John Joesph is serious about his vegan lifestyle and hate of meat. Image via: PETA (Oh yeah, they promote this book too.)
John Joesph is serious about his vegan lifestyle and hate of meat.
Image via: PETA (Of course they promote this book.)

I love flying and airports. The people watching often reaches gold or platinum level and everyone has a story to tell. It’s one of the off-line opportunities I have observe culture outside of my immediate areas and gives me a chance to gain new perspectives. I almost always walk through a bookstore or two while at the airport to catch up on the latest book trends and topics relevant to most Americans. It’s interesting to see which books and topics receive prominent positions on shelves and displays. You never know what’s going to pop up in our culture today.

On a recent trip through the Denver airport though, a book caught my eye that was a little startling. It was front and center, at eye level in the self development section, a pretty prominent spot on the shelf. The title, Meat Is For Pussies, was obviously meant as an attention grab and the book design was a little more organic than most. But it was the subtitle that made me pick it up and read more – A How-To Guide for Dudes Who Want to Get Fit, Kick Ass, and Take Names.

I’m pretty sure I let out a good chuckle as I read about the author, John Joseph, the front man for the 80s punk rock band, Cro-Mags. Turns out this 80s punk rocker is telling dudes across the country that in order to get fit, kick ass, and take names, we must swear off meat, eat clean, and does so in an angry, cursing manner that often accompanies various vegan stereotypes… when they’re punk rockers, of course.

John Joseph rants his way through the first nine chapters by describing to us how deplorable it is to consume the flesh of livestock in this country. Not even organic, local and naturally raised animals are good enough for this guy. Between the frequent use of cursing (probably to reinforce the fact that he’s a serious punk rocker), he describes to us how rampant the use of drugs, antibiotics, and cancer causing poisons like recumbent [sic] bovine growth hormone is in livestock systems today. Not to mention the use of WMD’s provided by devil companies like Monsanto… He continues his rant about the myths that we actually need protein in our diets to bad ass weight lifters and demonstrates to us some of the most important vegan athletes who’ve been successfully avoiding meat for years.

meat is for pussies book reviewIn the last four chapters of Meat is For Pussies, John Joseph changes gears and tells us how going vegan will free our mind and body, tells us how to make the transition, gives us a 30-day workout plan and a list of his favorite recipes to make it easier to go vegan. Let’s not even begin to dive into the use of so many supplement concoctions in the recipes…

It honestly only took me three sittings to get through this entertaining read. I chuckled through most of the pages, wondering how a guy can be so angry and use so few solid references to justify his claims of our chemical-laden, grotesque lifestyles of meat eating. So many claims that these drugs are bad for us, cause cancer, and need to be removed from our lives, but never once actually goes into how these tools are used in livestock production or how they are bad for us. Just a “Dude, they use these steroids in dairy cows and it’s killing them and us!”

And finally, the appendix of the book is nothing more than a rant filled with all of the lies and deceptions that animal rights activists wish the entire world believed about animal agriculture. The grotesque depictions of living conditions, slaughter, and filthy feeding and processing of these animals, just makes John Joseph sick of the world. His words go right along with the context of a recent independent documentary, Cowspiracy.

I’ll actually agree with John Joseph on the need for us to get away from consuming so many processed foods and needing to get back to the kitchen cooking our own food. And kudos to the guy for turning his life around, getting away from drugs and addictions and being an Ironman triathlete. But seriously…

I’ll give it to the design team, I like the creativity and graphics used in the book, but I’m really not sure how he talked the team at HarperCollins into publishing this book. He couldn’t even get the use of recombinant vs recumbent straight… Meat Is For Pussies is so bad, Mark Bittman, who champions alternative diets and farming systems, can’t even give the book a passing grade. Seriously, book publishers? Let’s do a better job than this.

Moral of the story, how the heck do things like this end up receiving such prominent placement on bookshelves in places like a busy Denver International Airport? According to what I’ve been told by several writers and book authors, it’s incredibly difficult to have a book published today. With all of the people working hard, doing honest work, and just wanting to get their perspectives shared, why is it that crap like this gets pushed to the front of bookstore shelves?

Bottom line, I’m not happy about the money I spent on this book, but I’m glad I got to read another perspective on the issues I frequently discuss. Let’s just hope and pray that this extreme view isn’t embraced by many dudes who just want to live a bad ass, healthy lifestyle.