Murphy: Embracing the Full Vegan

Avoiding meat? That’s fine for rookie vegetarians. But to be truly enlightened, one must purchase clothing, furniture, even cars certified as vegan — and price tag be damned. ( . )

The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.

The phrase “low-hanging fruit” might as well have been invented for critics of the affluent lifestyles enjoyed by the modern class of glitterati. Poking fun at their “eccentricities” is just too easy.

The folks in question include movie stars, TV actors, pop stars, pro athletes, an entire demographic of upscale hotshots earning big bucks in the tech sector, plus a potpourri of celebrities who are, to reference the phrase (allegedly) coined by the late British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, “famous for being famous.”

It comes with the territory, and I would probably fall prey to the exact same syndrome, but the common denominator for so many of the trends today’s glitterati are proud to embrace is easy to identify: access to disposable income, and lots of it.

Spending piles of cash puts you into the hottest fashions and accessories, but equally important, buys you a connection with the eco-conscious trends in food, clothing and shelter, none of which are hotter or trendier than veganism.

Because if you’re truly enlightened, simply avoiding meat is but a baby step on the way to the Full Vegan Lifestyle. Along with the veggie entrées and alt-meat options, you need to distance yourself from anything even remotely related to, derived from or connected with the animal kingdom.

Forget about factory farming. Avoiding food products linked to conventional animal agriculture is for neophytes. True vegans must demand that their clothing, transportation and household furnishings must also be “cruelty-free,” which means no animal content whatsoever, because by definition, vegans identify every and anything involved with an animal as automatically cruel and evil.

What price vegan purity?

That commitment to lifestyle purity now includes one’s dwelling, as well as one’s diet, which brings us to what the Hollywood Reporter calls one of the hottest trends in town: Designing a vegan home, one that showcases its owner’s passionate interest in animal welfare.

“A true vegan home contains no animal products or materials tested on animals, including wool and silk,” the article explained, noting that such a design “may include hundreds of different products, each with their own components and ingredients, requiring close examination and research,” according to Hollywood-based designer to the stars Sarah Barnard.

Barnard, by the way, noted that, “The majority [of her clients] seek an informal look, but informal doesn’t take away from opulence.”

Indeed. Why can’t a person embrace opulence and compassion? All’s it takes is shelling out for furniture, accessories, carpeting, window treatments and bedding made with synthetic materials that are beyond the budget of 98% of the country.

For example: Consider the Hannah Dining Chair, which is sold by the Arthur Avenue company, manufacturers of “exclusive custom vegan furniture” designed by its founder Deborah DiMare. The piece is described as “sophisticated and elegant,” a “sleek design made with soft vegan leather.” It retails for only $2,500, but in purchasing one, according to the Arthur Avenue website, the buyer will “save four cows and six geese.”

Small price to pay, right?

But back to that price tag, because I have to ask: Twenty-five hundred bucks? Really?

It’s. A. Chair.

And as a dining room chair, one presupposes that more than one would be required, so now we’re talking, what? Two? Four? Eight?

Not if you’re in the same tax bracket as one Martin A., a featured reviewer on the Arthur Avenue site, who posted, “This chair is SO fabulous. We ordered 10 of them for our formal dining area.”

Look, I’ll admit that I don’t have a formal dining area in my house, but even if I did, there’s no way I’m shelling out 10 grand on the chairs!

Heck, I could buy four cows and six geese for less than that — and get a lot more value from them than I ever could sitting in some chair, no matter how plush, sophisticated and fabulously vegan it might be.

Additional columns by Dan Murphy:

Murphy: Canines vs Carnivores

Murphy: A Compassionate Veggie?