Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Vegetarianism Makes You Say Questionable Things

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony." -Mahatma Gandhi.

I came across this quote the other day when I was looking on the net for someone intelligent to quote in an article about myself, for another site. When I first read it, I thought, "This is awesome! This is the quote I'm going to use! It sounds so smart!" Then I read it again and realized that I couldn't use it, because I completely disagree with Gandhi right here.

Don't get me wrong, my intentions are not to patronize or disrespect the memory of an undoubtedly extremely wise, intelligent leader. After all, I just read on wikipedia that he was a lawyer and worked his butt off for the liberation of women. He was also a bit of a badass: he led a bunch of people on the disobedience of the salt tax (presumably exactly what it sounds like, a tax on salt), and everybody loves a good guy with a bit of a rebellious streak. But think about it. You watch Prison Break or CSI or any such show - and yes, I realize this is just TV, but it does have some element of truth to it - and most of the murderers and rapists are talking openly about murder and rape, as well as presumably thinking about it and obviously acting on it. So, what they are thinking, saying and doing are in harmony. But show me a rapist that's actually truly happy and I'll show you a fat Gandhi.

While we're on Ghandi, the website that featured this quote made me laugh, too. "View a detailed biography of Mahatma Gandhi" was one link made available to me and, feeling rather in a state of mind to learn something interesting, I clicked on it. And got the following: "Biography:Indian political and spiritual leader; assassinated."
...That's the detailed biography they were referring to?! How about: "He was really hungry", or "He wore glasses"? There, I expanded on it already, and I admit, before I started writing this blog I didn’t really know much about him at all.

But my aim today isn't to prove to you what a lying and conniving thing the internet can sometimes be; I love and rely on it as much as the next person (oh my, doesn’t the internet have a lot in common with men? But we’ll leave that for another day). My point is that sometimes, smart people can be wrong. Take George Bernard Shaw, for instance. He was very clever; he wrote more than sixty plays, one of which won an Oscar in 1938, after winning a Nobel Prize in 1925. However, he once said, “If a woman rebels against high-heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat”. Now, how sexist is that?! Isn’t he basically saying that women should always be wearing either heels or a hat? I appreciate that he lived in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, when this may have been a more acceptable thing to say, but really. There’s Gandhi working his starving bottom off for women’s freedom, and then George comes along and tells us that we shouldn’t take on an attitude about wearing a certain shoe.

Maybe I’m being too hard on him, and all he really wanted was to ensure that we always looked our best. The funny thing is, Shaw was a big supporter of women’s rights. In fact, he and Gandhi had rather a few things in common; they were both vegetarian, to start with. Both were well educated, too, although George Bernard Shaw was rather against all his schools and teachers, believing that schools were not so much a place of learning rather than a jail in which to imprison children every day, with the intention of keeping them out of trouble and out of their parents’ hair.

I don’t know; I think the only person that really gets it, to be honest, is American writer Jack Handey, who said, "If I lived back in the Wild West days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like: 'Hey, look! He's carrying a soldering iron!' and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, 'That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice.' Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink.”

I just find it very comical that the only man apparently with his head screwed on straight wrote a book called My Big Thick Novel, don't you?


miki1210 said...

nice! did i ever mention i love ur writing? its always good to read something worth reading, and write something worth writing. And write something worth reading, and read something worth writing. haha :p
yeh i like the part about rapists thinking and doing things in harmony
very true! i mean with everything.
i think there are happy rapists and murderers: they gain happiness in inflicting pain on other innocent beings. yet they're happy, doesn't make them joyful. Well alas, great blog! i read alot of ur stuff, jus lazy to comment :$ lol ill start commenting tho hehe

Anonymous said...

you mad mad woman! haha made me smile, keep it up, see you friday!

hayley said...

ooooh an anonymous! who is anonymous?! haha im guessing its robyn, or jan back earlier than i thought? mysteries, mysteries.

Ciosa said...

First of all, I think it's great that you have so much passion for something you obviously enjoy doing.

However, I think you misinterpreted a couple of quotes and I, for one, find it a little offensive that Gandhi's wise words are now being used to advocate rape and murder. I think you are reading his quote far too literal; he isn't saying that in order to be happy, everything you think, say and do must 'be in harmony'. I think he is referring to a way of life, a spiritual 'path'. I too, disagree with the quote, but because I think being in harmony produces only a satisfaction with life, not a happiness.

Next, I think you're missing the satire in Shaw's quote. It's a possibility I'm totally wrong, but based on the quote and the fact that he was a supporter of women's rights, I think it's fair to say it was written and intended to be ironic. If you think about it logically, calling someone who's an advocate for women's rights sexist really doesn't add up.

"...and everybody loves a good guy with a bit of a rebellious streak."
- This didn't really make much sense to me. Are you saying that everyone who fights for freedom and equality is nothing more than a rebel? Or am I perhaps missing out on what this 'rebellious streak' is?

Just my $0.2.

hayley said...

hey ciosa,
i dont know how else to contact you, i dont have your email or anything! so im hoping you read this :S
i just wanted to thank you for your comment and feedback,and to apologise for any offence you've taken from what i wrote. i realized when writing this blog that it might well upset somebody, but i just want to let you, and anyone else who's interested, know that my intentions weren't to insult or undermine anybody, least of all somebody like Gandhi - i do respect him hugely. most of the time, what i write shouldnt be taken too seriously; it's all just for laughs. i wasnt trying to use Gandhi's words to advocate anything wrong or inhumane, and i'ms sorry if you read it that way. in the future i'll try to steer clear of anything too controversial. thanks again :)

Lora said...

ooooh this is interesting! a good readdddd as usual =) xxx

Jenny said...

well hayley!!! I enjoy reading what you've written, very glad to surf on yr own website.
Never give up >.^!!!!