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A Vegan Girl on “Freegan Girl”

Poor, naive

Poor, naive “Freegan Girl.”

Last week Newsweek launched a new blog to document the travails of “Freegan Girl,” a 37 year old Manhattanite who has decided to go “freegan” for a month. I’m sure Freegan Girl means well–my real problem is with the problem-solving new media team at Newsweek. To be fair, it’s not like they’re by any means the first, second, or third to jump on the crowded Freegan bandwagon; Adam Weissman and his crew have been suckling at the teats of the corporate media for about two years now.

It’s sad that “freegan” has become a major player in the debate as though it were an actual social movement, when in reality retrieving still-usable cast-offs is something people have been doing for a long time without the sound-bite-ready lingo created by an unemployed man who lives with his parents in New Jersey (a man who has also organized anti-V for Vendetta theatrical demonstrations). I am all for “protesting over-consumption,” and I applaud Freegan Girl’s efforts to clean up her act (though they’ll likely go the way of the “veg for a month!” bloggers we’ve seen lately). Hell, I think the world could use a tad more Marxism (even if that means fewer free bagels by NYU).

But this is not a social movement, and it is not by any means veganism (because the meat and dairy the “freegans” pull out of the garbage apparently doesn’t come from animals). So I propose a new term for this “movement,” one that does not piggy-back on veganism: Weissminions. Seriously, put that on a t-shirt–or better yet, in your next Styles feature. It’ll look awesome.

6 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Alex

    on #

    This news feature is certainly part of the “look at the weird lifestyles” trend in reporting, and it is hokey and a bit fake. But what’s wrong with having the media pay attention to people trying to consume less? Clearly you’re not a fan of Adam Weissman. That’s fine, it’s your opinion. I just don’t see how this is more harmful than helpful. And why is veganism a “social movement” but freeganism not?

  2. Comment by

    James

    on #

    I’ve enjoyed reading many blog entries on Super Vegan, by Susie Cagle and others, for many months now, but I’m very disappointed to see these personal attacks on Adam Weissman. If Ms. Cagle has disputes with freeganism or other beliefs or actions of Mr. Weissman, that could certainly be interesting to read about, but comments regarding his employment and living situation simply lower the tone of SuperVegan. If you’re somehow implying that his perceived lack of self-sufficiency and dependence on his family invalidate his freegan beliefs, that should be made clear and discussed. And I’m unclear altogether what the point was of bringing up his protest against V for Vendetta’s portrayal of anarchists.

    I’ve been acquainted with Adam for over a decade, when he worked with the Wetlands Preserve activist center back when there still was an actual Wetlands club down on Hudson street, and I think that his years of activism deserve better than disrespectful articles like this. I don’t consider myself to be “freegan”, but I’ve respected the work that Adam’s done and the congenial, articulate ways that he’s presented his ideas over the years.

  3. Comment by

    susie

    on #

    Because Adam is supported not by his own work but by the support of others, he’s able to spend his days “freegan”ing. I would respect the man and his self-made movement (which is only that because he courts corporate media attention, though hates corporations otherwise..?) if he actually stuck to the principles he loudly proclaims, or at least owned up to his hypocrisies. Yes, I have strong personal feelings about this, having spent time (in my role as a journalist) with “freegans”, including Adam Weissman. But most of all I’m disturbed by the blurring of the line between vegan and “freegan,” mostly due to the terminology. Freegan has basically nothing to do vegan–neither in its idealistic form nor as it’s actually practiced.

  4. Comment by

    James

    on #

    Okay, I can see your points, though I guess that your experience with Adam has been different and maybe more extensive than mine. But for myself, I just don’t know enough details about his life to hold him in such judgment. And for some reason the term ‘freegan’ never bothered me as a vegan, but I suppose I can see how it could trouble others depending how they looked at it. I’ve admired your writing here, and Adam’s elsewhere, and have just thought of freeganism as more a critque of veganism and not attack upon it.

  5. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    Susie, what’s your deal with venomous hatred of freeganism in general and Adam Weissman in particular? I’ve known Adam for years and he is a very generous, thoughtful, and well-intentioned individual. While Adam may be “unemployed” and live with his father, you should know that he also spends more time doing activism to help animals/planet/people than most people spend on their full time jobs. Considering that you are barely employed (and perhaps have your rent and living expenses subsidized by your parents) yet spend far less time doing any sort of activism and have been vegan for under a year, I find your opinion of Adam to have little weight.

    Also, since freeganism “is not by any means veganism”, can we please take the initiative to put this issue to sleep on SuperVegan and hope corporate media takes the hint!

  6. Comment by

    SuperWeed

    on #

    This is pattrice jones. I was so troubled by this gratuitious attack on Adam Weissman that I joined SuperVegan just to leave this comment. What could possibly be the purpose of such snide remarks directed to a vegan who works really hard for all animals and never puts down others who don’t choose his way? (I don’t know how many times I have bought things in Adam’s company with never a raised eyebrow from him about my choices.) Also, for the record: Freeganism is a movement, Adam didn’t invent it, and you are mistaken about Adam’s living situation. (I would clarify but don’t want to disclose what he might consider private information.) Also, I would say that the relationship of freeganism to veganism is complex, depending on who’s defining the terms, but certainly there is no cause for vegans to be attacking freeganism as such. Sorry to rant but I have seen Adam show so much solidarity with so many people and causes over the years that I just had to jump up to defend him against what seemed to me to be a senselessly nasty attack.

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