“The Era Where Jokes Have Come to Die”

There’s a joke that’s been going around for a while that runs: “How do you know someone is a vegan? Because they f—— tell you!” Certainly veganism seems to be more than just a preference for a vegetarian diet; there is a moral unctuousness to it that seems to go hand in hand with a PETA membership card.

Which brings me to Megan McArdle’s column in the Washington Post a couple days ago relating how a food magazine editor was fired for making a joke about vegans, “How Many Vegans Does It Take to Screw Up A Meal?” But McArdle goes on to note that this story is about more than just a joke at the expense of vegans; comedy itself is starting to become a suspect category for the left’s cultural commissars:

Breathes there a cook with heart so dead that he or she has not, at some point, wanted to kill a vegan? . . .

I wasn’t entirely surprised to hear that William Sitwell, a magazine editor and food critic for the BBC’s “MasterChef,” had recently responded to a freelance writer pitching a series on vegan eating to suggest instead “a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”

I was, however, a tad nonplussed on Wednesday when he was actually forced to resign from his editorship at Waitrose Food magazine over this fine bit of hyperbole. Obviously, it would be a firing offense to actually threaten to kill vegans; just as obviously, he was joking, not seriously proposing a new all-vegan version of “The Hunger Games.”

But then ours is the era where jokes have come to die. The new thing in comedy is apparently not to tell jokes, because jokes aren’t funny. Jokes, we are informed, diminish the essential humanity of either the teller or the target; they erase too much hard-won pain.

Read the whole thing. There are more good vegan jokes in it, for one thing. Meanwhile, I grilled a pork roast last night. It was yummy: