I feel compelled to respond to Michael Miner's article, "Something's Cooking at In These Times," June 20, as I believe Mr. Miner, Mr. Obis, and Mr. Weinstein (former publisher of In These Times), could use a dose of reality. Mr. Miner's concern that Paul Obis might be too "squirrelly" to take over as publisher of In These Times, due to his past way of eating, is absurd. What should be of great concern is the fact that Mr. Obis was unable to stay committed to something as important as vegetarianism. For him to crumble over someone's parents bringing Swedish meatballs does not display great resolve. Someone who is a real vegetarian, particularly vegan, does not require great strength to reject the consumption of dead animal flesh. However, it does require commitment, passion, and dedication to stand up for the truth instead of believing the brainwash the exploitative industries create in their advertisements, i.e., hamburgers grow on happy trees.
It seems more likely that Paul Obis was fired from Vegetarian Times because he was unable to genuinely contribute due to his lack of integrity and sincerity toward the issue of a vegetarian lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that embraces a respect for animals, the earth, and oneself, and it's not a deprivation. Furthermore, when Mr. Obis attempted to pathetically rationalize that eating meat was a spiritual matter, it reinforced his desperation to grasp for any justification to sell out! If 22 years of being a vegetarian was only 22 years of eating tofu to Mr. Obis, then he never had a spiritual connection to a nonviolent way of eating, and undoubtedly is unable to have one now! It is unfortunate for Mr. Obis, his clogged arteries, higher risk of cancer, his children, and troubled conscience that he made his choice to eat animals, but to disrespect the entire concept of a cruelty-free way of life is contemptuous. If his new career with In These Times doesn't work out, watch out Mr. Weinstein!
Michael Miner replies:
I don't believe there is any danger of Mr. Obis eating Mr. Weinstein.