Context: My informant is a vegan. While we were conversing on Skype, we started talking about jokes vegans tell about non-vegans and ignorant comments vegans hear from non-vegans. These jokes were all told in quick succession and the conversation flows too naturally to make sense in parts, so they were included together.
Joke 1: What’s the best way to keep milk fresh? Leave it in the cow.
Joke 2: Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
Joke 3: Isn’t it weird that we drink milk, stuff designed to nourish baby cows? How did that happen? Did some cattleman once say, “Oh man, I can’t wait till them calves are done so I can get me a hit of that stuff.”
Full Interview Transcription:
Me: What are some jokes that vegans tell?
Informant: Um, what’s the best way to keep milk fresh?
Informant: Leave it in the cow.
Me: That’s great. [Laughter] So um, who told you that?
Informant: I found it. Like I was scrolling on an Instagram post that had to do with veganism, and I like wrote it down immediately when I saw it because I was like, this is funny.
Me: Yeah. It’s great.
Informant: Um, and then, another one is: Can vegetarians eat animal crackers? And I get asked that all the time.
Me: Like, do people ask that seriously?
Informant: Seriously. Especially one of my band mates. They’re like, “Can they eat animal crackers? Or what about, like aren’t you hurting plants?”
Me: Oh my god… I don’t understand.
Informant: I don’t either! Okay… This one will probably… This one makes you think. Isn’t it weird that we drink milk, stuff designed to nourish baby cows? How did that happen? Did some cattleman once say, “Oh man, I can’t wait till them calves are done so I can get me a hit of that stuff.”
Me: Oh god… Where did you hear that one?
Informant: I found it on a website.
Me: Okay… So when do you usually tell these things? Among other vegans?
Informant: Among other vegans and among, like, meat eaters who are being judgmental of my veganism.
Informant: Just to make fun of them.
Me: That’s brilliant. What do you think the jokes are making fun of in particular?
Informant: I like to hope that it’s making fun of people’s ignorance towards different diet types. You know?
Informant: Not actually making fun of vegans.
Me: They’re funny. I like them. I can’t believe people ask the animal crackers one seriously.
Informant: Seriously all the time. And I also hear: “Why do you want to hurt plants? If you care so much about animals, what about the plants?”
Me: Are there any other things people say to you like that?
Informant: Um… Hmm… I hear about vitamins a lot. As soon as you become a vegan, everyone’s concerned about your vitamin levels. Not before you become a vegan. Like as soon as you become one. “Are you getting enough calcium? What about this? What about that?” And you’re like, “What if I wasn’t drinking milk before I was vegan?” You know?
Me: Yeah, good question.
Informant: Did you not care before?
Me: Yeah… Assumptions.
Informant: I’ve also noticed that people around me, when they’re with me, they’ll purposely… overly non-vegan-ify their food. Like completely. Like “I’ll take a steak, and some eggs, and put butter on that, with some bacon.” Just to be able to eat it in front of me.
Informant: I’m just like, you’re just clogging your arteries. It’s not bothering me.
Comments: This conversation informed me about some of the hurtful comments non-vegans say to vegans to try to delegitimize their lifestyle. The jokes the informant told me are also an example of a misunderstood group using humor to deflect ignorant remarks from outsiders.