Giles Coren Is A Wazzock For Claiming Vegetarianism Is An Eating Disorder

The furore over an article The Times critic wrote in 2009 reared its ugly head yesterday when a group of Convent girls started abusing him on Twitter. Here's why they were right...
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The furore over an article The Times critic wrote in 2009 reared its ugly head yesterday when a group of Convent girls started abusing him on Twitter. Here's why they were right...

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Not Pictured: Suckling Pig

Today’s Twitter shitstorm comes to you courtesy of Giles Coren, the Times’ restaurant critic and cage rattler. Back in 2009 he wrote a piece claiming vegetarians and vegans have an eating disorder. He also claimed that the omission of meat from a diet is a means of self-control that hinted towards extremist sensibilities. Obviously. If you want to dodge Murdoch’s paywall, you can read it here.

The piece was used by a teacher at Hitchin Girls School as an example of persuasive writing (mistake number one), which riled up some students so much they took to Twitter, threating to eat his kids and sending the obligatory homophobic slur or two. Sue Perkins (Coren’s ‘Supersizers’ co-presenter) took understandable umbrage at this, and called the school demanding something be done. This brings us pretty much up to date.

Now, I am both a vegetarian and a sub-editor, so it’s obvious that me and Coren will never see eye to eye - but I just wanted to take him to task on what I see as, at best a terrible attempt at satire, and at worst, an offensive and degrading piece of writing on par with the illogically homophobic (Coren is straight, BTW) slurs fired off by the students.

So say this is satire, as one of my tweetdem claimed. What exactly is he trying to satirise? The dull moral outrage of some non-meat eaters? If so, tou-fucking-ché! I’m off to stick lumps of Kobe Beef up my arse and laugh at how thoroughly misguided I was! What a chump I’ve been to believe I can make a personal choice based on an observation of global-overconsumption.

Was it really necessary to follow up a fair point like “…It's immaterial to me what you put in your mouth, darling” with the idea that al vegetarians are off to purge themselves straight afterwards? Eating disorders are incredibly serious mental illnesses that ruin lives, and I’m not sure how your pal Sue can be (understandably) stirred apoplectic at the word ‘Faggot’, all the while defending a piece you have written that makes such light of Bulimia and Anorexia. Double standards, guys, double standards.

(N.B. I tweeted both Perkins and Giles asking this, and to her credit, Perkins replied saying “Yes [I’m outraged] and he knows it.”)

And then there is that notion you have that all meat eaters are trying to exercise control over what they eat. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what vegetarians and vegans do. Control what they eat. And while I wouldn’t be surprised if some with eating disorders avoid meat because of their illness, that is just not the same as having an illness because you avoid meat. Come on dude, this is simple semantics. How much are you paid for this shit?

Damn them for having the tenacity to believe they are allowed convictions of their own – what gives them the right to make a personal choice?

And now onto your claims that vegetarians and vegans have extremist tendencies. You use the oft-misquoted notion ‘Hitler was a vegetarian’ – he wasn’t, his favourite dish was Trout, if I’m correct (and no, pescetarians are not vegetarians – I’m sure we’d agree on how half-arsed that is). So that’s a third of your article we can completely discount. Though, “The ideological road from nut cutlets to Belsen is straight, and short.” Is a genius line, I’ll give you that.

Then, there is your assertion that “…anarchists, squatters, G20 protesters and art students are usually vegetarians.” Nail on the head with that one, mate. They usually are. And damn them for having the tenacity to believe they are allowed convictions of their own – what gives them the right to make a personal choice based on statistics proving man’s consumption of meat has an irrevocably detrimental affect on the planet?

But yes, you covered this – you agree that man eats too much meat. I thought we were getting somewhere here, but no, you seem to base the necessity for meat on the fact that cow crap fertilises the soil. Here was me thinking farmers bought bags of NPK for a reason. And then you go further by saying meat can be an occasional treat for everyone. How just of you! Not wishing to unlock the class-war door, but do you honestly think in a world where meat is rationed, anyone but upper-middle class and above people like your fine self will be able to “…scoff a juicy steak from time to time”? No, it will be just like your restaurant reviews, which rarely amount to anything more than “Na na na na na, you will never eat this!”

What exactly are you afraid of, Giles? I assure you your job will not become redundant if less people eat meat. However, continue writing reactionary Littlejohn-esque tripe like “…you're going to be in my downstairs bog with your fingers down your throat in half an hour, spraying whatever you've pecked at all over the Armitage Shanks”, then you may find yourself made redundant.

I think you owe the 165,000 people in this country with an eating disorder, and the five percent of the population who abstain from meat, an apology. Prove you’re a man and fall upon your own sword. It can be a steak knife if you like, we honestly don’t mind.

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