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John Oberg On Veganism

John Oberg On Veganism

The young activist is more practical and tolerant than most.

John is an animal advocate and social media professional (@JohnOberg). He has served as the director of new media for The Humane League and the director of communications for Vegan Outreach, but now he’s an independent advocate funded by individual donations. He’s also a powerlifter — not something you usually associate with vegans. In this episode he tries to convince me to give up meat.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app — though Spotify sadly doesn’t accept the paid feed). For two clips of our convo — on whether humans are evolving into vegans, and dispelling the notion that all vegans are scrawny — pop over to our YouTube page.

Other topics: the profound influence that John’s mother had on his advocacy from a very young age; their lonely protest against deer culling; vegan stereotypes and gay stereotypes; the cruelty of animals to other animals in nature; the greater sentience of some creatures over others; the horrific conditions of factory farming; Ag-Gag laws; how to provide protein to people without killing animals; “the protein myth”; the Impossible Burger and other food recs from John; the proliferating types of non-dairy milk; incentivizing corporations to make vegan options; and meeting people halfway with veganism rather than demonizing them.

Browse the Dishcast archive for another discussion you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Sam Ramani on Ukraine, Ben Smith on going viral, Tabia Lee on her firing as a DEI director, and Patrick Deneen on a post-liberal future. Send your guest recs and pod dissent to

A quick bit of fan mail for Chris Stirewalt:

Just wanted to say your conversation with Stirewalt was fuckin’ great!  Entertaining, funny, and really educational. Loved it.

Another fan focuses on this segment:

Listening to Chris talk about goat porn and golden showers on Ted Cruz almost made me pee my pants! Absolutely hilarious.

A listener dissents:

I had to stop listening once it became clear that you and Chris seem to be of the opinion that the legacy media share equally with the 30-year-old disinformation industry in cleaving the American voters into hateful camps. While you did recognize that Rush was a pioneer in taking advantage of the abrogation of the Fairness Doctrine to voice his BS, you also blithely acknowledged that he was “talented entertainer.” Let’s face facts: Adolph was full of hateful bile that led to the eventual destruction of Germany along with millions of innocents but the guy was really entertaining. 

The legacy media, for all of its faults and biases, is not equivalent to the collective disinformation industry. Wokeness does not equal lies, character assassination, conspiracy mongering, calls for the overthrow of the “deep state,” civil war, summary execution of suspected drug dealers, ad nauseam. Criticize the legacy media all you want, but don’t equate them with Fox and its many copycats as part of the critique. Whataboutism is tiresome and lazy.

If you want my view of the different kinds of media bias at play — and why the right is worse — this piece is a good overview. I make many distinctions.

From a baseball fan:

Are my ears playing tricks on me or did I just hear Chris Stirewalt attribute “Hit ‘em where they ain’t” to Pee Wee Reese? If I did hear this, it’s the worst piece of fake news this 72-year-old guy has heard on the Dishcast. 

Apparently that quote by Willie Keeler is commonly misattributed to Reese. Here’s one more clip from the Stirewalt pod — on why the cult of Trump is so strong:

Staying on the topic of Trump, a reader dissents:

I was not planning to send you a second scathing email in two weeks, but here we are. Your latest column on Trump was surreal. “Guys, a wildfire is about to burn down all these houses. This is bad! But you must admit, the fire is beautiful! Look at the gracefully leaping orange-golden flames. Such flair and energy! It speaks to something deep inside me, I remember sitting by a campfire as a kid …

“But yes, the fire is bad, so we must fight it using this beat-up old fire truck. God, I hate the truck! It’s ugly and rusty, the paint is peeling, the engine makes a weird grinding noise, there’s a coffee stain on the driver’s seat. The truck is boring, just sitting there like a lump. No entertainment value at all! In a direct contrast between the fire and the truck, there will surely be some people who simply favor the shiny and pretty over the dull and old!

“Anyway, uh, we ought to stop the fire before it burns down all these houses, so let’s get inside this crappy truck, which I hate, and go fight the fire… even though the fire is lovely and exciting and fun to look at…” (you gaze into the flames, their reflection dancing in your eyes)

I wan to insert that gif of Cher slapping Nick Cage’s face in Moonstruck and yelling, “Snap out of it!” Yes, the fire truck certainly is beat-up and rusty, and I too wish for a newer and better model. But if you value the houses, and you recognize that they will burn unless enough people act, the right thing to say is, “Guys, let’s get in the truck and go put out the f**king fire!”

My core political objective right now is avoiding a second Trump term. How much clearer can I get? My concern with the loony left is both substantive on the issues, but also rooted in my view that they are empowering Trump, not weakening him.

Another reader quotes me:

“Trump is more likely than not returning to the White House as of now.” No offense, but have you not been paying attention for the last two years?

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