Vegan poster-girl Alicia Silverstone told UsMagazine.com that on occasion she might eat a piece of cheese. “If I was at a party and there was a tray of cheese sitting there and I had had drinks, then I might have a bite. …It’s human. It’s a really good reminder that sometimes you need to have what you remember is this good thing. Because then you have it, and you’re like, ‘Actually that wasn’t better than the recipes in my book,’” Silverstone told Us.
And that’s a problem. But not because Alicia sometimes might occasionally/accidentally/drunkenly/whateverly eat a piece of cheese.
Listen, I’m no purist. If you tell me you knowingly scarfed down a pack of Linden’s cookies on a seven-hour flight, I won’t be all, “YOU ARE NOT A VEGAN, MILK-FAT CONSUMER!!! AND HEY, WHAT ARE THOSE SHOES MADE OF? DO I DETECT LEATHER?!” In fact I’m high-fiving everyone, including Alicia, whose lifestyle is mostly vegan or moving in the vegan direction, and mostly not supporting needless suffering, environmental destruction, and the decline of individual and public health. But as vegans trying to proliferate veganism into the mainstream, it’s our responsibility to make clear to an overwhelmingly ignorant public why veganism is the best choice, not treat the subject all willy-nilly-let’s-go-eat-some-mozzarella-sticks. The masses love to pick at what they perceive as inconsistencies in the behavior of people who want to convince them of real, hard facts. I can just imagine some insecure meat-eater saying, “Hey, even Alicia Silverstone indulges in delicious, inimitable cheese! That means she’s not vegan and she hates cows, and therefore all vegans are hypocrites, so let’s pour cow fat on them, light a match, and celebrate by eating steaks wrapped in bacon!”
Alicia, please don’t make us all look like floozies. As a celebrity with wide influence, you more than any of us mere mortals have to make veganism look good and sensical. Do you really need to eat cheese to remind yourself of why you don’t? (When I’m having a weak moment I just pick up Skinny Bitch or visit PETA‘s website and mosey over to the dairy cows section.) Or, hey, if you really need to eat cheese once a month–and I bet you don’t–, how about you just do it in the privacy of your own home where you’re not setting a bad real-life example for other humans who take cues from you like you’re still Cher and not tell a national magazine about it in a poorly veiled attempt to promote your book?
The best figurehead for conscientious eating will keep in mind what’s best for farm animals, the environment, and the vegan movement, and that means making it look easy and right. Alicia, I want you to continue to be that person, so please, bring some Daiya to the next cocktail party. Or maybe a dish made from a recipe in this great vegan cookbook you might have heard of, The Kind Diet.