however, it’s really a matter of priority – is meat-eating one of the natural drives that we should strive to overcome, or is it not really a big deal? it’s a complex issue and that’s why people feel polarized about it. which parts of our nature do we leave alone and which parts do we attempt to change?

    i’m with the arch dudeship on this one – i think the dude was primarily a fish eater. some kind of eastern thing. kind of bowls down the center of the issue.

  10. naturedude on February 5th, 2009 7:56 am

    Great question and great article. I’ve wondered about this myself – did the Dude eat meat – we know he drank half and half so he was no vegan at least and I do agree that the reason he did not partake in the old In and Out (loved you reference to Clockwork Orange by the way!)was because he was emotionally distraught and did not have an appetite.
    As a Nature dude I grew up hunting and fishing and ate a lot of critters I did in with a hook and bullet. So, here is my test for the true meat eater – could you have killed it, gutted it, skinned it, chopped it up and cooked it yourself? If your answer in no, perhaps consider being a vegetarian because you are relying on someone else to do the dirty work which isn’t saving you any Karma in my mind. For instance I don’t eat lamb very often – I like it but I really don’t think I could do in a little lamb and veal is just raised in a way that is disgusting to me so I don’t eat it at all. Cows have been beating up on the land for years but they are so damn tasty what is a guy to do? I go through bouts of not eating beef just from an environmental perspective.So, if everyone was veggy yeah the earth would be better off but one of the first things people do when they’re societies reach a higher standard of living is to eat more meat. So, Like the Lama said, meat ain’t going away in the big picture. If you think your individual contribution matters or if it matters to you then make the break from meat. Me, I’ll keep straddling the line and try to eat the right critters, if I can afford to- those raised humanely and cleanly.

  11. DudeColt on June 30th, 2009 8:49 pm

    You guys are all way too uptight about this. Any dentist can point out that just like bears and several other omnivores we as people are supposed to eat meat. If you look in your mouth you will notice you have molars for grinding plant matter and canines for tearing meat. Now excuse me while I go digest an animal. Peace dudes!

  12. The Dudely Lama on June 30th, 2009 10:41 pm

    bon appetit dude colt.

    only, using that logic, (presuming you’re a guy) what are your nipples for?

  13. DudeColt on June 30th, 2009 11:14 pm

    Well DL scientist just don’t know but there are generally two main schools of thought on male nipples. One is that they are vestegial (like an appendix) and that they had some use way back when whereas the other main idea is that they are a shared trait with femailes like organs, limbs, etc. We men, however, do not have the estrogen level to produce milk. (Thank the Dude for THAT one).

  14. The Dudely Lama on June 30th, 2009 11:42 pm

    although, it would save us a trip down to ralph’s when we wanted a white russian and were out of half-and-half!

  15. DudeColt on July 1st, 2009 2:20 am

    HA HA HA true that DL.

  16. Irish Monk on July 2nd, 2009 1:28 pm

    Fuck that, dudes! Have you ever been with a lactating woman when she’s got a blocked milk duct? Picture having to take a really big piss but first you’ve got to knead a deep swollen obstruction all the way down your johnson with your fingers.
    And having to regularly use a breast pump so you didn’t dry up? That ain’t fun either. My ex was convinced that Viking men could lactate but she could never find her source to prove it to me. Anyone else ever heard of breastfeeding Vikings? Aw, look at me…I’m ramblin’ again.
    I just wanted to thank the El Lamarino for his thoughtful reply. I never read any of these replies until I noticed this in the Most Discussed column today. And for the record I agree with not eating our fellow mammals (mostly for ecological reasons for myself). But it is a standard that I’ve never lived up to. I had McDonalds yesterday, for Maude’s sake!
    To get back to what Brother Art was saying about 7 comments back, I too once dabbled in raising and butchering my own meat. I had two female New Zealand White rabbits and a Flemish Giant stud bunny who spawned a dozen extra large Heritage Breed meat stock hybrids. It was a whole lot of bludgeoning, decapitating, skinning, and gutting. It seemed like a disproportionate amount of work to be doing to get meat, so I said “fuck it”, and now I just buy bulk from local organic farmers.
    I love vegetarian food and could totally get by on beans, rice, and curry, but I don’t want to deprive my little boys of red meat. What kind of provider would that make me? I’m a lazy fucking hypocrite…Dudeist in my convictions but “Walterist” (love that term, A-D!) in my actions. McDonalds is just too tempting and besides, there ain’t no In-N-Outs up here.

  17. DudeColt on July 2nd, 2009 3:24 pm

    I just spilled milk all over the damn computer laughing at Irish Monk’s ex’s delimna BUT i also did a little research and can find no evidence that Viking men lactated. I mean come on! “I Erik the Red will conquer you weaker people and…oh hold on i have to breast feed first”

  18. theveggiedudeist on July 20th, 2009 7:37 pm

    I think people should eat whatever they want to eat – and if you’re a person that eats or wants to eat a lot of vegetarian food, my laid-back site might be helpful (information, recipes, etc): http://theveggiedudeist.webs.com/

    Peace y’all.

  19. Dude1967 on August 11th, 2009 11:58 pm

    My personal belief with respec to the whole vegetarian vs. carnivore debate is that there is nothing wrong with eating meat. In my younger years, I was a practicing vegetarian, and although I felt a little better about myself, I couldn’t get past my love for a nice piece of cooked animal flesh. Does this make me a bad person? I hope not. Also, I found that when I was a vegetarian, there were some issues in regards to, in the parlance of our times, farting. Also, I found that the “I’m morally superior to you because I don’t eat meat” attitude that a lot of vegetarians tend to have was something I found very offensive. Why be so uptight with your thinking? But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

  20. DudeColt on August 12th, 2009 12:36 am

    Dude1967 if you lived near me I’d buy you a WHite Russian. I too have had many vegetarians give me shit for eating meat. But I take comfort in the fact that their attitude proves that they are not true Dudeists, just a bunch of veggie munching reactionaries.

  21. The Dudely Lama on August 12th, 2009 12:59 am

    Smugness is a very undude attribute, indeed. I think we can all agree that people who claim the moral high ground in situations where there are many sides to the argument – strands to keep in old Duder’s head – are a pain in the arschloch.

    That being said, I do think the cabbage fascists out there do have a point. I myself am not nor have I ever been a vegetarian but I consider it a weakness that I don’t stop eating meat. Not a weakness in everyone, mind you – just myself.

    See, when I get a double-double In-N-Out burger in front of me my soul cries out for it so loud that I can’t even begin to hear the (very) distant misery of factory farmed animals.

    Then I eat it compulsively and with joy. Oh yes.

    What’s a poor boy sandwich to do?

  22. greatspiritmonk on September 8th, 2009 12:05 am

    Funny comments, and quite wise, so I thought to drop a line too.
    Biologically speaking human beings are omnivore, just like bears. We don’t have three stomachs like cows to digest grass nor their teeth. As an example we are unable to digest soy unless treated chemically or naturally (for some months). Good proteins are found in meat, fish, eggs and cheese, to eat the same amount of protein in the average steak you must eat more than 500gr of rice and beans, and then a lot of carbon to avoid killing someone with your “inner air”. A lot of work for your stomach. And, without any offence, and from personal family experience there is a great difference in body type from vegan people and meat eaters; the reason why in Italy in the forties we had an average height of 150-160 cm and now of 170-180 cm. And as the last point meat leaves almost no “residuals” in your intestine as it is almost completely digested. But this is also the reason why eating chemically treated meat is so dangerous for us, we absorb everything the animal has eaten. Hormones, medicine, chemicals and so on.
    From a “phylosofical” point of view I think the main point is that animals cry when killed while fishes and vegetables do not. But I guess they suffer too. The only way to do no harm is to live on eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetables like peppers or tomatoes, but I guess the lifespan wouldn’t be too long.

    JCD in the Gospel of Thomas said that it’s what goes out from mouth that can pollute you, not what you eat; and I agree with him.
    The point is Respect. We should respect fellow animals, and the Earth, as we should do with our fellow human beings. Growing up chickens in an A4 size cage or a pig in square meter cage is something that should lead to some year of prison for each animal. The best way to deal with this is the one used in Lapland with reindeers: handlers use a silenced rifle and hit the target without a noise, the pack goes on and then they pick the animals. Of course this isn’t possible to give low cost meat to 6,6 billions people but I guess we should all eat fish twice a week, meat twice and then add some eggs and cheese. Good for us and good for Nature.

  23. Rev Wendy on September 8th, 2009 10:14 pm

    what was it…plants , trees, etc, have no nerve endings..so therefore cannot feel pain …
    anyhow. my personal stance: if there were no grocery stores you can be sure as shit i’d chase after, bludgeon, decapitate, skin, and gut…then roast and devour, whatever the hell I could get my hands on. I’d also pick a lot of fruit and eat whatever veggies I came across: same for eggs. I don’t know if I’d walk up to a cow and squirt in order to make my causasians but who knows.
    Meanwhile, in my time and place: others do it for me. Have we all seen “Earthlings” ? Good documentary. My friend and her husband went totally veggo after watching that and are almost vegan. I’m too lazy. Plus I have one kid that is a total carnivore and one that won’t even come within sniffing distance of meat…I just eat whatever scraps I can afford after catering to the two of THEM
    Plus carbs are not my friend. Not potatoey or bready carbs anyhow. Meat is so low carb and pretty low cal too….
    To quote a very Dudeish author , Mr. Daniel Quinn “There is no one right way for people to live.”

  24. greatspiritmonk on September 9th, 2009 8:51 pm

    Well, plants do feel pain and if you cut them they loose blood like we do. And they have pain receptor as much as they are able to follow the sun(sunflower). Carnivore plants can even make some movements. And some experiments demonstrate that plants also like music. Not the f*****g Eagles though. You’re right, human beings cannot live without killing, tears or not. But at the end don’t we give it all back to nature when we die? We are eaten too, and even if your ashes are spread into the sea you still give back some minerals. I think it all comes down to respect for nature as a whole. For this my opinion is to learn from American Indians, one of the greater Dudeist population, and their way of living and respecting life.

    Btw meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegs and nuts was our diet before we begun to grow grains, and it is said to be the diet we are made to follow to be healthy. Never heard of Carbs Mafia?
    And, to add a bit to your comment: if you are really hungry even a rat is fine.

    I dig your style.

  25. Father Frost on September 25th, 2009 10:06 am

    my person view and that of my doctor is that eating meat is natural and thus we should do it as doing unnatural stuff is stressful and being stressed is not for dudes

  26. naturedude on November 6th, 2009 5:36 pm

    regardless of your carnivorous persuasions, the In and Out grilled cheese ‘Animal Style’ (lots of grilled onions and pickles) is really, really tasty!

  27. Ed Churchman on December 8th, 2009 12:13 pm

    I know I’m about 11 months behind on the argument, but as it’s a few thousand years old, maybe I’m not THAT late. I think, being a life-long vegetarian, yeah, that’s since birth, man, I can perhaps shed some light on my own particular side of this debate:

    It’s not wrong to eat meat, but it is, in my opinion, wrong to kill for meat. But there are degrees that go with this, like, humane killing as opposed to intensive pen-breeding and automated killing. A lot of meat production is just soul-less, and that I cannot abide. I mean, look, the Buddha himself ate meat, but he didn’t kill, and he didn’t want it killed on his behalf, but animals that had already been killed, or died of natural or unfortunate causes were AOK in his book.

    I believe there was a mention in the feeback of meat substitutes. Well, it’s been brought to my attention in the past by my special lady, who is a vege-convert, that the US meat industry has managed to put the kibosh on Quorn over there, somehow arguing it was unsafe. As a regualr Quorn-quaffer, I’ve never had any problems that I’m aware of, and there’s nothing like a good measure of fried tofu in garlic salt to accomany your fresh egg-noodles, man, oh no. Don’t listen to The Man, he lies like a hairy fish, he’s undude.

    I do admit some schadenfreude when I see news stories about how eating too much meat has now been found to increase cancer chances or whatnot. My parents have been vege for over half their lives, so they’re pretty good for it, but my future in-laws are both severely diabetic and do love the meat. But, based on the example of their daughter, and how her health has improved in the last three years since she started phasing meat out, they’re cutting back, and even having meat-free days in the week.

    But, yeah, it might taste good to you, and that’s cool from a Dudeist point of view, but, you know, maybe you’ll be happier without self-inflicted health issues you might end up causing yourself.

    Consider it, that’s all I say, it might be the path you enjoy in the long-run. Either way, it’s cool, as long as you’re not drowning marmots in your tub and spitroasting them at your next BBQ.

  28. greatspiritmonk on December 8th, 2009 10:07 pm

    Great comment dude. Very cool. And quite correct.

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