“Vegans For The Recently Deceased”: Jona Weinhofen in vegan controversy

This recent Jona Weinhofen vegan-scenario is a perfect example of what NOT to tweet.  

I Killed The Prom Queen guitarist, Jona Weinhofen, does not keep silent about the fact that he’s vegan and damn-well proud of it. Whether it’s going shopping for vegan products with his wife, posting about his beliefs on social media, or speaking about it in interviews. He loves it and he wants to back the eating philosophy to the best of his abilities. However, sometimes the guy’s approach towards defending and supporting his diet and lifestyle can backfire horribly, which is exactly what happened recently.

Below is the tweet in-question from the IKTPQ member that set shit off:

Currently, his tweet has 2.5K likes, 400+ retweets and nearly 3K replies, a vast majority of which see people slating him completely. Also, just quickly, if that above photo is what your “dishwater” looks like, then you need to pre-rinse or use a dishwasher ASAP. As someone who does actually enjoy a lot of vegan products myself, I’m suddenly very concerned about your kitchen health standards, Jona.

Breaking his actual argument down, the Asian dish that Jona shows is a Chinese hot pot. It’s a dish that varies around different parts China and Asia, but is usually a communal, social type-of food; the kind that you sat around over with friends and family. In short, it’s pretty cool. It’s a shared bowl, set under a burner, with heated broth that can contain a wide variety of ingredients; noodles, vegetables, meat and seafood. Rather ironically, it can also be made with solely vegan-friendly, plant-based ingredients too. Though I’m not sure if the guitarist was aware of that before posting.

While there’s many equally hilarious and harsh replies to Jona, there’s one in particular that I want to point out: this reply thread from one Jeff Yang. In it, Mr. Yang gives a lengthy, savage yet also highly informative series of tweets about Jona’s approach, vegan history and different cultures with a solid bibliography link too. It’s a great read, honestly. One that’s worth a look regardless of your opinion on this topic, and one that doesn’t make you feel dumber like Jona’s unfortunately poor tweet does.

Oh, and then there was also THIS absolute doozy that I found, but I digress.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Boiling this situation right down to the proverbial hotpot’s tasty bottom, these kinds of stunts do not help the vegan cause at all. What it does is make the wider lifestyle look silly, giving the Isaac Butterfield’s out there more ammunition for future arguments. It just plays into the kind of pretentiousness that non-vegans see all vegans as being nowadays, whether their the extreme cultish types or the ones who just live and let live. As someone who has tried being vegetarian and vegan before – they weren’t really for me, sorry, but I’ll probably try both later down the road – this was just awkward to witness.

You’d think after that 2015 PETA debacle Jona found himself in due to using that dead sheep prop – a matter in which Barnaby Joyce even called him a “spiv” for – he’d learn how to construct a better argument. Clearly not. The lack of self-awareness also shows more and more the deeper you scroll through his replies to his detractors regarding the original tweet. In these moments, properly owning your shit and making amends via some simple communication to others can go a long way in saving face and having a much better dialogue. (This approach also would’ve saved Arch Enemy plenty of recent headaches, but that’s a different matter altogether).

Jona Weinhofen with said fake sheep from that aforementioned 2015 PETA wool campaign. What a time that was. 

Since hitting publish, Jona has defended himself against comments that say he was apparently being racist, with him hitting back that he doesn’t respect any culture that takes advantage of animals. (Not really helping your cause, buddy). Now, do I think that the IKTPQ guitarist is explicitly being a xenophobe here and meant to say something racist? No way, that’s a bit of a reach. But it’s also not hard to see how people could’ve perceived it that way, given how prejudice towards Asian culture can be based purely upon the look of their culinary delights instead of the most important part – the actual taste. Taste over looks any fucking day, as we all should know.

While some of those racist-accusing comments are extreme, a little off-base and perhaps just as moronic as Jona’s own tweet, it’s an understandable reaction when you consider China (and Japan) are historically where much of white modern veganism originates from after World War II; when The West started to commercialise these traditions in later decades, allowing for it to become so popular in places like America and Australia. (Also, where the hell do you think most of that soy comes from?) Yet here we have an Australian-American Caucasian vegan mocking a popular Chinese dish because it kinda looks like a full kitchen sink after a big Sunday dinner clean-up to prove some weird point about the logic of meat eaters. I’m not lambasting all vegans here, but fuck me, none of this is a good look. If anything, this just perpetuates the cycle of hatred between both sides.

Anyway, that’s more than enough about that. Here’s one of my favourite later-day IKTPQ tracks, cause this is a music website.

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