Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has gone and pardoned a…..Tofurky. For those who don’t know, Tofurky is a turkey made out of tofu that is sometimes eaten by vegans and vegetarians.
I don’t live anywhere near Seattle and yet even I am embarrassed by this charade. Dude! You just pardoned an inanimate object, a hunk of texturized soy protein. As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, you went and named the thing Braeburn.
Braeburn the Tofurky.
Braeburn will live out the rest of his (un)natural “life” at the food bank. I’m sure some struggling person will be absolutely delighted to receive Braeburn this Thanksgiving. Nothing fills your heart with thanksgiving better than getting to eat fake turkey. Just try to imagine that you have finally arrived on Easy Street, pretend you drive a Prius, and embrace your new found vegetarian values. Yes, “Vegi Values” are a real thing in the world. The company that makes Tofurky brags about them in their very logo.
I worry about us sometimes. I worry about Very Serious Things. I worry that we are forgetting the meaning and definition behind ideas like “sentient beings,” or “inanimate objects” or artificial intelligence” or “technological morality.” I worry about how we give life and meaning to a pile of soy protein, about how we go all anthropomorphic on our pets, and yet we dehumanize our humans.
After a while I start to feel like a meaningless clump of cells, a bit of biological goo, longing so badly to achieve the treasured status of a soybean curd.