The day after “Vegan Feud” came out in Slate I got a call from Professor Gary Francione, of Rutgers University. He took exception to what I wrote, and went on to articulate it here. After our conversation (which was perfectly civil), and several productive e-mail exchanges, I accepted Gary’s offer to appear on his podcast to “discuss” our respective positions on the issues I raise in the article.
Yesterday, after almost two weeks of reflection, I changed my mind. Indeed, based on several conversations I had with activists whose judgement I deeply trust, I backed out of the podcast. Here’s (in part) what I told Gary: “I’ve decided not to appear on your podcast. While I’m not pleased about going back on my word, I’ve reached the conclusion, as I’ve watched you promote this podcast, that it will accomplish nothing except intensify the polarization that I’m trying to minimize. Put differently, it appears to be an ‘event’ that’s designed to be more about Gary Francione and James McWilliams, and our respective followers, rather than the cause of animal advocacy to which we are both dedicated.”
I’m posting this information because I know that many readers have been anticipating this debate and I felt you deserved an explanation. The last thing about this I will say (forever) is that I am not declining to appear because my arguments won’t hold up (although I will admit that I’m nowhere near as talented as Gary when it comes to verbal sparring). I’m simply more productive developing those arguments in the context of Eating Plants and elsewhere, as I will continue to do with a passion. I hope you can understand.
PS: Look for new content this weekend. In the meantime, please check out some of the articles posted in “On Interest” and many recent comments, which have been really interesting. Finally, The image above is of Buster Keaton, who, if you’ve yet to figure it out, is a personal favorite. That man did his own stunts.